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Negroponte Says Windows 'Runs Well' On XO Laptop 339

Stony Stevenson alerts us to comments from OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte indicating his approval of Windows' performance on the XO laptop. Negroponte said in an email, "Sugar needs a wider basis, to run on more Linux platforms and to run under Windows." The full email is available at OLPC News. He was also quoted by the Associated Press as saying that Sugar "didn't have a software architect who did it in a crisp way," and cited the lack of Flash as an example. Negroponte continued, "There are several examples like that, that we have to address without worrying about the fundamentalism in some of the open-source community. One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist."
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Negroponte Says Windows 'Runs Well' On XO Laptop

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  • Lack of Flash?!?!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schon ( 31600 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:08PM (#23177478)
    Sorry, he's citing lack of Flash as an example of open source failing?!??!

    The reason they went with Gnash in the first place was because the Adobe Flash player needs more CPU power than the entire damn machine had available.

    How is hell is MS's bloatware supposed to fix that?
    • by oDDmON oUT ( 231200 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:12PM (#23177504)
      How is hell is MS's bloatware supposed to fix that?

      Mystically, with an infusion of Bill Gates $$$ up the orifice, like any other Kool-Aid©.
    • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.enderandrew. .at.> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:23PM (#23177574) Homepage Journal
      He didn't say it failed open-source, he said it was a failure in that it lacked a much desired feature. Even the summary states:

      "One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist."

      Between that and mentioning Windows, he is urging the project to be less open. Frankly, I don't care if it can run Windows. I'm all about choice and competition.

      And maybe (just maybe, but I doubt it) someone can spin this to Adobe as a PR move, and they will release an open-sourced Flash plugin, or more likely, a build of the Flash plugin for the next XO.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I'm very tired of hearing people use the world fundamentalist in any and every context.

        You can be an open source fanatic, but you cannot be an open source fundamentalist.

        Stop. Think about the meaning of the words you are using. Select correct words. Continue.
      • by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @11:05PM (#23178740) Homepage Journal
        While being open to the judicious use of proprietary software like Flash is a reasonable position for an open source advocate, it is always suicide to acquiesce to any Microsoft offering (other than the rare open and unencumbered M$ spec like SOAP). This is because, like AlQaida doesn't just want schools and bridges, M$ doesn't just want your business. They want you "dead" (figuratively, of course). M$ isn't content to beat competitors (some say that can't). They must destroy them. This has been the case for 15 years, and won't even begin to change until Gates and Balmer are completely gone.

        I've seen company after company get burned trying to deal with M$ over the last 15 years, from IBM to DrDOS to ... to Sun to probably Novell. When will they ever learn? The best you can hope for when dealing with M$ is for M$ to buy you out before they destroy the company (at least the founders get some money that way).

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday April 24, 2008 @01:51AM (#23179612) Homepage
        Whilst his goal can be appreciated, in context it makes no sense. M$ will feel totally threatened by any GUI that threatens its monopoly windows GUI. M$ will not only not support it they will seek attack and undermine it. Imagine an alternate open GUI that can run on any OS being taught to children as the default, now honestly, how will ballmer react to that idea.

        Look, fine, run windows on the XO but, were does that leave the $100 price target, burdened with a >$100 OS and then a >>$100 dollar office suite.

        No clear thinking person in the open source community supports because it just doesn't make any sense. Sure, we can all pointlessly rabbit on about M$ working with the XO but economically it is just silly waste of time. If M$ wants to supply free software that is unencumbered with future surprise costs amd changes of licence some years down track, then that is great and something they should be doing but, realistically based upon past their past history and specific direct attacks on the whole idea of the OLPC, attacks that extended over a number of years, attacks that were championed by the most senior M$ management, attacks that were designed to destroy OLPC and the XO, just who is kidding who.

