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Microsoft Wants OLPC System to Run Windows XP 553

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-now-they-want-in dept.
Stony Stevenson passed us a link to an IT News story about Microsoft's recent request that the folks behind the XO laptop redesign it to suit their needs. The company now wants to be able to run Windows XP on the highly-publicized and inexpensive portable. "Microsoft general manager ... Utzschneider says a shrunken version of Windows XP could potentially run on 2 Gbytes of flash memory. The XO, however, can only hold 1 Gbyte. As a result, Microsoft wants the XO's designers to add a slot through which more memory can be added via a secure digital (SD) card, Utzschneider said. Microsoft's renewed interest in participating in OLPC might be viewed by skeptics as an admission that a rival offering for developing markets called Classmate — which uses an Intel processor on Microsoft software — has failed to catch on."
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Microsoft Wants OLPC System to Run Windows XP

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  • arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:04PM (#21603173)
    Ahhh, good old arrogance. Is there ever an opportunity for Microsoft to be arrogant that they won't pass up?
    • by Sillygates (967271) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @08:48PM (#21607105) Homepage Journal
      If I'm not mistaken Vista is Microsoft's currently supported OS. Why don't they want to put a minimal version of Vista on the laptop?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fordiman (689627)
      I don't know. I'm sure MS is aware of the hack of their OS called 'TinyXP' (which would run quite comfortably in a 1G machine, and perky-fast, too). I'm sure it's a piece of piss for them to pore over the convert documentation and ensure that things needed for compatibility and their marketing strategy are included and keep it under that 512M mark. I'm sure they could quite successfully market it as Windows(tm) Lite(r) for $50 a pop without infringing on their Vista business (since they would necessarily
  • by Gideon Fubar (833343) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:05PM (#21603185) Journal
    Negroponte might be ok with Microsoft's involvement, but unless they're willing to give it all away for free, OLPC can't actually afford it.

    also, don't you love it when people who go out of their way to ruin a party decide it's ok for them to attend when no one shows up to theirs?
    • by Josh Triplett (874994) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:13PM (#21603363) Homepage

      Negroponte might be ok with Microsoft's involvement, but unless they're willing to give it all away for free, OLPC can't actually afford it.


      For a system potentially going out to millions of new computer users, and shaping the way those users view all future technology, yes, they probably would give it out for free if necessary. The first hit comes for free. :)
      • by AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:21PM (#21603509)
        not from microsoft, it doesnt. you're confusing monopolists with real businesspeople (drug dealers).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        yes, they probably would give it out for free if necessary. The first hit comes for free. :)

        I don't even necessarily think it will be free (unless we're talking on a trial basis).

        I think Microsoft is more concerned about OLPC machines being able to run Windows XP versus actually giving XP away. I don't doubt that they may give away demos of XP or something similar, but more than likely Microsoft sees a huge market sector they are guaranteed (at this point) to miss out on.

        Microsoft is trying to push into a market segment I think they will continue to have little control - and that is dumbed-

        • Wrong analysis. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by camperdave (969942) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:06PM (#21605203) Journal
          This has nothing to do with XP on OLPC, or a measly half a million dollars. What it has to do is with country after country after country choosing non-Microsoft products. When these children and their parents see how well open source software works, they will consider alternative products for their businesses and governments, rather than Microsoft's offerings. This could add up to $billions of lost sales for our friends in Redmond.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by penguin_dance (536599)

          I think Microsoft is more concerned about OLPC machines being able to run Windows XP versus actually giving XP away. I don't doubt that they may give away demos of XP or something similar, but more than likely Microsoft sees a huge market sector they are guaranteed (at this point) to miss out on.

          Almost, but not quite.... What M$ fears is all these children (and adults) learning to run a computer that uses Linux-based software. People are creatures of habit. Once they do that, it's unlikely they'll want

    • by Skreems (598317) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:17PM (#21603435) Homepage
      From what I've read, Negroponte would in no way be interested in Windows, even if it were donated for free. Every part of the XO is designed to aid collaboration, and understanding of what's going on under the hood. There's a hard-wired button next to the volume that pops up the source code for the current application, for chrissake. The idea is that the kids can use the computer, AND jump in and make changes, and learn in the process. It's not just a cheap laptop, it's a new computing environment. A lot of the value is in the custom software. Installing Windows would be as damaging to that effort as installing a straight Ubuntu distribution.
      • come on... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by someone1234 (830754) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:38PM (#21603827)
        Who wouldn't want a WinXP version with source code attached?
        If i was Negroponte, i wouldn't say a flat 'NO'. I would ask for the source code :)
        • Re:come on... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Myopic (18616) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:08PM (#21605237)
          In my experience the quality of a piece of source code can be accurately estimated by the quality of the compiled program. I've never seen great, stable, robust, usable software that had crappy hacked code, and I've never seen a shitty, buggy, useless program that had beautiful, clean, well-designed code.

