Published: Sunday, February 24, 2008
Laptops for children are buggy

The OLPC runs on the Linux operating system and a chip made by Intel rival
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The software was complicated and buggy. For
weeks neither my brilliant niece, nor her well educated parents, could
figure out how to get it to connect online.

They eventually had to reconfigure and upgrade the operating system, a
complex process certainly not doable by a computer rookie. Pity the child in
a remote Cambodian village trying to figure out this instruction from the
OLPC Web site: "At your root prompt, type: olpc-update (build-no) where
(build-no) is the name of the build you would like."

Once upgraded, the OLPC has been remarkably slow, often requiring repeated
attempts to log in and balking at the notion of opening more than a few
programs at a time.

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