Jobs offers Mac OS X for $100 Laptop

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Wall Street Journal reports on an initiative to develop a $100 laptop targetted at school children in developing nations. A non-profit organization called One Laptop Per Child has been formed to oversee the project with plans to put the laptop into the hands of 100-150 million children.

The $100 design remains a challenge and has not yet been solidified, but due to the scope of the project has drawn interest from many industry leaders, including Microsoft and Apple.

According to the WSJ, Steve Jobs offered to provide Mac OS X for free for the upcoming machine. The offer was declined, however, as they were looking for a 100% opensource solution. This offer, however, was only possible as Mac OS X is now capable of running on the x86 architecture as well as the PowerPC. The new $100 laptop will be powered by an AMD processor running Red Hat Linux.
 

hayesk

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2003
1,422
46
Refusing was a good idea. MacOS X would never run well on this machine, and they'd have to rely on (i.e. wait for) Apple for updates whenever they wanted to rev the machine.
 

SpaceMagic

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2003
1,740
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Cardiff, Wales
Very Interesting...

Doesn't this mean Apple is willing to break its DRM to allow OS X to run on non-Apple hardware... if Apple can do that, hackers will find a way too.

This seems way too much like a marketing ploy more than anything. Give millions of these machines out with OS X and then the market will boom! The main reason why people buy Windows PCs over Macs is because they think macs aren't compatible. Give millions of kids Macs and they'll only buy macs in the future, and their friends and their friend's friend.
 

DMann

macrumors 601
Jan 13, 2002
4,002
0
10023
Steve's Heart is in the Right Place

This may well be a sign that steve is
ever so possibly willing lease OS X
in the future......
 

katie ta achoo

macrumors G3
May 2, 2005
9,170
2
Wow.. that's pretty rad.

But you'd see people going to those countries and a rash of the $100 laptops on eBay or something.

One Laptop Per Child sounds like a really good program though. Maybe Apple will donate some money their way?
 

WeBleed4Real

macrumors member
Sep 15, 2005
31
0
For a $100 laptop, you have to buy your own:

1. RAM
2. Hard drive
3. Keyboard and mouse (no trackpad included)
4. External speaker (no built in)
5. Power cord
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,167
23
Lincoln,UK
this news story is there just to warm us Mac faithfull of the future of Mac OS

Mac OS on x86 will happen on all PC's :(
 

mac-er

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,455
0
Cute idea, but I'd rather see the money go to more important things (like feeing them or giving them vaccines/cures) than making sure they have a computer.

1. I don't think these kids are concerned about getting a laptop when their parents are dying of AIDS or they are worried about where their next meal is coming from.

2. Linux is a little over-the-head of the average user....do you think these kids will have any idea how to use it?
 

japasneezemonk

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2005
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Nomad
katie ta achoo said:
Wow.. that's pretty rad.

But you'd see people going to those countries and a rash of the $100 laptops on eBay or something.
Believe me, a $100 laptop isn't going to be much to look at.
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,167
23
Lincoln,UK
WeBleed4Real said:
For a $100 laptop, you have to buy your own:

1. RAM
2. Hard drive
3. Keyboard and mouse (no trackpad included)
4. External speaker (no built in)
5. Power cord
so your buying a laptop case then ? with a screen that is :D
 

jared_kipe

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2003
2,967
1
Seattle
Holy cow, I can't believe they refused. Going open source is not a good idea at all. These under developed nations kids will now learn not standard and horrible GUI from one of the 134002 linux distros.

This is perhaps the nicest thing any software developer has ever tried. Microsoft will ship a version of Longhorn for developing nations which they cripple and they will CHARGE for it. I'm sure Steve didn't says "You can have OSX... 10.2 muah ha ha."
 

DCBass

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2004
308
1
Washington, DC
Pr

Seems to me to be more of a PR move than anything.

