For those who have been in the dark, the organization is trying to boost its low-cost laptop program through a promotion in which people in the U.S. can pay $399 to donate one of the rugged Linux laptops and also get one for themselves. The program's terms and conditions say little, other than that it will go to a child in a country on the UN's list of least developed countries. But I was wondering whether the laptops would go to people in countries that were already customers of OLPC or prospective customers or countries that had otherwise eschewed the One Laptop Per Child initiative.
An OLPC spokeswoman said that donated laptops would be headed to countries such as Afghanistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Haiti, and Mongolia--places that generally couldn't afford big laptop giveaways. In general, she said that the donated laptops would help "jump-start" a program in those places, though she said Mongolia and perhaps others on that list might also be eventual customers.
As long as I had her on the phone, I thought I would see if the organization had any response to reports that a Nigerian company isfor patent infringement over its keyboard design.
"OLPC is aware of the claims made by Lagos Analysis Corp. (LANCOR) but has not been served with any legal documents related to this," she said. "OLPC has requested that LANCOR identify the patents or copyrights in question, but the company has yet to substantiate its claim against OLPC with any documentation. OLPC has the utmost respect for the rights of intellectual property owners and all the intellectual property used in the XO Laptop is either owned by OLPC or properly licensed."