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Microsoft Operating Systems Software Hardware

No Dual-Boot XO Laptop, According to Microsoft 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the bringing-bsods-to-the-third-world dept.
Yesterday, we discussed reports of Microsoft and the OLPC project working towards a dual-boot version of the XO laptop. Now, BetaNews tells us that Microsoft has issued statements denying such plans. The software giant has also reaffirmed their intention to develop a Windows-only version of the laptop. Microsoft's statement to BetaNews had this to say: "While we have investigated the possibility in the past, Microsoft is not developing dual-boot Windows XP support for the One Laptop Per Child's XO laptop. As we announced in December, Microsoft plans to publish formal design guidelines early this year that will assist flash-based device manufacturers in designing machines that enable a high-quality Windows experience. Our current goal remains to provide a high-quality Windows experience on the XO device."
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No Dual-Boot XO Laptop, According to Microsoft

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  • by TW Atwater (1145245) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:24PM (#21994272)
    "Our current goal remains to provide a high-quality Windows experience on the XO device"

    I think most folks would be happy just to get a high-quality Windows experience on any computer.

    • sale sauce (Score:4, Funny)

      by Bananatree3 (872975) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:27PM (#21994304)
      That sentence is just dripping with oozy goozy Microsoft sales sauce.
      • Re:sale sauce (Score:5, Insightful)

        by davester666 (731373) on Friday January 11, 2008 @03:29AM (#21996176) Journal
        Yes, a "good Window's experience" really depends on how positive or negative your own opinion of Windows happens to be.

        But, I think the main reason why MS doesn't want a dual-boot XO, is because they don't want millions of kids being informed about non-MS software. They don't want them to know that sure, there is this half-assed Window's OS, that we gave you for free, but there is also this other OS, called Linux [+ the various shells and GUI's on top of it], and it's also free, and you can also get the source code and modify it so that the computer works how you want it to work and do extra things that you just thought of.

        I think Microsoft will virtually [or actually] give away WindowsXO, because the target market is poor [and isn't particularly IP-aware] and would at least pirate WindowsXP if they wanted it besides the above reason to keep kids as far away from open-source as possible.
        • Re:sale sauce (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2008 @06:27AM (#21997000)

          But, I think the main reason why MS doesn't want a dual-boot XO, is because they don't want millions of kids being informed about non-MS software. They don't want them to know that sure, there is this half-assed Window's OS, that we gave you for free, but there is also this other OS, called Linux [+ the various shells and GUI's on top of it], and it's also free, and you can also get the source code and modify it so that the computer works how you want it to work and do extra things that you just thought of.


          Agreed. I think this is precisely the reason Microsoft is trying to engineer a variant of Windows to run on the XO.

          I think Microsoft will virtually [or actually] give away WindowsXO, because the target market is poor [and isn't particularly IP-aware] and would at least pirate WindowsXP if they wanted it besides the above reason to keep kids as far away from open-source as possible.
          ... but that thought about pirating doesn't make sense (although the rest does). If Microsoft were concerned that the kids with XO laptops might pirate Windows, then Microsoft could simply do nothing. The XO won't run Windows without some changes made to the laptop (extra memory) and to Windows itself.

          Since Microsoft are all about making money, these observations lead clearly to the conclusion that Microsoft are working on the XO and offering a cheap version of Windows for the XO (but not dual-boot) because their ONLY intention is to get Linux off the machine so that the kids don't get exposed to Linux.
    • by krazytekn0 (1069802) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @11:16PM (#21994698) Homepage Journal
      This is what we call an oxymoron
    • by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @11:26PM (#21994778)
      Language must be interpreted using the meanings understood by the *speaker*. In Microsoft's case, "high quality" has always meant "high profit and monopoly extending." (This difference in source and destination meanings of "quality" has been the root cause of a great deal of argument in the /. community.)

      After translation: "Our current goal remains to provide a high profit and monopoly extending Windows experience on the XO device."

      Simple, honest, to the point. (Whether I like it or not is a different issue.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikelieman (35628)
      In a nutshell, this sums up perfectly Microsoft's traditional disconnect with their product's markets.