I'm sure Stevie knew they would reject him. Then again, if they accepted, that's a whole lotta good karma to pass around apple.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
My thoughts:

1. OS X would be a great choice, and it's great of Apple to offer it for free. But their reasons for choosing Linux aren't wrong either.

2. This shows Steve Jobs is willing to think in unusual directions about OS X on x86. And it shows that there are many different forms "cloning" could take other than the way it was done last time.

3. Apple might still give OS X to those users if they wanted--just adapt the copy protection to allow it only to be installed on those units. Depends how the protection system works, I guess. I bet plenty of schools around the world would be happy to dual-boot Linux and OS X, gaining access to mainstream apps.

4. Whatever the OS, I hope it succeeds. Sounds like a great project.

5. How long before there's a Jack-in-the-Box app?
 

katie ta achoo

macrumors G3
May 2, 2005
9,170
2
japasneezemonk said:
Believe me, a $100 laptop isn't going to be much to look at.
yeah, but throw in some RAM and put windows (ew) on it, and you have a pretty good all-purpose laptop for your grammaw or something. (you know, the one that can't program her VCR. :p)
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,830
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The Netherlands
liketom said:
Mac OS on x86 will happen on all PC's :(
IMHO if it is technichally feasible......then it will happen; i.e. how much Apple will try to avoid Mac OS X on "non-compatible" x86 hardware, it will be done anyway.

Apple would like to hold on to the control of compatible hardware, but the DevKit Mac OS X86 10.4.1 has been installed on non-devKit Mac x86-PCs all over the place.... likewise the "final" commercial product.

We'll have te get used to it....
 

Jimmni

macrumors member
May 1, 2003
92
0
Seems to me this was most likely an offer made with (probably complete) certainty that it would be refused. Jobs will have known that they'd not allow themselves to be dependent on Apple, and that OS X wouldn't run well enough. So why make the offer? Well, great press for one thing. Karma points for ol' Steve. It's important Apple try to keep an image of generosity and caring as the OS X/Vista battle draws nearer. Gates might donate billions to charity, but people rarely remember that when their PC crashes.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
mac-er said:
1. I don't think these kids are concerned about getting a laptop when their parents are dying of AIDS or they are worried about where their next meal is coming from.
I think these countries--for their kids' sake--ARE concerned about education, computer literacy, interconnection with the rest of the world, and training kids to go into math, science, medicine, etc. The basic needs you mention are indeed vital, but you can't JUST solve the short-term crisis of the moment, you ALSO have to look at the long term. Putting money into both directions is very sensible--it shouldn't ALL go into basic needs or nothing can ever really improve.

mac-er said:
2. Linux is a little over-the-head of the average user....do you think these kids will have any idea how to use it?
They wouldn't have to install/maintain it, but they'd be able to use whatever simple shell was placed on top of it. Anything that is called for could be designed, and I bet lots of people would contribute to such open-source projects.

MacTruck said:
These kids will only buy a $100 laptop if it comes with a weeks worth of food. How the hell are they going to come up with $100?
This isn't just for kids to buy directly :p Schools and governments and non-profits are the likely purchasers. In bulk.

No matter what, a laptop for $100 instead of $600 is a big step--and being able to run without external power is important too.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,643
0
jared_kipe said:
Holy cow, I can't believe they refused. Going open source is not a good idea at all. These under developed nations kids will now learn not standard and horrible GUI from one of the 134002 linux distros.
These machines won't even have hard drives, so nothing as complicated as OS X is going to fit on there.

Information on what the machines actually are.
 

egor

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2004
151
0
MacTruck said:
These kids will only buy a $100 laptop if it comes with a weeks worth of food. How the hell are they going to come up with $100?
You do realise that its the state that buys children these laptops, right?!? They're cheap so that third world governments can afford them for many children.

And someone stated there would be no RAM, etc. Have people not been following the initiative? The idea is a fully fledged laptop.. a perfectly capable one albeit maybe not as good as most on the market today (ie. it may have a flash drive instead of a HD, but this is fine for the children's needs).