        Based upon M$'s attacks on the whole idea of open cheap laptops for children and anybody who supported that idea, who in reality are the fundamentalists, the zealots, the evangelists of greed is god. The reality is most open source advocates run M$ windows OS, after all it gives you a choice of a wide range of computer games, fair enough that (P)OS ain't fit for work or school but as a toy OS it is just, almost, somewhat, nearly, fine ;D (hence by definition they are not making a fundamentalist choice of OSs, see, fit for purpose choices, Linux for serious stuff and windows as a toy).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Enderandrew ( 866215 )
          There was a county recently (Nigeria?) had ordered a whole bunch of Linux PCs with Mandriva pre-installed, said price was a huge factor, and then at the last moment said they were going to install Windows on every one of them. In situations like that, I really believe they were at the very least offered the Windows licenses for free, and perhaps paid to install Windows. Microsoft doesn't want an entire generation of kids growing up learning Linux. Microsoft has shown they will take a loss to establish ma
    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:41PM (#23177708)
      You nailed it. The key insight of the OLPC was that it needed to be ultra-low power and not rely on a lot of infrastructure. e.g. it's not so easy to run out and buy a USB cable on Nahru.

      Thus I always chuckle when I see comparisons to this or that better performing laptop. Of course it's possible to get cheap and faster by going to high power. And you can add more features again by adding power. They were going for cheap and low power.

      I think what may have happened here is that windows is now learning to play nice with flash memory and windows CE is presumably learning to play nice with batteries.

      The other thing is that the world is moving towards cloud computing. Now while their may not be a cloud available to bushmen in Nairobi. it's not unthinkable that schools might be able to serve apps locally. And MS is building that infrastructure.

      So maybe Microsoft is up to the task.

      The problem MS will face I suspect is that they lack an agile resizable code base like Linux and Apple have. Windows CE and Windows XP only are simmilar in their look. So this may be a complete blank sheet. Sure XP will run but will it meet the original driver of low power? I suspect not out of the box otherwise it would be Window CE instead.

      But MS does have the dowry and an incentive. And the OLPC does need the cash. So it might be a successful arranged marriage. Or maybe it will be one of those Weddings where the groom tosses the bride on the funeral pyre.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:43PM (#23178124)

        So maybe Microsoft is up to the task.

        Are you nuts man? Maybe Microsoft is up to the task of total world domination, you mean. This is totally a farce! They want to train the 3rd world to use the Monopoly software so that they can continue their evil ambitions on into the far future - that's all.

        But MS does have the dowry and an incentive. And the OLPC does need the cash.

        I am really, really pissed off that Negroponte has sold out to the Monopoly. I mean - sorry to call you nuts, but I don't think you realize what you are saying. It's just monstrous that the Monopoly has the cash to corrupt every person on this planet! All these poor people in the 3rd world - they could start a revolution with Linux! I mean - they could p0wn it! They could do something with their miserable lives, instead of being locked into the Monopoly.

        • by servognome ( 738846 ) on Thursday April 24, 2008 @12:44AM (#23179286)

          They could do something with their miserable lives, instead of being locked into the Monopoly.
          Or they could just use the monopoly OS as a tool to do something else even more valuable with their lives.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LinuxDon ( 925232 )
            Yes, because we all know that once things start to go better they'll have plenty of cash to pay through their nose for absurd MS licensing fees.
      • by sayfawa ( 1099071 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @10:39PM (#23178526)
        There are no bushmen [] in Nairobi []. Bushmen are hunter-gatherers in southern Africa. Nairobi is a modern metropolis in east Africa.
      • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @10:50PM (#23178622)
        ARM would have given them cheaper and lower power (that's why your phone isn't x86) and runs Linux very well. No, they wanted to keep Windows capable.

        If they'd want to use WinCE, then they should have used ARM too. Most WinCE devices are ARM.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by evilviper ( 135110 )

          ARM would have given them cheaper and lower power (that's why your phone isn't x86) and runs Linux very well. No, they wanted to keep Windows capable.

          x86 isn't just for Windows. The Geode processor is extremely low power, and I doubt there's an ARM CPU out there that can outperform it while being lower power. Sure, XScale CPUs have ridiculously high MHz numbers, but they still perform like crap.

