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Microsoft and OLPC Agree To Put XP On the XO Laptop 530

Apro+im points out a NYTimes report which states that Microsoft and the OLPC project have officially agreed to put Windows XP on the XO laptop. While Microsoft has been working toward this for some time, analysts began to think a deal was more likely after Walter Bender resigned from the project and was replaced by Charles Kane. Former OLPC security developer Ivan Krstic had a lot to say about Windows on the XO as well. From the Times: "Windows will add a bit to the price of the machines, about $3, the licensing fee Microsoft charges to some developing nations under a program called Unlimited Potential. For those nations that want dual-boot models, running both Windows and Linux, the extra hardware required will add another $7 or so to the cost of the machines, Mr. Negroponte said. The project's agreement with Microsoft involves no payment by the software giant, and Microsoft will not join One Laptop Per Child's board. 'We've stayed very pure,' Mr. Negroponte said.
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Microsoft and OLPC Agree To Put XP On the XO Laptop

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  • "extra hardware"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:16PM (#23426918) Homepage Journal
    For those nations that want dual-boot models, running both Windows and Linux, the extra hardware required will add another $7 or so to the cost of the machines

    Why does dual boot require extra hardware??
  • Pure? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_brobdingnagian ( 917699 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:24PM (#23427016) Homepage

    'We've stayed very pure,' Mr. Negroponte said.
    Yet from their core principles:

    There is no inherent external dependency in being able to localize software into their language, fix the software to remove bugs, and repurpose the software to fit their needs. Nor is there any restriction in regard to redistribution; OLPC cannot know and should not control how the tools we create will be re-purposed in the future.
    And they seem to have adapted their "core principles" to be more positive towards closed source. A real shame is you ask me. source: Core Principles [] (Renamed to "Five principles" instead of "Core principles" as the seem to value their principles less and less).
  • Support? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:38PM (#23427132)
    I wonder if it means Microsoft is prepared to support XP for at least another 10 years. Developing countries may be able to pay $200/laptop, but not $200/laptop/year. If a school goes with XP solution and some critical patch, such as a revision of IPV6 support, is needed, will they have to buy new laptops to run Windows 2015 or whatever?
  • Send them a message! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:40PM (#23427160)
    I just did, to [mailto]:

    Okay, I'm going to try to ask this in the most polite way I can:


    I thought the OLPC project was about helping children. I thought it was about teaching them to be self-sufficient, by giving them the opportunity to see and modify all the code the computer was running. I thought it was about giving them software (such as Squeak) that would help them learn.

    Obviously, I was wrong. How sad: the most promising educational project EVER, and you've just FLUSHED IT DOWN THE DAMN TOILET.

    FUCK YOU very much, and have a SHITTY day.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:43PM (#23427192)
    Although it is being presented as Microsoft doing some good contributed to the project, I wonder if we could compare Gates Foundation money will flow to OLPC after the XP version is for sale. That could be the kind of non-profit pressure that would make the change of heart towards adoption of Microsoft software seem more understandable.

    Comparing the money involved, OLPC = $200, OLPC + XP = $207, and Windows XP Home = $199. Hard to really explain why there is such a desire for Microsoft to cut the costs so deep just to get involved in this project. I'm sure it's not corporate altruism.
  • Re:Support? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) * on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:48PM (#23427230) Journal
    I wonder if they will outsource the call center taking 1st level support calls on XP for OLPC to one or more of the countries where kids are using the laptops?
  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:48PM (#23427234)
    I have an ancient laptop that runs XP-professional, and actually boots up in less than 5 minutes off 128Mbytes of RAM and a 333mhz processor (Pentium II).

    granted, it does have a 4 gig hard drive compared to the 1GBytes from the XO. However, I have not looked at the specifics to see if the AMD Geode is any less than a 333 pentium II.

  • by PaintyThePirate ( 682047 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @08:49PM (#23427242) Homepage
    Microsoft is really pushing to get XP onto low cost laptops. They recently started a program to sell XP until 2010 for use on "ULPCs". The OLPC program is seperate though, and could potentially last longer.
  • by kernowyon ( 1257174 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @09:01PM (#23427344) Journal
    NotBornYesterday said -

    I can honestly say that I don't think that Microsoft as a company is concerned about these kids' education

    If you read the blog by Ivan Krstic in the submission, it would seem that Nicholas Negroponte isn't too bothered about education when compared to shifting the OLPCs -

    Nicholas told me -- and not just me -- that learning was never part of the mission. The mission was, in his mind, always getting as many laptops as possible out there

    It is a huge shame that the OLPC project has deteriorated in this way. When first announced,I was really keen on getting hold of one of these machines to see what I could do to help. I downloaded the .iso of the Sugar GUI and ran it in a VM - very clunky in the VM, but you could see the potential. Others I demonstrated it to were equally impressed. Now it seems to be floundering desperately and the Microsoft sharks are closing in for the kill.
  • by BPPG ( 1181851 ) <> on Thursday May 15, 2008 @09:07PM (#23427386)

    They will not openly give out a free copy of windows. Simply not. They have to charge at least something. Because if they start giving out free licensed copies, other users might get even more annoyed with MS's stance on software piracy and DRM.

