Windows XP on the XO Laptop - Microsoft Buys Out OLPC


So the long awaited moment has happened, Microsoft has bought One laptop Per Child with sweet promises to Nicholas Negroponte of more XO laptops sales. In what I feel is a massive marketing flaw, Negroponte has allowed the conversation around OLPC to be dominated by comparisons to business class computers. Just read his New York Times quote:

olpc windows xo
Windows XO reality
Education ministries want low-cost computers to help further education, but they often see familiarity with Windows-based computing as a marketable skill that can improve job prospects.

“The people who buy the machines are not the children who use them, but government officials in most cases,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the nonprofit group. “And those people are much more comfortable with Windows.”

Now just who does Microsoft trot forward as an example of a possible XO laptop buyer? Save the Children, a large non-governmental organization that according to James Utzschneider, has a Windows-only policy. Let's read their quote from the XP on XO press release:
“Technology’s positive impact can lead to the accelerated development of competencies and life skills for students everywhere,” said Edward Granger-Happ, chief information officer of international nonprofit organization Save the Children. “The benefits of Microsoft’s proven technology platforms for all program areas offered in conjunction with OLPC’s XO laptop create enormous potential for children and teachers to learn, grow and contribute to their communities.”
Funny that Edward would have such Windows XP love. Might a $4.5 million donation of Microsoft software to Save the Children have influenced Ed's opinion? Mercy Corps, which I know intimately, also received a Microsoft donation at the same time, but is definitely OS agnostic - what works best is what's used.

And it seems that Nicholas Negroponte knows what to use to move XO laptops, and that's Windows XP on the XO free from Open Source "fundamentalism". Just read the last phrase of this telling quote from Negroponte:

“Today’s announcement, coupled with future plans for a dual boot version of the XO laptop, enhances our ability to deliver on this vision. In addition, OLPC will work with third parties to port its user interface, called ‘Sugar,’ to Windows.”
So Sugar is now "third party" software, eh? And Nicholas once called this an education project.

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The Developer Board has a lot of interesting posts on this subject so far and most likely will have many more insightful posts before this settles.

Well, I hope it goes just as well as the Intel partnership!

Congratulations, OLPC. You've turned a true educational endeavor to bridge the digital divide into botnet fodder. And to think I actually supported the cause.

I think that people who had been duped into donating to OLPC under the guise that it was a FLOSS project should send letters (yes, letters) demanding a refund.

By the way, it's now rather ironic reading some of the stuff up on the website:

"XO is not burdened by the bloat of excess code, the “featureitis” that is responsible for much of the clumsiness, unreliability, and expense of many modern laptops."

"So Sugar is now 'third party' software, eh?"

I'm fairly sure you read Nicholas' quote wrong. I interpret it to mean that OLPC does not have the technical expertise in-house to port Sugar to Windows, and will rely on other companies (third parties) for this.

Open source software can still be developed and run on Windows. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

A video in the blog of reports that this Windows special version on the XO laptop boots just about 50 seconds(4 times faster), and it seems XO runs on windows much quickly and fluently than on linux.

"Open source software can still be developed and run on Windows."

What's the point then? If the children are educated that proprietary expensive software is needed, one really should start using a business model and sell the software. One should charge more and work less on it also, because that's seemingly the best way as shown by Microsoft.

Im totally disgusted right now with the OLPC project. The point of the project is to allow people to experience an open platform, and now its being used for proprietary software from a company that has proven time and time again that they dont care about their customers, they only care about the bottom line. Vista DRM is a perfect example of this. Irs important that we be able to have freedom to do what we want to do with hardware/software solutions. Microsofts products prevent that.

"The point of the project is to allow people to experience an open platform, and now its being used for proprietary software from a company that has proven time and time again that they dont care about their customers, they only care about the bottom line."

That was NEVER the aim of the OLPC. The aim was to improve education in the developing world by supplying the children with a personal educational computer platform.

