Recently, I wrote about portable Operating Systems. I found out, I'm not the only one. ;-) The people of Keepod created a complete Operating System on an USB stick. By seperating the software from the hardware, Keepod offers a simple and cheap solution for personal computing. Nice isn't it? But, do we need it?
As the costs of this way of computing is very low, it comes in reach for the poor. According to Keepod, 5 billion people don't have access to personal computing, let alone the internet. People don't need to possess a computer themselves any longer. Access to (a shared) one is enough. As the system requirements are low, old and refurbished computers will do.
Keepod contains Linux which is stable, 'light weight' and free (as in 'freedom'). Users are able to use the enclosed software. However, they may be able to install their own applications. All data are stored on the thumb drive, so they carry their data and don't leave traces on the guest PC's.
The costs of such a USB stick are only $ 7 (!). The Keepod project is in search for funding at Indiegogo. This isn't the first idea to bring computing to developing countries. An earlier initiative was One Laptop Per Child. As the name states, it's aim is to provide every child with a laptop for education purposes. Therefore they developed a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. Many of them are sold and distributed.
Good initiatives! Do you know other projects like these?