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Another exec quits OLPC's $100 laptop group

Security chief resigns over new strategy

A drastic internal restructuring underway at the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) has caused a director of security to resign from the non-profit effort.

Citing differences with OLPC's aims and shift of focus, Director of Security Architecture Ivan Krstić resigned from his post three weeks ago, Krstić revealed in a blog entry last week.

"I cannot subscribe to the organisation's new aims or structure in good faith, nor can I reconcile them with my personal ethic. Having exhausted other options, three weeks ago I resigned my post at OLPC," Krstić said.

The MIT Technology Review named Krstić one of the world's top innovators under the age of 35 for his work on the OLPC security platform, Bitfrost.

In an interview with BusinessWeek in early March, OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said OLPC was operating "almost like a terrorist group, doing almost impossible things", and that the organisation needed to be managed "more like Microsoft".

Negroponte said OLPC was searching for a new CEO and reorganising departments into four operating units - technology, deployment, market development, and fundraising and administration.

Calling OLPC "more a second home than a workplace", Krstić said he had been asked to stop working with OLPC President of Software and Content Walter Bender, whom he highly respected. "I was to report instead to a manager with no technical or engineering background who was put in charge of all OLPC technology," Krstić said.

OLPC has been dogged by problems since it launched the effort to develop a $100 XO laptop for children in developing countries three years ago. It has struggled to realise the ambitious vision, facing delays, rising costs and reduced orders.

In January, OLPC lost Chief Technology Officer Mary Lou Jepsen, who started an organisation to commercialise parts of the OLPC's technology, including the screen and battery. A few days later, Intel said it was quitting OLPC after the non-profit organisation insisted that Intel abandon its effort to develop and distribute Classmate PC, a rival low-cost laptop. OLPC later said that it would welcome Intel back to the effort.

See also:

OLPC defector plans $75 laptop


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