[Edu-sig] OLPC: first thoughts on the first keynote at Pycon

Andre Roberge andre.roberge at gmail.com
Fri Feb 23 18:38:08 CET 2007

I just attended a great talk on OLPC.  I thought I should share my
first reactions with folks not fortunate enough to be able to attend.

BTW, if anyone feels this is a bit of an abuse of this list, feel free
to let me know (I won't be offended).  I recognize that these are not
well polished notes and perhaps should rather find their way on my

The first part was about school and learning - great stuff.  Goal:
changing the way kids learn (no mention as this point about laptops).
Art would have been pleasantly surprised.  This was done in a
"non-preachy" way, unlike the way some home-schooling advocates
present their stuff. (no offense meant to anyone on this list).

A big chunk of the talk dealt with technical/hardware issues - all
done in a very relevant way, but not exactly relevant for edu-sig.

Some excellent reasons were given as to why Python was chosen as *the*
development language.  There is actually a button on the keyboard
which is meant to "display the source"; click on it and you're
presented with the actual Python source code used to run the
application being viewed/used.  The user can then modify the source
(like smalltalk I guess, like Paul F. [?] sometimes mentions on this
list) and run the modified version.

One open issue (as I understand it) is that of finding the "best
practice" for plugins.  The idea is that the core programs should be
as small as possible but easy to extend via plugins.  I thought that
there already was a "well known and best way" to design plugins - and
it was on my list of things to learn about (to eventually incorporate
rurple within crunchy).

There is a real need to have more people involved in the development.
This project presents a real opportunity to "make a real difference"
to a lot of kids out there.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the talk - it was a job well
done and a fantastic start to the conference.


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