    • But the point isn't "A high quality *insert os of choice* experience". I don't want an experience. I want the damned thing to be transparent and stay out of my way!!! The same can be said of customer service. I really don't want to have an experience. I want you to solve my problem.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:27PM (#21994308)
    ... a high-quality Windows experience ...
  • Not Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NothingMore (943591) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:28PM (#21994328)
    Doesnt surprise me that Microsoft doesnt want a competitor on the same machine in an Emerging market. I am really curious about this "high quality windows experience" though.....
  • I heard... (Score:5, Funny)

    by isaac (2852) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:30PM (#21994338)
    I heard the stumbling block in getting "a high-quality Windows experience" on the XO laptop was the damn "View Source" button on the keyboard.

    -Isaac

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by peektwice (726616)
      The stumbling block to a high quality windows experience may be the lack of source visibility, but I think it's simpler than that.
      The general cause of low quality windows experiences has, in my experience, been windows.
    • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Friday January 11, 2008 @02:36AM (#21995950)

      I heard the stumbling block in getting "a high-quality Windows experience" on the XO laptop was the damn "View Source" button on the keyboard. -Isaac
      Yep.. It kept flashing up that Goatse picture.
    • The "view source" key combination doesn't seem to work, at least not on the G1G1 machines, or at least I haven't had any luck with it so far.

      It displays the HTML source of a web page, but doesn't appear to do anything at all anywhere else. I'm referring to fn + space (the "gear" symbol).

      Too bad, as it was one of the most intriguing features of the XO. I'm not sure quite what happened.

      I don't really think Microsoft bribed anyone at OLPC to sabotage it...
  • For those unaware of the program, it is very similar to Microsoft's WGA program in that it disables your computer when you try to run Windows, but it is designed specifically for the XO laptop and the OLPC program. "WDA", or "Windows Disingenuous Advantage" adds the same ability to reduce or cancel functionality in the XO laptop that we presently enjoy in computers running Windows XP or worse.
  • Can't Wait! (Score:2, Funny)

    by konohitowa (220547)
    I can't wait to get my hands on one of these. Finally, after more than 20 years of waiting, I can have a high-quality Windows experience.
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:35PM (#21994390) Journal
    According to the "Director of security architecture at One Laptop per Child" (Ivan Krsti), MS is not developing a dual-boot system, but the OLPC folks are requiring a roll-back feature, allowing an OLPC to be returned to Linux [radian.org]

    For those who can't click the link:

    To set the dual-boot issue straight: Microsoft has not been working on an actual, side-by-side dual-boot system. We're jointly making it possible to install XP on an arbitrary XO -- subject to the constraints of the Bitfrost theft deterrence system -- and then convert the machine back to Linux easily. I have made it clear that the XP port will not receive my security signoff without this Linux rollback feature, and have no reason to believe it won't be implemented.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:59PM (#21994562) Journal

      For those who can't click the link:

      To set the dual-boot issue straight: Microsoft has not been working on an actual, side-by-side dual-boot system. We're jointly making it possible to install XP on an arbitrary XO -- subject to the constraints of the Bitfrost theft deterrence system -- and then convert the machine back to Linux easily. I have made it clear that the XP port will not receive my security signoff without this Linux rollback feature, and have no reason to believe it won't be implemented.
      Did he really say "....and have no reason to believe it won't be implemented." ????

      I thought he was supposed to be an intelligent and informed kind of person? Call me a troll if you must, but that just sounds so naive that it must be a trap being set for Microsoft to have proven reason to never let MS near another child in the developing world ever again?
    • And what part of "embrace and extend" does he think will be held in abeyance here? Oh, but they said they wouldn't, this time. Anyone care to bet the next release after the approved one doesn't quite roll back to Linux correctly?

      I don't know what possible gain for the OLPC project could arise out of this sort of complicity, but something, surely. Why put your head in a noose, otherwise? But to my way of thinking, it just taints an otherwise inspired idea.

  • by Killer Eye (3711) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:37PM (#21994404)
    I can only hope they plan to redefine the interface on top of the Windows core (e.g. like they do in ATMs), because the default Windows interface would be absolutely terrible for a laptop given to a child.

