This is The End My Friend: Negroponte Says XP on XO in 60 Days

   
   
   
   
   

My opinion: No XP! What's yours?

We all have strong opinions about Windows XP on the XO laptop, and soon according to Laptop Mag, our greatest fears or hopes will be realized:

Negroponte says that a Windows operating system is in the process of being fine-tuned on the XO as we speak. “Microsoft and OLPC are in discussion on how to release it, as well as how to announce,” he said. Negroponte added that the Windows operating system should be available on the XO in less than 60 days.
For me, that paragraph represents the end of a dream. I say that XP on the XO is the end of One Laptop Per Child as an educational project. With a Microsoft operating system, an XO becomes a "$200 laptop", a cheap Toshiba replacement, not an educational learning tool for children.

With the Sugar User Interface, OLPC can claim to have a Constructionist learning methodology, it can claim to be promoting exploration and learning, it can even hope to activate the view source key. But once you put on XP, no matter how much it may be customized to leverage the XO hardware, children will not be taught to "learn learning" as Negroponte promised. They will be taught "ICT skills", a phrase Negroponte himself railed against.

Ministries of Education will be tempted to lock down XO's in computer labs and revert the whole one laptop per child idea back to one to many, effectively negating the goal of this grand dream.

Yes, for me XP on the XO is the end of OLPC, no matter who is the CEO.

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108 Comments

It's a sad day indeed.

Look at it on the bright side. At least it's not Vista.

I'm keeping my personal jury out. Every time we see a declaration from OLPC regarding whether Windows is or is not going to be ported to the XO, someone from MS comes out to contradict it within a day or so.

I'll believe that there's a version of XP for the XO if, and only if, an official announcment comes through that something concrete exists.

Someone needs to start a petition against this.

Wayan,

"our greatest fears or hopes will be realized...the end of a dream. I say that XP on the XO is the end of One Laptop Per Child as an educational project."

Why all this drama? This is nothing new and OLPC has in the past explained their stance pretty well I'd think and it's not like you're not familiar with it (I will spare you quoting Negroponte himself knowing how allergic you are to what he says ;) :

1) From Mary Lou Jepsen [1]:

" 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.
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."

2) From John Palmieri [2]:
" 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. [...]

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."


[1]( http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/04/olpc_free_softw.html )
[2]( http://www.j5live.com/?p=363 )

Delphi,

I am quite familiar with OLPC's stance on XP on the XO. That doesn't mean I agree with it.

In my humble opinion, once we have Microsoft pushing Windows-enabled XO's, the conversation shifts from education empowerment to laptop substitution. OLPC then drops all pretense to being education-focused and becomes just another laptop manufacturer, albeit with a cool hardware platform, that will still quickly loose out to the likes of Asus or Elonex, with their consumer-focused sales.

You can run Windows XP on your MacBook too, and this hasn't been the end of MacOS X.

Now, it's true that with the MacBook, you have enough disk capacity to keep both OSes on the drive, and enough CPU and memory to even run both of them at once with VMware or Parallels or one of the other VM solutions.

I'm quite sure that the XO laptop doesn't have the CPU and memory to run both Windows XP and Sugar at the same time, but if Windows XP is going to require an SD card for its installation anyhow, it seems that there is at least some possibility that the machines could be used in a dual-boot configuration. I for one would be far more sanguine about such a deployment, since it at least allows the kids to experiment with Sugar (if not at school, then at least when they get home).

My other concern about this is the question of Bitfrost theft-deterrence and the Windows XP distribution. Will OLPC sign a distribution of Windows XP, making it bootable without a developer key? Would they do so if the XO Windows did not implement the run-time parts of the theft deterrence (activation leases and periodic check for theft report)? If OLPC doesn't sign Windows, any country that wants Windows on their XOs will get systems without any theft deterrence, and an XO running Windows is also something that is probably far more saleable on the black market, as it will run more software that adults are interested in. This combination may actually make the XO a much more popular laptop overall, but to the detriment of the kids who were the original targets, and that would truly be something to regret.

(As I think more about this, I suspect that the lack of anti-theft will probably be used as a justification for requiring the laptops to remain at school, in the locked-down, possibly shared, configuration that Wayan describes).

Wayan,

Some basic principles are necessary when you engage in a project like OLPC. And OLPC has since the beginning emphasized that not only their software being 'open source' but also the XO being 'open platform' (although I seem to remember your confusion as far as the meaning of these terms at one stage ;) - the quotes above show the consistency and sound reasoning of their position. 'Banning' XO would be not just a dumb thing to do (Windows after all can become a 'trojan hourse' do get you into Windows-only market only to be dropped by the end user and replaced by Sugar later) but undermining ( and I'm sure you remember: what was that about some zealots wanting creating a society with everyone being 'equal' only ending saying that 'some are more equal than others'...? ) the principles the project is based on.

The XO hardware already set the benchmark for other similar devices (at similarly low price) to being built. If XO software (including OS/UI) can be used as the benchmark for both functionality and price then it can only be a good thing for the end user - the kids themselves.

As I mentioned in another thread, having a company throw resources at a project is not a bad thing. Let them prove they can strip their old OS, the one they claim is going away in June much to the dismay of many petition signers for a new OS that is problem filled.

What does it prove? Not much. Geeks have been modding hardware with software for ages, be it an emulator, a full-blown dual boot or the like. I welcome Microsoft to the party.

I trust that if OLPC turned down Steve Jobs and the known headache/love affair that comes from Apple and their fandom. OLPC governance will encourage Windows XP, but not adopt it in a standard build option for the exact same reason. Can we trust them?

The line you are all worried about crossing is Windows chosen over Sugar. This effort is something that might bring Microsoft's close friend Intel back into the mix. I know that is appealing to many commenters. Do you want that?

@ @alex said it best "You can run Windows XP on your MacBook too, and this hasn't been the end of MacOS X."

I think this is great news. I love my olpc, but the software sucks.Open source software is fine but fail miserably on hardware I feel sad knowing that poor kids are getting substander software . If you really want to help poor kids. What wrong with software that really connects people in a big way . People should read The World is Flat.

Wayan,

I think you are too pessimistic. MS XP embeded is an ancient, horrible product compared to a modern optimized Linux distribution. We already knew MS would use their money to pay Linux to be removed from the XO wherever it is sold (as it is doing to the Eee now).

Still, it must not be forgotten that MS is a lousy software producer. They do have some great products (it seems), but whenever it counts, their software is just barely functional. In the EU anti-trust case it emerged that they have no clue whatever how their products actually function. They were unable to produce any useful documentation and had to recall retired engineers to even make sense of the code. So I think their XP version for the XO will be crippled.

Personally, I never expected MS to allow a Linux based XO to even exist, and they lost that battle. The OLPC is now at a position that MS has to play catch up to support Linux hardware. And I still have to see before I believe that XP can be delivered on a standard XO.

With regard to bitfrost. Ivan Krstic is convinced they have made MS XP to run under the Bitfrost security guard. If MS can convince him, it is difficult for me to argue against it.

In the field, I am pretty sure the difference in effectiveness between Sugar and XP as educational platforms will be clear from the start.

To summarize, it is futile to fight a company that earns $12B a year head on, on it's own terms. The OLPC has already arrived on a point that they determine the battle field. Which is the first requisite for a victory.

(the great prophet Torvalds already predicted Linux world domination 10 years ago ;-))

Winter

One reason I bought my G1G1 XO was to have a backup computer in case my primary desktop PC died. The XO is great for me, because I'm not afraid of Linux. But my wife only knows MS Windows, and is not keen to learn anything new. So if WinXP becomes available for the XO at a low price, I'll probably try it, to make my XO acceptable to wifey. And I really want to compare the performance of Linux vs. WinXP on the XO.

An XO with XP will still run Scratch, eToys, and Squeak. An XO with XP will still run Python, and can still have custom open source activities to open up some of the machines internals to kids. An XO with XP will also have access to a range of constructionist and constructivist software that is currently only available for XP.

I may be in love with open source and disappointed by XP running on the XO. But I also realize that this is not the end of the dream of constructionist education. It could represent its blossoming.

I think y'all miss the subtlety of my point. With XP on the XO, we'll have more people thinking like Thomas and Juan, that the XO is a backup for a traditional laptop, and less, if anyone, thinking of the XO as Jordan might - a learning tool for children.

