Rob Katz

PCs for the BOP? GlobalVoices Reviews MiPC

GlobalVoices LogoLost in the ongoing debate about low-cost computers and the digital divide is Argentina’s MiPC (My First Personal Computer) program. Global Voices? David Sasaki nicely summarizes the ongoing debate over MiPC’s technology options (Intel and Microsoft exclusivity vs. AMD and Linux inclusion) and whether or not it’s succeeded from a business and development point of view:

MiPC…sold approximately 100,000 machines, far fewer than the great official numbers initially forecasted. What’s interesting is that, beyond the amount of PC’s sold, only around a 30 percent of them were purchased with State financing, providing evidence…that the role of the State is not absolutely definitive for the success of the plan.

What I like about Global Voices is how it brings non-US bloggers to the forefront–and this post is no different. For example, an Argentine blogger named Javier Salinas goes on record against Microsoft’s ?Starter? software. BOP and digital divide readers will recall that Starter is one of Microsoft’s BOP products, ?designed to offer an affordable and easy-to-use entry point to the Windows family of products that is tailored to local markets, in local languages, and is compatible with a wide range of Windows-based applications and devices.? So, how does it measure up to its users? Salinas complains:

Windows Starter really stinks. It’s so bad that it seems like a miracle that it even ?functions.? It doesn?t just break your patience; there are also things that are impossible. A laptop with Starter edition fell into my hands and I had to make an ssh tunnel to connect to a remote MySQL database. Impossible. The tunnel was done, the remote connection was reachable, but the application wouldn?t access the database.