No Microsoft Windows XP on OLPC XO


No Windows XP on the OLPC!!

Are you one of the fools people who like the Windows operating system on your current computer? And are you be hoping for a Windows XP experience on One Laptop Per Child's revolution in computing, the XO laptop?

I am happy to disappoint you with news from both OLPC and Microsoft.

First off, OLPC has updated its FAQ with this emphatic "No":

Can I load Microsoft Windows onto the XO laptop?

No. The XO laptop features the Linux operating system and includes software specifically designed for children and the XO. However, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents can be opened on the XO laptop. Additionally, there are thousands of developers around the world currently creating software and content for the XO. For more information, visit

Better yet, we have word from Microsoft on its progress in squeezing its bloatware software onto the Children's Machine. Unlimited Potential blogger, James Utzschneider has clairified XP for the XO as "That’s not really the case yet":
For starters, we are hard at work on the project here, and we are using an approach that is a little unusual for Microsoft in that we are managing the entire process of adapting and testing an existing version of Windows for a new PC. Usually the hardware vendor does this. And the Windows port to the XO is by no means done.

Between Microsoft employees and third party contractors that we have brought into the effort, we have over 40 engineers working full-time on the port. We started the project around the beginning of the year and think it will be mid-2008 at the earliest before we could have a production-quality release.

Now why is it taking the Redmond wizards that long to desecrate support the XO laptop? James has three reasons for the delay:
  1. Microsoft is challenged by the "design work to get Windows and Office to work reliably and with good performance using only 2 GB of storage."
  2. Microsoft has to write ten new drivers for Windows to support "wireless networking, camera, graphics processor, audio system, and the various user input devices (game pad, writing pad, touch pad, directional pad, and mouse pad.)"
  3. Microsoft isn't used to working with "a small group of people doing an amazing amount of innovative design work in a short period of time."
But reading in between the lines, I think the more interesting hold-ups for Microsoft are its issues around Open Source software, both in the development of code and in very basic aspect of seeing source code outside of NDA's.

If you can't tell by now, I don't share James' vision of an XO future:

And frankly, nothing would please us more than seeing hundreds of thousands of these XO computers that are now starting to be deployed all running Windows given the very high interest that has been expressed in the market for it.
Frankly, I think that's a nightmare and I respectfully hope Windows XP on the XO doesn't happen.

Other Opinions on the matter:


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This ham handed article does nothing for the OLPC movement except brand it is shortsighted and hostile to any ideas outside its own.

Why cannot we have a report or even commentary that is unbiased and less melodramatic than talk radio personality?

Please, people. I support Open Source and I feel competition is the most healthy way for us to grow and succeed as the human race. But the OLPC community to tohers will look like a bunch of narrow minded yahoos who say they support critical commentary and all inclusive work, when in reality all they do is spew vitrol and show close mindedness.

I second The Monkey King, I think the negative remarks on Microsoft don't help.
If MS wants to develop Windows for the OLPC it is a good thing, like any development that broadens the platform. Many governments might be more inclined to acquire the OLPC, if there is the option to switch to Windows for older students.

I'm with the author and very happy that the OLPC initiative isn't going to be co-opeted into some MicroSoft for-profit scheme.

If y'all think Windows on the XP is a good thing, please submit a post about why you have such an opinion. I'm happy to publish those that think differently than I, as Nicola's pro-Windows post demonstrates:

And let me follow up with a clarification. While I don't lose any love for Windows as an operating system or Microsoft as a company, I don't have a personal vendetta like others might.

I just don't want to see the OLPC, which is all about slim, purposeful code, have to build up to support bloat.

Current computing technology is so wasteful as to be offensive. We have dual core just to move extraneous options no one uses. I liken WinTel to using an SUV to get milk at 7-11. Overclocking all the way around.

If Microsoft would clean up Windows and get rid of foolish add-ons like that damn dog, then it could be really useful to the low-power environment in the developing world.

Short of that, XP on the XO is extremely disappointing.


I agree with you on Windows, in general and on the OLPC. Other people don't and some of them decide which computer will be bought for their schools, so the development (payed by MS) at least won't hurt.
What I don't like about your posting is the style. Poking fun at Windows and Windows users is easy, but it doesn't help if you want to deliver a message and be taken seriously.

Actually, Bastian, I do think that XP on the XO will hurt. i think that Microsoft has been playing a masterful game with OLPC, and its winning with ease.