Yes, that means there could be a larger adoption base, but will it be the right users? Is OLPC survival through adult XO users a success? Or is this the final corruption of the "education project, not laptop project" line?

@Wayan:
"I think y'all miss the subtlety of my point. With XP on the XO, we'll have more people thinking like Thomas and Juan, that the XO is a backup for a traditional laptop, and less, if anyone, thinking of the XO as Jordan might - a learning tool for children."

It think I can say that people like Thomas and Juan are right about the XO with XP: Such a machine is utterly useless as an educational tool for small children. It might barely work as an extended iPhone with MS software on it.

Really, XP is UNfit for educating small children.

(I would like to be even more determined:
"Little can be learned from Microsoft software")

Winter

Well, if XP makes the XO utterly useless as an educational tool, then you agree with my point - XP on the XO transforms OLPC into another low-cost laptop designer and negates the learning component in the minds of prospective buyers

I'm sorry that I bought an XO during the Give One Get One program. I'm sorry that I so strongly promoted and supported this innovative project. The XO is now dead.

@Aaron:
"I'm sorry that I bought an XO during the Give One Get One program. I'm sorry that I so strongly promoted and supported this innovative project. The XO is now dead."

Any idea how the OLPC could have PREVENTED MS from releasing an XP version for the XO?

Especially when their customers (the countries) really want it?

I applaud the OLPC for having made no hard-ware compromises to please XP, but that is about all they could do in earnest. And trying to block other software, eg, Ubuntu or Puppy Linux, would be against their basic philosophy.

But anyone his convictions.

Winter

Wayan wrote:

"Or is this the final corruption of the "education project, not laptop project" line?"

Well...not really.

The writing has been on the wall for three years now. But visible only to those smart enough to read between the lines: this has NEVER been about education - that's why there has never been an implementation plan beyond the patently bogus "kids will learn learning" (only retards find meaning in such nonsense).

Windows XP on the XO is just Negroponte's latest attempt at saving the project's life. It shows that only geeks and retards (Negroponte is one, in spite of his academic pedigree) could believe that an underpowered laptop-wannabe running a buggy OS and lacking third-party applications can be sold in large quantities.

The entire world has soundly rejected Negroponte's product and that's the only reason there is talk of Windows on the XO.

In the end, it matters very little and will change even less: the XO plus Windows can't compete with regular cheap laptops. This is not the end of a "dream" - it has been more like a nightmare for Negroponte and followers; this is the end of a laptop project pretending to be an education project.

@alex "My other concern about this is the question of Bitfrost theft-deterrence and the Windows XP distribution. Will OLPC sign a distribution of Windows XP, making it bootable without a developer key? Would they do so if the XO Windows did not implement the run-time parts of the theft deterrence (activation leases and periodic check for theft report)?"

This I think is a multi-faceted and very serious concern. An XO with Windows suddenly becomes a valuable target of theft for resale as a business computer, instead of a system that requires a developer key and some command-line prowess to make it non-children-focused. Not to mention the ridiculous security holes XP allows (one (thousand) malware infections per child?). Will it come pre-installed with IE? What happens if there's a new XP vulnerability exposed?

Sigh.

Oh, Wayan, don't lose your sleep over this. When has a NN deadline happened on time, as announced, and running OK? BTW, I don't really think XP can multitask on the XO specs, maybe on XO2, but we haven't seen that one yet. I actually doubt XP will really run on Geode much beyond a screen view.
I think we have at least 6 months before this comes in, if at all. Also, don't forget that MS junkies have version envy. They probably will be really upset it is not "the latest", i.e. Vista.
Funnily enough, they don't seem to mind having to re-learn the GUI every time Redmond redoes the Windows, but will cry to high heaven if they have to use KDE or worse, Sugar...

And what about the added cost of licensing windows XP? Who pays for that?

Who pays for the anti-virus protection? Who provides tech support when/if Windows XP becomes the OS?

Where will the 'army of open source developers' go once Microsoft is in the picture?

Will walter Bender make good on his promise to resign if Windows enters the XO world?

Prof. Negroponte himself is putting the last nail in his own project's coffin...

@Irvin: Your questions

The answer is Microsoft on all of them. OLPC is not really involved as XP is MS' super secret family jewels, NDAs, etc.

And the quality will be genuinely MS quality.

Winter

The existence of one does not preclude the other. XP does not preclude Linux or Education or even Sugar for that matter. Consumer use of the machine does not preclude education use of the machine, though I think that consumer use will be minimal given the glut of low cost ultraportables that are hitting the market.

The only real danger that I see is one that Wayan voiced: there is a potential that some people will try to teach curriculum using rote methods or "ICT skills" instead of true computer literacy. But that would have happened even with Sugar. A modern version of Number Munchers would have popped up because it is easier to create than something like Geometer's Sketchpad or Fathom. Ditto for a Bengali equivalent of Reader Rabbit. (Not to mention that rote methods are often effective, even if they send the wrong messages with regard to learning and socialization.)

But sticking to Linux has two really nasty consequences: the most important is that kids are losing out on a body of existing, high quality, educational software that already exists. The second problem is that it follows in a dirty tradition in education: it is using education as a means to push an agenda (may it be pro-open source or anti-Microsoft, or even pro-constructionism at the expense of other teaching models).

Okay, seriously people. Not the end of world. MS is toying with Windows on the XO, in order to build a more robust and portable embedded platform. It's a research project, not a viable option.

Just a few disadvantages:
1. This is Windows embedded, right? Not "real Windows". You're not getting much. I hope it's at least Vista embedded and not XP. And what about security and reliability updates? Will Windows Update XO even work?
2. There will be license fees. At least with Linux you only have to pay support and free upgrades are possible forever. The next REAL version of embedded Windows may not arrive until Windows 7, which must be bought again.
3. IIRC, you can only USE Windows if you have a sufficiently roomy SD card. The XO's internal 1 GB is nuffink for "Real Programs". It's just enough for the data and pictures a child might have and keep.
4. Um, OLPC hasn't stopped working on Sugar, Bitfrost or any of their unique software. Walter Bender should be staying. Now if Negroponte started pushing Windows on the XO and downplaying Sugar, Bender should slap him. Hard. And then resign.

And the advantages, to be fair:
1. It's Windows. from Microsoft. It's what everyone with money uses.
2. Python and GTK work on it, and maybe Sugar can be ported intact.
3. There's tons of edu software (that can be bought) for Windows.
4. MS has deep pockets for bribery...erm...incentives and subsidies to needy school systems. OLPC could use some of that money and "goodwill". (Ok, I admit it. That was mean)
5. Um...it's all blue and friendly and stuff?

In a delightfully ironic twist, there's too much UNCERTAINTY surrounding Windows XO and governments will choose Sugar. Maybe schools can keep a collection of bootable Windows SD cards to teach Office. Maybe, MS will push Server 2008 as a solution for the School Server problem. But I'm not seeing WinXO as a long term solution for OLPC or MS.

This isn't bad as long as the original software still runs on the machine. My experience with the XO sofar has been that my kids miss many of their Windows educational programs and games. Having more choice isn't a bad thing.

Jose, there's really only room for a single OS on current XOs. By installing XP, you will need to remove Sugar (unless you can somehow arrange a dual-boot off an SD card, but then you lose your SD slot).

I say, sure, let Microsoft give it a whirl. It won't be easy. Then again, Sugar has been a disappointment so far. Buggy, ugly, and horribly horribly slow. And it's weird too; I can never remember how to copy a file from the SD card into main memory. What happened to full power management and 10 hour battery life by Feb?

Competition is always good. More choice is always good. Let the most useful OS win.

I had the opportunity to handle use one of the new windows laptops at a Negroponte event at Harvard yesterday. The laptop seemed significantly upgraded, as Windows ran quickly. According to Negroponte, forthcoming laptops will be dual boot systems.

I am so glad I sold my XO when I did. To let Microsoft get it's grubby hands on this machine is the final insult! Microsoft is not open source. Microsoft does not play well with others. BOOO BOOO BOOO!