          And x86 isn't just "Windows capable". It's also the most well supported platform for Linux. Have you ever trie

    • by cretog8 ( 144589 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:44PM (#23177734)

      The reason they went with Gnash in the first place was because the Adobe Flash player needs more CPU power than the entire damn machine had available.
      Flash runs fine on my XO. It's easy to install it and use it instead of Gnash.

      The lack of Flash is a really stupid argument against OLPC design, though. I don't think there's anything--legal or technical--to keep a school or country from mass-installing Flash for themselves, even if OLPC doesn't.

    • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:15PM (#23177936) Homepage
      Flash Player: OLPC FAQ []:

      Quote: "Adobe makes the official Flash plugin, but OLPC cannot ship it on the XOs because it is legally restricted and doesn't meet the OLPC's standards for open software. Instead, the XO ships with Gnash, an open source Flash plugin that can play some (but not all) Flash content. As shipped on the XO, it cannot play YouTube videos. Skilled users can rebuild it to include that functionality."

      The Sugar distribution's exclusion of Flash, and only shipping a crippled version of Gnash, is all about open source politics, not technical performance limitations.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tokul ( 682258 )

        The Sugar distribution's exclusion of Flash, and only shipping a crippled version of Gnash, is all about open source politics
        From Adobe Flash distribution license - "Licensee must use the installers as-is without modification.". They can't create package for Flash, because packaging involves installing software not according to the way provided by software manufacturer.
      • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Thursday April 24, 2008 @05:32AM (#23180352) Journal
        Nope, the reason they're only shipping a crippled version of Gnash is legal - they can't ship a full version of it due to patent issues with video codecs, and they can't ship Flash due to licensing issues.
    • How is hell is MS's bloatware supposed to fix that?

      Sure wasn't Vista. Fatware extreme. I can say, I have not seen my Vista crash on a Q6600, but strange behavior and slow like molasses on a -35C day, you bet. And if it is XP, I wonder how many features it lost. Probably more than we can count. I can't believe they would put MS-Windows on a $400 PC without bribes and price slashes. What is going on here? Linux should kick some serious butt here. Lean, mean and ready to go.

      On the other hand, maybe

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rix ( 54095 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:08PM (#23177480)
    Negroponte decrying fundamentalism. That's rich.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Listening to Fox News and mimicking what you hear there does not make you insightful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rhyder128k ( 1051042 )
      Spot on. He's pretty much doomed his own project by his reluctance to let anyone who wanted one buy one.
  • Screw Sugar (Score:2, Flamebait)

    and screw windows. Seriously, Sugar sucks hard. They should have just put Puppy linux or something like that on it. And is it that hard to get Adobe to donate some licenses for flash so they can be pre-installed? It's not like they're charging money for it anyhow.
    • Re:Screw Sugar (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:26PM (#23177610) Homepage Journal
      Care to elaborate how exactly Sugar "sucks hard"? Seems it is fulfilling all the goals it was intended to.

      • Re:Screw Sugar (Score:5, Informative)

        by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:40PM (#23177702)
        Well, first off for such a bland-looking GUI, it's certainly slow. Xubuntu on the same hardware runs a good bit faster than Sugar/fedora. The wifi neighborhood view is nice, except that when WPA doesn't work you're left out in the cold. Once they fix the WPA issues that'll be satisfactory. The activities are ok, though the activity frame can get annoying when you accidentally hit a corner with the cursor and make it pop up.

        The biggest problem is the Journal. Personally I find it far more confusing than a hierarchical file system. More often than not I find myself using the terminal which, by the way, doesn't seem to allow copy and paste.

        A conventional computer isn't hard to figure out, even for the very young. Beyond basic functionality, I think sugar will hinder learning more than anything, given how tough it can be to do even very basic things.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by cretog8 ( 144589 )
          This turns out to be a matter of taste, for users like us. And I'll defer to the folks using them with kids to decide what's better with the kids.

