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Electronics need a diet, argues Negroponte

Vendors burden their products with features to justify fat price tags, but open source and projects like OLPC mitigate against this.

Speaking at the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences, Nicholas Negrponte, founder of the One Laptop Per Child project, chided the industry for getting unnecessarily fat:

"If you make anything electronic today, you know that eighteen months from today, it will cost you half of what it does today," he said. "But if you make (electronics), you have no interest in that product being half price in eighteen months."

So, as we all know, electronics manufacturers fatten up cell phones with cameras and MP3 players, etc. Negroponte termed this problem, "a general obesity in the electronics industry." He went on to say, "Most laptops are like SUVs. You're using most of the energy to move the car, not the person."

This is yet another example of vendor inefficiencies advanced solely to benefit the vendor, which belies much of the software industry's "value" over the past thirty years. Open source and OLPC mitigate against this trend, setting the standard for leanness and fitness for purpose.

We need to return software control to where it belongs: the customer.