I completely agree with Wayan on this artile, and now I have a question for OLPC, why go with the company who's chairman of the board first bashed the whole project from the start instead of a company whose CEO came up to your CEO, around the same time and offered a free copy of Mac OSX, which is a far superior OS than windows, why? I hope that this whole endevor by Microsoft just gets "Vista'd" forever. :)

Rather melodramatic aren't we?

Heaven forbid people actually have a choice as to what sort of OS they want to have on the machine, eh? I thought part of the goal of the OLPC was that it could be used to help children learn; not that it would specifically make children learn the SugarOS.

Liam G. wrote "Rather melodramatic aren't we?"

To which I reply, why not? A little melodrama can be fun, esp. when the title suggests such great background music:

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/doors/the+end_20042686.html
At lyricsfreak.com you can even get Doors ring tones! Perhaps these are the end times...

Personally, I could care less if they make available a Windows for the SD card. I've got better things to do with my SD card, but I'm not sure it's right to try and compel people to use Sugar through some sort of lock in. I think it should be the default, up front and center so that it at least stands a chance of getting a fair shake, especially in educational contexts where what comes free and easy is most likely to be used, but if you want to run ubuntu or windows or whatever secondarily, to each his own poison. I'm trying to get ubuntu on a usb memory stick myself. Not much luck so far, but I'll keep plugging away at it. In the meantime I'll continue to abuse poor old Sugar in ways that were clearly not intended.

One question to those hoping for very good educational programs on Windows moving to the XO.

Why have had these programs have so little impact on the windows world?

My guess is cost (they are way too expensive) and collaboration. These programs almost all work for one (2) child at a time. Morover, these programs tend to be all about controlling the children: Telling them what to do, when and how.

What makes educational software on the XO so marvelous is cost (low to free) and collaboration. No application works for one child in isolation. Furthermore, all these applications are about giving control to the child and educator.

Winter

I had a big long rant typed up and all ready to post when I realized how my dissatisfaction with the SugarOS doesn't matter regarding XP on the XO. All I need to do is say this:

Deciding that XP shouldn't be on the XO is just like the big movie and music companies telling us we can't rip their media so we can enjoy it on our iPods. Don't decide what's right for everyone, just because you don't like it.

An educational program can work just fine with Windows XP. It may not be as pure an ideal, but you have to admit that there are benefits for the kids to learn on a Win-duhs box. Like, when they grow older, they'll actually be able to USE the computer the rest of the world uses, instead of looking at the Vista desktop and asking "Where's the activity ring?"

We all know this to be true: XP is bad, but no computer is worse. I've got plenty good and plenty bad to say about the SugarOS, but I'll spare everyone and just reiterate:

Banning or sanctioning one OS over another is not fair to the end user--as others have said in this thread, it's like you're forcing everyone to us a particular OS just because you like it. Personally, I don't care for Sugar. I don't even like the name. Sugar's bad for you. The SugarOS is buggy and needs another year to get the kinks out. Sorry to say it, but it's true. I'm looking forward to XP on my XO.

Sure, it'll turn my XO into a little headache machine, but at least I'll be able to make it do what my old PCs could do... I hope.

Damn, still turned out long... sorry!

Windows XP Lite means the end for the Classmate PC. The only argument Intel people had to sell their crappy Classmate laptop was that it supported Windows XP. With that argument out of the way, the OLPC will be the absolute primary choice for every government looking to educate their children using cheap laptops.

Why not Ubuntu? Why not keep Sugar on the child version of the XO and put Ubuntu on an adult version. Evidently, the history of child labor is repeating itself, the power elite wants a trained underclass, not an educated middle class. It's the social model of walled community elites served by the least number possible of middle class used as a buffer against the maintained underclass. Perhaps all of Bill Gates' do-gooding is only meant to be on the physical level, maintaining all the non-physical forms of poverty.

if it was an apple os no one whould be upset. whats the deal with micosoft.

@Pete Walker:
"Why not Ubuntu? Why not keep Sugar on the child version of the XO and put Ubuntu on an adult version."

I think there are several angles to this story:

1 Those who buy the computers OWN them and can do with it what they want. Just as MS cannot prevent me from installing a Linux distribution on a computer I buy, the OLPC cannot prevent consumers from installing whatever they want on the XO they buy.

2 MS does not care about education, children, or freedom and will do whatever they can to PREVENT independent software from reaching the masses. They have been convicted for this in several continents and paid in the 10s of billions (dollars) for their behavior (fines and settlements). Their offerings for the XO will mirror the thrash they have sold the developing world before: A crippled OS with and applications with limited functionality.

3 MS software is completely unsafe, unstable, and closed as a clam. As a result, little can be learned from MS software. Due to the limitations of the MS platform, the impact of computers on education has been small. The fact that the rest of the world wastes it's productivity by sticking to XP does not mean that experiencing XP will benefit these children. The same argument was used in the 80s/early 90s for teaching primary school children MS Dos. And we all know how much they have been able to use that.

In short: this is not for the OLPC to decide and XP on the XO will NOT benefit the children in any way.

Winter

@beangreen

Because OSX works, is relatively stable and secure, will continue to be supported for a while (XP is very close to it's EOL), and has a nice unixy base.

I think Ubuntu would be a great choice; or keep sugar on it and keep it an educational device. Windows will, as everyone seems to be agreeing on, make it just another cheap laptop.

My initial reaction to XP-on-XO is a negative one. It defeats the supposed purpose of OLPC which, as I see it, is to deliver a rugged, no/low maintenance, low cost, easily-linked computer to a child in the third world for him to do with as he pleases. The key element is the last part of that sentence: "to do with as he pleases."

Open source software is the key to fulfilling this purpose. By delivering the XO without a Microsoft operating system or Microsoft applications, the child can use this platform for his own purposes without the burdens of our first world priorities holding him back. That is the very essence of this education project.

While I use my XO on a daily basis in a manufacturing environment, I was surprised that the G1G1 program was instituted. It has led to this on-going discussion about the hardware while missing the essential point that OLPC is an education program.

From a technical point of view, and by the XO's very parsimoneous hardware, I doubt Microsoft can get XP to run on an XO with any real success. As an operating system, Linux can be tuned specifically to the hardware on which it is to run and Red Hat has done a marvelous job. It will have to be an XO-specific version of XP to work on an XO.

XP on XO?
Sigh.

Argh! I have spent soooo much time trying to educate people on why it is important from an educational perspective that the OLPC does NOT run like a PC... and apparently I can just go to hell.

I think all this proves, really, is that you can't built an Apple II in your basement, drop it in the worlds lap, then expect anyone to care any more. What they needed wasn't a $200 laptop for education. What they **did** need was a good stable OS, with well written education software, that just happened to *fit* on a $200 laptop. Instead they had a bad, buggy OS, mediocre software, and the stupid idea that handing this too someone on a $200 laptop would impress people. That is just dumb.

@ CleverGirl...

I agree with you 100%. They should have just kept Linux on the thing and left the buggy XP off. Now, its going to be a mesh network passing virus', malware, spyware, and all kinds of crap around...

Oh well, someday people will learn; although, I have my doubts about that... After decades of Windows, people still use it.

Surprising it`s not. According to many infos, the man falled in contradictionary statements, and treated with m$$. Until now, each revolution was betrayed and the leader only wanted to enrich himself.

In the meantime have much better laptops only a little more expensive, with Linux. Thus, the OLPC laptops become of low significance.

By the consumer`s law, these people which paied 2 laptops with a certain caracteristics - like Linux - can demand back their money. And governments should refuse to buy these laptops.

Whomever uses this laptops, children or corrupt people, will learn that Linux is far better than W$. When W$ has problems or get virus, they probably use Linux, if it`s pre-installed as a 2nd sistem or not.

It`s more one thing where M$ substitute lack of quality and progress by force the user to their system. Generally thats good because for them time and progress will stop, for others it will continue.

SYS Linux 0.20 www.copaya.yi.org/tgz

I'm not worried. Let Microsoft get into this mix. For those who believe in truly FOSS products, the end result is inevitable. If open source is the best way for software to evolve, then it's what the people will ultimately choose. And, in time, (at least I believe) this is what will happen anyways no matter what happens with OLPC.