          Anyway, a lot of what you say as negatives, I like. I don't know this for sure, but I attribute the slowness to two things about Sugar--it's in Python, and it's handling communication. The communication is a major feature. The fact that it's in Python means it's hackable.

          So, for instance, you & I (and almost everyone else) gets annoyed with the frame popping u
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Really? I'd be kinda surprised if an 11-year-old can figure out the Sugar code. I looked at how feasible it'd be to modify BlockParty here []. Basically, there are no quality bars for Sugar code - some of the shipped apps have no comments or other documentation whatsoever. What's more, they use advanced APIs and techniques. Python doesn't really improve the readability either, as you have the same problem you have when reading any large Python codebase - there are no type declarations to help you find your way
        • WPA has been working fine for me (with a Linksys WRT54G), but I guess some people still have trouble with it. Of course, us G1G1 folks are in a different boat than the intended recipients, who won't be setting up their own home routers.

          At least *some* of the criticisms of OLPC are really criticisms of the G1G1 program in particular, which was a nice concept but breaks expectations because this isn't a consumer product with the usual bubble of customer support around it.

          So personally I separate out all the
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by griffjon ( 14945 )
            The G1G1 was largely a disaster in logistics and customer support. Reportedly things are going much smoother in the actual countries outside the US.

            WPA has been working for me - but only with the 703 releace candidate build (which kindly removed all my Activities, including Browse because it was a "clean" release. Whatever -- it was easy enough to restore them.
    • Re:Screw Sugar (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.enderandrew. .at.> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:26PM (#23177612) Homepage Journal
      The one thing I rather like about Sugar, is that the interface was designed to be accessible in countries lacking proper localization, using symbols heavily in the interface, and by representing data graphically perhaps moreso than via text in some places.

      It also allows young children who can't read to interface with the computer in a meaningful way.

      Sugar was also designed around mesh-networking, power-consumption, e-reader mode, etc.

      Certainly there is room for improvement, but Puppy/Slack/DSL would not have been a perfect implementation either.
    • I gave up trying to get it to connect to a hidden ssid. Amazing hardware, but pathetic software.

      Btw, my Everun also has a Geode processor, and it runs XP better than the XO-1 runs Sugar, even in power-saving mode - in which the Everun's LX 900 processor runs only at 400mhz [], slower than the 433mhz of the LX 700 in the XO-1. Unfortunately, the Everun lacks drivers for Linux, but there's no reason to believe that the XO-1 wouldn't be fast and responsive with a lean Linux distro. Make a kid-friendly menu (th
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by griffjon ( 14945 )
        Hidden essids still don't work from the GUI (lack of GUI handles, not lack of ability) check the for detailed instructions (also I think has some), but essentially:

        open a terminal
        su (sudo doesn't exist) /sbin/iwconfig etc0 mode managed essid ESSIDNAME
        (wait a few seconds usually) /sbin/dhclient eth0

        it'll then try for a DHCP IP and either work or not.

        Yeah, it sucks, but hey -- it's probably not a common use case for their actual target market.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 1u3hr ( 530656 )
        I gave up trying to get it to connect to a hidden ssid. Amazing hardware, but pathetic software.

        You're not supposed to hide SSIDs. If you break the implementation of the AP, don't blame a client for not connecting.

        If this was done deliberately, see this [] for why it's "worse than no wireless security at all".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rbanffy ( 584143 )
      Unless you are a small kid going to school, your opinion doesn't count. If Sugar isn't for you, then install something else. It's not like the XO is DRM'ed and you can't install anything else.

      If you want Puppy Linux, by all means do it. But, unless you are a trained educator, you shouldn't be the one who decides what experience the kids should have.

      Sugar seems fine for them for now.
  • by geekboy642 ( 799087 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:11PM (#23177494) Journal
    "One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist."

    • Now we turn to RMS for his response...
    • don't I know it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:40PM (#23177704)
      I've fallen out with some friends because even though I'm an open source developer, and have been for the last five years, I'm still in favour of closed source for some applications.

      I am both amazed and dismayed by the extent to which such issues effect people.

