Europython keynote: Alan kay - Children firstΒΆ

Tags: europython, europython2006, plone

Alan didn't present in-person, as he was ill and they didn't want him to contaminate an entire airplane :-) he did the presentatioon over a video link instead.

What if we put children first? He thought about it around 1968 and thought up something booklike, as children move around. Now he's on the 100-dollar-laptop board and there'll be such a thing

What's the cost for your current laptop? 50% is profit, marketing, distribution, sales. 25% is microsoft software. Of the 25% that's left, half is the display, a quarter the harddisk. So they now have hold of a 40 dollar innovative screen. And they're using flash memory to get the harddisk costs down.

This project is going to change some of the statistics: it is going to raise the market share and importance of both linux and python.

"We see things not as they are, but as we are" (the talmud). We humans are sometimes totally incapable of seeing certain things. We're fooled by our brains. Just loop up a few of those perspective image jokes on the internet. A part of education is getting us to see things that we don't see by nature.

Human universals (big list) boil down to a "story culture". They exist in all or almost all cultures. Non-universals include democracy, writing and learning, equal rights, perspective drawing, agriculture. These are especially hard to learn.

He had a log of nice children-oriented demos made with the smalltalk implementation squeak, you can find the examples at squeakland.org .

He hopes that a system like this will be implemented in python. There are many more python developers than squeak developers. And python is going to be pretty big in the 100 dollar laptop. Some 10 people have implemented virtually everything of this system.

Alan asks every one of us to think very hard about putting children first and helping out with this.

Update: Guido van Rossum also has a nice summary , be sure to also read the comments.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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