The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC
) project has announced the security plans for the $100 laptop. It built around a system called Bitfrost
. One part that I found troubling is this quote from the main developer in the Wired
story about Bitfrost:
Still, Krstic admits there's a drawback to his system: It limits interactions between applications. "This kind of model makes it more difficult for glue between applications to be built," Krstic said. "But 99 percent don't need glue."
This seems like it's going to lead to two problems: monolithic software because programs do need glue and lock down of the computer because it will lead to the computer being used but not programmed.
Maybe I am misunderstanding the security plans. I hope so. Preventing millions of $100 laptops from joining the botnet is an admirable goal, but not if it limits what a kid can do with the computer. One of the goals of teh prject states: Our commitment to software freedom gives children the opportunity to use their laptop computers on their own terms. While we do not expect every child to become a programmer, we do not want any ceiling imposed on those children who choose to modify their machines.
Let's hope Bitfrost provides adequate security but doesn't get in the way of this important goal.