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OLPC, Microsoft Working Toward Dual-Boot XO Laptops 231

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-vista-and-sugar-dual-boot dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The OLPC Project and Microsoft are developing a dual-boot system to put both Linux and Windows on the laptops, according to an interview with Nicholas Negroponte. The article is thin on details, as the OLPC/Microsoft talks are apparently at an early stage. Could this be the end of the OS wars in Nigeria and other developing countries?" While Microsoft has been working on an OLPC-capable version of Windows for some time now, the interesting thing here is the dual-booting provision, rather than forcing users into an either-or choice.
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OLPC, Microsoft Working Toward Dual-Boot XO Laptops

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    when Bill Gates rams my butthole!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Really? You shouldn't be able to feel anything, after all do you know how the name Micro-soft came from right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jordg (133593)
      -- Microsoft has embraced the open-source community over the past few years in a very different way than before

      Get your hand off my ass!
  • Delusional (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:49PM (#21974188) Journal

    It's a brand new development for the XO laptops, as the low-cost notebooks are known, and came about because of Microsoft's friendlier attitude toward open-source software.
    Dear Dan Nystedt of ComputerWorld, the English language lacks the proper words that I need to express how wrong you are. I only wish I knew German so I could scream the rest of this post at you.

    What caused you to write that sentence, I will never know. Was Stevie B. holding a firearm to your head when you wrote this article? Or simply placing a sack with a large green $ on your desk?

    Seriously, this is an all out attack on open source software. They are vying for the young minds of every single child in developing countries. What is so special about this that GRUB or LILO cannot be used for the dual booting? Is Microsoft developing the code to dual boot? I would be shocked if they were.

    If you claim Microsoft just wants to make sure the kids get the best operating system for learning, why weren't they handing out free copies of Windows and Office to 3rd world children/schools before the OLPC project started? Because they'd rather give away their product than let a competitor fall into the hearts and minds of these children. Linux has always been free to everybody. Think about it.

    Microsoft has embraced the open-source community over the past few years in a very different way than before, Negroponte said. "And that really helps, because it's become a little bit less religious than it was a few years ago and that's really good. In the end, I think, the more people that have software and hardware out there, the better."
    Has the whole world gone mad? I'm all for getting the children any operating system they want, in fact I'm glad they will have that choice. But to say that Microsoft has embraced the open-source community is ... strange at best. They may have created their own pseudo-open source community within their company but little more.

    Those 419 patent violation accusations [slashdot.org] ... that's "embracing" someone?

    It may have become a little less religious recently but only so far as the ends justify Microsoft's means. They are interested in profit, nothing more. I would love to applaud them for coming around and realizing that open source software is a viable solution for making money--and even improving a product! But I cannot say that today. They only actively threaten it in underhanded ways.
    • Something like how a python does (snake, not the language).

      There is nothing really new in this from the OLPC side, Negreponte has always wanted MS onboard. Any change of heart has been from the MS side. MS was rubbishing OLPC only a few months back.

    • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:59PM (#21974364) Journal
      I think I can decrypt that for you:

      Microsoft has embraced the open-source community over the past few years in a very different way than before

      My daughter's cats have embraced mice over the past few years in a very different way than before. Previously they would lay the dead mouse by my dining room chair, now they just eat the mouse.

      Don't forget Microsoft's mantra: Embrace, extend, extinguish. Much like my daughter's cats; mantra about mice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Much like my daughter's cats; mantra about mice.
        That's a nice analogy. Now I'm going to go home and swallow some heart worm eggs and sit outside Steve Ballmer's office. Does anybody have any butter?

        At least my death will not be in vain ...
    • Microsoft embraces the open-source community like a dog embraces a leg.
    • Okay, here's my best:

      Lieber Dan Nystedt von ComputerWorld, die Englische Sprache manglet die rechte Woerter auszusagen, wie falsch Du's hast. Ich wunsche, dass ich Deutsch wusste, damit ich das Reste schreien konnte.

