The title above links to a Linux World article on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. That project aims to produce a laptop that is cheap enough to make its way into the hands of schoolchildren around the world. the biggest obstacle is the insatiable need for computer cycles by today's software. As I've written before, a large chunk of these cycles -- if not most -- are burned to make software more profitable for software companies, not to benefit the user.
The OLPC people seem to agree with me:
Today's laptops have become obese. Two-thirds of their software is used to manage the other third, which mostly does the same functions nine different ways.
Fast processors and inexpensive memory have made tidy programming a low priority, Gettys [Jim Gettys, vice president, Software Engineering] said. "A lot of people in the past decade or so have gotten quite sloppy."