  • by zapakh ( 1256518 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @09:55PM (#23427764)
    Maybe they can drive the price down to $0 if they install enough crapware to vendors who want to use OLPC-XP as a new vector for point-of-entry marketing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2008 @10:12PM (#23427912)

    Ah yes, teaching kids in undeveloped countries to use Microsoft Word. What kind of education are they supposed to be getting? Microsoft University?

  • Re:It's just as well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @10:18PM (#23427958) Journal
    I dunno, I've had to resort to some pretty creative hackery to get hardware working in Linux before, which I had to come up with independently.

    (And before anyone thinks I'm a troll - I once had a sound card whose driver wouldn't load until I did 'cat /proc/isapnp', after which it worked fine for the remainder of the boot).
  • Re:Sad news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2008 @10:38PM (#23428120)
    > And having people like Negroponte not mad about it just makes me think there's little to no hope.

    And that's why I quit the project. I wasn't making great money, but I really enjoyed working on the concept. My software may still end-up as part of the default install, but I'm no longer working on it for money. Niggerponte(as most of the paid employees correctly called him) worshiped Bill Gates. I'm from Seattle so I've seen a lot of people that worship Bill Gates and believe he has never done wrong, but Niggerponte's worship didn't make any sense. It's really frustrating because he is smart enough to not be one of those ignorant Microsoft users. I'm now working for an educational start-up that will go public. Maybe we'll have the money to make a laptop that is open.
  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2008 @01:52AM (#23429408) Journal
    I really hope that's not the end of it.

    I admit, that was my first reaction: Fuck no, I'm not going to buy an XO now, and I'm not going to develop the Sugar UI if it simply ends up being abandoned on 99% of the new laptops being shipped. (In favor of Microsoft Works. Yes, really.)

    Then, I remembered -- one of the earliest documented cases of astroturfing was a couple of Microsoft employees sent to a Linux convention, when a bunch of large corporations started attending -- you know, when there started to be an IBM booth. They stood around spewing crap like "The revolution is over! The suits are taking over, now... It was fun while it lasted."

    I also remember talking to my boss, who used to work inside MS -- talking about how there was a time when just about every meeting, someone would ask "What are we going to do about Linux?" And there would be no answer. They were running scared.

    What this means is, OLPC was actually cool enough and big enough to provoke this kind of response from Microsoft. If we let it die now, we let Microsoft win.

    I don't know what to do, but I am not ready to give up here.
  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:14AM (#23429522) Journal
    I wonder if Microsoft could get in monopoly trouble for doing that?

    The funny thing is, this cheap mini-notebook market is the only one where their OS actually has had to compete in decades.

    And it's scaring the shit out of them...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:35AM (#23429666)
    Now I am extremely curious as to why Negroponte rejected Steve Jobs's offering of OSX for free. Despite being an Apple fan, I was in favor of rejecting OSX for an open platform, because there was no point increasing costs by adding support for another OS. But that argument holds against this even more so.

    The only 2 explanations I can think of are:

    1) Microsoft is offering a monetary infusion.
    2) Governments are refusing to buy a computer without Windows on it.
  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:49AM (#23429750) Journal
    Microsoft is doing this because people actually want their software.

    That's why they had to bribe the Libyan Ministry of Man Power with a huge training contract to get them to switch from OLPC to Classmates.

  • by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2008 @05:25AM (#23430592) Homepage Journal
    Well, since they were trying to get out of the piracy situation using FLOSS in the first place ....

    Actually, that was a really good time for Thailand. You saw lots of people talking about piracy and how to stop it. There's much less conversation about it now that everyone's back to buying "XP + 1000 apps" CDs off the street. Process that however you will.

    Interestingly, OSX was being heavily pirated when I was there in February. Most of the software stands had an entire section devoted to OSX and applications. That's something different, anyway.
  • Sugar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2008 @06:27AM (#23430968) Homepage Journal

    It is a huge shame that the OLPC project has deteriorated in this way. When first announced,I was really keen on getting hold of one of these machines to see what I could do to help. I downloaded the .iso of the Sugar GUI and ran it in a VM - very clunky in the VM, but you could see the potential. Others I demonstrated it to were equally impressed. Now it seems to be floundering desperately and the Microsoft sharks are closing in for the kill.

    Strongly agree. I think Sugar had - has - the potential to be the next big thing in user interface. It's a complete new look at how the graphical user interface works, and in my opinion it looks streets ahead of the conventional WIMP interfaces we're using now.