      Was Dich das letzte Satz zu schreiben verursacht, weiss ich nicht. Sie kampfen fuer die junge Sinne von jedem Kind in entwicklungen Laendern. Was ist so besonders ueber dies das GRUB oder LILO fuer Dualboot nicht koennen bentutzt werden? Schreibt Microsft das Code fuer Dualboot? Das waere m
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jav1231 (539129)
      There's a lot of unknowns here. Will this be a stripped / unlicensed version or what?
      He says, "We are working with them very closely to make a dual-boot system so that, like on an Apple, you can boot either one up."
      But Apple doesn't provide Windows for you.
      It would appear that Negroponte is in need of further funding. That would explain the Intel involvement. Their departure has been noted. Now Microsoft is on board, no doubt bringing cash. Personally, I think this is a mistake. There are millions of PC's
      • Re:Delusional (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:56PM (#21975340)
        for a good example of this, there was the Thailand laptop deal. In that, HP was providing Thailand with inexpensive laptops with Linux and OSS on it and the government was providing them cheaply to the public. This was such a hit that HP could not keep up with the orders and so Dell was brought in. Microsoft caught wind of this and contacted the Thai government. Soon after, Linux and OSS was replace with a crippled version of Windows and MS Office at what was claimed to $3/laptop. There was likely also provided some millions in donated training by Microsoft or something like that to help fund this shift.

        So yup, Microsoft's involvement is only reactionary because the project leveraged the cost savings and efficiencies of Linux and OSS. From what I've heard, even the Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation computer donations come with restrictions on usage of Linux and OSS. So they still want Linux and OSS destroyed and helping kids is only PR. IMO.

        LoB
        • by jav1231 (539129)
          Yeah. I've said it more than once. Microsoft is inherently evil. Like kicking kittens.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fatwilbur (1098563)
          Ahh, the world of slashdot is full of brilliant academics so I would hope you can understand this point: Microsoft is a Business. An what does this mean? Their obligations are to shareholders, not what you or I think is best. In that regard, they MUST do everything they can to ensure their flagship product, Windows, maintains domination of the marketplace.

          I think if you were intelligent at all, you would do the exact same things as current MS management if you were in their shoes. You may think it's
          • by Locutus (9039)
            yup, it's even legal in some cases but what I would like is that this becomes public knowledge. People need to know that what is being pushed as such great products are primarily economically forced onto the market at the expense of better, faster, cheaper alternatives. I think you would agree that way too many just think Microsoft is in the position they are in because they make a better product. The facts show that this is not the case and often Microsoft has to loose billions in order to protect the posi
        • by jesterzog (189797)

          From what I've heard, even the Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation computer donations come with restrictions on usage of Linux and OSS. So they still want Linux and OSS destroyed and helping kids is only PR. IMO.

          I haven't seen the restrictions to which you're referring, but this could easily be the case if the foundation isn't actually donating real money. It could just as easily be leveraging donations from Microsoft and counting the donation amount as the retail value of any software that's used, in which ca

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        Will this be a stripped / unlicensed version or what?

        Yep, interesting. Sugar is a lot more than just an OS.

        Microsoft wouldn't want to be seen as the loser in a competition like this, so how will Microsoft provide all the additional functionality? Bundle Works?

        They'll also need to address the malware aspect, and do so in the very limited space available on the XO. If they manage to do that, they'll also have to be careful to cripple it so it won't run on ordinary PCs. A stripped down, low cost, lightwe

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          If you've read the specs on the XO machines, you know that they're about as powerful as a mainstream desktop machine in about 1998.

          Can you imagine how well M$'s uber-bloat OS's will run on these little boxen? If you asked me, let M$ put Windows on the XO, so that all the little children of the world can see that it's such a resource hog it converts your neato XO into a thrashing paperweight.
      • by AlHunt (982887)
        >But OLPC was supposed to be about charity, not business.

        And yet, in the end, charities are still businesses with bills to pay just like for-profits. No surprise if OLPC is getting an infusion of cash from MS.

