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WN: So you're shipping this with development tools installed?

Negroponte: Yes. Absolutely.

WN: We're talking about C compilers and Make and the whole programming environment?

Negroponte: Yup.

WN: One could argue that it's better to give them something that has more mainstream commercial appeal.

Negroponte: Now be careful there. Fifty percent of the servers on this planet are using either Linux or some kind of Unix derivative.... So 20 percent of the world's servers are already using what I would call perfectly mainstream software. And there are open-source approaches to it that are working just fine. It's not mainstream on the desktop, I'll admit, but we'll make it mainstream on the desktop. We'll push that over the edge.

WN: Is the goal literally to make computers available to every child that wants one in the world?

Negroponte: It's every child in the world whether they want one or not. They may not know they want one.

WN: Do you have any thoughts on what the long-term impact of giving all these kids a programming environment and an open-source ethic might be?

Negroponte: Those are two different questions. Giving the kids a programming environment of any sort, whether it's a tool like Squeak or Scratch or Logo to write programs in a childish way -- and I mean that in the most generous sense of the word, that is, playing with and building things -- is one of the best ways to learn. Particularly to learn about thinking and algorithms and problem solving and so forth.

And providing the tools for some people -- it's going to be a very limited subset (who will use them) -- to develop software that will be redistributed and versioned and so forth out into the world is also important. It's part of the whole open-source movement.

WN: You're going to be unleashing a whole new generation of open-source programmers, who otherwise would never, possibly, have gotten their hands on a computer.

Negroponte: I hope so. I hope we unleash half a billion of them.

WN: What, if anything, has been challenging about bringing this idea to national leaders?

Negroponte: Bringing the idea to national leaders has been easy, partly because I know some of them, or they know me.... It's almost easier for me to get in the door than Michael Dell or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, even though they're more famous, richer or more important. It's easier for me to get in because I'm not selling something.

Once I'm in the door, the idea takes seconds for people to get.... People get it quickly, they sleep on it, very often they wake up the next morning saying, "Oh my god, this is a really big change." The whole idea of harnessing the resources of children themselves to participate in education is a pretty big one. A lot of people don't think about it....

It's a short story. It's also a pretty good story, and there aren't too many good stories in the world right now. There's no angle to it that's bad.... And with the possible exception of the circumstance in which (the government) is so poor that the $100 can't be reached, it really isn't a balancing act here. Why would you not do this?


Trecho de uma entrevista do Nicholas Negroponte para a WiredNews, falando sobre seu notebook de 100 contos. É ainda mais ambicioso do que eu imaginava. Meio bilhão de desenvolvedores?!?!? Fantástico!

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