$100 Laptop and Flash

I've been trying to find out some more about the $100 laptop. That's the MIT / One Laptop Per Child project to bring affordable laptops to poorer countries. Some commentators think it will be an educational revolution, others think the laptops will make good table lamps for poor families.

it triples the global production of laptops. I'm wondering if all those new users are going to be able to see Flash content

Turns out it's going to be shipping with Redhat and probably Firefox. Steve Jobs had offered OSX at no cost for the laptop but MIT declined. While I think it was a generous offer, I can see why it would have benefitted Apple too. Redhat will gain exposure and legitimacy as a usable OS. MIT is also planning a $200 version for western markets. I think there will be an appetite for a simple hardisk-free laptop and it will do well as a product.


One target of the project is to make 100 to 150 million units by 2007. To put that into perspective, it triples the global production of laptops. I'm wondering if all those new users are going to be able to see Flash content. The reason MIT turned down OSX was a desire to keep the laptop open-source only. Where does that leave the Flash player? It is more than capable of running on Redhat with the laptop specs (500Mhz/128MB), but it is decidely not open source. It looks like the laptop will have a kind of default Redhat installation which the buyers(governments) can change. So while it may be possible to add the Flash player in any event, I'm hoping the laptop includes Flash by default. Otherwise they'll be sidelining a great delivery mechanism used widely in education and with it a lot of existing educational content. I hoping the pragmatic educational objective wins out here above the open-source ideology.

Posted by Alexander at December 15, 2005 04:39 PM

Make Flash tests and assessments with the Question Writer, Quiz Software. Question Writer 4 is now available. Click here to download.

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Personally, I think OSX would have made a better choice.. even WinXP would have made a better choice, unless MIT feels that the system requirements are too large for the $100 laptop.

I guess they will find out if RedHat is ready for prime-time desktop use. Linux is not that user-friendly and I wonder who will be filling the user-support role.

Posted by: John at December 15, 2005 05:29 PM

I have to disagreed. Red Hat is stable enough to run anything that a developing nation would need. Running XP and OSX would just lead to the requirement to fund the system even more.

Linux is supported by its users, if it was wasn't successful there wouldn't be a Red Hat.

Posted by: John Giotta at December 15, 2005 08:27 PM