Windows, for better or worse, is the business standard, and so this is what Ministers know. Its not the best for education, IMHO, but Ministers don't always know that. What they do know is that they will not get fired for buying a Windows machine, or one that can run Windows if this new-fangled Sugar thing doesn't work out.

Better yet, why even try it? Why not just agree to Sugar, but replace with Windows, similar to Nigeria:

So what will we have then? An underpowered XP machine that is compared with a desktop, or worse, the Classmate, when the XO laptop is not meant for office workers or even high-schoolers.

If there is an other user interface on the XO-1, let it be aquatic, not Microsoft:

Utter shame. Since when did M$FT do anything that didn't cost an arm and leg. I do NOT support Windows or ANY microsoft application on the OLPC.

When one adds to the truth, they subtract from it.

Put down the candy and let the little child go microsoft...


Thanks for bringing up my old post. Just to clarify, my post was not pro-Windows, by any means. I only suggested that Windows on the XO would actually be a good thing for the XO not because XO is a particularly brilliant OS (it isn't by far), but because, by failing miserably, it would actually make Sugar look for what it is, an excellent and efficient OS.

I am a Linux user, but I used Windows extensively in the past. I prefer Linux because I know how much better it is when compared to Windows. Sugar is going to be the first OS many kids will be exposed to, and proper FUD campaining and bribing from Microsoft may be enough to convince them that Windows is actually better (see for example the recent clash between Mandriva-Microsoft for the classmate in Nigeria). XO only shines when compared directly to Windows. That is for me a good reason to see: 1. Windows failing (I should say installed...) on the XO. 2. If Microsoft engineers can really make the miracle to have XP running smoothly on the XO.

"So what will we have then? An underpowered XP machine that is compared with a desktop, or worse, the Classmate, when the XO laptop is not meant for office workers or even high-schoolers."

That is precisely why at least a testing machine running winXP would be a sufficient prove that Windows isn't a good fit for the XO. Without a comparative testing, it's really impossible to convince people that Windows on the XO isn't really a good idea.


And this is where we disagree. i don't think a poorly running XO w/ XP will be thought of a as a failure of XP. It's the industry standard, not the XO. So if the XO does not perform like a "real computer" then it will be yet again branded as a "toy" or "gadget" and tossed aside so kids have a proper computer - for office work.

Hey, you got a plug in the Wired blog tonight.

I *am* very worried that the Windows monoculture will use its mindshare to remake the XO in its image, but I'm also sure that the software projections Utzschneider makes are highly optimistic. There are probably 12 more good months of Sugar development to go before XP-on-XO becomes a viable installation. By the time they catch up NickF will be right, they'll have a hard time comparing favorably.

Yikes! I sure did not accuse Microsoft of undermining anything, unlike the Wired post copy.

I just find the thought of XP on the XO quite distasteful. If anything, I hope that OLPC's Open Source soul warms the cold, proprietary heart of Microsoft.

Suppose they manage to get XP running on the XO. What happens a few years from now when Microsoft stops supporting XP? There is no way Vista could be made to run on XO, so the students will be forced to give up their XO's and buy classmates, which of course is what Microsoft intended all along.

Why would it be bad that there is competition from MS?
Just face the facts: most major software enhancements are made when there is competition.
MS Office advanced as long as there was competition, stalled for about 6 years, and development surged again when there was competition (Open Office). Idem for visual Basic vs Delphi, gnome vs kde, netscape-firefox vs IE, windows vs macosx and linux, ...
Projects (also open source) without competition (sometimes from forks) usually stop to have major innovations. Gcc is a nice example. Xfree/Xorg also.

And last but not least: the OS (and hardware) are not the goal of this project. Education is. Getting useful content on these machines is more important than anything else.

"Why would it be bad that there is competition from MS?"

Maybe read Bruce Schneier's and Marcus Ranum's views about security in 10 years.

Most of the problems they discuss are caused by MS' monopoly. When all security depends on the understanding of the complete code base AND modern security research by half a dozen middle aged CEO's, involved in Byzantine power plays, you know your future is toast:

Think of another 100 million networked identical XP boxes in the hands of computer illiterates with neither funds nor motive for extensive AV and Firewalls. This will be Spam squared.

But I will be much more concerned about the safety of those children. How many poor families of these students will loose whatever money they do have to Nigerian and other scams? How many children sucked into all kinds of other dangerous communities?