    So would any windowing interface, which is why OLPC spent so much time developing an alternative interface that is decent for education.

    Let's see what Microsoft puts on top of Windows...let's see if they actually care about children and what is best for education. If this laptop boots into the standard Windows desktop, I'll assume they have no clue about what is good for a child and are just in it to preserve their monopoly.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:40PM (#21994416) Journal
    ... lets start passing rumors that MS is befriending Linux....
  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:42PM (#21994426)
    "The main barrier is that the XO has only 1 GB of built-in memory and no hard drive, Utzschneider reportedly said. Accordingly, Microsoft has been exploring the idea of building Windows and Office on a 2 GB add-in card, but this would require writing new BIOS software for booting directly from the SD card."

    Cryptographically signed firmware is a bitch... Seems that the whole anti-theft system built into the XO is going to get in the way of Microsoft hijacking the project without OLPC's express consent.
  • Windows just sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marcion (876801) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:47PM (#21994466) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I find it rather ironic that Microsoft can't just install because of Trusted computing features!

    Anyhow, Windows can't dual boot because:
    a) Windows is sooo huge and bloated that it can't fit on as it is, let alone with having another OS
    b) In the native state, the OLPC has OpenFirmware, it does not have any legacy BIOS
     
    • b) In the native state, the OLPC has OpenFirmware, it does not have any legacy BIOS

      NT used to run on the PReP machines, which had open firmware by time NT ran on them.
  • The project involves replacing Linux with Windows, and then reverting back if necessary. There is more info here [radian.org](near the bottom).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by warrigal (780670)
      OLPC declined Steve's offer of a custom OSX because it was "proprietary". Now they are going to snuggle up to Microsoft? They'll get eaten alive!
      • OLPC declined Steve's offer of a custom OSX because it was "proprietary".

        They declined both Apple and Microsoft offers of a free-of-cost customized-but-not-open-source variant of each company's commercial operating system as the principal operating system for the project—having an F/OSS standard software stack was central to the ideals of the project.

        I'm sure if Apple wants to make an OSX variant that can be installed on the XO, that supports the XO security model including rollback to the factory-in

  • Actualluy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by s4ltyd0g (452701) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:56PM (#21994540)
    If they can make a stripped down version run on an XO, can I please have that same version for my PC?
    • by grapeape (137008)
      Thats pretty easy actually...use http://www.vlite.net/ [vlite.net]Vlite

    • Re:Actualluy (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zantetsuken (935350) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @11:13PM (#21994678) Homepage
      Sure, its already out even - Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PC's [wikipedia.org]. The catch is you actually can't have it, since its meant for "system builders" only. While it claims the bare minimum memory is 64MB of RAM and a Pentium 2, you'd have the same experience as using a Vista machine on under-spec hardware.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mea37 (1201159)
        So... If I read that right, you said "Yes, you can get what you want... except that you can't get it and it isn't what you want."?

        I don't get it.
        • In other words, it would probably fill the needs of a lot of people, but you can't purchase it (unless you're a system builder) - otherwise you'll have to download it illegally, and since some people act like you're a devil worshipper if you mention software piracy, its often better to just not mention it.

          To clarify - it exists and there's a chance that Windows Fundamentals would fulfill your needs, but you most likely won't be able to *legally* obtain it...
        • by hdparm (575302)
          I don't get it.
          You do, you are just a bit confused. You correctly figured that you can't get it.
  • cake (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:59PM (#21994564)
    A computer without Windows is like chocolate cake without mustard.
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @11:02PM (#21994598) Homepage
    Why are the OLPC people using resources assisting a billion dollar cooperation in a field where that cooperation is supposed to be a specialist? If all the XO technical issues have been solved, then they paste fire the unneeded engineers and save fiscal resources -- or is Microsoft giving money to the OLPC project for this service?
  • Elvis (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @11:37PM (#21994850) Homepage Journal
    enable a high-quality Windows experience

    Let's see what Elvis has to say about that:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=YikMhfKmBrY [youtube.com]

