I like the OLPC project. They build small, affordable laptops for developing countries. I think this is the right way to introduce Linux. Some people have stated that they think it is better to reuse old hardware. But I have come to the conclusion that that really is a trap for Linux. Why? Because full hardware support is always a problemm, not because of Linux, but because most hardware vendors do not care about Linux support. I have faced the problem dozend times, that you try to install Linux and some things do not work perfect. And it was mostly hardware issues. A project that takes many different kinds of hardware will have to deal with multiple obstacles PER COMPUTER. They would not be able to make one distribution that fits all. And on the other hand I think it is very interesting to begin to develop hardware for Linux or a specific distribution. I think that the efforts to support a wide set of hardware often result in slow process.
If we would have started Linux with one computer that would have been supported 100% Linux would be much more stable than today. I think it would not have been as successful. It was attractive because you can just buy a PC in any store and TRY to install Linux on it. But I think this is not really it. PCs are mostly built to work with Windows and nothing else. So we really need Linux Computers (Desktop and Notebook). And this could also leed to hardware development that fits to the software. Apple has often shown what power could be in this combination. On the Linux side this would be an open process. Linux could initialize hardware developments everybody can use. Unlike this new Intel-BIOS that is only supported for the new Intel-based MacOS X.
I think it is time to rethink Linux deployments. Today it is not the way to install Linux on old machines and to make them cooperate with Windows. It is much better if you try to make a system that replaces Windows soft- and hardware a 100%. Cities like Munich think that this is unrealistic, but I really think it is unrealistic if you think you can live with 80% Linux and 20% Windows. You will the problems in the areas where those systems have to mix, because Windows does not want to be mixed. It only likes to number one and every effort to include it in an Linux IT-concept leads to much more problems. It may not be possible to have 100% Linux from day one, but if this is not the goal, better do not migrate!
Linux must leave its underdog habits: “We are cheap, we can install on your old hardware. Ok we try to run your Windows software on top of Linux” , etc.!