The One Laptop Per Child project is only one—albeit the largest—of more than 20 initiatives in low-cost computing. Some, like the OLPC, are trying to design low cost or ruggedized computers; others are trying different approaches to make traditional computers more affordable.

One of the earliest efforts dates back to 1998, when a group of engineers attending an information technology conference in Bangalore decided that rural India needed a new, handheld computer designed specifically for that environment. They established the Simputer Trust to design a machine that would be practical for users who were illiterate, have low power requirements, and cost under US $200 per unit. The trust intended to license the design to manufacturers.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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