          Without knowing in any way for certain, my guess is that the Windows source code is a horrible mess, and thus is not worth OLPC's consideration.
    • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:19PM (#21603475) Homepage
      Forget giving it away... why change the specs to suit MS? If they really want their OS on the platform they would be well served to streamline it enough to fit and run properly. Heck the Xbox consoles at their core run a highly customized version of WinNT and they only take up a few MB why do they need 2GB for the OLPC?
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:09PM (#21604361) Journal
      OLPC can not, but MS could. Since MS had no desire to be on this from the ground floor, perhaps, they could pay for ALL of the systems to have improved set-up. In fact, they could perhaps pay the extra 50 dollars/system to get it down to a 100, in exchange for OLPC meeting MS's conditions. When you think about it, MS spends FAR more money on trying to kill off linux/google, so this would be chump change, and could help a number of children.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:05PM (#21603193)
    Microsoft will want Windows to run on any hardware they aren't actively trying to kill - it spreads their monopoly. If the OLPC project succeeds, it shifts from being a competitor to kill to a platform to run on.
  • nice (Score:3, Funny)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:06PM (#21603201)
    Looks like their back to square one. Nice to see they're not making much progress.
  • by psychicsword (1036852) * <The@ p s y c h i csword.com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:06PM (#21603207)
    They are probable horrified because if all the kids grow up on linux they will prefer linux in the future. I know I use windows more because that is what I learned when I was younger and so it is less work to get adjusted to the next version.
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:21PM (#21603505) Journal
      So true. A friend of mine had never used a computer before and bought an eMachines with XP loaded. Well, his nephew and nephew's wife browsed a bunch of porn sites and got it so riddled with viruses and spyware it was unuseable, so I reinstalled from the GHOST CD and put in a better firewall, Firefox, etc.

      Two weeks later it was hosed again so I reinstalled XP yet again, and installed Mandriva as dual boot. I disabled networking in Windows, problems solved.

      He found Mandriva/KDE easier to use than XP. But then again, he'd never used a computer before and didn't have to unlearn anything.

      -mcgrew
  • LOL! (Score:3, Funny)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:06PM (#21603229) Journal
    Microsoft Wants OLPC System to Run Windows XP

    Yeah, and I want to get laid. [slashdot.org] Good luck to us both, but I'm pretty sure I'll get laid before Vista runs on an OLPC. In fact, when Vista runs on an OLPC I'm going to get one and play Duke Nukem 4ever on it.
  • OVPC (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:07PM (#21603231)
    Then they will have to change it to One Virus Per Child.
  • What?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:07PM (#21603243) Journal
    One more thing to break, probably (including a 2GB SD card) a $40-$50 increase in cost per machine, for what advantage?

    Given the nature of the machine, I don't see why MS should have any trouble shrinking XP to under 1GB.

    Anyway, what help has MS given to the project and/or what help are they offering to make this request even remotely worth the consideration of the XO project?
  • by WeirdJohn (1170585) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:08PM (#21603255)
    Let's say there was the capacity to add another gig of flash, and XP could run on it. How much educational software would then fit in the machine? How much development tools would fit for the kids to develop apps (I'm thinking specifically of the capabilities Squeak/EToys gives the XO here)? How secure would the grid computing model be?

    I think Microsoft are looking at XO as a low cost laptop instead of as a delivery platform for education and collaboration.
    • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:30PM (#21603677) Homepage Journal

      Let's say there was the capacity to add another gig of flash, and XP could run on it. How much educational software would then fit in the machine? How much development tools would fit for the kids to develop apps (I'm thinking specifically of the capabilities Squeak/EToys gives the XO here)? How secure would the grid computing model be?

      Good points, all. Let's just summarise by asking one simple question: Why?

