Building a Hacker Culture in Uruguay - OSCON 2011


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Presentation from OSCON 2011 on Uruguay's developments around laptops and internet for all.

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  • \n
  • So Uruguay did a couple things which are pretty amazing. In 2007 the took up the OLPC project’s offer and purchased over 400,000 XO laptops. In total 420,000 laptops have been distributed. \n
  • Then in December 2010, they offered free internet for everybody. \n
  • So i’m going to be boring, and give you a bit of context about Uruguay. \n
  • That means the GDP per capita is about $12k a year, and the average (mean) income is about $7k a year. Chile joined OECD, the developed nations club, Uruguay is the next likeliest country to join. Basically it means that it’s got resources\n
  • It’s a welfare state, modeled and run like a european social democracy, but with less resources. At one point it’s rumored that Che Guevara stated that a revolution in Uruguay wasn’t necessary, because the society was already culturally so collectivist. \n
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  • If you know anything about uruguay it’s because it’s a tiny country which is exceptionally good at producing football players. \n
  • Uruguayans eat lots of meat. Lots! There’s a phrase, let the cows eat the plants, and the people at the cows. There are the highest ratio of cows to people in the world. 3.7 cows for every person. \n
  • The national drink is this kind of stimulant tea, yerba mate, which is a shared communal drink.\n
  • Uruguay’s population is also incredibly urbanized and concentrated. Half the population lives in Montevideo, and there are no other towns with a population of over 100,000 in the country. %94 of people live in town. This makes getting internet and schooling to the population much easier. \n\n\n
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  • So everybody wants to go to the future. The future’s here, just not evenly distributed yet. Actually i’d say that not everybody wants to go the same direction. \n\n\n
  • It was more about a program of social inclusion, equality, democratization of information. Getting everybody to the same level rather than making a few rich people.\n
  • One thing which is important uruguay is NOT trying to replicate silicon valley. It’s projects aren’t about jobs, they aren’t about investment or startups. \n
  • Uruguay has two ways in which this transformation is happening. From above, on high, all kids shall have laptops. And then from blow, the hackers, teachers, activists who are shaping society. Uruguay’s story comes from the difficult dance between these two communities. \n\n\n
  • Uruguay’s got a small but very dedicated community of folks who self identify as hackers, geeks, free software advocate. \n
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  • So they famous OLPC... the $100 laptop... Uruguay was the first, and so far only country which has done a full elementry school distribution.\n
  • 420,000 laptops, all xo’s to elementary school kids, and 100,000 laptops (mixed XO and Windows laptops) to high school students. \n
  • 420,000 laptops, all xo’s to elementary school kids, and 100,000 laptops (mixed XO and Windows laptops) to high school students. \n
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  • The emerging search terms for Uruguay are ALL related to the XO. The only item which isn’t precisely about the XO, is Justin Bieber. \n
  • It’s also dominate on over all search terms. \n
  • The most searched for, web page in uruguay, probably the most popular in the country by number of visitors, is a blog, XO Planet. \n
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  • So the governmental organization which managed to take over this, LATU, is the organization which is in change of ISO standards. They probably got bored enforcing ISO standards and thought laptops for kids would be more fun. \n
  • So they spent all of their energy supplying laptops to %15 of the entire population of the country. Teachers got maybe a half day or full day workshop to learn how the laptops work. \n
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  • “To let kids lose to discover life on their own is in my book very irresponsible, even if the kids are under the guardianship of an XO.” Yama Ploskonka, Uruguayan Teacher\n\n\n
  • The hidden, or rather, not quite so public, agenda behind OLPC and the uruguayans working on it was a much more radical agenda. The idea that education should be constructed, by the learners, from their activity. Not presented on high, through lectures and tests. \n\n
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  • The OLPC’s embodied a hacker’s philosophy. It was a much more radical agenda than the Uruguayan public and education system thought they were getting. This is not to say that it was a trick, plenty of Uruguayans doing the deployment, knew full well what they were doing. \n\n
  • So the criticism is that not only are kids not going to be able to learn, they must be taught, lectured, but that the laptops are only being used for video games. \n\n\n
  • Fabio Serenelli\n\n
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  • So while the kids are making games, there aren’t the educational games to be made. There has been some funding, but the production of educational video games, to replace text books, is a huge amount of work. Uruguay’s played with the idea of having an industry in producing educational software for the XO, but it’s been a small effort. \n
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  • One of the most common critiques within Uruguay of the Ceibal (OLPC) laptops and broadband internet are that they are simply political games, ploys, played by the center left government to win elections. http://\n
  • I think the biggest irony, is that the Ceibal project, OLPC in uruguay, is run in an incredibly autocratic manner. It’s accomplished a LOT, but it’s also really alienated a lot of people. It’s failed to get the vast majority of help offered. \n\n
  • they had a very high failure rate on the laptops, as many as %25 had some faults. Initially they tried to centralize all repair. Eventually they opened up to community volunteer groups and setup roving repair buses to fix them in the field. \n
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  • About half of the children in the country are within a 300 meter walk to a public open wifi hotspot. \n150,000 children can walk less than 300m to the next public WiFi hotspot.\n
  • So the first idea was to use the XO’s mesh networking to provide internet for the masses in uruguay. The problem is, it didn’t work. At least in uruguay, with the hardware and software they had. \n
  • So despite rolling out tons of wifi access points, most kids could not get wifi at home. The government also was under pressure to open up internet via cable modems. Their response was to launch free internet for everybody. \n
  • Launched in December 2010, they offered minimal internet on every landline. Before this about 300k of the 950k landlines had adsl. The goal is to have adsl on EVERY landline. They charge a one time fee of about $23USD for the modem. There is NO other cost. \n
  • The other thing they did to keep their monopoly is promise to start rolling out fiber to the home for wealthier neighborhoods. The promise is 40Mbs connections. Right now it’s limited to 10Mbs. \n\n\n
  • It goes without saying that free internet’s a big deal. \n\n
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  • In the english speaking world, Open Source tends to be the acceptable, mainstream way of referring to what we do. Politically it’s more acceptable. In latin america, one it’s clear it’s libre, not gratis. But also \n\n\n
  • So you could say free software is anti-imperialist software. \n
  • So it becomes something like, proprietary software is gringo software, and free software is a kind of nationalism. It’s now owned by the foreigners. \n
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  • Building a Hacker Culture in Uruguay - OSCON 2011

