EMTEC Gracing the Laps of Hackers Everywhere

Playing off the success of the One Laptop Per Child program, EMTEC, makers of the soon to be released Gdium netbook, have unveiled a One Laptop Per Hacker program intended to jump-start community development by putting pre-release machines into the hands of developers at an easy-to-afford price.

The Gdium is a Mandriva-based machine with a respectable set of netbook features, but departs from the pack in with its unique "G-Key" system, a removable 8GB/16GB Flash drive which serves as the machine's primary storage. The machine has no internal hard-drive — everything from the operating system to the user's data is housed on the G-Key. This allows for what may be the most unusual feature of the Gdium: Regardless of what Gdium machine a user plugs their G-Key into, their OS, their customizations and their data will appear.

The Gdium is now in pre-release production, and the freshly announced One Laptop Per Hacker program intends to plant "early release" boxes in the hands of developers to allow them to begin work on everything from optimizing the operating system to redesigning the artwork. Interested developers are asked to read up on the machine and the program, register on the Gdium website, and describe their development plans, after which an EMTEC "friendly team member" will make contact to provide either details on obtaining a system or an apology. Developers should note that all work undertaken on the beta boxes must be released under an Open Source license (the specific options depend on the type of work being done).

One final note: While children in developing nations are getting their One Laptop Per Child laptops at no cost, those selected to receive a machine through One Laptop Per Hacker aren't quite as lucky. The machines come with a €250 price tag, which includes an "early release, signed edition" of the Gdium and two G-Keys (one with the standard environment, one with the developer kit).

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