OLPC Loses Leaders, Looks to Change OS

Lora Bentley

One Laptop Per Child executives are dropping like flies -- or so it seems. Guardian Unlimited blogger Jack Schofield reports OLPC's former president of software and content, Walter Bender, has resigned. OLPC had reassigned Bender as deployment director during a recent reorganization. On Monday, Schofield says, Bender wrote:

After more than two years without a break at One Laptop per Child, I have decided to take some time to reflect on how I can best contribute going forward to the goal of giving children around the world opportunities for a quality learning experience.

As Wired points out, Bender's exit marks the third top exec OLPC has lost in less than four months: former CTO Mary Lou Jespen left in January, followed a month later by security chief Ivan Krsti. Wired blogger Brian Gardiner says that after Krsti resigned, the former director of security characterized Bender's reassignment as a "demotion."


But Computerworld reported even bigger OLPC news on Wednesday: Project founder Nicholas Negroponte says open source "scares people away" from the project. So OLPC's XO laptop may soon scrap Linux for Windows XP. According to Negroponte, XP will allow the project to improve interoperability.


The stories don't say so explicitly, but the move toward Windows and away from open source may be what is "scaring" so many of the project's top people away.


And as for end users, I would imagine they're more frustrated with keys that stick right now than they are with the fact that their laptops run on open source.

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