"Adding insult to injury, I was asked to stop working with Walter Bender, without a doubt one of the most stunningly thoughtful and competent people I’ve ever worked with. Following Walter’s demotion from OLPC presidency, I was to report instead to a manager with no technical or engineering background who was put in charge of all OLPC technology."
(Six months ago, Bender was one of the most eloquent defenders of the project, taking on rivals such as NComputing's chief executive Stephen Dukker in no less a forum than the august columns of the Wall Street Journal).
The changes that Krstic refers to tie in neatly with what Saint Nicholas enunciated at the beginning of March when he said that OLPC should be managed "more like Microsoft."
In keeping with that, no doubt, we will soon see bloatware like Windows XP make its appearance on the XO, the laptop which the OLPC sells. Here's a (free and open) idea, Nicholas; why not go for Vista right away? That will certainly make the project unique. Neither the Asus eeePC or Intel's Classmate line will be able to top that.
(It's interesting that Negroponte has not changed the organisation's core principles one iota; apparently the project is still devoted to "free and open source." Last time I wrote about the project , a wag had added the words "unless it's Microsoft" to that phrase. The OLPC now has a word of warning for such truth-sayers; "this page is monitored by the OLPC team" says a legend at the top of the OLPC wiki's front page . Maybe one should make that "rapidly diminishing team.")
Krstic, apparently, could not take changes such as the restructure in his stride. In his blog, he adds: "I cannot subscribe to the organization’s (sic) new aims or structure in good faith, nor can I reconcile them with my personal ethic. Having exhausted other options, three weeks ago I resigned my post at OLPC."
Ah, cruel world! How sad it is to witness the death of idealism and the emergence of realism!
I wonder how the people at organisations like Red Hat, which joined the project in its infancy to provide a truly open and free Linux-basd operating system for the XO, would be feeling now.
Maybe it's time to dismount from this hobby horse before it goes lame in all four feet.
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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.