That stated, I look at OLPC as an opportunity for FOSS to directly challenge the Redmond giant on an equal platform. As a FOSS contributor I have been waiting for this situation for a decade. Believe me, Microsoft has more to lose than open source by putting their resources on this machine.

If the OLPC children are exposed to both a proprietary AND an open source OS and in the end choose proprietary, the open source community will learn, move on, and get better as it always has.

If the OLPC children are exposed to both a proprietary AND an open source OS and in the end choose open source, Microsoft and its stock holders will feel one helluva setback.

If I were a large M$ share holder I wouldn't want Microsoft to take this unnecessary risk. It's a gamble, that in the end, Microsoft has more to lose than gain on...let the games begin.

"They should have just kept Linux on the thing and left the buggy XP off."

There seems to be a misunderstanding. As far as I know, the OLPC is NOT involved with the XP on XO project. They have no expertise with MS Windows. They only "answer questions" about the hardware.

It is MS all on their own that are desperately trying to shoehorn XP into the XO.

Winter

1) From Mary Lou Jepsen [1]:

Mary Lou Jepson said:
" 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.
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 agree, but unfortunately Microsoft's strategy is all about excluding choice between operating systems. Once they get Windows onto OLPC, they are likely to use their leverage over OEMS to offer rebates to OEMs for not putting Linux on the OLPC (as they reportedly do with PC OEMs at the moment).

Comments in another article that were taken out of context also taken out of context here, nothing on the "real" "Official" OLPC news page to back up this mythical XP running XO theory. Take this all together with your past oddly slanted writings about the XO and www.wayan.com and all you have is an obvious anti-FOSS paid for shill blog.

The countries that want microsoft and all the "problems" that come along with it, will chose that option. The countries that want linux and all the "problems" that come along with it, will chose that option. I see it as an interesting war ahead between the two operating systems. Countries will regret choosing one or the other, and, in decades to come, we will see who wins the war ( which kids are ahead, which locations have improved ). I'm pretty confident microsoft's solution will cost more to maintain the software, governments arent stupid, they will! do the research. These kids dont know what a computer is. Linux or windows, either way they will have a learning curve ahead, they will learn about software and how its made or about malware and how to constantly prevent/fix it. I can see them making money if they get good at either making or securing software. Microsoft see the potential market flood of the olpc to the already techno savy western world, so if they can sell it they will. I would buy one but preferably not with windows.

I think it's hilarious, all you people saying "choice is good." You realise, of course, if the XO had been Microsoft-only from the beginning you can bet your ass they would be fighting tooth and nail to prevent Linux or anything else from running on it?

Microsoft once again shows their lack of vision and "innovation" (the word they abuse the most) by showing up late to the party and saying "Hey, what about me?"

If anyone here naively believes that Microsoft's involvement in the XO is benevolent and all about "free competition", you'd best brush up on some of Microsoft's history. Embrace, extend, extinguish. I have no idea what it means for the XO in the short term, but I do know in the long term: Those four icons for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. That's the only "education" Microsoft is interested in promoting.

But do have fun with your illusions about "let the best software win."

Wayan,

You have made a breakthrough by creating a tabloid specifically for the XO.
It is sad how you try to stir up sentiments just for the sake of getting more visitors (for your ad supported site).

You have lost your credibility.

@Garry F:
"You have lost your credibility."

I would like to advice all commenters to avoid the above declaration in any form.

Most experienced participants of online discussions will immediately glaze over and register TROLL. If possible, the commenter will be placed on a blacklist.

On the other hand, Wayan's post is slightly ambiguous. Nowhere is it stated that the OLPC will deliver XO's with MS Windows. But you can easily read it that way.

Those who have followed the links (and OLPCnews) would have immediately known that this was in the works for a long time. And all outside the control of the OLPC.

Winter

In my personal Opinion is Sugar unusable, but if it fits the need of educating children I can accept that. Windows XP on the XO is just plain wrong. I imagine a poor children in Africa wich started a unknown .exe file and the XO stops operating in this very moment. Well, it might give some kind of lerning experience...

What about WGA-checking?

Teacher: Today, we can't operate the XO, children.
Child: Why?
Techer: Because... All our XO (with XP) need the small Bandwich of Internetaccess to validate its authency to Microsoft... Wow! Our Key is now invalid! How could something like that happen???

Geez, nothing like the mention of Microsoft in the context of the XO to bring out the drama queens.

Maybe before predicting the end of civilization and the establishment of the Gates hegemony we ought to wait to see how much longer XO production continues. With production volumes way below projections, other then the inevitable tearing of hair and rending of garments by the faithful is there any reason to continue XO production?

@allen:
"Geez, nothing like the mention of Microsoft in the context of the XO to bring out the drama queens."

Something like mention of Hu Jintao or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the context of freedom of press or human rights.

Microsofts credibility in the area of innovation and choice are likewise. With the difference that MS have been convicted many times for repeated illegal actions to reduce consumer choice and stifle innovation and the above gentlemen have not been brought to trial (and never will be I suppose).

XO production volumes have been linked to sales channel capacity for some time now. The delivery problems seem to be less a production problem than a sales and distribution problem. You have to PLAN production of laptops. If the sales channel is unable to process orders correctly, production cannot keep up.

Winter

The whole principle of Open Source is choice. When someone owns the XO, they should be free to use it as they see fit, even if its something stupid like putting Windows on it.

Having said that, I can't imagine any educator putting up with the concept of “closed source” in an educational environment. Can you just imagine a teacher saying to their pupils;

“We can't look at the Periodic Table table because its contains proprietary information.”

“Kids, be sure and to sign and turn in your NDA's before we read chapter 2.”

“Kids, we had to sell the desks last night to pay for a court judgment caused by little Johnny violating our non-disclose agreement with MS. Remember, we can look at the source code, but never, ever use it or tell it to anyone.”

Child “How does Excel work?”
Teacher “It's magic”
Child “Can I improve it?”
Teacher “No, that's not allowed, only Bill (or Steve) the Great can make it better.”

I'm sure others can add examples.

@winter
"Something like mention of Hu Jintao or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the context of freedom of press or human rights."

Oh yeah, any minute now Bill Gates is going to order the assassination of Linus Torvalds and the kidnapping/imprisoning of Miguel de Icaza. Time to get a grip winter.

"XO production volumes have been linked to sales channel capacity for some time now."

And sales channel capacity is linked to the choice of sales channel.

The choice of sales channel was a lousy one if what you wanted to do was sell XOs and the sales volumes are proof of how poor a choice it was and continues to be. Why do you think the G1G1 program was fired up? Because the demand from the various governments was insatiable? No, the G1G1 program was fired up to have some means of selling a few XOs once it was quite clear that the millions of orders predicted weren't going to show up on schedule.

Other then encouraging outrage among the anointed - a worthwhile if not particularly remunerative reason -, I'm just wondering what the attraction is for Microsoft? It's not as if the XO has been a break-through product that's scorching the sales charts. There may have been some worry about being left out of a burgeoning market back a year or so ago but those worries are obviously over. I'm just trying to figure out why Microsoft would commit the funds to modify XP to the point it can be shoe-horned into the very non-standard platform of the XO?

Since it's now clear that worries about hundreds of millions of poor, third-world kids learning about computers but not about Microsoft were somewhat overblown, why the continued interest? Because ten or fifteen years hence, when some of those kids have the disposable income or move into positions of authority they'll look back with fondness on their very first computer, running XP-for-XO and opt for the same? I understand about long-term planning but that's getting a bit ridiculous.

My guess is that it's either the Microsoft approach to do-gooding while necessarily viewing the world through a Microsoft lens, or it's a visceral reaction to a high profile computer industry phenomenon - Microsoft reflexively throwing money at the XO so as to cut themselves in for some of the perceived glory. Or both.

I just wonder what the reaction among the true believers would be if Microsoft decided to subsidize the XO to the tune of, say, $50/computer? $50 million would require board approval but it obviously isn't that much to a company the size of Microsoft. If that money kept the production lines going for an additional six months would it be cause for reappraisal of Microsoft's similarity to Hu Jintao?

"I'm just trying to figure out why Microsoft would commit the funds to modify XP to the point it can be shoe-horned into the very non-standard platform of the XO?"