      Not only that, but almost everyone I know who has been what I would call a rabid opponent of proprietary code haven't themselves released any open source code. They just download the free stuff and get angry about the non free code without a single opinion that wasn't borrowed from someone else.

      It seems to me that the fashion is that open source == hates proprietary. This is a nieve viewpoint in my opinion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella ( 173770 )
        I think you've met the "free as in beer" crowd. Don't care about the code, don't write any code, just want the free software and is offended by anything they have to pay for. They anthropomorphize "I want free beer" to "Information wants to be free" since it doesn't sound so egoistic. Now, I appriciate the price tag as well but realize you don't get volunteers for *everything*.
      • by powermacx ( 887715 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @10:37PM (#23178502)
        Among the same lines:

        According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple boss Steve Jobs offered to equip each of the machines with a gratis copy of Mac OS X.
        Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT and one of the project's founders, said the scheme had refused Jobs' offer on the grounds that Mac OS X is a proprietary system.
        Papert told the WSJ: "We declined because it's not open source," adding the $100 laptop creators will only choose an operating system where the source code is open and can be altered.
        This is what Steve Wozniac had to say a while ago:

        I was on a panel with Nicholas in Seoul this year and admired the fact that he'd turned down an offer from Jobs for the Macintosh OS on the OLPC because it wasn't open sourced. I both donated to the program and also bought the give-one get-one and I do have it.
        I wonder how he feels about the project now that they are going to use XP...
  • And with this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BearRanger ( 945122 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:14PM (#23177518)
    The OLPC project has officially lost its way. I can buy Windows performance as being tangentially relevant, although I don't agree with it. But Flash?

    Perhaps Nick Neg is more interested in delivering advertising to his customers than he is learning opportunities?
  • by frinky525 ( 210472 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:14PM (#23177526)
    you can't get a little bit pregnant
    • Remember this? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by symbolset ( 646467 )

      "I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense -- I deserve it." Jean-Louis Gassée, former CEO, BeOS

      Open-source advocates can be as magnanimous as they wish. As long as the other side denies their right to exist, there will be conflict.

      OLPC, eee and Classmate can warm up to Microsoft all they want. As long as they keep showing off open source platforms as the launching point for hot new tech, the kids will get the picture: Open Source is where the action is.

  • by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:15PM (#23177528)
    I don't doubt that Windows 3.1 runs fine under VirtualBox running in Linux... Of course that might have been mentioned in the article, but who reads that anyway?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by danbert8 ( 1024253 )
      After dutifully checking all three linked articles, not one of them specifies a version of Windows that "runs well". Just remember that poor foreign kids when Microsoft charges you $100 bucks for software they no longer support.
    • I don't doubt that Windows 3.1 runs fine under VirtualBox running in Linux... Of course that might have been mentioned in the article, but who reads that anyway?

      I tossed my CDs years ago. Got a copy of a CD-ISO, be glade to try it.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:17PM (#23177540) Homepage Journal
    Is he trying to make us believe that they couldn't get a decent software architect at MIT??? I really have to wonder how many zeros were in the check that Ballmer wrote him.
  • Typo (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Actually, what he said was "Windows, well... runs..."

  • Two models (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.enderandrew. .at.> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:21PM (#23177562) Homepage Journal
    If XP can't run well on the ASUS EePC, then I doubt it runs well on the XO. This letter is all hype.

    Frankly, I think the OLPC project did a great job with their first release, but realize it is only a first release. I think they should diverge and release two models next time.

    Model A is closer to the $100 price tag, and will sell better in certain countries. Features should be comparable to the current XO model, but flash memory, processors, etc. keep getting cheaper.

    Model B is slightly closer to the ASUS in processing power and storage. Shape, chassis, etc. can all stay the same. It won't match the ASUS model, since power usage is a major concern. But if it were slightly more powerful, you might see a KDE build optimized for it, or maybe even a toned-down version of Windows.