      The XO has everything it needs already. I've done a month-long evaluation of one of the late prototypes and I can assure you that there is no similar combination of software available for Windows. And even if such a beast existed, there is no way it could be made to run as well on 128 MB RAM and a 400 MHz processor. And even if it could, it wouldn't be as nicely integrated into the overall environment. And even if it were perfectly integrated, there's no way it would come as cheap. And even if it did come as cheap, there's no way people could get the source and alter it to their individual needs.

      ... But let's just summarise by asking that one simple question: Why?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:08PM (#21603265)
    OLPC with Windows XP!

    Now children can read their books by cool blue light! Once the capabilities of the OLPC are bumped up to run Windows comfortably, they will also be able to heat their food* on the machine itself!

    * Microsoft has declined to provide food.
  • That is so Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:09PM (#21603279) Homepage Journal
    Redesign the machine to fit our OS.

    Classic.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:09PM (#21603281)
    From the article: "Microsoft's call for changes to the system that would add features but increase its price could provoke a backlash from OLPC purists who maintain that the XO must be produced at the lowest cost possible."

    Then I guess I'm a "purist" on this one. An internal SD slot would be nice, but then so would a Core 2 Duo... you have to draw the line and when you're shooting for $100 you have to draw it very soon. I don't think the OLPC will succeed by conforming to Wintel; by definition, if Microsoft really understood this niche, it wouldn't exist for OLPC to fill!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      if Microsoft really understood this niche, it wouldn't exist for OLPC to fill!

      That's pretty much the heart of the matter, right there. Microsoft doesn't get the point of the project. They perceive it a platform for possible brand expansion and user lock-in, and care little about the humanistic goals. Its not about what the OLPC can do for the users, but what it can do for Microsoft.

      This is really disturbing.

  • by hausen (1180303) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:10PM (#21603295)
    From OLPC's hardware specs page [laptop.org]:
    External connectors
    (...)
    • Flash Expansion: SD Card slot.
    See also: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/SD [laptop.org] .
  • Amazing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davidsyes (765062) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:11PM (#21603307) Homepage Journal
    Such a project was no priority until Negroponte and others made OLPC come to the fore.

    Too bad that back around '96 we only heard fudware/vaporware from the likes of and from ms when others kept demanding smaller windows footprint in disk space, RAM, and other resources. When competition fell and died, ms never really followed through.

    Now, with virtualization (WINE, Win4Lin, VMWare, Virtual Box, Bochs, et al), numerous terminal setups, kiosk modes, a besieging amount of Open Source software, populous countries with attractive budgets, and other factors make ms just go into me-too, and copy-cat mode, innovation being just a buzzword to check off on marketing brochures and bandy in conventions.

    Now, if only Open Source developers would somehow garner the attention of human interface design and make thinks vastly more polished and less rickety/designed-for-the-nerdgineer, and if people like myself (non-developers) could make use of Eclipse, Glade, Trolltech's software, and things like that, we could spark a whole new renaissance of non-ms stuff that could level the playing field.

    How dare ms try to push manufacturers to add more than Linux requires to get OLPC out there. This is just to dick up the manufacturing process to delay boxes otherwise slated for OLPC assembly and deployment, at least as I see it...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dvice_null (981029)
      > Now, if only Open Source developers would somehow garner the attention of human interface design and make thinks vastly more polished and less rickety/designed-for-the-nerdgineer, and if people like myself (non-developers)

      I'm an open source developer. Programmer that is. I don't get paid for what I do, nor do I ask to get paid. I would love to be an artist, musician, GUI designer, programmer, tester, everything to be able to make the perfect software but unfortunately I am not. I do the best I can and
  • Luckily (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:12PM (#21603325)
    Luckily Mr. Negroponte is an intelligent man who is not interested in profits, but in doing the right thing, and can happily tell them to fuck the hell off.
    That's what I'd do anyway.

    Who in the right mind would try to educate young kids about computers while using Windows?
    Yes, a lot of us new geeks started on Windows, but as soon as we got to "know Unix" we jumped that crappy ship and never looked back.

    GNU/Linux and FOSS are the way of the future. It's like p2p networks and RIAA. You can't magically stop the spread of open knowledge.

    Negroponte will give them a stable and innovative learning platform that will benefit both their computing skills and more importantly their general education and knowledge.