I think It's not just about XO in particular but to make sure they have something in the market for X0-like, low specs, machines. Note Intel's rapid scramble to produce low-powered processor as to not to be left out from the potentially huge market. And we're talking not just about the developing world but the existing customers 'discovering' that X0-like machines are actually 'good enough' for what they need a PC/laptop for - I bet a large number of EEE PCs, regardless of its dumbed-down-laptop design with poor screen and other weaknesses, were bought by such customers. And Intel has already shown that they more than welcome such computers running linux and open software apps - surely not a situation MS can be comfortable with...

Oh boy .. why you want XP ? XP is too heavy for this little computer, linux is hundred times better.

@allen:
"I'm just wondering what the attraction is for Microsoft? It's not as if the XO has been a break-through product that's scorching the sales charts. There may have been some worry about being left out of a burgeoning market back a year or so ago but those worries are obviously over. I'm just trying to figure out why Microsoft would commit the funds to modify XP to the point it can be shoe-horned into the very non-standard platform of the XO?"

Actually, this fits into the paranoid world view of both MS and Intel. They are both near monopolies who control the market. The only way for their product's market share is down. MS have a history of stamping out any competition, how small they might be, eg, Netscape and Be Inc.

WARNING: Overextended metaphore comming!

The computer markt can be in two states: MS majority and *nix majority.

The difference is about $50B/year (MS and partners total "license" revenues).

This is like the difference between water and ice, with a lot of "energy/money" that can be freed by switching to ice/linux. MS MUST remove each and every single Linux opportunity like covering each small ice crystals with anti-freeze in supercooled water. If they don't, they fear it might grow to macroscopic proportions.

Stamping out Linux on XO is one such search and destroy parties. They can't even accept the most remote of possibilities that the XO might still sell in the millions.

And maybe they too see how wonderful the XO is ;-)

Winter

Thanks for the warning about the on-coming metaphor: do yourself a favor winter and ease up on those metaphors.

Microsoft enjoys the luxury of monopoly status only in the desktop/laptop market and then mostly in the richer countries. In the server arena they're a big player but they aren't monopolists although it certainly isn't from want of trying. Outside of desktop operating systems and office applications they're a big, but not monopoly, presence.

Even on the desktop Microsoft hasn't had everything their own way as evidenced by the continued dominance of Adobe in their selected arenas. It's also worthwhile to shed the delusion of "steamroller" Microsoft. Microsoft has quite a string of humiliating debacles from which to choose to remind yourself that Bill Gates isn't infallible and all-conquering.

The poorer nations didn't much matter since if you're too poor to buy a computer you're too poor to buy Microsoft software. Of course that started changing more then a decade ago but Microsoft's fixation on the part of the market that was rich enough to be raped repeatedly blinded them to the rise of computer usage in poor countries.

Microsoft's come to a recognition of the current and potential importance of this market with their release of Windows XP Starter Edition for $3(USD). I think it's the vigorous death throes of dying paradigm but the Microsoft board didn't consult me.

People who pay $2,000 for a computer can be convinced to pay $100 for operating system software. But someone who pays $100 for a computer is quite unlikely to be willing to pay $100 additional for the operating system. We're heading into a world of $100 computers and there's nothing Microsoft can do about it.

Intel's certainly dominant but Intel's never enjoyed the same sort of lock on the customer as has Microsoft. There have always been competitors nipping at Intel's heels, driving them to maintain their dominance through rapid development. That benefits everyone who uses a computer.

In short, Microsoft can't stamp out Linux and Intel is largely uninterested in the winner.

Now if we could just get pallet-loads of one hundred dollar XOs at my local Walmart.

The real problem is Network effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect
It's not practical to keep Sugar, when switching to MS will give global interoperability with other MS users.

An MS-based OLPC will still accomplish most of its goals and some additional ones. The cost is all of those millions of OLPC students not ever gaining the computer literacy necessary to know that there are solutions beyond what Microsoft supports.

Microsoft on OLPC is a solution for right now, but an open OLPC was a solution for the future.

I am a big Linux fan (and Ubuntu in particular) but I have to say that I am happy about this XP news.

Why? Because Sugar is a bad joke and there is nothing on the horizon which could help the XO deliver on its original promises.

At least, with the XP, I can hope that I will be able to suspend the bloody laptop and resume it later.

As a G1G1 donor, I have been waiting for the Sugar OS to get any usable but have got nothing so far and I am loosing faith that it will become ever usable. And I mean this for educational purposes as well not only for G1G1 users. (I certainly think that a working suspend-resume is a must for a student laptop which has to work for a whole day).

If the XP for XO has sophisticated power management and gives a more-than-10-hour runtime with ebook reading, than this will be the first XP licence I will purchase in my life. I hate Microsoft but this seems be the only way to make my XO useful. Pretty ironic, isn't it.

@sola:
"I am a big Linux fan"

If you don't like Sugar, the alternative could be any other window manager, eg, xfce+ubuntu. The OLPCnews forums have ample links to installation instructions you can do NOW.

I really don't see why you would like to wait for a still non-existing XP to get rid of Sugar?

Winter

Well I was doing to Get one give one, but I won't bother now.
I have no interest in extending a monopoly's power with my hard earned cash. I'll get myself an Elonex one which is much cheaper, and donate through the regular channels.

@winter
Yes, I can replace Sugar with Xfce but that will not make Suspend and Resume work. Without that the XO is a really bad laptop. And I mean a real suspend here not one which drains your battery in a couple of hours (because the mesh network impossible to shut down).

It will also not make Autosuspend work in the Read activity (or any activity for that matter).

These problems can be helped with a decent OS. Unfortunatelly, Sugar OS is not that.

Currently the XO with the stable Sugar OS can provide about a 3.5 hour runtime. No suspend, no hibernation and shutdown-restart is sloooow.

If Windows XO can make the XO a usable machine with ebook mode and good power management, then bring it on. At least the developer guys at Red Hat and OLPC will feel the need to catch up and deliver Update 1 finally.

@sola:
"Without that the XO is a really bad laptop. And I mean a real suspend here not one which drains your battery in a couple of hours (because the mesh network impossible to shut down)."

I think you are right, the XO is clearly not for you.

The XO was developed for a specific audience (children in the developing world) and it's software still in active development. Windows XP, on the other hand, is long out of development.

From your comments, I think you will be better served with a Windows notebook.

Winter

Dave wrote:

> It's not practical to keep Sugar, when switching to MS will give global interoperability with other MS users.

Other then Microsoft file formats, and even there it's mostly the very recent version of those file formats, I don't believe there's all that much of an interoperability problem. Since using/exchanging Powerpoint presentations is unlikely to be all that important a consideration for barefoot seven year-olds, interoperability's not that big a concern anyway.

User interface considerations are a more valid concern but since the underlying concepts are, necessarily, identical it'd be mostly a matter of mapping implementation details learned in Sugar into those used in Windows. A tedious chore but not much of an impediment.

A greater concern is how the XO's supposed to accomplish its mission. Constructivism is supposed to be the educational concept that turns the XO into an educational revolution yet with three (or six) decades of history the utility of the idea is yet to be demonstrated to those without a vested interest.

@allen:
"Constructivism is supposed to be the educational concept that turns the XO into an educational revolution yet with three (or six) decades of history the utility of the idea is yet to be demonstrated to those without a vested interest."

That depends entirely on your definition of "Constructivism".

If you limit it to a very specific, exactly defined system from a specific book, then indeed, there is no demonstration of utility of this particular theory. However, in this respect, the ideas of a free market economy from Adam Smith have never been implemented into the last detail. No one is going to say that his ideas are untested because there has never been an exact implementation of his ideas.

But if we include the ideas of Piaget, Parkhurst, and Montessori with those of Papert and Kay, then there is ample evidence about what works and what not. Montessori and Dalton schools have littered large parts of Europe for half a century or more. You can even find them in the US (Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Jeff Bezos were all from Montessori schools).

In northern Europe, state-education is heavily influenced by these constructivist ideas, so even there you can find evidence about what works.

In general, my understanding is that stimulating the initiative of students has worked extremely well. Especially with motivated kids. I am sure you can find examples in the US of project based education (at least, we see them in all the US children's programs).

