merits of Lisp vs Python

John J. Lee jjl at
Sun Mar 11 00:05:49 CET 2007

"Gabriel Genellina" <gagsl-py2 at> writes:

> En Fri, 09 Mar 2007 16:10:51 -0300, Tim Bradshaw <tfb at> escribiÂŽó:
> > ill-conceived idea (not because of Python, note!).  The electronic
> > gadget people need in the developing world is a mobile phone not a
> > computer.
> What for?
> That requires a phone company, installed antennas everywhere, and
> available power to charge batteries. Without forgetting  you to pay
> the  bill, of course.
> I don't think OLPC would actually help people so much, but a mobile
> phone  would be almost useless.

How wrong can you get?

Mobile phones have been making a significant economic impact in many
places in the third world.  Sub-saharan Africa has seen huge growth in
access to mobile phones over the past few years, for example.  A
recent report indicates there are now over 100 million mobile phones
in use in Africa.  That's a huge change im communications from five
years ago, but more than that, since people often don't own a mobile,
but rent them by the minute from at the roadside, access levels must
be much higher than that would imply (i.e., much greater than 10% of
the continent's population).

Mobile connections are intrinsically cheaper than fixed-line networks,
can be rolled out faster, and have a disproportionately large impact
in places where such electronic communications have in the past been
absent, when compared with places like Europe and the US.  For
example, farmers report that they find mobile phones valuable to get
information on market prices; without them, they would in the past
have little choice but to physically go to market and hope for the

I know nothing about OLPC, but I hope they're spending lots of time
talking to children, teachers, and academics, and to anybody with a
good criticism.  It must be tricky for big projects to stay connected
to reality.


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