    Being able to support a more robust Linux distro, AND the possibility of Windows will be a huge selling point. If they can get a Model B at $250 a pop, they'd sell a ton of these as well.
  • Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:23PM (#23177580)
    Apple was willing to provide the OS for free, but were denied because it wouldn't be open source. Now Windows is OK?
  • HERESY!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by conan1989 ( 1142827 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:28PM (#23177626)
    "One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist."

    HERESY!! release him to the penguins, wildebeest and cute little devils wearing green shoes

  • Don't tell that to Richard Stallman. I wonder how many 'fundamentalists' he alienated by saying that.
  • If they had called it "One E-book Per Child" and then all people would have is praise. "Wow, they were just trying to give an e-book to every child in the world, but look at all this other cool stuff it does!"

    But no.

  • One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist.

    Did he maybe mean 'open-source purist'? Because I don't see how the fundamentals (as in basic elements) of open-source software relate to open-source advocacy. I think he is taking 'fundamentalist' as it is used by the religious right, and applying it to certain parts of the open-source community. If that's the case he managed to combine religious bigotry and two instances of the same tech buzzword in a single mass generalization

  • I have been shouted down several times here for objecting to the groupthink that Intel/Microsoft had some sort conspiracy going because the Classmate could run both Linux and Windows, but customers generally only wanted windows. I was informed repeatedly that "WinTel" was out to destroy OLPC.

    So, here I am again to get beaten up by all the zealots... Ready for it?


    Intel just wants to sell semiconductors, no matter what software is running on it.

    Microsoft just want
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Vexorian ( 959249 )

      Stop playing victim for once, ok?

      Well, it is clear there is no MS plot to destroy OLPC now that they have successfully embraced it, you are right.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @11:51PM (#23179004)

      Intel just wants to sell semiconductors, no matter what software is running on it.
      True and that is why Intel sales people gave up on a all but guaranteed sale and tried once again to take away the OLPC sale in Peru. OLPC had evidence of this and Intel was caught so they quite the board. They want OLPC dead because it is AMD.

      Microsoft just wants to sell software, no matter what semiconductor it is running on.
      True again and this time it is because it has the ability to show Linux and open source are viable platforms for PC-like products. Microsoft paid Thailand to stop taking Linux laptops and instead take a crippled Windows XP. Yup, Microsoft paid them with millions in 'services' while charging them $5/ea for licensing. Financial trick but it was a payment to keep Linux from growing. Microsoft did the same thing with a Linux based Classmate PC sale and even went far as to pay for a company to wipe Linux and put Windows on after deliver.

      All this Microsoft interest in OLPC is to stop Linux and open source software on the devices. Do you really think they are going to let the Sugar interface cover up the Windows Explorer desktop? Hell now they are not and Negroponte was vary vague in what he considered "sugar". I sounded more like he wanted the sugar apps torn from the sugar desktop so they run on Windows Explorer. That is what Microsoft wants as it means the Linux and open source stack( Sugar ) is locked out of this market.

      No conspiracy, pure facts from years and years of consistent anti-competitive business methods like this. Not fine when you're a monopoly convicted and charged many times with protectionism.

  • You know, it's easy to read into this and turn this into a flame war against the current OLPC Execs, but the reality is that this was probably a better solution in the long term of getting the machines into the hands of the needy children.

    After all, the former head of Microsoft is a well known advocate of African public health and education. It's possible that aligning the OLPC Foundation with Microsoft also would align them with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which would be a perfect avenue to get
  • This wouldn't be a problem if the hardware was open, the company would just be forked and OpenXO would be available to those that want it.

    As it stands this project seems doomed, maybe not from the point of view of getting a laptop to a lot of children, but the original goal was to get an enabling device to a lot of children and was a far better idea.
    • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @10:38PM (#23178512) Homepage

      This wouldn't be a problem if the hardware was open, the company would just be forked and OpenXO would be available to those that want it.
      The hardware wouldn't even need to be open, it simply needs to be available. As of now there is no way a normal user can buy an XO. The G1G1 was the only way, but that was twice the price and only available for a very short time. I bet there are thousands of people over in Europe who would like one, but can't get one or only at such high prices that it is no longer worth it (Why buy a OLPC for 500 from ebay when you can get a Eee for 300?).