  • . . .why would MS want one that did that? To show the world how poorly Windows compares to Linux on equal hardware?
    • Simple. (Score:3, Funny)

      by Narcocide (102829)
      <sarcasm>... and later, should a service pack "accidentally" sabotage the boot process for the open source operating systems on the machine leaving clueless young users assuming that its a "Linux problem" and turning to the "more reliable" Windows for basic communication... no I don't see any way they could profit from this at all.</sarcasm>
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:53PM (#21974248)
    Microsoft may figure that if the OLPC can boot to either OS that users may end up preferring Windows over Linux. And for most users they may very well be correct. In addition, they will be able to more easily show off areas where Windows excels in comparison with Linux.
    • by poetmatt (793785)
      Please, mod parent funny for "Where windows excels in comparison with Linux". I want my UT3 on OLPC as well! I'm sure the specs are close enough! Or maybe we can play Zero Wing [wikipedia.org] on it! /snicker
      • I dislike MS as much as the next guy, but if you think there's nothing that Windows does that's better than Linux than you're in denial. And most users could care less if they can look at the code, and wouldn't understand it or have the foggiest idea what to do with it if they did.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SCHecklerX (229973)
      But the entire point of the OLPC is education. A computer that shows you its code, so you can learn and create with it. This is entirely the opposite of EVERYTHING M$ does. Programming aside, just being able to customize how you use the damned thing is difficult in Microsoft's world. They. don't. get. it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ChatHuant (801522)
        But the entire point of the OLPC is education. A computer that shows you its code, so you can learn and create with it.

        That's a very Slashdotesque point of view and a good example of missing the forest because of one tree. You need to see the source only if you want the kid to become a programmer or maybe a sysadmin. The third world countries targeted by the OLPC have much higher and more urgent priorities. They need educated people in many other areas, not only programming. They need better, more knowl
        • by aweraw (557447) * <aweraw@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:26PM (#21976640) Homepage Journal
          I'd argue that they even need to learn Windows

          Do they _really_ need to learn Windows, or just basic computing concepts? I'd wager that the later is far more useful than learning a specific OS.

          When you say the source code is irrelevent in all those "urgent priorities", I say that windows is also - The only requirement is that it displays graphics and text on the screen, so there's absolutly no reason I can see why they couldn't learn all those things with a non-Windows OS.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ChatHuant (801522)
            Do they _really_ need to learn Windows, or just basic computing concepts?

            I'm not sure what you mean, but the discussion started with the "show source" requirement, so I'll assume you don't include everyday computer usage as a computer concept, even basic.

            Here, on Slashdot, we tend to exaggerate the importance of computer knowledge. Basic computing concepts (such as the capability to read/write a program or a script) are needed for engineers, system administrators, certainly for programmers, and a few
            • by aweraw (557447) *
              I'm not sure what you mean...

              I was mostly responding to the last sentence of your first paragraph, were you say you'd argue that kids in third world countries "need" to learn Windows. I disagree.

              Agreed - but that's a different issue. My argument was not OS related; I was saying that the usefulness of the OLPC is not given by the capability to see the source code.

              I agree with you that there are more pertinent skills they could learn that would help them more than computer know-how. That said, I believe the
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by edwardpickman (965122)
      Don't worry Negroponte is no fool he's insisting they dual boot to a full copy of Vista.
  • by anandpur (303114) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:53PM (#21974260)
    Where is MS's "trade secret" agreement with Dell etc. that prohibits them from give option for other OS while selling MS Windows. They can sell different Ubuntu and Vista laptops/desktop but you can not choose between either OS on same laptop/desktop.

    MS need dual boot on OLPC!
  • by Minstrel Boy (787690) <kevin_stevens@hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:56PM (#21974308)
    Even without the developer key to unlock OpenFirmware, the XO design supports booting an alternate OS by holding down a button during startup. I have Debian installed on mine.

    KeS
    • the XO design supports booting an alternate OS by holding down a button during startup. I have Debian installed on mine.
      Cool! How's that working out for you?
      • by Minstrel Boy (787690) <kevin_stevens@hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:30PM (#21974888)
        Actually I don't use it very much. It has ended up being much simpler (four yum packages) to just install xfce on the XO Fedora build, and run it in place of Sugar as the window environment. I don't have a profound preference for debian vs Fedora, so it's easier to just leverage the XO kernel/userspace development. It's nice to know I *can* run an alternate OS if needed, but I don't find myself needing to do it as much as I anticipated.