I'm suprised they passed up the opportunity, it would have put the kids on a similiar footing to the rest of the world and I suspect would have made things alot easier to maintain, I see no reason why the OS has to be open-source; just the apps should be. Then again is there a scaled down version of OSX with a small enough footprint?!?
 

JeffTL

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
733
0
mac-er said:
Cute idea, but I'd rather see the money go to more important things (like feeing them or giving them vaccines/cures) than making sure they have a computer.

1. I don't think these kids are concerned about getting a laptop when their parents are dying of AIDS or they are worried about where their next meal is coming from.

2. Linux is a little over-the-head of the average user....do you think these kids will have any idea how to use it?
You do realize that not the entire developing world is as bad off as the Sudan or somesuch? The adult HIV/AIDS prevalence in Brazil (one of the countries most interested in this project) is only 0.7%, literacy is 86.4%, and life expectancy at birth is 71.69 years. Poverty is 22% -- almost a third of Niger's 63%, but not that much worse than the UK at 17% or

In contrast, HIV/AIDS in the United States is 0.6%, literacy is 97%, poverty is 12%. Definitely better on literacy and poverty, but HIV isn't really that worse in Brazil than it is in the United States.

Remember, also, that it's called the "developing" world for a reason -- it has a potential to become "developed." The purpose of projects such as this is to accelerate that process. At any rate, though, it is reductionism at its worst to paint the entire developing world with such a broad brush as to imply that it is entirely squalid, starving, and AIDS-riddled in its entirity. There are such places; Brazil isn't really that much worse than the United States, compared to some places.

(Stats source: CIA World Factbook)

When it comes to Linux, once it's set up properly it's not hard to use at all.
 

snkTab

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2004
579
0
Cincinnati, OH
Isn't a laptop a luxury?? Why are we giving this to school children not in our own countries? Why can't we just continue to build schools and provide aid in the form of food and medicine? They wouldn't be able to afford the power even if it was availible.

This makes no sense. Like buying everyone in Cambodia $500 cars just to see if they can get out of poverty.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,958
119
London, UK
This was not just Steve Jobs giving heart, this was a mighty business opportunity. Don't you see that in Steve Jobs offering Mac OS X for children of developing nations, they have a chance of getting into Mac, rather than Windows, and thus there is a massive market there for Mac in the future. I've been saying all along that this is why Apple needs to get more into the education market (outside the US) - people tend to stick to what they grew up with. Don't just rely on people switching - get them hooked from the beginning!

EDIT: This $100 laptop was talked about at least a year ago. I think it's a good idea because it means that children in the developing countries - their future - don't get behind on technology. You could say that basic amenities should come first, but this is in addition to all of that.
 

Object-X

macrumors 6502a
Aug 3, 2004
631
1
Idiots

I can't believe they declined it! So, you are going to force the less fortunate of the world to suffer with an overly complex and inferior OS? I thought the whole idea was to help people not push your stupid open source idealism. :mad:
 

topgunn

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2004
1,454
1,236
Houston
An ever increasing number of jobs require at least some computer skills. Imagine what will be required in 5, 10, or 20 years. There is already a large disparity between the haves and the have nots when it comes to education. This is an attempt to help level the playing field in that respect.

Who are the IT guys or computer engineers today? Most of them are kids who had a computer at home at an early age. How is developing a inexpensive laptop for disadvantaged youth a bad thing? And I really hate the argument that we have bigger things to worry about. It is horrible thing that has happened to the growing number of AIDs orphans in our country and others around the world but should we get rid of the space program to devote more money to this cause? No. Should we do away with goverment supported student financial aid to allow more money to be used for feeding the nation's hungry? There are many worthy areas to send our dollars, both tax and personal.

Linux is not difficult to use although it can be difficult to setup. These computers will be very user friendly and will allow the kids to do anything they could do on a $1000 Windows laptop.

And more than likely it is not the kids or their parents that will be buying the machines. Rather, the will be paid for by generous individuals that feel this is a worthwhile cause.