    Just the other day I thought about making a bumper sticker or a shirt that says "Microsoft is the reason you suck at computers."
    (I've just trademarked that.) (Or is it copyrighted? WTH, I'll do both.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jav1231 (539129)
      "Luckily Mr. Negroponte is an intelligent man who is not interested in profits, but in doing the right thing, and can happily tell them to fuck the hell off. That's what I'd do anyway."

      But will he? He's already struck a very odd deal with Intel. Unfortunately for Negroponte, he was thrown into the fray with MS and Intel when they decided to compete with OLPC. Both assume they're big enough to look that bad and they're right. Now Intel has joined OLPC and what becomes of AMD? How pissed must they be?

      Many
  • by bhmit1 (2270) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:13PM (#21603355) Homepage
    1 Gbyte should be enough for anyone :-)
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:13PM (#21603357)
    You want a low cost computer to give to the children of the world that runs XP? You're sitting on billions of capital. Your ex-CEO runs a worldwide charity. You have manufacturing experience with the XBox360. You have industry alliances with all the major chip manufacturers.

    Why don't you BUILD one? I'm sure you could make it "better" and you'd have a whole new customer base. You could even lock out competitors.

    Or better yet, why dontcha give away copies of Windows CE? That runs under a gig... doesn't it?
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:14PM (#21603377)
    The article continues: "A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that a Vista-Capable OLPC release is in the works. The laptop will run Remote Desktop, connecting over the wireless network to a server running Windows Vista."
  • What's the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuickFox (311231) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:14PM (#21603385)
    Microsoft's only argument seems to be that there's lots of educational software written for Windows that becomes available this way. But if the OLPC becomes very widespread, surely those programs will be adapted for the OLPC. If the OLPC doesn't have Windows, the software will be adapted to the Windows-less OLPC.
  • by Techguy666 (759128) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:18PM (#21603465)
    From the OLPC website http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php [laptopgiving.org]:

    OLPC's commitment to software freedom gives children the opportunity to use their laptops on their own terms. The children--and their teachers--have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content. There's even a button located on the keyboard that allows children to view the programming behind certain applications.


    So, Microsoft wants the XO to run their operating system? Are they willing to release the source code to Windows XP *and* let kids rewrite it??

    This isn't merely Microsoft wanting to change one little hardware spec. The ramifications are that the laptops will probably require more power to run that extra SD slot; the laptop will cost more for the redesign, re-molding, extra parts; the whole philosophy of the software will change and the kid's desire to explore and tinker stifled. I don't think Microsoft cares beyond a "developing countries == potential market" attitude...

    p.s. If you want to buy an XO, that's also the link: http://www.laptopgiving.org/ [laptopgiving.org]
  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:19PM (#21603489) Journal
    "Microsoft's recent request that the folks behind the XO laptop redesign it to suit their needs"

    From: OLPC
    To: Microsoft
    re: Redesign

    Dear Microsoft,

    Our design works for us. It's set. We won't change it. Would would, however, be willing to offer XP as an alternate operating system. You'll just need to redesign it to fit our needs.

    Sincerely,
    The XO team

    P.S.: Sorry to hear about the Classmate.
  • by n1hilist (997601) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:27PM (#21603635)
    1. You're are not legally allowed to share it with your friends, not even for educational use!

    2. Viruses/Spyware - this is a computer designed to give new users an introduction to computing, and a tool for education, can you imagine the grief virii would cause here, especially in a mass scale / network environment.

    3. Cost.

    4. Linux is not communism, Vendor lock-in is.

    I'm a sysadmin at a school in South Africa, the funding is poor, the choices we have are limited. I really feel strongly against bringing M$ into the OLPC scene, these computers are about education, sharing and hopefully the spirit of giving. Not virii, DRM, WGA, Vendor Lock-In and legal woes.

    I for one would not welcome these monopolistic overlords.
  • bizarre story (Score:5, Informative)

    by ywwg (20925) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:28PM (#21603657) Homepage
    This is a bizarre story, seeing as I've had a 4 gig SD card plugged into my OLPC for more than a year. It's been there the whole time, and there was even an inaccurate rumor that the slot was added just for microsoft. In fact it turned out to cost next to nothing to add the connector.
  • by mrsbrisby (60242) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:31PM (#21603719) Homepage

    Microsoft has a long history of announcing new vaporware whenever someone does something interesting to try and keep as many people waiting until the Microsoft branded version comes out. Anyone remember Cairo? Microsoft was going to have us using a fulltext searchable metadata-rich filesystem back in the early 1990's so we didn't have to retrain to build on NeXT. Microsoft was going to be bringing us pen-based computers in the late 1980's so nobody should early-adopt with Dylan on Newton.