    Of course, Sugar [] is a project which is, at least potentially, independent of OLPC. I really hope that enough of a community will carry on developing Sugar to make it a viable alternative desktop, not just for third world children, but for all of us.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @07:24AM (#23431256) Homepage
    Not only that but M$ will block the installation of on the windows OLPC boxes just as it does on all the low price ultra portables. So the lie that it will only add $3 to the cost is simply another marketing lie, as it will all add a repeating M$ office licence fee another licence fee to be spent again and again, at upgrades and as a result of hardware failures.

    The OLPC project lost focus as the low price ultra portable open notebooks started eating into it's market identity. In order to retain significance it sidled up to M$. M$ jumped at the opportunity, not to promote OLPC, or even to sell it's software at a profit losing discount but to kill the OLPC.

    M$ just like the other single minded greed is everything corporations wants to bleed the taxpayer dry, with endless licence fees, service and support fees, upgrade fees, server fees, content distribution fees etc. etc. etc. all dumped onto the cost of educating the children of the world not only in the third world but also the first and second world.

    The OLPC is just as useful an educational tool in first world countries as it is in third world countries and, people don't really realise how threatening that was to the arse holes of greed, all those billions of dollars of profit gone wanting or in reality tax payer dollars spent more usefully than on bloating the profit margins a just a handful of companies.

    Well at least the OLPC was not a failure, it launched a whole new line of notebooks and created a focus on achieving low cost educational computers using FOSS software, an effort that will only grow, and continue to expand well beyond the M$ lead demise of the OLPC.

  • by AppleTwoGuru ( 830505 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @09:31AM (#23432276) Homepage
    From the start, Microsoft offered PC makers the option of pre-loading MS-Windows on PCs. Remember, most people had to install MS-DOS themselves. Then setup MS-Windows. But then, as MS-Windows evolved and shed MS-DOS, PCs came preloaded with Windows. How convenient. Ever since then and until the DOJ ruling, no one has been able to pre-install any other OS except MS-Windows on an OEM PC. Some PC manufacturers do offer Linux, but it is behind the scenes. Not really out there for the average person to see. Why? Because Microsoft puts the screws into the PC manufacturers and structures the MS-Windows promotional packages so that it is tied to the extreme discounts PC makers can have of licensing MS-Windows. If the DOJ did not at least bring Microsoft's anti-trust actions to light, you would have never had Linux on PCs today, I guaranteed it.

    Now we have a flip situation, where a PC platform started off with Linux. And now to be "fair" (***see note below) we are going to include MS-Windows in a dual-boot form alongside Linux.

    So some PC manufacturers who really want to offer Linux (like Dell) might be able to, in the light of DOJ observation or just in the public eye, offer Linux in a dual-boot form on their MS-Windows only PCs. After all, we want this to be as convenient as possible for consumers of computer technology so they have

    "a choice."


    *** oh, excuse me, I shouldn't say it that way, "to be fair." We all know that everyone REALLY WANTS MS-Windows, so why should we withhold technology that "everybody wants." Shame on me. I should know better that the current atmosphere does offer a "fair" choice already. Could it even be "better" than that? Yes. And that is the unfairness of it. We do have better technology out there than MS-Windows. But if that better technology is artificially held back on the same hardware platform, a majority of people will ever know about it. Especially schools and low-income people who are stuck paying into technology that really could be improved, but can't, because a big fat gorilla holds it all at bay. And in the United States at least, the government presided by the Bush administration who quieted the DOJ for Microsoft because of campaign contributions, is letting them. 'See [] and Google')
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @10:01AM (#23432662)
    It didn't deteriorate. It started that way. Plenty of us pointed out Negroponte's ego and the impossibility of success without compromising on almost every one of the stated goals. When we said these things in forums such as this one, we were modded down, and told we hated children, or that we were linux haters, or were asked what we were doing to improve the world...

    Now, it becomes clear. The cost is higher than was originally planned. The devices are going to run Windows instead of Linux. Negroponte has admitted he's more interested in proliferating his brain-child than maintaining the commitment to learning about and through computers that he originally claimed. They used those things for publicity, and now that they got the publicity they're dishing out the reality.

    We told you so.
  • OS X (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwin@amir[ ]us ['an.' in gap]> on Friday May 16, 2008 @12:12PM (#23435078) Homepage Journal
    Interesting how when Steve Jobs offered OS X for free, which runs easily on low-power devices, OLPC turned them down. But MS, offering a chopped XP for $$, is welcomed?

    Doesn't compute to me.
  • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:03PM (#23437180)
    Would it be too paranoid to expect that the government customers that approached OLPC about wanting Windows, had themselves been approached by Microsoft to be convinced that they wanted Windows?

    Didn't the same thing happen when Intel, as a member of the OLPC team sent out its sales force to sell against the OLPC? It'd be pretty naive to think that "more comfortable with Windows" was the only reason. There's comfort and comfort.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:48PM (#23438028)
    Remember that Intel also pulled out of the project when Negroponte demanded that intel pull out its classmate PC. According to Intel's CEO Paul Otellini , Negroponte wanted to see every child with his laptop and not one laptop

    What an arrogant a-hole

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