Now why the SD slot was added is unclear: Nicholas Negroponte says its was specifically for Microsoft, while Jim Gettys disagrees. Either way, no one has actually run Windows on the OLPC, not even Microsoft. Reuters quotes Will Poole, corporate vice president of the software maker’s market expansion group saying:
We have been engaged in dialog with Nicholas Negroponte and his team regarding the plans for OLPC for some time. As part of our ongoing discussions, OLPC has provided us with a number of beta XOs. With those in hand, we currently are in the process of evaluating the feasibility of running Windows on the XO device.As Microsoft attempts to wedge its bloatware onto the XO, the OLPC developers are not giving them any special treatment. They are just another of the 1,500 developers working on the student laptop. Ars Technia says:
While we are pleased with the progress to date, we still have significant work ahead to finalize our analysis and testing processes.
According to Walter Bender, president of Software and Content at OLPC, there is no agreement in place between OLPC and Microsoft to offer XO laptops with any version of Windows. Bender also indicated that Microsoft has not contacted OLPC regarding its $3 software bundling program, nor have any governments requested that the XO be outfitted with Windows. In short, there is no existing collaboration between Microsoft and OLPC aimed at outfitting the XO laptop with Windows.Even better than no special treatment, it seems the OLPC developers might just be having a little fun with Microsoft in its efforts. Chris Blizzard reports that:
"We are a free and open-source shop. We have no one from OLPC working with Microsoft on developing a Windows platform for the XO. MS doesn't get any special treatment from OLPC," Bender told Ars.
Microsoft has some XO machines. They are trying to get Windows working on it. Sometimes they show up and ask random hardware questions. The OLPC guys say "look at the code." They go away again. Sometimes they brick machines (because they have to replace the awesome firmware we have with a poopy PC BIOS) and send them back to the office to get them unbricked. Sometimes they complain that the machine has hardware problems and we reply that it works fine here.Now if Microsoft does, finally, succeed in developing a Windows variant that works on the Children's Machine XO, then oddly enough, OLPC is not against countries wiping off the amazing and innovative Sugar/Lunix operating system for a Windows replacement. According to Mary Lou Jepsen in Wired:
The One Laptop Per Child project is committed to free, open-source software, according to CTO Mary Lou Jepsen. But it also believes in operating system choice.Then John (J5) Palmieri elaborates further on just what One Laptop Per Child developers mean when they say the Children's Machine XO is "Open Source":
Microsoft has "had our hardware now for about a year," says Jepsen. "We decided that, as much as we embrace open-source at OLPC, it is about choice, and we don't want to exclude anybody from making software for our laptops.
I am quite startled by those who predict gloom and doom because Windows (embedded) will be able to run on a general purpose OPEN computer like the XO. Is our goal a protectionist society where an elite group tells you what you can or can not use on your computer? Or, is our goal an open society where we win on merit and innovation? For our part, the Red Hat Sugar team believes it is building a best of breed OS for the target audience. [...]And now let us be sure that the Sugar user interface running on Red Hat Linux is really the best learning experience. Let there be head to head testing of both operating systems on the OLPC XO. Even if we all believe that OLPC vs. Microsoft is a clash of civilizations and Microsoft code is wrong for XO's or education.
I personally am not in the business of forcing people to use my products but rather developing the product for specific needs and letting the customer choose. I’m in the business of building better systems, period.