Winter

Well handled, Constructivism can be All That Is Good, and those who oppose it made to look like the forces of darkness. Yet that is simple word manipulation, because the odds of Constructivism to be well handled by the crowd that gave us G1G1 and XP on XO is rather dim.
Even worse when constructivism will be handled by teachers IDP who have no idea on how to handle it well, even if their intentions are the very best.
Now, when handled badly, Constructivism has no edge above other teaching methods such as (shudder) memorization, and quite a few drawbacks.

Now you're just being tedious winter. Free market economics is demonstrably superior to such pathetic alternatives as exist. Perfect implementation isn't necessary in order for the benefits to appear. Close enough is good enough since human nature flows to the opportunity when opportunity isn't proscribed by those in positions of political power.

If you wish to draw some comparison between the over-bureaucratized, administratively top-heavy edifice that's common to public education with the supposedly freer and more natural atmosphere engendered by constructivist ideas then you ought to be able to point to evidence of the superior educational results. Three billionaire examples are pretty sexy but they're not evidence of a generally superior educational philosophy.

They ought to be pretty damned superior results as well since it's possible to extract better results from the current system, for a time, but political forces will always work to ensure that educational excellence is punished. If you're doing such a fine job with your current budget then maybe a bit of it can be diverted to more pressing matters without too much damage.

> Now, when handled badly, Constructivism has no edge above other teaching methods such as (shudder) memorization, and quite a few drawbacks.

So if it were choice between a pilot with a superior grasp of the principles of aerodynamics and a pilot who'd performed a thousand touch-and-go landings you'd opt for the former.

Now you're just being tedious winter. Free market economics is demonstrably superior to such pathetic alternatives as exist. Perfect implementation isn't necessary in order for the benefits to appear. Close enough is good enough since human nature flows to the opportunity when opportunity isn't proscribed by those in positions of political power.

If you wish to draw some comparison between the over-bureaucratized, administratively top-heavy edifice that's common to public education with the supposedly freer and more natural atmosphere engendered by constructivist ideas then you ought to be able to point to evidence of the superior educational results. Three billionaire examples are pretty sexy but they're not evidence of a generally superior educational philosophy.

They ought to be pretty damned superior results as well since it's possible to extract better results from the current system, for a time, but political forces will always work to ensure that educational excellence is punished. If you're doing such a fine job with your current budget then maybe a bit of it can be diverted to more pressing matters without too much damage.

> Now, when handled badly, Constructivism has no edge above other teaching methods such as (shudder) memorization, and quite a few drawbacks.

So if it were choice between a pilot with a superior grasp of the principles of aerodynamics and a pilot who'd performed a thousand touch-and-go landings you'd opt for the former.

@allen
The problem with metaphors...

>> Now, when handled badly, Constructivism has no edge above other teaching methods such as (shudder) memorization, and quite a few drawbacks.

>So if it were choice between a pilot with a superior grasp of the principles of aerodynamics and a pilot who'd performed a thousand touch-and-go landings you'd opt for the former.

First, please notice that I said "when handled badly".

Hmm, to answer your question, I'd say that I'd go with training our theory of aerodynamics guy to become a pilot, over the one who has a (free exploration) grasp of flying through Nintendo games, or the one who with no formal knowledge whatsoever, who has crashed a plane every time he went up (and somehow survived). BTW, this is standard procedure with airlines and NASA and so on. Get the people with theory background above the seat-of-the-pants wannabees, and then TRAIN them right!

In the case of pilots especially, you trust effort, learning and tenacity, and hundreds of rote repeats of procedures, any day over creative mavericks, that is unless you are making a movie. Creative guys and gals do have a place, but it is not piloting a passenger plane if they cannot control their creativity.

I think that your pilot metaphor actually is excellent when proving how constructivism has second place in the real world. Maybe that was unintended, but it worked that way. Training rules.

This is a very good thing. One, it's going to improve windows overall, as people will see and demand more efficiency. Two it's going to cause innovation within sugar OS. Three, I think it will be better for some users of the system. As much as I'd love the existing operating setup to be perfect for me, it's simply not. I was hoping for more ebook and slideshow functionality and I got zero. At least I can go to another option to use my XO. It doesn't demean anything. Just like having windows is the reason Linux, kde, gnome have evolved the way they have over the past few years. They get better having an enemy, and a catalyst, and another perspective.

Today God frowned upon the world.

So, instead of all this huffing and puffing about a cheap revolutionary laptop that uses their own technology, they could have just purchased ASUS laptops en masse and at the end come to the same price.

The end of the line for OLPC. The original vision is still viable, hopefully someone else will carry the torch.

@llen&Yama Ploskonka:
"So if it were choice between a pilot with a superior grasp of the principles of aerodynamics and a pilot who'd performed a thousand touch-and-go landings you'd opt for the former."

That is why a pilot's training has no part in elementary education.

In school education we can roughly distinguish a few phases:
- 6-12: Broad primary education of basic skills
- 12-16+: Broad secondary education of general skills
- 16+: Specialization to chosen profession

For low paying jobs and poor communities, children have to start working in the 12-16 phase, with dire consequences for their development.

Starting about pilots to damn constructivism in elementary education actually implies that you can start active training for flying airplanes at an age of 6. This is obviously completely ridiculous.

But if it is ridiculous to actively train a 6 year-old for airline pilot, why assume that you can use educational methods for adults on 6 year olds? And the training of pilots requires a lot of basic skills that cannot be learned the way you learn to fly an airplane.

And for evidence. First, constructivism is a term I know only from the USA. However, I know the ideas from constructivism, Piaget etc., from normal state-funded education in my own country. All these "constructivist" ideas are quite mainstream in north-west Europe (I don't know about the rest).

The evidence demanded of Constructivism versus Standard education can hardly be given from developed countries because the overlap is so large. Where do I find constructivist-free education? Mostly in places with fairly bad educational systems.

However, I understand from your comments that the USA has a completely Constructivst-free state-education. So people from the USA could compare their state-eduction with those Montessori and Dalton schools. The fact that some self-made billionairs got their education there does show that not every child visiting them is doomed.

I don't have any links, but in the Netherlands there is a periodic evaluations of schools on school type. This pits "standard" public schools against those based on faith, and those based on the ideas of Montessori, Parkhurst, Steiner, etc (there are many of them). The results are mainly that it doesn't matter that much in the Netherlands.

At one hand, you have the socio-economic segregation that causes the largest differences. Children from poor, uneducated parents end up at the state-schools. The higher the income and education of the parents, the more the children go "up the food chain". The second major determiner seems to be the teachers. If there is tension in the team, school results drop. And the "special" schools tend to have the most problems in this respect. Mostly bad management hidden behind ideological fights.

I have long tried to find a link to the hard numbers, but never found a useful compilation. What I remember from the newspapers was that on average, Montessori and Dalton schools tend to have slightly lower test grades than the faith based schools (who are less faith based than their name suggest). In my opinion, not enough difference to exclude parent self-selection effects (which are strong).

And I know that the Dalton school in my neighborhood has much better results that the nearby oecomenical faith based school. So much for averages.
(If you can read Dutch, the raw numbers can be found on this site:
http://www.onderwijsinspectie.nl/)

But as all teachers over here tend to learn about Piaget et al. anyway, it is extremely difficult to see what the educational difference between "constructivist" schools and the other types is.

In short, there is more in the educational world than just USA political school fights.

I can only write about what I have seen. I don't know enough about the Finnish, Hungarian, New Zealand, Japanese, or Chinese educational systems to give an informed opinion of their functioning. However, I do know that these countries have educational systems that are completely different from that of the USA. Attempts to understand them in terms of Standard versus Constructivist teachings will be uninformative as we have no idea what their standard is, nor what their constructivist schools do.

Anyhow, this discussion is completely academic. I have yet to see an alternative to the educational ideas of the OLPC for which the the target countries actually have the means of implementing.

Winter

@winter
You still don't get it, do you? A pupil in Peru and a G1G1 user needs the SAME variety of power management options including the total shut-off of the radio when there is nobody around to collaborate with but there is no electricity at home and the laptop must last till the next day in school. This is not some G1G1 whislist.

Unfortunatelly, the same can be said for a decent browser (students really don't need tab pages, why would they want to browse more than one pages confortably eh?) and the ebook reader program (which hardly supports actual reading).