        KeS
  • Is this like one of 'em proxy wars? (No web-cache jokes, neither!)
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:59PM (#21974358)
    Currently, the dual-boot beta system is an OLPC with a Dell XPS duct-taped to the back of it. To Boot Windows, you turn the thing over... A Microsoft spokes-droid stated that the beta solution only raises the cost "slightly", but won't give an exact figure.
    • by Gordo_1 (256312)
      In all seriousness, anyone who's actually used an XO would be able to tell you that it's not gonna handle XP very well... I know Microsoft is trying their darndest to slim it down to a footprint that will run on the XO, but let me tell you... even with the exceedingly lean Fedora base, the XO is sluggish by today's standards. For example, it can't run Flash animations/videos with smooth playback -- not that the system really needs to be able to do any of this to achieve its pedagogic goals. I'm just trying
    • Microsoft is expcted to release a report demonstrating how Windows is a better choice than the Linux system installed on the XO based on figures for its XPS+Windows addon, showing that Windows exceeds the performance of the pure OLPC Linux system in areas such as higher framerates for games, faster clock cycles, faster archive compression and decompression, higher levels of RAM and other key areas of OS performance.
  • by jea6 (117959) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:01PM (#21974388)
    My boss got an XO through the B1G1 program and I found that it ran slowly. Can a stripped down version of XP perform reasonably on a platform that isn't designed for it?
    • by thepotoo (829391)
      An N-lited version of XP will run quite nicely on a computer with only 64 megs of RAM. However, once you've stripped everything away, you're left with an operating system which is completely, utterly useless (at least for a general internet browsing computer). Windows 2000, OTOH, works great. The entire install disk is around 70mb (with drivers and firefox integrated), and, as an added bonus, stripping out everything increases security tenfold.

      In short, Win2k would work, but MS won't use it. I doubt XP

  • by lazyforker (957705) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:05PM (#21974444)
    I only hope this is total BS. The last thing this project needs is "help" from M$FT. The XO is a fine product and well-suited to its purpose: a platform to introduce people to technology, programming, etc. Nothing but the imagination, ingenuity and creativity of a child is needed. The only reason Microsoft are interested is that they want to poison the minds of the XO owners. Asshats.

    First Intel attempted, and now Microsoft is trying to torpedo this project because they realize it's a threat to their future markets. Imagine a whole generation of Linux-schooled programmers writing the next killer apps, or buying last year's hardware to run Linux desktops (or servers!) - now imagine how Wintel feel about that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Locutus (9039)
      If Microsoft can delay this project for a year or two, they'll have done a great job at killing it. No extension to the G1G1 is going to provide enough cash to keep the project going without some large contracts.

      Combine that with how Intel and Microsoft are paying original OLPC customers to go Classmate PC with Windows and you've got another project with its air supply being cut off. This project is far cheaper to kill off then say Netscape was. It's a non-profit so there's not much cash for it to to begin
    • Well I, for one, don't think it's a bad idea for windows to be offered as an alternative OS. They'd be competing on even terms (so long as Windows doesn't boot automatically if you fail to choose your OS in the allocated time), and the people who actually use the machine could tell which one they prefer. Then they'd probably have to delete the other partition for the space.
      • They wouldn't be competing on even terms at all though - one platform would give the ability to learn and develop and the other would be locked to closed source proprietry software (for the most part).

        • Oh yeah? And Windows is pretty much a global standard, so case closed.

          Or maybe we can do away with naming "killer attributes", and let them compete on equal terms.

          BTW, I've learned and developed heaps on Windows, which ultimately gave me the technical ability to learn Linux. Not having access to source code is no major barrier to "learning" and "developing". Your contention is bullshit.
  • by OgGreeb (35588) <og@digimark.net> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:05PM (#21974450) Homepage
    I'm not sure I get it. Regardless of whatever discount Microsoft will provide, Windows costs more than Linux, needs more hardware resources to run properly, requires more and deeper technical support, is highly susceptible to malware and, for the intended audience (children aged 8-16 in technology-under served poor communities) either overkill or harder to work with in general. It's not just the OS, either. Many of the third-party programming and application tools that come bundled with the Sugar/Linux environment cost more with the Windows OS. The only semi-cogent argument I've heard supporting Windows being deployed in this environment is that the children will somehow be disadvantaged when they grow up and take on jobs that will use Windows. Meanwhile there is every indication that the primary office tasks expected of any information worker (word processing, spreadsheet, Internet browsing and communications) will be migrating to Web-based appliances in the near future, almost certainly by the time the kids are ready to move into those jobs, and further diminishing any value of using Windows as the OS.

