OLPC giveaway offer comes to Europe

As the "Give One, Get One" laptops-for-the-developing-world program restarts in the U.S., honcho Nicholas Negroponte says it's also going global.

The One Laptop per Child initiative's "Give One, Get One" scheme is to come to Europe.

Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of OLPC, told ZDNet UK in an e-mail interview Wednesday that version two of "Give One, Get One" (G1G1) would enable European users to participate in the scheme.

"(The) popularity of G1G1 expanded in the USA," wrote Negroponte. "We are taking G1G1 global this time."

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Under the G1G1 scheme, people will be able to purchase an XO laptop, the price of which will also buy and send an XO to a child in a developing country. The scheme ran last year in the U.S. and is due to restart there on November 17. People in the U.S. will be able to purchase the laptops for $399 and donate through Amazon.com.

No official details were available at the time of writing about U.K. cost, availability, or when the scheme will launch in Europe.

Negroponte wrote that technical support for users is still being worked out and that Amazon will not be selling a dual-boot version that runs both Windows and OLPC's open-source Sugar operating system.

"We will not sell the dual-boot," wrote Negroponte. "Microsoft is making that version for the developing world only."

The next stage of the OLPC project will depend on the popularity of the G1G1 scheme, the results of which are due at the end of December, wrote Negroponte. If the results are good, the project will expand to distribute the laptops among displaced people, conflict regions and the 50 poorest countries.

After that, OLPC will "make the laptop available to the rest of the world through a partnership of some sort," wrote Negroponte.

Negroponte added that he believed the price of an OLPC laptop could drop to $75 by 2011, "as long as the dollar does not sink."

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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