It is really tiresome that every mistake of OLPC is simply answered by: "not needed by students, not a priority".

@sola:
"You still don't get it, do you?"

Obviously. But I am willing to learn.

@sola:
"It is really tiresome that every mistake of OLPC is simply answered by: "not needed by students, not a priority"."

I am not sure what you are getting at.

Sugar is not Windows XP. It was not meant to. It was adapted to specific hardware for a specific target audience. Trade-offs were made to fit the GUI into the limited hardware. If you think they made the wrong trade-offs for the children, you might explain why they should have made a different choice based on the limitations they face and a cost-benefit analysis.

So, battery technology, cost, software, and weight limit the useful use duration on a single charge. The wireless chip can be powered down (at least that is in the specifications). And this must be possible to be able to use the XO on an airplane, which is in the books too. And without possible connections, it will take only a few days before someone enters a patch to lower power consumption when out of reach.

With respect to browsers and other software. You must be kidding to equate Sugar with every single appliction.

This is NOT windows, and you can sugarize whatever application you want. I consider it irrational to require from the OLPC to include all YOUR preferences in their initial release. The OLPC have done a requirement analysis and made the trade-offs, also including their limited developer hours. If you think there would be better choices, you will have to do more than "they need tabs". You have to show what the costs are in resource use and the benefits in user "experience".

And after such an analysis, they can even find YOU were right, and they wrong. And someone will add tabs to their browser. Because this is FOSS, everybody can do that. (just as no one but MS were able to add tabs to IE)

So, what I do not get is why the OLPC should be omnipotent and able to fit every possible selection of features in this single, limited, piece of hardware with their limited number of developers. They have made and will make errors, probably many of them. That comes with being human. Just saying they should go away because you think they made a wrong choice will be answered with the request to show the code if you think you know better.

Winter

When I think of all the orphans in their miserable, rat-infested, garbage-strewn, open-sewer of a slum that won't be able to hack their own kernel, I could just cry. In fact, I am crying. Right now. As I type.

"For our part, the Red Hat Sugar team believes it is building a best of breed OS for the target audience."

Ah what hybris. Ask the BeOs developers where this gets you. Without wanting to sound shallow: It's so easy to fall to the tempations of the dark side. Their brand will kill you if you give in to them.

"Haggard, I would not be you for all the world. You have let your doom in by the front door, but it will not depart that way! Farewell, poor Haggard!"

Peace
-stephan

I think it is fine to have a version of Windows that runs on the XO, but the standard build of the laptop should come with Linux, Sugar, Python, eToys, etc. To say that some people think that Windows is a good educational platform is a sad commentary, and if Windows on the XO were to mean the demise of the current open source platform then OLPC may as well just close their doors. We need a new platform to encourage innovation in personal computing.

> Starting about pilots to damn constructivism in elementary education actually implies that you can start active training for flying airplanes at an age of 6. This is obviously completely ridiculous.

I am sorry, Winter. EVERYTHING starts at age 6, or even earlier. There are no sure-fire indicators of what you'll end up like later in life, but the fact is that your training (basically in character) starts at that age or earlier. Curiosity for certain areas will begin there, for certain behaviors, etc.
I've worked in a Montessori school, and I am truly amazed. Now, Montessori depends on highly trained teachers in high maintenance classrooms. Human interaction is paramount. To try to assimilate Montessori (intelligent teachers working very close to each child) with OLPC (give the kid a green box and send him to explore by himself) is preposterous.
It is just more of the standard constructivist double-speak, to pretend to associate with somewhat successful but irreproducible methods. Have you seen Seymour Papert's opinion on giving each kid a computer? He actually states, through research (/Mindworks/) that if you have more computers than one per 2-3 kids, you should turn them off to force the kids to be several per machine. However, OLPC counts Papert as another we-re-good-by-association name to boast.

I am glad that he finally shows his real face.

@yamaplos:
"I am sorry, Winter. EVERYTHING starts at age 6, or even earlier."

But NEVER educating 6 year olds using methods designed for 20 year olds.

You simply cannot use your method for 6 year olds:
"In the case of pilots especially, you trust effort, learning and tenacity, and hundreds of rote repeats of procedures, any day over creative mavericks, that is unless you are making a movie."
That simply is NOT the way to educate 6 year olds.

@yamaplos:
"Now, Montessori depends on highly trained teachers in high maintenance classrooms. Human interaction is paramount."

That is because current Montessori school curriculums were developed for rich countries (and often applied to rich children). That is not to say that the underlying theory cannot be applied to educating poor, disadvantaged children.

And the OLPC does not want to supply our Montessori education to children in the developing world. They want to try to use modern educational ideas to improve the education of children who lack adequate teachers.

I interpret your remark as saying that modern education can only be given if we have many highly trained teachers. This is just saying that educational theories have nothing to say about how children learn.

This whole discussion oscillates between complaining that there is no evidence that there is education beyond the USA standard behaviorist theory and complaining that modern, eg, constructivist, education is simply too teacher intensive to be applied in the developing world. So whenever someone presents evidence that one side can be solved, all complains switch to the other. And then back again.

What you saying is that the current education children in poor countries get is the best they can get with the teachers available. So we can all go home as there are no ways to improve the teachers.

In this case, I prefer those who try to make the situation better with the people available to those who give up on those children.

Winter

"That is because current Montessori school curriculums were developed for rich countries"
I apologise again to have to point a mistake, Winter. Montessori ed was developped among the poorest in Rome. Wikipedia it to see.

If now it _seems_ the province of the rich, it is because the rich have a better chance of escaping the clutches of educationese pharaohs, whose idealism blinds them to the realities of life. Poor families have little choice but to accept what is handed down to them, in this case a shiny green box of promises, many of them impossible to fulfill unless a whole cratefull of mindsets changes...

Also, FYI, Montessori does give kids enormous exploration possibilities, _within_ a very rigid framework of assuming responsibilities from their youngest age. Just to distribute the candy (shiny exploration) without the responsibility (complete activities _as_expected_and_directed_ before moving on) is very irresponsible, especially among 6 year olds.

:-) Now, be careful of saying the USA supports behaviorist theory. Many here would take that as an insult, yet do read Koestler's "The Ghost in the Machine", to see him prove how behaviorism has thoroughly infected us (and the rest of the world) in myths such as evolution, etc

>I interpret your remark as saying that modern education can only be given if we have many highly trained teachers.

I'm afraid that would be a misunderstanding. There are other ways to get modern education. It's just that Constructivism In A Box ain't it. Highly trained teachers would be it, but it will never happen. Training Tools In A Box might help, and then, and only then, can we throw in some constructivism. Without training in fundamentals (3Rs) the rest is rather moot.

@yamaplos:
"Training Tools In A Box might help, and then, and only then, can we throw in some constructivism. Without training in fundamentals (3Rs) the rest is rather moot."

Here we might even agree. Maybe I just see more tools in the XO than you do.
I especially see the communication possibilities as extremely powerful.

I know Montessori developed her methods for the poor. But current schools are very far from that origin and are targeting the rich children that actually visit them (as they should). That does NOT mean that modernized ideas following Piaget, Montessori, Parkhurst, Pappert, Kay etc. cannot be used to improve education where there are not enough teachers available. And I am sorry, but I still cannot see much beyond "give them everything or nothing" in your ideas. I don't see a real alternative in all these comments outside "give up".

Behaviorism never really had many fans in Europe. They have always believed in a more "ethological" approach like Tinbergen, Lorentz, and von Frish developed. I also do not see much behaviorist influences in our schools.

(Really Off Topic: I don't see how you can accept science and the scientific method and reject evolution and cosmology. If you reject evolution, be consequent and reject the rest of science too)

Winter

I haven't read all comments but it astonishes me that no one even mentions the availability of mass-market RISC processors such as ARM, MIPS and PPC that could run GNU/Linux just as well as any x86 processor.

It would make the task of making Windows XP run on the OLPC XO a lot harder and the battery would last a lot longer, especially with an ARM implementation (preferably with VFP and NEON). So I'm not surprised how Microsoft is managing to pretty easily subvert the whole premise of the XO.

The opportunity was virtually handed to them on a platter and Microsoft has accepted it with both hands. Otherwise emulators would have to be written to even be able to run x86 Windows apps, a losing proposition for Microsoft, which doesn't even have fully implemented IA64 support for all of their products.