    To my mind, Windows seems like an expensive and unneeded distraction for these children.
    • To my mind, Windows seems like an expensive and unneeded distraction for these children.
      It's an educational project: They'll learn their lesson ;-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by paxgaea (219419)
      "The only semi-cogent argument I've heard supporting Windows being deployed in this environment is that the children will somehow be disadvantaged when they grow up and take on jobs that will use Windows."

      As far as I am concerned, you touched on THE key point as to why Microsoft thinks it is a good idea (in fact, they should view it as near essential to their survival in these areas of the world) to work with the OLPC. If you have a generation of children who grow up knowing open source operating systems an
    • by Dwedit (232252)
      This thing easily has adequate specs for running Windows XP or FLP. It just won't have the cool collaborative sugar UI.
    • According to TFA [computerworld.com] the stripped down version of Windows runs very fast on the hardware. To quote Negroponte:

      The version that's up and running of Windows on the XO is very fast, it's very, very successful.

      MS will do whatever they can to ensure it is more appealing and better performing than Linux. there is simply too much to lose otherwise. Whether they are successful is another thing. I don't doubt that whatever mutation of Windows they put on the thing, it will fly.

      This dual-booting project, of course, i

    • by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:38PM (#21976822) Journal
      Anyone else remembers how they turned down Steve Jobs' offer of a free Mac OS X? [macnn.com]

      "Apple offered free licenses of Mac OS X for MIT's proposed $100 laptop initiative, however, the proposal offered by Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was declined because the program was looking for open-source software [...]"

      Uhuh, yeah, right ...

  • OLPC-capable version of Windows = Windows 2000
  • Eww (Score:5, Insightful)

    by starfishsystems (834319) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:21PM (#21974742) Homepage
    The OLPC project, as originally conceived, had huge collaborative potential. Put an open platform into the hands of many, many people. Let them figure out what direction they want to take it.

    Close that platform, and suddenly it makes no sense at all. It's no longer an extensible means of cultural and technological expression but just another consumer product, good for nothing more than keeping the Third World in its place, right at the bottom.

    Thanks, Microsoft, for staying in character.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jiushao (898575)
      Yes, we should do everything we can to let people take their own direction. Except give them the option of running Microsoft software. Because we certainly can't have people going around making choices we don't like now can we?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        A choice to drink the Kool-Aid is not much of a choice. Especially if the drinker isn't in the position to understand that it's been poisoned.
    • by jav1231 (539129)
      Seems I read (misread?) somewhere that many of the developers and engineers on the project threatened to jump ship if Microsoft was involved.

    • The OLPC project, as originally conceived, had huge collaborative potential. Put an open platform into the hands of many, many people. Let them figure out what direction they want to take it.

      Sure, choice is good. But with the XO-1 you don't actually have a choice - it only ships with one OS.

      Close that platform, and suddenly it makes no sense at all.

      Giving people a choice of OS is closing the platform? Didn't you just say that people should be given a chance to choose their own direction?

      • Giving people a choice of OS is closing the platform?

        If one of the two OSes has hardware DRM requirements *cough*Vista*cough$, then it IS closing the platform, because the laptop has to be modified to give the users less freedom.

        And that causes a freedom destroying trickle down effect: the free OS has to be adapted, the bundled hardware can't be fully used by the free OS, the DRM hardware is dead weight that increases the cost without any benefits, the users can't do anything they want if they choos

        • Certainly. _IF_ one of the two OSes had that misfeature. Neither does.
           
          Try working forward from facts rather than spewing FUD. Read the fucking article.
          • FYI, the article doesn't say what DRM requirements the Microsoft OS actually has. It merely implies that it's derived from the XP codebase.
  • It is bad enough that people in the 1st world have become so used to the abomination that is windos that they seriously defend it as something one can actually use. Let's not inflict that pain on the children in the developing countries, please?

    And I am serious. I know a few people whose first computing experiences were not windos. To a man (or woman, in some cases) when they "met" windos later on they found it horrible and hard to use.

    So please, let's at least give the untainted a view on what computers co
    • And I am serious. I know a few people whose first computing experiences were not windos. To a man (or woman, in some cases) when they "met" windos later on they found it horrible and hard to use.

