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Laptops for the poor

January 18, 2009
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THANK GOD the One Laptop Per Child Foundation is in financial trouble ("Fund loss staggers group giving laptops to poor children," Page A1, Jan. 9). Aside from the arrogant colonialism implicit in a bunch of MIT hotshots telling dirt-poor Third World people how to educate their children, the whole idea is just silly. If these people really wanted to provide poor people with low-cost laptops, they should try to get Third World billionaires to fund the project, using outdated parts. Only a minimal effort would be needed to manufacture a $100 laptop using last year's parts, and to provide a stripped-down Linux system that offers full functionality and runs well on a small amount of RAM, hard drive space, and power. The result would be real computers that kids could use. The open source applications, such as Open Office or Apache, would give Third World kids a real chance at a real job: software development.

Ezra S. Abrams
Newton

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