Lakshan Perera

eSriLanka PC - how it will affect ?

Remember all flames we had with Intel CEO Craig Barrett labeling that OLPC's $100 laptop project as just a gadget ? Even though $100 laptop is still in prototype, intel had made a step ahead by sponsoring the eSriLankaPC.

eSriLankaPC is a project under ICTA which has the object of increasing the PC adoption in country. As Mr.Barret wanted this is a fully functional PC based on Intel® architecture. PC comes with Pre-Installed software and educational programmes. Desktop environment will be based on Linux. You can take home the PC and pay in monthly installments. The lowest model costs Rs.32,300 and you have to pay Rs.1140 monthly. Also they are ready to offer trilingual Help Desk.

Now the big question is will this project genuinely benefit the country and citizens ? It may be rather too early to go for any conclusions, But will this make a big impact on country's IT literacy ? or will it just be another trap of multinational money machine ?

Price of this PC is still the same with what's on the bazaar. So there isn't a huge advantage over that. Considering the fact of average monthly household income in Sri Lanka is around Rs.12,000 and current cost of living will a average family is ready to spend Rs.1140 every month ?

One of the biggest plus points of this project that i see is the huge rollout of FOSS in the country. Actually I think it will be the major difference of this PC project and what is currently on offer. Since the users will not get pirated copy of Windows pre-installed they will adopt to the Linux based Open Source environment (if not they knows how to format/partition and install pirated windows). Will it signify a new era with FOSS being the mainstream ?