[clug] OLPC laptops

Jacinta Richardson jarich at perltraining.com.au
Thu Nov 22 01:13:04 GMT 2007

Michael Cohen wrote:
> David,
>   I wonder why they do that - if the project is really a philanthropic
> endeavor they wouldn't care where they ship the laptops to.  Usually
> this kind of restricted shipping is the domain of market manipulating
> monopolies like the MPIAA or the RIAA. Do you feel discriminated
> against already because you are not American?

Jeff answered this really well on the SLUG list.  I'll borrow his words:

   "The answer to this is really simple: Retail *SUCKS*.

   "They're sucking up a considerable cost (in time and dollar terms) to provide
the G1G1 programme, because it massively increases their workload to deal with
"annoying customers", they have to deal with shipping costs (and people whining
about how it's not available outside North America), etc.

   "Per-machine, it's way cheaper handling these kinds of issues when you're
selling XOs in packs of 250,000+... and with this kind of project, you need to
build for scale at every level, or you're chasing your own tail.

   "The most important thing to remember about the G1G1 programme: Unless you're
going to hack on the thing, it's almost entirely pointless to buy one. If
you have three kids, by all means, buy three. Otherwise, it's not worth your
time: The XO is made for kids, and made for collaboration. A single XO is a
curiosity, looking for a friend. (This is why Pia and I take both our OLPCs
around to demo -- most people, even if they've seen the XO, have never seen
the software truly in action.)"

They care where they ship the laptops to because sending them internationally is
more work for them, they can't just get a local (country-wide) courier to pick
up the day's orders and take them away.  Plus then there's international
warranty support, export restrictions, monetary exchange rates etc etc to worry
about.  OLPC isn't a retail organisation.  They aren't running this offer to
make a profit, they're just inspiring geeks to make donations they wouldn't
ordinarily give.  It's not discrimination.

All the best,


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