      OLPC needs to sell those things commercially, when they don't have the resources to do so themselves they need to partner up with somebody who has to. This whole elitist thing with "only for third world" is getting kind of tiring.
  • So he says Sugar should be ported to windows, may I ask who exactly wins with this? The result will be a xo with the same interface but that will run windows instead of Linux. I guess the intent is to make Microsoft happy, to ensure that the third world countries stay dependent to windows and obviously to raise the cost of the OLPC. So, Mr. Negroponte, why would you or anybody want those things to happen?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *
      > I guess the intent is to make Microsoft happy

      Exactly. If Microsoft is happy then a lot of obstacles vanish. If Microsoft isn't happy a lot of obstacles appear, deals never finalize, etc. They are the 800lb gorilla in the room and you can't ignore them.

      My guess is this outcome was planned from the start. My guess OLPC got from us (us being the OS/FS crowd) exactly what they wanted. Which was exactly what Asus got. Microsoft's attention.

      Both wanted XP really really cheap. Both knew that the most re
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by domatic ( 1128127 )

        My guess is this outcome was planned from the start. My guess OLPC got from us (us being the OS/FS crowd) exactly what they wanted. Which was exactly what Asus got. Microsoft's attention.

        If true, then idealistic hardware and software designers need to remember this example the next time they are approached by someone like Negroponte. I have no problem with helping kids but it's starting to sound to me like the open source talent was cynically used to attain this end.
        • Re:who wins? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:30PM (#23178046)
          This seems doubtful to me, but it's classic ./ paranoia of the type I'm constantly guilty of.

          The truth is, who knows what's going on in Negroponte's head? He isn't being all that forthcoming, even with the recent statement. From what he has said, he seems to think that availability of Windows will end up in more XO's being distributed.

          So maybe countries are demanding it, and you can imagine that any country thinking of buying into the XO is going to have Microsoft/Intel Classmate reps on their other shoulder, saying "but does it run Windows? This one does".

          The funny thing about this to me is that lots of developing countries are skipping generations of technology, like going straight to wireless phones without ever having laid copper Ma-Bell style.

          And here they have a chance to skip the horrors of Microsoft and go straight to Linux (which the developed world is coming around to), but instead they think they want XP. These are probably the same countries buying Camel cigarettes now that we've stopped smoking. Oh well.
  • Since it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to ship a Windows XO to a developing country--none--nada--zero--I have to think that Negroponte is simply pulling an MS. You know, act like your all Mr. Cooperative and let the other guy expend resources to his heart's content, and then whammo! you pull the rug out from under them.

    This way he can placate whatever board members MS has paid off, but when the time comes he can pull out a laundry list of requirements that MS has not met--like source code, for
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:48PM (#23177766) Homepage Journal
    If Windows runs well on an XO laptop, then that makes the XO laptop the best PC in the world. Because I've never seen Windows run well on any other machine.

    Maybe it "runs well" because it doesn't run at all. Probably the only way to get it to run in a "secure mode", anyway.
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:49PM (#23177784) Journal

    One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist.

    How true, how true. I couldn't agree more. Open source is like so many things (human rights and the lead free nonsense come to mind) where some people go overboard and just take it way too far. I mean, sure, having your kid chew on a hunk of lead isn't going to be good for them. For one thing, it's not very nutritions. But some people take this way too far, and say that something that is 98% corn syrup with only a trace of lead is just as bad.


    I think it is perfectly possible to be an open source advocate without getting all fundamentalist about it, just like you can support human rights but not get too worked up about the occasional state sponsored rape, torture, genocide, or whatever. The important thing is that you advocate the right side on the broader issue, not that you pay any attention to any specific exceptions.

    And besides, what's the big deal about open source anyway? Big deal.. It's not like it was free software, or anything.