I just don't think Windows XP will really run on the XO. The processor is slow, the hardware is really weird, it only has 2gb of storage.

Maybe they can run WinCe or Windows Mobile on it. I think WindowsXP on the machine will just be good for showing people how slow the thing runs windows benchmarks and thus why they should get a classmate pc instead.

Besides, isn't Microsoft ending all support for Windows XP in the near future and trying to get everyone switched to Vista?

"I just don't think Windows XP will really run on the XO. The processor is slow, the hardware is really weird, it only has 2gb of storage."

No, MS fired or promoted away everyone who could write a hardware driver. They simple don't know how to read HW specs or FOSS driver source.

"Maybe they can run WinCe or Windows Mobile on it. I think WindowsXP on the machine will just be good for showing people how slow the thing runs windows benchmarks and thus why they should get a classmate pc instead."

On the Classmate, only a very crippled version of XP runs. However, there exists something like XP embedded. A joke by embeded standards, but it does exist.

"Besides, isn't Microsoft ending all support for Windows XP in the near future and trying to get everyone switched to Vista?"

Definitely NOT when this would help Linux or FOSS in general.


What are they going to do with the output on the 'view source code' button for the XO if it is running Windows?

"What are they going to do with the output on the 'view source code' button for the XO if it is running Windows?"

That's part of the Sugar OS, and will most assuredly not be part of Windows.

Wait, since when did the XO have 2 gigs of storage?

Putting Windows in any computer for primary schoolchildren will bias their use towards learning "productivity applications" instead of using a tool for educational purposes. I've seen this happening in many schools in Latin America, since it's an easy way to "incorporate" computers into learning. Besides the geek arguments about the quality of the OS, investing the amounts of money in computers for them to turn into "business platforms" for primary schoolchildren is a waste of scarce resources. At least, the current software combo that the XO brings forces anyone using it to think seriously about exactly what should run and what should be done with it.

Questions for all the freetards who enjoy bashing all things Microsoft:

Where is NichoLies Negroponte's responsibility in all this?

Who, if not Prof. NichoLies, has authorized and encouraged Microsoft to come and rape the XO?

Perhaps Prof. NichoLies is, after all, smarter than all the retards who fight Microsoft and Intel, while he is in bed with them...

Face it, boys: if getting Windows on the XO guarantees sales, Prof. NichoLies will do it, no matter how wrong it might be. This project is not about kids. It is not about education. It is not about poverty.

This project is about NichoLies' ego. The (legitimate or otherwise) concerns of a few freetards on this blog are not something that matters to the Nutty Professor.

I wish to add more than my own complaint. I feel I need to add some commentary of my own at this time.

The way to beat Microsoft is to one up them always and consistently. Yes, Microsfot can reach out to media with their own spin and even stoop to graft and corruption of third world political figures to bend the truth as far as they think it will aid them. I do not accuse them of this ugliness; I just want to state that they have the ability to do such.

Putting XP on the OLPC right now will show the platform as being less capable than Sugar. It is the same thing that Linux does with Vista. Show the computing results and let people decide. Sure, if Microsoft resorts to negativity and the lure of money, eventually it will be found out. How much negative press can one company withstand? The EU right now has its eye on the company because of how the operating system bundles components that violate their trade agreements. They won in court and Microsoft cannot buy their way out of that. The third world countries do not have a functioning body like the EU but is it the market they would rather have? (EU or Africa?)

Instead of FUD, I propose this: ask Microsoft to join in and play in the OLPC space. However, it is with this caveat - any OS or productivity suite cannot add $$$ to the cost of the machine. In fact, I challenge Microsoft to offer an "altruistic" image (OS and productivity) for the OLPC that conforms to GPL v2 licensing. That's right, open source! I do not think it would hurt their business model to create such a narrow use platform. If anything, the bet is to see if children get so used to the "Microsoft paradigm" on the OLPC that they would naturally choose to buy a Microsoft system when they outgrow the OLPC.

If Microsoft does implement a "slim client" for the OLPC that has [mostly] GPL code, then the community can truly test apples to apples with verifiable results. And giving people choices is a good thing. In fact, it is the best thing.

As for Sugar and the current OLPC development crew, there needs to be less negativity about others and more heads down work. The OLPC is still not at the $100 price point. More applications still need to be written. Distribution models and closer ties to the public and government officials need to be worked on. There is a lot of work to do. I am denigrating this version of the OLPC. I think it is remarkable that what was once a vision, an idea, actually has real deliverables and works! This is amazing and nothing should detract from that.