      And my first computing experience was not a Mac. And when I "met" mac OS 7 or whatever, I found it horrible and hard to use. It made sense, and was better designed in some ways, but I would have given up on it if I had not been forced to use it. Change is hard. The idea of chording the keyboard and mouse is goo

      • by Tom (822)
        True, there is no untainted view, and change is hard.

        However, so far all the real-world cases of switching between different OSes I know of follow this pattern:
        • Windos -> Linux = learning curve, but generally viewed as a liberation and an improvement, later some cursing over Linux quirks
        • Linux -> Windos = much cursing and moaning and generally only done "because of the software", windos GUI seen as inconsistent (and that from Linux people!) and confusing
        • Linux -> OSX = fairly smooth transition, some c
    • by Smidge204 (605297)
      Perhaps your definition of "use" isn't typical. For the vast majority of people, "usable" means they get their work done at the end of the day.

      A configuration of Linux does not exist that satisfies everything I require of a computer. Windows does. Windows 2000 Professional specifically, though if I upgrade to anything with more than 2 CPU cores I'll be forced to go at least as far as XP Pro. If it was possible to make Linux do everything I need and want to do with my computer then I'd probably use it, and t
      • by Tom (822)

        Perhaps your definition of "use" isn't typical. For the vast majority of people, "usable" means they get their work done at the end of the day.

        Indeed, my definition of "use" is slightly different. I haven't forgotten that "usability" doesn't mean "getting it done, somehow, no matter the pain". If you spend a considerable part of your working day fighting with the machine in order to force it into submission and finally get some real work out of it, then the machine is broken, end of discussion.

        And, for the record, I'm an Apple fanboy, not a Linux fanboy. I did use Linux for almost 10 years, though, and still use it on my servers. On the UI side,

        • by Smidge204 (605297)

          And, for the record, I'm an Apple fanboy, not a Linux fanboy.

          Then I apologize and retract portions of my comment. The "juvenile software ideology" part stays, though, perhaps moreso.

          The last time I spent any amount of time fighting with my computer to get it working was, amusingly, trying to get the network/internet working on a copy of OSX Leopard (x86) I installed in a VMWare environment. Granted that's a special case, but my Windows system never gives me problems. This is because, like you and your favor

  • by aegl (1041528) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:30PM (#21974884)
    the "SHOW SOURCE" key on the OLPC will do when Windows is running?
  • Excuse me, but I am confused. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olpc [wikipedia.org]

    OLPC espouses five core principles:

    1. Child ownership
    2. Low ages. The hardware and software are designed for elementary school children aged 6-12.
    3. Saturation
    4. Connection
    5. Free and open source

    How is this free and open source? Are these principles that flexible?

  • I guess that rules out this theory [slashdot.org].
    • by quizzicus (891184)
      Not necessarily. Perhaps Plan A failed and this is plan B.
    • by jpetts (208163)
      Unsafe assumption. Just because one division in MS might be looking at getting Windows on the XO does not mean that another division is not trying to help Intel deep-six the XO. And further, don't assume that if this is the case, either or both of the two divisions is ignorant of the other.
  • ... for Windows alone [slashdot.org].

    I mean, Microsoft was suggesting that OLPC make a major change, just so that it can run Windows by itself, but a dual-boot system with two operating systems on it? Either OLPC project caved in and agreed to make its XO notebook more expensive (i.e. more built-in storage), or ... well, I guess this could be a good thing---Microsoft might finally be forced to cut the fat and make its OS lean.
  • Tonight I helped a friend set up openoffice. The laptop was quite a new Acer. The download speed was really slow then I realised that power saving was turned on even though I had plugged in the power (and throttling the wifi). Finally I got it working. Clicking on the task bar thing at the bottom caused pop-up menus to be drawn that didn't properly erase. Using the internet browser seemed really sluggish. So what OS doesn't handle changes in power states, leaves rubbish on the screen, has a slow web browser
  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:52PM (#21975282) Homepage Journal

    The problem with installing Windows on the OLPC is that it destroys the original purpose of the device: to educate children about how computers work. With Windows:

    • They won't be able to see the source code, to figure out how it works.
    • Or, if they are allowed to see the source code, they will be never be able to work in the OS/Office Suite/whatever market.
    • They won't learn computer science, or even proper programming practices. They'll come to believe that writing bug-free code is impossible, and that every computer crashes from time to time. They'll learn that viruses are a normal part of owning a computer.