  • No big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by burnin1965 ( 535071 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:01PM (#23177848) Homepage
    When this constructionism project started and they were testing laptops in Cambodia I'll bet they were running Windows. Everyone needs to keep in mind that its not about the laptop or the software but the educational project. Arguably Open Source Software and the ideology of the project go hand in hand, but one is not absolutely necessary for the other.

    I read the letter on the OLPC site and the article about Windows running well on the XO, but I couldn't get to the article that mentioned flash. Flash in my opinion is the scourge of the internet these days, and don't go off on a youtube rant, internet video and streaming codecs were available before flash.

    From what I've read nothing has really changed, Windows on OLPC was in the works and it doesn't mean that linux will be dumped. So much for the sensationalist headlines. You have media outlets and scumbag corporate leaders who will juice this for all its worth but really it means nothing.

    I will say that it appears from Negroponte's message that there may be some friction between the Sugar developers and Negroponte probably concerning the porting of Sugar to Windows. He is welcome to his view but really it has absolutely nothing to do with Open Source Fundamentalism.

    If the open source developers of Sugar are balking at porting their work to Windows it should be no surprise, unless you've been living in a vacuum for the past 10 years. The Microsoft Corporation has not only been found guilty of using illegal business tactics to destroy competition in the market to maintain their ludicrous profit margins but they have also been on a non-stop PR harassment campaign specifically targeted against the same developers who wrote Sugar.

    In the end it matters not, if Negroponte wants Sugar on Windows all he has to do is ask that wealthy corporation to invest some of their ill gotten gains in porting the open source code themselves. After all, its not like Microsoft's developers aren't used to leeching off the open source community to support their proprietary products. What would be interesting is seeing the response he gets to using open source code in a high profile project considering Microsoft has labeled it a cancer.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:53PM (#23178192) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't anyone remember reading Negroponte's "last word" column in the first few years of _Wired_ magazine? He was always wrong, every month. He even published a book as monument to his wrongness, _Being Digital_ (which could have been called "0" for its return value).

    He also helped start the OLPC project, which couldn't get anywhere while he was "helping".

    Why does anyone listen to him anymore, just because MIT was fool enough to give him money for a Media Lab once upon a time (a long long time ago)?
  • The other shoe drops (Score:4, Informative)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @11:12PM (#23178788)
    It was always no more than a matter of time before a Windows laptop began competing in XO's space.

    The Bayless "Freeplay" radio began with many of the same ideals as OLPC. But it is tough to hold your ground when the OEM giants see opportunities in the same market.

    It would be easy for OLPC to go the same way as the Simputer. []

    You can't hold the line on costs. Your sales projections are unrealistic.

    You have a solid platform for development but not much else. The mass-market alternative is leaping ahead of your own technology and is compatible with an enormous library of existing software.

  • it ain't Sugar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nguy ( 1207026 ) on Thursday April 24, 2008 @03:15AM (#23179906)
    I'm sorry, but interesting as Sugar is, it's not what has created all this interest in the OLPC. What has greated the interest is that the OLPC is cheap, has cute hardware, has some really interesting technologies on it, and that its software is fully open and can be modified.

    Putting Windows on the OLPC and Sugar on Windows negatively affects many of those issues: it makes the thing more expensive, it eliminates many of the interesting technologies (power management, mesh networking, ...), and it doesn't even let the thing be a decent Windows machine. And the only reason to run Windows over Linux is to run Windows applications, and they won't run well and they sure as hell won't integrate with Sugar.

    The only thing that might make a tiny amount of sense is to offer Windows Mobile, because you'd actually have a chance of running Windows Mobile apps on the OLPC. But what Windows Mobile apps would be of any interest to an OLPC user? What relevant Windows Mobile apps don't already have superior Linux equivalents available?

    I think Negroponte is losing it. Get the passionate, good people back that left and put the OLPC back on track. Forget about Windows.
  • Awesome! (Score:3, Funny)

    by RevDigger ( 4288 ) <> on Thursday April 24, 2008 @01:29PM (#23186046) Homepage
    One botnet node per child.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost