RE: OLPC & FidoNet


I think you know as much about the current Fidonet situation as I do. The
truth is that it is basically defunct.

As for the whole OLPC thing, I think the organizers would contend that
things like email are freely available on the Internet. How viable that is
in the middle of Africa is arguable. My understanding is that the networking
model employed in the XO automatically links together nodes in range so
that, if one has Internet access, they all do. On the other hand, it is
unclear to me how you could route a packet securely between two given XOs.
Remember that Fidonet, while designed to minimize long distance charges, was
predicated on any two nodes being able to connect at a given time. XO is the

Sorry, I wish I could be more helpful.


> —–Original Message—–
> From: Grant Bowman []
> Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 03:23
> To: Scott Royall
> Subject: OLPC & FidoNet
> Hello Scott!
> I just read with interest your article from 2003
> On December 30,
> 2008 I went to and paid $400 for one laptop to be
> sent to me in California and another to be deployed to a child (ages 5
> – 12) in a developing country pilot project. In reading about the
> (One Laptop Per Child or OLPC) project and the
> problems they are encountering of generating electricity in very
> poorly funded rural school locations during XO-1 deployments and
> reading about the design issues that the OLPC developers are
> discussing I find myself drawn to read about UUCP and FidoNet.
> As I come up to speed on the OLPC project, one thing (among several)
> that has me puzzled about the OLPC project is the total lack of basic
> email capability provided to the school children where the XO-1 are
> being deployed. As I learn more about this I am recalling my Fido BBS
> user experiences and recall my experience setting up a UUCP email
> server for a friend’s small business many years ago. I am 37 years
> old now and was lucky enough to be a member of one of the first
> generations that could grow up with computer technology during my
> early education.
> It seems and are falling into
> disrepair. The software list at is
> unavailable and what I think should be the international nodelist link
> points to a domain name that is for
> sale right now, yet websites for zone 1 & zone 3 and
> are still alive.
> Can you shed any light on the current state of FidoNet?
> Solving old problems with new technologies in new contexts present
> fresh opportunities but it makes no sense to forget the hard won
> knowledge of past, successful, functional efforts.
> Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you about what you know about
> the current state of FidoNet. Since I am a short BART ride from San
> Francisco, let me know if any detective work might help shed some
> light on things.
> Thank you,
> — Grant Bowman <>
> — K6CBK, Twitter:grantbow


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