It's depressing when your condescending mystery-meat GUI 'written by 2 Gnome developers' is the least-shitty piece of your project.
The 21 hardware bugs he links to don't even begin to cover all the ridiculousness.
One bug I'm intimately familiar with is the "first open-source SD card implementation" in the custom CaFE chip that turned out to be neither -- Marvell never released the HDL sources, the only documentation is a PDF that lists but doesn't describe registers, and it doesn't really implement SD. Originally if you slept the CPU, on wakeup the SD card would disappear from the bus, which absolutely fucks you if you were booting off of it. The only fix I found was to add a 1s wait to the wakeup process -- the design target for the entire sleep/wake cycle was <100ms!
THANK GOD! It's about time the publicity started to turn on this project.
I've been fighting my own little private war against Mr. Negroponte's XO project for some time and it's for just these reasons. The XO has always been a crappy notebook. It was "built by press release" so it looked real good on paper. All the politicians and pundits could smile and praise the $199 computer that would bring poor kids into the next century. While behind the scenes anyone who took a real look knew it wasn't usable.
So Mr Negroponte and a bunch of crooked politicians in third world countries get to look great by foisting crap onto already taken avantage of poor kids.
The ambition of the project has been inspiring, the slowly encroaching failure is a little disheartening. If it's true, however, that the XO spawned the netbook than OLPC has succeeded in an indirect way. First netbooks, then kindle, then Apple's answer to the netbook, then the commoditization of these products, then hopefully the ubiquity of these devices brings cost to a point where something like the XO vision ends up in the hands of the children by shear momentum. Negroponte, and OLPC, has been a catalyst. Don't deny them that much!
Netbooks happened when they did when the hardware prices came down far enough to make them not a complete joke. They are a brain-dead obvious evolution of the laptop platform, just one more step on the almost-equally-braindead-obvious evolution to some form of ubiquitous computing, with our cellphones leading that charge.
So yeah, I don't credit them with the netbook idea. That credit goes to the hardware people who drove down LCD and computer prices.
We have 3 XO's in the house. None of them work much. Well, one of them has been drawn on by the 2 year old who loves to play TamTamJam on it, but thats all. Everything else is borked, and to be honest I just can't be bothered administering the thing. The 2 year old gets more excited playing with the Aspire One running UbuntuStudio than he does with the XO.