In response the the global economic slowdown, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has announced major cuts in staff and funding, halving their workforce to 32 and implimenting pay cuts for those remaining. Also announced was OLPC’s intention of discontinuing development of the Linux-based ‘Sugar’ operating system that its signature devices, the XO, run. Instead, Sugar will be turned out ot the community for further development, allowing OLPC to focus on its forthcoming iteration of the XO, a book-like dual screen model that would reduce the number of parts by eliminating a keyboard and trackpad and increase screen real estate. Additionally, the Latin American OLPC branch will be cast off in favor of a stronger focus on the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
This announcement signals a rocky road ahead for OLPC. While the intiative has stumbled over several setbacks, Portugal and Venezuela placed orders in September for over a million of the Intel-based ‘Classmate PC,’ an XO alternative, which is a larger order than the lifetime profits of OLPC.
For more information, visit the OLPC announcement found here: http://blog.laptop.org/2009/01/07/refocusing-on-our-mission/