If we outside the project believe in the mandate, then we too should work to acentuate or live up to its guiding principals. I myself pledge to let as many people I know about this machine. I also pledge to take the OLPC I will be getting and investigate it, not as a toy, but as a platform that I can grow and add to the community in both programmatic and heuristic avenues. Believe me, it is tougher to provide value and opportunity than it is to develop ad hominem attacks. But if the OLPC fails to gain market share, it shouldn't be because of a lack of trying on our part.

What I dislike about this story is its (un)ethical side. Is it morally justifiable to take a product (the XO hardware) produced by people who are not expecting any profit from the venture, and then use it as a platform for the profit of another party? It reminds me of a poacher raiding the hard work of the local population.

I have no such ill feeling toward the Classmate, which is a commercial product built from their own resources. The only thing they've taken from OLPC is the realisation that there are a lot of students who could use something cheap, so they can be turned into a market. That is fair, IMHO. But to put XP on the XO is not.

"Questions for all the freetards who enjoy bashing all things Microsoft:

Where is NichoLies Negroponte's responsibility in all this?

Who, if not Prof. NichoLies, has authorized and encouraged Microsoft to come and rape the XO?

Perhaps Prof. NichoLies is, after all, smarter than all the retards who fight Microsoft and Intel, while he is in bed with them...

Face it, boys: if getting Windows on the XO guarantees sales, Prof. NichoLies will do it, no matter how wrong it might be. This project is not about kids. It is not about education. It is not about poverty.

This is about NichoLies' ego. The (legitimate or otherwise) concerns of a few freetards on this blog are not something that matters to the Nutty Professor."

Is that you, Dan? If not, you're throwing around Dan Lyons' idiotic insults without realizing that he's a complete moron. And your assessment of the OLPC project shows that odds are, you fit in that category as well.

This site is biased, but that doesn't mean it isn't right though. Microsoft have forged a monopoly for themselves and they will do anything to keep it, including breaking ISO standards committees, see what the outgoing convenor of the working group dealing with their OOXML submission had to say about the experience.
I ordered my G1G1 and my kids are looking forward to it arriving. My kids have never used Windows, and I hope they never will.

shheeeesh here comes the fucking party pooper

Agreed with the author. Microsoft will embrace, extend and extinguish this project like they have so many others.

They're ruined ISO and the Web, the OLPC is next.

I've been following this for several months with a lot of interest. There isn't really a heck of a lot anyone can do to prevent XP from appearing on the XO besides trying to keep them out of the loop. If they want to turn it into their cash cow leave them to it but don't give them any help along the way. Those behind the project have poured so much time and effort into it dedicated to the principles of FOSS software. It would be a tragedy to see them have any part in helping this convicted monopolist actively undermine the project in order to leverage it's bloated product onto the children of the 3rd world.

Sad times... There is NO way we can prevent that promiscuous Microsoft pedophile from hurting and abusing the XO child?

It used to be that Microsoft was the place to be for the best programmers and software developers. Lately though, a lot of their talent has been moving to Google, where they can get paid a ton of money without being part of an evil empire. Go Google!

It's simple logic. Microsoft will wait and arrive after the party has been started and start taking over. Just as they did with the Macintosh. Throw people some cheap bait, from Gates and hook them into the WIndows camp.

What's amazing about all this is XP is not a child friendly operating system. Of course they might say it is, and even the logic of Negroponte being kids are wired to learn computers better, flies in the face of logic.

So anyway, we have a nice appliance and wonderfully engineered os, this time instead of it being the MAC OS, and Bill is saying "I want that", it's the XO. It's like watching the rise of Apple and Windows moving in to take over that market all over again.

We'll see what happens. Gates can do whatever he wants, the main thing is if the OLPC foundation keeps control and focus, they can avoid the rough waters presented by both Microsoft and other vendors with mixed motives. Negroponte is missing the point also, which is this laptop has potential as a tool for sale in the first world, which in some ways is a fear, of not focusing on the needs of the children he's hoping to server. He's (hopefully) learning a lesson in business, which is you need economic sustainability, which apparently up to now has not been happening with "promises" from third world governments, which are the customers he's looking to serve. He's found better market demand from US customers(givers) who do the Buy One Give One, but not merely from a "giving" perspective, because they want one. This is why Buy One Give One works. It's because there is a first world market demand for the product and while that demand is high, OLPC should do everything in it's power to take full advantage of it. I can see them moving the OLPC program to other first world countries as well where there is market demand. Who knows this could be a great thing for linux and bringing that into a type of world standard for some kind of alternative OS that's more than a geek thing. It's something of course that Microsoft would fear, thus XP on the thing becomes a priority.