    They don't have any intention of getting Windows to run on the OLPC. If they can buy enough time for the OLPC to run out of money, they don't have to do anything, and that is more like Microsoft. So long as Microsoft has presence in a market, the market remains stalled, and the state of the art languishes.

  • by dominator (61418) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:33PM (#21603737) Homepage
    This is old news.

    The important part is to note the verb's tense. MSFT said "we asked OLPC to add a SD card". The OLPC folks complied, and the slot's been there for a while.

    Since I develop some software that's made its way onto the laptop, I managed to pick up a B2 machine a few months ago, complete with SD slot (in the most awkward place - under the monitor but above the keyboard. almost impossible to get to).

    See http://www.laptop.org/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml [laptop.org], under the "external connectors" section.
  • by drwho (4190) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:34PM (#21603747) Homepage Journal
    Well, I hope when they come to Cambridge, Microsoft will realize a few things:

    1) The machine is in production. It's too late to make hardware changes. Wayyyyy too late.

    2) It's already got an SD slot. And it will hold a 4gb, possibly 8gb, SD device.

    3) OLPC is not really interested in running Windows..or any other proprietary product (even the Marvell Libertas has been a very contentious issue). Go port XP to the XO if you want, but don't expect to be welcomed with open arms.

    4) How can you be so clueless as to the above facts? Perhaps you could blithely ignore #3, but #1 and #2 are pretty evident.
  • by sucker_muts (776572) <sucker_pvn.hotmail@com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:38PM (#21603823) Homepage Journal
    It seems MS is trying hard to get XP to work on the OLPC, but since the SD connection is not a standard one, they need to make the drivers to all the hardware themselves AND they so definitely can not touch any olpc GPL code they need to be very careful! Things are not going as smooth as MS would like it to be.

    Some interesting stories:
    concerns for this all [olpcnews.com]
    general info about the things MS is doing [wired.com]

  • by starglider29a (719559) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:42PM (#21603885)
    SIGN ME UP! This would KILL Vista forever!!!

    If I could get a $100 laptop that ran a stripped down XP? I'd wallpaper my house with them! OLPR (One Laptop per Room and two in the LOO!) And then, when Vista 2012 comes out, and they want me to upgrade for some super new feature (like being able to print a date (human-type)... I WILL TELL THEM TO KISS MY SHINY METAL XO! Because anything that I need really DOES run on XP, and whatever they are trying to peddle will have the built-in hardware upgrade cost.

    A Grid Networking cheap laptop that runs what I've been running at work for 6 years? That would spread through universities and many businesses like Ice-9. Whole universities and neighborhoods would become one single grid. Comcast would have one cable modem per 10 square miles. The market would freeze over to XOs and MS would have to shove Office 2012 down the throats of those using Office XP, as content as a MS user can be. WHY WHY WHY would we upgrade to Vista 2012? SIgn me up!!! And let's start freezing MS with their own OS!!!

    And so it goes...
  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@s[ ]hdot.fi ... m ['las' in gap]> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:18PM (#21604499) Homepage
    Microsoft want them to do a costly redesign, which will increase unit cost just to accomodate their software which is obviously more bloated than the software the OLPC already runs.
    What's worse is they're trying to port an old version of their software to it, while telling everyone else that version is obsolete and shouldn't be used.

    OLPC aims to help kids in the third world, by providing them a cheap rugged computer they can learn about and build up a community around.
    Microsoft just want to get them locked in now, so that when they need support or are looking to buy more machines in the future they have no choice but to pay top dollar to microsoft, or risk losing access to their accumulated data.