    If Windows goes on the OLPC, the project has failed. It's that simple.

  • by delire (809063) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:55PM (#21975322)
    It's reasonably likely the OLPC will become a Windows-only machine in short time.

    It will start with older children assuming Windows looks more 'serious' and grown up, like the computers people in images and movies they see online use. Governments will be taught to prefer Windows on the basis of it being more 'competitive' because Windows is "more like" what people in wealthier economies use.

    The result of this is that more kids will learn to be bored by computers and computing, believing that they are opaque appliances with western graphic metaphors (what's a 'desktop' to someone that's never sat at a desk?) that seem to get slow over time. Just a small segment of the truly curious seeking alternative operating systems. Governments that bought the machines will wonder what went wrong when they see little or no innovation in the IT sector yet a massive outsourcing industry to faltering IT giants like the U.S.

    Negroponte has always wanted to work with Microsoft on his terms. Windows will certainly enjoy a long and prosperous life.

    Negroponte, you're being an idiot.
    • by initialE (758110)
      If you want the OLPC to look even more "serious and grown up" then offer an option to triple boot with another distro - one that's by default tricked out to the max that the machine can handle. No reason why it wouldn't work. Let's face it, nobody wants a desktop that looks just like anyone elses, they want something unique. People customize their wallpapers, they add widgets all over the place, they even want to change the startup logo. Something to say "I'm 1337 too."
  • Prediction:

    Within one year OLPC is dead in the water. Why? OLPC is now a laptop project. It will be judged by how well it runs Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. No other software will be available for the OLPC for Windows for a reasonable enough price that it can be included with the OS, even if it is donated, the donation will not include software auto-deployable on all OLPCs. All OLPCs will have slightly different packages, the culture will be fragmented, and it won't be about education anymore
  • This seems like an almost meaningless technical gesture. It reminds me of those stories about how someone got some version of Linux to run on a digital camera or other generally unlikely device. It may be interesting, but not very useful. Being able to dual boot Windows on an XO laptop seems like nothing more than tech PR without any real substance. The target audience has no need for this.
  • by xs650 (741277) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:08PM (#21975514)

    The version that's up and running of Windows on the XO is very fast, it's very, very successful. We're working very hard to do both," said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of OLPC.

    Why can't the rest of us have Windows that works like that?
  • from the Won't-somebody-think-of-the-children? dept.
    If you are in the UK then get down to Olympia where the BETT technology in education show [bettshow.com] is running now until Saturday. Entry is free and if you go to stand SW105 (upstairs in the small hall where Linuxworld was) you will find The Open Learning Centre where we have three lovely little OLPC laptops meshed and ready to play with. We have had an amazing day today. Everyone wants to see them, people are queuing up just to hold them and see the screen.
    Once y
  • If Microsoft ever get Windows on the OLPC... They will destroy the possibility for a better future for many children worldwide.

    The open nature of OLPC is what makes it great. A new generation of highly skilled computer users who can use technology to help themselves and their society out of poverty. Microsoft want to destroy all that just because they want another generation of MS-tax paying customers.

    This is not just ugly and immoral, it is also both sad and sickening. I will never by a Microsoft product a
  • I dont get why slashdot needs two posts about OLPC per day when stuff like really available and accessible cheap open source laptops like Zonbu [linuxdevices.com] go largely unnoticed.
  • Why dual boot?? This is going to completely dissolve the OLPC project. It's going to get too complicated, people are going to start asking fundamental questions about the project, and it's going to die.

    Good job M$, you sank a great project and stifled the adoption of computers in 3rd world countries. You've effectively reversed your role as a contributer to the world of technology.

    FUCK!
  • Now you have to buy four to keep one.
  • The highly educational program KStars can not be run on a OLPC because it runs under KDE not Sugar. But someone could create a stripped down kde environment capable of running KStars.

    BTW, the KDE windows manager is not needed to run kde programs, just X11 and the KDE libraries.

    If the OLPC supported triple boot, then people could create alternate ways to run programs that are not written in sugar, but booting REAL LINUX!

  • Microsoft has embraced the open-source community over the past few years in a very different way than before, Negroponte said.
    Now with new Reach-Around Action(TM)!

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