    1. 1. Buildinga HackerCulture inUruguay Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    2. 2. Laptops for all Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    3. 3. Internet for all Source:
    4. 4. Uruguay
    5. 5. Upper Middle Income
    6. 6. Welfare State
    7. 7. Real Poverty Source: El Pais Uruguay
    8. 8. Football
    9. 9. Meat Source:
    10. 10. Yerba Mate Source:
    11. 11. Urbanized Source:
    12. 12. An Election Source:
    13. 13. THE FUTURE Source:
    14. 14. Equality
    15. 15. Not a Valley Clone
    16. 16. Above & Below Source:
    17. 17. Hackers Source: @ioerror
    18. 18. The State Source:
    19. 19. Political Agenda“[the] longer-term objective is to promote social justice bypromoting equal access to information and communicationtools for all our people.” - Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay
    20. 20. One Laptop Per Child Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    21. 21. 520,000 Laptops Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    22. 22. 520,000 Laptops3 Million People
    23. 23. Internet Penetration Source: World Bank
    24. 24. Google Zeitgeist Source: Google
    25. 25. Google Zeitgeist1. uruguay 6. montevideo2. juegos 7. hotmail3. juegos juegos 8. youtube4. facebook 9. xo planet5. xo 10. videos
    26. 26.
    27. 27. Corporate Games Source: Nestle Uruguay
    28. 28. Plan Ceibal Source:
    29. 29. Logistics Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    30. 30. Little Training Source:
    31. 31. Little Training Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    32. 32. Teachers VS Laptops Source:
    33. 33. Constructivist Agenda Source:
    34. 34. Constructionisma philosophy of education in whichchildren learn by doing and making in apublic, guided, collaborative processincluding feedback from peers, not justfrom teachers.
    35. 35. Hackers Autodidacticism Source:
    36. 36. Video Games Source:
    37. 37. Teaching Techniques
    38. 38. Video Game Learning Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    39. 39. Kid Created Games Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    40. 40. Video Game Education Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    41. 41. Self-Directed Learning Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    42. 42. Election Ploy? Source:
    43. 43. Autocratic Leadership Source:
    44. 44. Broken Laptops Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011
    45. 45. ebooks Source:
    46. 46. Wifi Access Points
    47. 47. Mesh Failure Source:
    48. 48. Internet for all Source:
    49. 49. 64kbs up 64kbs down 1 gig per month$23 for the modem
    50. 50. Fiber Source:
    51. 51. Free Internet Source:
    52. 52. Free Software Movement Source: UPI/Bettmann/Corbis
    53. 53. Free vs Open Source:
    54. 54. Anti-Imperialist Software Source:
    55. 55. Nationalist Software Source: Torres Garcia
    56. 56. Writing Code Source:
    57. 57. Building a Hacker Culture in Uruguay @rabble Source: Mucho más que una computadora - Plan Ceibal 2011