    The idea behind using open source is that those kids who are naturally technically minded will learn how to support and develop for the system, and create their own local skillbase they can use to support the less technically minded kids around them.
  • ZeroConf (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:23PM (#21604555)

    It amazes me how arrogant MS is in this matter. These are laptops designed to be perfect for kids and to educate them and facilitate their access to communications. How does MS think Windows compares? These laptops all mesh seamlessly with one another, using zeroconf to auto-discover other OLPCs and share pictures and music, chat, collaborate on compositions, writings, programs, drawings, and educational games, and share network access. MS hasn't even managed to implement zeroconf in Vista, despite it being a well established standard in use on every other OS, by printers and hardware, and even implemented by specific applications running in Windows (Adobe CS3, Trillian, iTunes). There is even a free reference implementation for .Net, but they haven't bothered to incorporate it. Hey geniuses, why don't you catch up in your core market for a change, instead of trying to destroy competition and innovation in a different one, especially one as important as educating kids.

  • by Thaelon (250687) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:31PM (#21604693)
    Did anyone else catch the fact that they did not even attempt to squeeze Vista in there?

    Another black mark for Vista.

    So long Microsoft, and thanks for all the BSODs.
  • by Bertie (87778) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:49PM (#21605005)
    So, Bill, how do you square this with your charitable foundation's efforts to give the Third World a hand up? Because it seems to me like, between this and the Classmate, you'd just like to keep them hooked on Microsoft products, just like you've done with the developed world for the last while. And of course, they'll never get any ownership of the software you'd like them to use, you just want to keep them sucking the Microsoft tit ad infinitum.

    A good friend of mine's just been out in Nigeria, seeing how the OLPC initiative's going down and reporting on it for the BBC. He said that the effect it has had on the children is amazing - they've taken to them like ducks to water, and they're hugely proud of them because for most of them it's the most precious thing they own. However, getting Internet access out into rural Nigeria is astronomically expensive (at the minute, over $10,000 per month for a 56 kilobit satellite connection) and he thinks this will be a major stumbling block.

    He was also taken to a school which has been kitted out by Intel as a showcase for the Classmate. He said it was stunning - Intel had pumped a fortune into it and the facilities were better than most schools in the UK. Teachers had interactive whiteboards, there was WiMAX everywhere and a superfast connection to the outside world, etc. etc. He was bowled over. And so were the politicians that Intel showed it to, with the result that 1,000 schools are signed up to take delivery of Classmates.

    So yet again, we have an organisation trying to do The Right Thing being trampled by big corporations with deep pockets, who see places like Nigeria as nothing but "emerging markets" to be brought under their yoke as quickly as possible, and who aren't prepared to let upstarts like OLPC take their market away before it's established.

    I really hope they keep Windows off this thing.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:22AM (#21608717) Journal
    Dear Microsoft;

    Over the years, we've disagreed on many things, not the least of which is whether you should morally be able to enter a field late and badly, and still take over.

    Now I hear that you want to do the same with the OLPC project, and Microsoft, I have a suggestion for you.

    Fuck off.

    Seriously. I'm sick of you, I'm sick of your attitude, I'm sick of your superiority complex. If the universe suddenly switched directions and you actually provided the best solution in a timely manner, I STILL wouldn't choose it.

    So really, Microsoft. Fuck off. Nobody wants you hanging around anymore.
  • by comm2k (961394) on Friday December 07, 2007 @02:55AM (#21609639)
    to have confused OLPC with "One License per child".
  • by DarthBobo (152187) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:49AM (#21612065)
    Windows XP - the full, bloated ugly version - runs fine in 1GB of memory. In fact, for most of its lifecycle, very few people every ran it at 2GB. All of the clinical workstations in my hospital still run it at 640MB (mostly just web-based apps), and many desktops in our organizations run it in 512MB. Admittedly, the latter machines are cripplingly slow, but it makes the point.

    Microsoft has been porting XP to the OLPC for a while. The problem they are running into is that WinXP is nothing without its applications. In fact, MS isn't even worried about educational apps - its worried about Office. Check out the size of even a minimal install of Word - its not insignificant. However, without Office, XP just doesn't offer that much over a open source OS. *This* is their key stumbling block.

    Frankly, this is a no win situation for MS. Unlike most PCs, in the OLPC "form follows function", ie the hardware is explicitly designed to support a certain set of priorities and functions. It can't be back-engineered so that Windows can run on it without either a) making it much more expensive, or b) turning it into just a stripped down Windows machine. If Negroponte holds firm then Windows will always be an inferior, second choice on the machine. Expect MS to hammer at the OLPC for being all sorts of terrible things and Negroponte for being an anti-capitalist obstructionist who belongs in Sweden eating French cheese with John Kerry.

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