[conspire] NYLXS Press Release on the OLPC Project

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 27 15:52:23 PDT 2008

Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):

> Unfortunately, I don't think that the goal of making an OS invisible to
> a user is possible, and perhaps it isn't a good way to view operating 
> systems.

It can be done in appliances (MythTV, TiVo, OpenMoko) -- and those may
be what most people really want, not general-purpose computers.  (Those
appliances then tend to become useful but boring -- except that PDAs
such as Zauruses sometimes staddle the appliance / general-purpose
computer fence.)

> Lastly, I'd just not that the reason I sent this to this small and
> vital mailing list, aside from the great esteme I have for the Cabal
> host, is that the only time I've put a hand on an OLPC prototype was
> at a Cabal meeting so I asumed that there was a rich body of people
> interested on this list in the project.

The "conspire" mailing list is really just an unassuming small
(low-traffic) discussion forum, analogous to a socially inclined coffee
shop.  Accordingly, long political screeds tend to stand out in a bad
way, similar to the way standing up in your coffee-shop booth and
delivering a political stump speech would.

(Per usual, I am _not_ speaking as listadmin, lest anyone be confused.
I'm just voicing my dumbass view as a fellow subscriber.)

You saw an XO OLPC machine at CABAL mostly because CABAL's in Silicon
Gulch, California and because Ed Cherlin attends, I think.  There _are_
a bunch of discussion forums devoted to the subject, and I could swear
that there was at least a proto-organisation of OLPC users being put
together by Prof. Sameer Verma of San Francisco State U.  (Searching
"sfsu sameer verma olpc" brings up some rumblings about that.)

> Finally, with regard to users, we are all users.  Sysadmins are users....

A _good_ sysadmin's an abuser.  ;->

> Nor would it pull a child out of a Madrasha in Pakistan which teaches
> Jihad....

I _do_ get tired of people using this word as a shibboleth and ignoring
its full meaning and connotations.  It means "striving" or "struggle".  
You and I are engaged in jihad al-lisan, for example (striving with
one's tongues, aka debate).

I don't know a _lot_ of Arabic, just enough to potentially get in
trouble at falafel stands on account of my outrageous kibbutznik accent.
(On the other hand, I _can_ pronounce "shibboleth" correctly, and so
don't risk being slain as a one of those nasties from the tribe of

[1] Shoftim aka Judges 12:5-6, the first recorded use of passwords in

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