Openness was seen as an important building block for this platform, just as constructionism/vism, but NOT an aim in itself. NN just switched to a different financing and sales scheme.

He might also have shifted the OLPC's aim towards supplying ONLY hardware. That would indeed be a complete breech with the original aims. But that is not related to selling out to MS. (except that this aligns with MS oppinion that education doesn't matter, killing Linux matters)

You are right that MS has no such plans, and could not care less about the future of these children, as long as they do not use Linux or other FOSS aplications.


It seems ironic that it would endup running Windows, considering Bill Gates originally mocked OLPC.

"Geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you?re not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type"

Go ahead microsoft,you are treating the symptoms not the disease.So the "contagious" disease will surely kill you..

ps:Negative*negative is positive!

wait I'm confused here what is the news?
-ms finished it's xp port and the whole "msft buys olpc~ is your opinion on the fact?
-ms donated some large amount of money to olpc to have nn commit itself in the long run
-ms actually bought olpc for an undisclosed amount? Because that's what i read the first time i saw the headline and first paragraph

In this instance, I use the concept of buying, not an actual exchange of funds, yet a transaction has taken place. Nicholas sold out the educational soul of OLPC to push low-cost laptops at any cost.

wayan vota wrote:

"So the long awaited moment has happened, Microsoft has bought One laptop Per Child with sweet promises to Nicholas Negroponte of more XO laptops sales."

C'mon, Wayan, stop the hysterical crying and lies. You're acting like a scorned midwife (whatever that

I know you don't like negroponte's move. That's legitimate.

However, pretending that Microsoft has somehow "tricked" Negroponte with false promises is quite dishonest on your part. Dishonest because you know better than that: this is not Microsoft doing the regular "evil deed"; this is Negroponte using Microsoft in a desperate attempt at reviving his moribund project. Hell, Negroponte would have forged an alliance with Hitler, if that's what it takes to sell his XO.

So, let's call things the way they TRULY are:

1. Negroponte is WILLINGLY in bed with Microsoft because he thinks it will result in sales.

2. Microsoft is WILLINGLY in bed with Negroponte because it is a great opportunity to show the world that Linux doesn't really 'cut it". Pure PR (regardless of how true it might be).

There are no victims in this silly, sad saga of the Nutty Professor trying to peddle his little device to the world.

Wow, Irvin, you just Godwin's Law'ed ('s_law ) OLPCNews, I think for the first time? Congrats!

Irwin: your trolling comments where you call Open Source developers the same names they were called for at least thirty years already are still better than your trolling comments where your whole supposed point is your expectation that your opponents love, or agree with, Negroponte.

You have problems with reading and comprehension, teapot.

Good luck!

"You have problems with reading and comprehension, teapot."

Another trolling style I can recommend you is simply repeating others' comments in all caps. It will greatly improve the amount of irritation and insult they produce, what is the only thing a troll like you strives for.

"to push low-cost laptops at any cost.", Wayan? I don't think they could really push low-cost laptops at any cost. I mean high-cost low-cost laptops don't make a lot of economic sense. Or even linguistic sense.

teapot, serious trolls like Irvin want to be taken seriously in order to cause the most angst. Irvin is smart enough to know that all-caps wouldn't be as effective at luring responses from unsuspecting newcomers on this site :)

Oh, that reminds me Wayan, is there any way you could move the poster's name to be above the post? That would make it slightly easier to skip over Irvin's posts.

How much does Negroponte cost? :( Is it true that everything/body is goods and have its price. How small is the human conscience price...


I have such mixed feeling about this...

I am speechless...

I don't care for this, but I do understand. Sugar is crazy slow. I ran it on my 1.8Ghz laptop, and it was annoying, but it's not much worse on my XO.

I think the competition will give the sugar team the focus, and hopefully the added volunteers, needed to beat all of the XP vaporware benchmarks before they actually ship, much as compiz/baryl did with the vista interface.

We know we can make the XO scream, I used to run damnsmalllinux on an old PII-233, and it was totally usable multi-tasking with far less ram then the OX.