Birmingham, Alabama may soon join the third world.
As reported by the The Associated Press, Birmingham's city council has rubber-stamped a $3.5m deal with the One Laptop Per Child Foundation, ogling 15,000 laptops designed for less-than-affluent children in developing countries, including Rwanda, Libya, and Mongolia.
This is the first time an American city has struck such a deal with the not-for-profit OLPC, but it still awaits approval by the Birmingham school board. According to The AP, some board members voiced concern that "computers designed for the African bush" may not measure up to Alabama's standards.
That said, one board member admitted that her reluctance to purchase the laptops has something to do with the fact that Birmingham schools don't offer the wireless networks needed to get the laptops online. And she's not sure the city can afford Nicholas Negroponte's XO portable.
We'd say this deal makes perfect sense. If the XO wasn't such a piece of junk. Even Nicholas Negroponte admits it's a piece of junk. "We should not be in the hardware or software business," he tells BusinessWeek.
He also tells BusinessWeek that he's looking for someone to replace him as OLPC CEO. "I am not a CEO," he says. "Management, administration, and details are my weaknesses." ®