The OLPC laptop can be sold via buy one give one to the first world and sold in mass numbers and that can continue and should. Why? Would you rather have 4 million laptops in the first and third world or just 500,000 in the third world? The answer is obvious, it's better and supposedly the goal of OLPC to have as many in the third world as possible. Of course the only flaw and problem with that is, the computer might be a competitor with low end products in the US, which are basing their profits on developing software for these low end devices. As such the XO laptop could become a threat to some companies, like Pepper who is gracious and trying to help the project, but if an unlimited supply of XO laptops could continue to run Pepper's application in the first would, the question would have to be asked, would Pepper lose sales of the Pepper pad because of it. I have a different feeling, if it's a "group" project and everyone can benefit (in the first world) from the advances as is and will happen, then Pepper and others who put something into the project will benefit. For example I have my XO on order, and I hope to install and try out Pepper on it. If that works nicely I'll enjoy it and obviously demo it to others. If others can and desire to to the Buy One Give One, they will immediately start ordering to make it before the deadline (I work with dozens of computer folks). This would mean market saturation and awareness to Pepper. Of course they would not be profiting, but then again all the advance features of Pepper for a first world device are not present in the XO. For example the touch screen interface. So if I want that feature and more power, then I'll end up looking seriously at the Pepper pad. For this reason those who "give" toward the XO project, can benefit from market penetration in the first world. As for the third world which is becoming like the first world in some ways, like India programmers, etc and all the offshoring. If the computer learning gets these to a higher level of being a consumer, they may buy more expensive products. Those produces can be XP laptops, or other machines. And it's very logical to assume if they can use Sugar, they'll be able to move on and up to XP or whatever huge offering Microsoft makes to the third world's more affluent buyers/offshoring professionals, etc.

As far as hardware, well it's a feature that's being put into the XO and copied by other hardware makers, so it's only a matter of time before these features make it into all other low end devices or at least some of them make it in. These will be sources of profit for everyone who follows and gears the features toward a usable audience. It' not like we have to slam Microsoft for using the QWERTY keyboard and say it should be the domain of only computers we give away. The natural tendency is for advanced companies to adapt and integrate all technology and mix it into their product line. Whatever works. If the bigger touch pad works, it'll get thrown in. If mesh becomes popular, it will get thrown in. Whatever proves to create market demand will be sold to the first world as well. Count on it.

So OLPC is in a unique position, which is much like Apple was in with the graphical interface. The goals were noble and still hopefully are. They may be misplaced in some senses and there may be an overemphasis on the technical features. It's an over the top project for sure.

What I find interesting is the transition and response to market forces that OLPC had to make adjustments to. In other words, "everyone must buy a million" to make an order, then "you can donate one to a child", and finally "give one get one". Why does the "give one get one" work? Because of pent up market demand in the first world. It's like Jim Bakker giving something back if you donate to PTL. This is a brilliant mix of selling and giving that causes massive fund raising. It's not something that OLPC can ignore nor in my opinion should they ignore it.

The reasons for extending the OLPC give one, get one, should not be purely to put more laptops in the third world. That may be the reason they give, but I hope they realize there are small niche markets that would like to see this and it would provide a good useful product. I'll give a good example of a niche market. Greening and low energy usage are important market niches. For example, those wanting to conserve energy and even get ready for a low energy footprint. They do things like buy a Prius, or even an electric vehicle, because they want to save resources and start getting smaller in their energy use footprint.

OLPC's XO can fit very nicely into that mindset. There's nothing wrong with saving energy and if your committed to a "green movement" which is perhaps a mix of high tech and lower energy footprint you'll have a great demand for that kind of thing.

For example: let's look at peak oil and impacts an energy efficient device can have toward it. We need to reduce our oil and energy footprint. This is clear from an engineering perspective in the future no matter what camp you reside in. In order to do this we need to move people into using less resources.

