OpenCollector.org: Interview with Simputer teamApr 25, 2001, 21:25 (4 Talkback[s])
Simputer (pictured) is a very low-cost computer built around a design licensed under terms similar to that of the GPL. The intent behind Simputer is to provide low-cost (<$200) machines to people living in rural India. The interview here is with various members of the Simputer team, and they discuss the reasoning behind the licensing scheme they chose, the design decisions they made, and more.
Linux handheld afficionados will be interested to note that the team gives a lot of credit to the work being done at handhelds.org, where Linux has been ported to devices like the Compaq iPaq.
"We hope government and large multilateral organizations will use the Simputer as a platform for various IT initiatives, indirectly making it affordable for poor communities to get access to Simputers."
"We have recognized that even $200 could be too high and such products may need to be subsidized. However, we have added a SmartCard as a prime method of enabling the 'sharing' of such devices. Rural communities could own several devices and hire these out for usage to individuals based on the ownership of a SmartCard. Each user's Smart Card would contain the minimum 'personalization' information required to log into a Community Server which would maintain personalized data about the user. You can treat this as some sort of 'roaming profile' information maintained in a smart card."