    Dan East
  • Wow, not one xbill joke or reference that i've seen so far
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @11:49PM (#21994920)
    I was looking at developing software for an innovative pen-based computer system named go!. It was cool, it was radically different, and when they started lining up real interest, suddenly Microsoft had "Pen Windows!" Support dropped away like autumn leaves. How could someone competing with Microsoft succeed? My bet is that Microsoft is making lots of noise saying that XP will be on the XO, and use that as a stalling method. Governments and institutions will wait for Windows XO, before buying the XO, thus depriving the OLPC non-profit for income to "break even" and continue operation. They have to make some money, right? Otherwise they'd give it away for free. Nothing Microsoft or the Gates Foundation does is for the common good. It is alway for profitable or anti-competitive. Always. Never forget that. I have been in this industry too long and I have seen too many things for anyone to convince me otherwise.
    • The problem with OLPC is that it makes good *political* news, so as long as the OLPC guys keep that in mind they should be OK.

      I'm going to make a phone call to put a few things into gear. If I manage to pull off what I plan, Microsoft won't matter that much anymore, so I hope the people I'm calling will bite :-).

  • by MichaelPenne (605299) on Friday January 11, 2008 @12:03AM (#21994984) Homepage
    Just got mine, it's smaller [engadget.com] than the OLPC, with a nice lightweight Linux OS. This is a great little machine with a QWERTY keyboard that is actually usable (typing this on it now) VGA out, 3 USB 2 ports, multi-card reader, full version of Firefox and OpenOffice, etc.
  • by symbolset (646467) on Friday January 11, 2008 @12:23AM (#21995174) Homepage Journal

    There's an edit source button on the XO. In the Sugar environment it pulls up the source code of the current program for editing. In order to teach these waifs proper respect for the sacred and occult art of programming, it will be replaced with a device that delivers a mild electric shock. Of course, no matter how many times they press it nothing else will happen because unlike an operating system the Windows operating environment comes with neither source code nor a compiler.

    Before being permitted to operate their Microsoft Enhanced XO systems they must be taught the proper rituals of Windows Update, Antivirus Update, Virus Removal, Patch Tuesday and Troubleshooting Wednesday. These will be provided by a Microsoft authorized Training Center and will be four days of rigorous training followed by a certification exam and be offered for only $2300 per student.

    Because some of the XOs might be used in an isolated environment until Microsoft figures out this "mesh networking", the Microsoft Enhanced XO will have its malware preinstalled.

    Mesh networking is provisionally anticipated to be delivered in 2012, and a secure network stack is not expected ever.

    • There's an edit source button on the XO. In the Sugar environment it pulls up the source code of the current program for editing.

      Which will be a Python script or similar. It's not like the Source Code key will ever pull up the kernel of the underlying OS that the Sugar shell is running on top of, whether that OS is Linux-based or Windows-based.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday January 11, 2008 @12:41AM (#21995292)
    Microsoft is not developing dual-boot Windows XP support for the One Laptop Per Child's XO laptop.

    Apparently, the duct tape holding the dual-boot beta [slashdot.org] didn't work as expected.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday January 11, 2008 @12:47AM (#21995322)
    Our current goal remains to provide a high-quality Windows experience on the XO device.

    I'm still waiting for that on *my* system.

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday January 11, 2008 @01:04AM (#21995428) Homepage Journal
    Just take Bart's PE...

    ???

    Profit!

    And we don't need much M$ for this...

    Hey, maybe M$ should license Bart's...

    (bahahahahahahaha!)
  • by this great guy (922511) on Friday January 11, 2008 @02:13AM (#21995828)
    "Microsoft struggles to port Windows to a device originally conceived to run Linux."
    If you had told me, in the 90s, that it would eventually happen, I would have never believed you.
  • Cunning Strategy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shuntros (1059306) on Friday January 11, 2008 @03:59AM (#21996296)
    Yes, but what if... OLPC are quietly stringing MS along with no intention of putting Windoze on the machine, whilst in the meantime getting thousands of laptops out there into the real world. Once the laptop (with it's splendid open source operating system) is out there in sufficient enough numbers, OLPC can tell MS to disappear back under their rock, safe in the knowledge that other avenues for indoctrinating the masses have long since closed.

    Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

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