In some ways OLPC is doing the opposite by extending technology to the masses, it can create a market and product demand in third world countreis which is a BAD THING. It's bad because it's technically impossible for the masses like China to become first world consumers like Americans. This is just a matter of fact based on energy. They cannot all have cars and drive them. So to give the world's poor kids computers can cause them to "WANT" the things that the richest have. And both Gates and Negroponte has missed this point, which is missed more by Gates in his blind ambition for "more". The third world cannot become first world consumers, it's simple math, it's based on energy and peak oil. If Gates wants to change the world, he better figure out a way to get thousands of breeder reactors online, because if he doesn't nobody will be a first world consumer, becuase the first world will collapse without energy.

So adding to consumer greed in the third world using OLPC's "education" XO, can be a very bad thing.

But since the XO is a low energy product, it can have the opposite affect as well. In other words, it could be used as a part of a green movement to lowering the footprint of the rich to bring them down toward a more efficient and smaller energy footprint lifestyle. I'll give some examples. I drive a car that takes many horsepower to move. It's moving 90% of the mass which is steel from one place to another. I weigh less than 1/10th the weight of my vehicle, so it's wasting at least 90% of it's fuel for luxury. The luxery of having a huge piece of steel that has cushioned seats and climate control.

Since the drive train has inefficiencies, the car is using less than 2% of the energy in the gasoline to move my body from home to work. This is a complete waste of 98% of the energy for people who drive from home to work and an example of first world waste.

This type of living is causing us to ride over the wave of peak oil like brain dead surfers, just riding out the party and waiting for the big splash on the rocks.

The thing is, if I want to start modelling and moving toward a lifestyle that uses less energy and is more green. I need to start doing this in all areas, some might be symbolic others more important. Things like the XO could be more symbolic, but a very powerful symbol and signal that can be used to point others in the direction of what we have to start doing.

There are some ways to save money and others ways to save more energy. For example we can offer small cars to the masses, but also realize that there are big car buyers as well and in some cases the massive saving of gas miliage by making large vehicles more efficient can help save gas as well.

Of course these are only short term solutions. What will happen in the future is many in the first world will have to make a decision to either get a smaller footprint by doing things like living in smaller houses which are using less heat and cooling or at least segmenting the design and living most of the time in comfort zones, inside highly insulated houses. Like Straw Bale, earth ships and other "energie" stlyed houses. And use velomobile like enclosed bikes or trikes for much of the transportation. I'm talking about an all weathered light bike that is powered by a 500 watt electrical system. Or 5 energy slaves, not 700 slaves which is what a 110 hp car like my Civic would be producing on average (70hp is 700 human horsepower).

We need to move toward a high efficiency electric and renewable grid based economy. Which is something that can actually use renewable resources like wind and store that wind energy in battery systems on a seperate grid to use for our small electrically powered vehicles. The entire ball of wax, I don't have the room or time to go into all the details here.

And we will need to do this, and we will do this. We must do this for the simple reason that we are running out of the fuel that fuels 85% of the American dream. We likely will not move back to the stone age, but will be forced to go toward a life that a hybrid between a poor Indian farmer and a rich American.

But nobody seems to believe it or we put it off so far into the future, we figure our grandkids will have to deal with it. Then of course there are the "military elitists" or whatever you'd want to call them who think or hope they will be a part of the winners, and being a winner means literally killing most of the other people in the world under some guise. This to preserve the resources that they would waste. So resource wars will likely be on us as well if these "the world belongs to me and mine" beliefs hold up and stay in power. (Which unfortunately is a part of human competitive nature.) This all because of the waste and greed of the first world.

For these reasons OLPC's XO computer has a niche market or at least should have one in the green movement and those looking to have a smaller energy footprint. When you think about it, if your reading ebooks and just surfing the net reading information, you don't really need a powerful laptop to do that? You can get buy with a little book reader that uses 1/10th the power most of the time and keep the other thing powered down most of the time.

The OLPC fits really nicely into a thin, earth friendly electric future. I can see it being in a village, not in Peru, but in the USA. A small agricultural based village that has wind generators, 300 sq foot heated houses and greenhouses. With electric cars flying toward the cities, where we sell our organic goods to the masses who are starving with rusting Cars in their yards wondering if they should take the windshield out of their 3000lb vehicle that's being used as a big potted plant greenhouse or leave the windshield on it.

Sorry I started going off into the peak oil survivalist future obsession I've been studying. But the XO laptop should be very appealing to that crowd, and other niche markets as well.

I'm tempted to argue about the feasibility and practicality of organic farming, but this is probably not the place for it. I'll just say that low-powered computers are certainly desirable for battery life if nothing else, and that I too hope that the XO helps us break out of this cycle of constant hardware and software upgrades.

I think it's a good news that there will be no Windows on that machine. It should be all open source.

Whew! Thank you so much for so utterly refuting M$'$
latest attempt to be evil! The MSM had picked up those press releases & made it sound like a done deal, & some of the OLPC lists were fear-mongering already as well.

p.s. Am amused that the sidebar ads-by-Google that help support these pages are usually for some Gates crud. This last suggested XP Pro as a Christmas gift! LOL! I'd rather get good ol'-fashioned coal, if I've been that bad, thank you very much.

Everyone needs to understand the "price/value" trade-offs made everyday in the marketplace.

UNIX became popular because it was free, not because it was perfect. And for free, people will put up with a heck of a lot of annoyances.

Computer makers build hardware, they could care less about software. Software is just one more part number, that becomes exorbitantly expensive if you have to write it yourself.

Microsoft Windows became popular because it was cheap ($50), not because it was perfect (or even close).

Another principle from economics, software is a natural monopoly, like the the gas company. Where the cost of adding one more customer to the infrastructure is negligible compared to duplicating the gas lines throughout a city.

So Microsoft cornered the market by being the cheapest way a computer hardware maker could ship machines that did something useful out of the box.

Windows now has the most users and applications (for a single user system), and trying to recreate this is not feasible no matter how much money someone has.

So the OLPC begins with "lets write our own operating system and applications" ... how hard can adapting linux be? And why not require every kid and teacher to be a computer geek in order to support this non-standard configuration with no applications software, training manuals, etc.?

Before you completely dismiss this, remember that NeXT computer failed. Even with Steve Jobs, lots of money, great hardware, etc., etc. It just wasn't compatible with anything.

Intel almost went under when they bet the company on the iAPx432 that was incompatible with the x86 architecture. They lost their monopoly to AMD when they bet the company on Itanium that was again incompatible.

IBM became dominant because of compatibility, the story of OS/360 has been retold countless times. Read "The Soul of a New Machine" by Tracy Kidder.

Compatibility is everything in the software world. Why this factoid doesn't register with hardware guru's ... is a complete mystery to me. (Although my guess is that they have never written a line of code.)


The OLPC software is designed for children learning. How exactly is Windows better? What 8 year old needs Office compatibility? What do you mean, "no applications software", have you looked at the list of activities for OLPC? Have you run an OLPC image?

"Software is a natural monopoly": rubbish. You're confused between compatibility, monopoly, standards, and interoperability. OLPC users will happily interact with the world using standard network protocols and open file formats, just like everyone else not running Windows. What O.S. am I using to make this comment?

You don't even consider the benefits of the open source nature of OLPC, it inspires and eases development. Contrary to your rude assertion, the hardware people can look at the entire software stack and diagnose what's preventing suspend, who's activating the antenna, how apps are writing files to flash, etc. The Microsoft blogger admits the problems they're having adapting Windows to the XO, it would have taken OLPC even longer if they'd attempted it.

Your misreading of history of Windows, NeXT, and UNIX is wrong on so many points. You're looking at the world as if it's 1991 when Microsoft's commercial competitors all tanked and collaboration consisted of e-mailing someone your MS Office files. A lot happened before then, a lot happened since.

Let's assume you are sincere.

"So the OLPC begins with "lets write our own operating system and applications" ... how hard can adapting linux be? "

MS are unable to get a working version of XP on this little machine with a team of 40+ developers. The OLPC designed the hard- AND the software with only 15 people. It's that hard.

"And why not require every kid and teacher to be a computer geek in order to support this non-standard configuration with no applications software, training manuals, etc.?"

This shows you have not even bothered to look at what the OLPC project has done. It also shows you have no clue about what Linux is. Little can be learned from MS software. But try to find a FOSS subject you can NOT find enough information on by just Googling.

Just a question, can you actually come up with anything useful for the OLPC that is NOT available on Linux?

Anyhow, most of these Billions of programs for XP are prosthetic crutches like AV, Addware removers, Firewalls, and registry editors. (see, I can be indiscriminate too) Note that MS could not compete on merits alone and have been paying a billion dollars or so a YEAR for criminal bussiness behavior.