Windows (any version) is an irrelevant, dead-end operating system and Microsoft can do anything they want to prevent GNU/Linux from gaining mindshare and market share, even in the education of our young ones, but it won't help them much.

At least I will try to take care of that personally and would appreciate it if many more did. However, if OLPC will support running Windows XP on the XO, I'm not going to buy any at all.

I was thinking of buying a few for my nephews and nieces, but if Wayan's projected horror scenario comes true, I'm not going to spend any of my money on them despite all the good work that OLPC and Red Hat have done. It would be the moral bankruptcy of OLPC.

I think that xp support will be extended for these machines. There are just too many coming to market in 2008. Microsoft would be losing market share in the year just from eee pcs. It will be interesting to see how MS backpedals to offer XP again.

I am a mac user that uses xp at work and I feel that xp is refined enough for general use. I know people with vista that are either pushed under the massive wheels of the OS or having massive compatibility problems.

It would behoove microsoft to release a UM(PC)XP version that is fast, updated, secure and runs on these new UMPCs. XP has been around so long it is as if they were never going to abandon it. I think XP could use a few months under the knife gaining speed and utilizing the gpus when available. I have XP home on my eee pc that I made smaller with nlite. The installed xp was about 800MB. That is acceptable. Anything more woudl be a serious problem on a 4GB SSD drive.

Looks like I was absolutely correct in my blog post a few months ago:

http://codeeleven.blogspot.com/2007/11/linux-killed-one-laptop-per-child.html

Gotta love the wafer thin criticism of Johnathan Holland. I guess it is to be expected that even Microsoft could breed the kind of rabid attack dogs that every other techno-cult like Linux or Apple can, even if some of them have to spend their time at the back of the line for assigning blame.

How can providing an additional option to users ever be a bad thing? Its not like they are going to hold a gun to anyone's head and force them to install XP...

Yeah! The more options there are, the worse things are for everyone! I wonder how people would react if the title of this article was, "osx on the xo in 60 days".

Jesse

I disagree with the author of the blog post. Why would someone pay an extra $100 to have XP unless he/she found it offered additional value. Did you really expect the team at OLPC to be able to catch up to every aspect of XP nearly overnight? It's sad, but there are still some ways in which it's easier to use Windows than Linux. This is not a problem with OLPC, but with Linux in general. I say this as a long time Linux user.

Hahaha, open your eyes please: there's no education at all in this project, and never been.

To educate someone you need teachers and schools, stupid hi-tech alone is useless. Hi-tech may seem very useful for you, western man, but there is some world beyond.

Yama,

"Have you seen Seymour Papert's opinion on giving each kid a computer? He actually states, through research (/Mindworks/) that if you have more computers than one per 2-3 kids, you should turn them off to force the kids to be several per machine."

I think you have wrong ideas what Papert's says in 'Mindstorms' (no, it's not "Mindworks", please at least get the title right).

In the very Introduction Papert states [1]:

"My vision of a new kind of learning environment demands free contact between children and computers. This could happen because the child's family buys one or a child's friends have one. For purposes of discussion here (and to extend our discussion to all social groups) let assume that it happens because schools give every one of their students his or her own powerful personal computer"

I'm more than happy to be corrected and for you to point out the relevant pages of 'Minstorms' (I have my own copy) which you based your comments on - thanks.

[1] Seymour Papert "Mindstorms - Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas' , p,16

@pierre:
"To educate someone you need teachers and schools, stupid hi-tech alone is useless. Hi-tech may seem very useful for you, western man, but there is some world beyond."

Let them eat cake!

That is your message, isn't it?

Winter

Ubuntu4ever


I think that this is still a win for OLPC and a tribute to the Linux community.

Negroponte is about changing corporate strategy of large companies to suit the OLPC project. I think that Microsoft realises the scale of OLPC and M$ has the resources to respond to the needs of the OLPC project.

That being said, I am saddened by Negroponte's decision because I would prefer an XO community which I could participate in.

The way that I see it is this:

I got my six year old an OLPC through the Buy one Give One program, we received it just before X-Mas (we were part of the lucky ones) and within 2 to 3 days after initially using it he became more than annoyed at the terrible speed, ponderous UI, and ultimately refuses to use because it is basically useless compared to the family computer, which is lightning fast (pretty much a gamer rig). If it had XP, I'm sure he would get much more out if it. As it stands, it stinks, another paperweight. For the money I spent, I could have gotten him at least a celeron powered POS. We are probably going to sell it soon, I'll buy him a regular laptop with the proceeds from the sale.

A real shame.

> Free market economics is demonstrably superior to such pathetic alternatives as exist.

no - one-dimensional free market economics is not. humans are multi-dimensional. read professor muhammad yunus' new book, "creating a world without poverty".

for insights read:

http://advogato.org/article/973.html for comments from a second reader (not me)

http://advogato.org/article/971.html for the original discussion

> ultimately refuses to use because it is basically useless compared to the family computer

ahh, your child is spoiled already, and you have taught him that it is okay for his ego and lack of patience to be acceptable.

congratulations.

please send me that XO because i will make better use of it than you. this is the issue, isn't it: we in the west are "spoiled".

i have a friend who, when his children asked for a computer he got the Texas Instruments 1980s machine out of the cupboard, along with the 20-year-old Byte magazines and told them to get on with it. out of sheer curiosity - and perhaps shock - they did.

once they had gone through all of those, and actually understood the origins of computing, only then did he let them have the 10-year-old pentium III machine.

these are children who are not having everything handed to them on a plate, who know the value of what they have, and who do not get "impatient" at waiting for a computing device to finish.

are you proud of teaching your child to be spoiled instead of curious?

@Luke,
Here you are calling somebody 'spoiled' while you beg them to give you something for nothing. We in the west are also 'greedy'.

@Winter & @ Delphi

Sorry, lost this thread. Delphi, until I find a copy of _Mindstorms_, I stand corrected. I read it many years back while in teacher's college, yet I am totally sure about having it from That Authority that if there's less that 2-3 kids per machine, you should shut down the excess computers to force kids to work together at fewer machines, but I might be mistaken.

Winter, I am always so thankful of your comments, since they do point out flaws in my delivery. I might have the right idea, but I often mess up how I present it and then people do get confused. No, I definitely and never will have an "all or nothing" approach. That is why I insist on platform-independent solutions. It is an educational project, not a laptop project. We need different ports for the delivery of education, training and educational tools, as many as we can, even if some will not be able to use mesh, or the camera, etc.

As to evolution, which is not all off-topic. Do people accept it handed as dogma, or do people get a chance to study it scientifically? If you do actually apply science to it, you will find it a quaint theory, about as valid as other ones, confusing, incomplete, full of divergent explanations on how a certain phenomenon happens to become. Constructionist children, if truly allowed to see outside of dogmas and ideologies will find little use for such theories that have been forced on the rest of us. Proper teaching/instruction also presents it that way.

That is exactly the problem (and solution) for XP on the XO. XP is like evolution, accepted by most everybody as a fact because everybody does it, while those who dare to dig do see there is much, much, that just is plain better. I see this as relevant, since the very issue of education is at stake here, but actual discussions on evolution should happen off this news site, I agree. Contact through my signature if you want to follow up.

I have some excellent language teaching software that runs on XP.
Tell me again how using the OLPC to help solve the world literacy problem is anything but GOOD!!

Microsoft does its job, taking the first step to virgin s/w markets very early on with a very good already-established marketing option, the XO laptop. And I think Negroponte does his job too, making the XO laptop "product" much more appealing to already-established markets in Europe and Asia, who already use XP in schools and Universities.

As long as the primary goal of XO remains the same and the OLPC project stays totally independent of any "outsider" company, they will both benefit from this agreement. It is completely pathetic, though, to see Microsoft charging $3-$7 for single and dual boot setups (WinXP/Linux) and not contributing a penny or joining the OLPC project like Intel did (at least for a while).

People, people, people . . .

How many posts are there in this thread so far?

Do you not see why it's absolutely essential for a book reader, or any other educational device, to run as many miles, and at as great a speed, from the entire MS/Windows/Sugar/OLPC battlefield -- because that's plainly what it is, a battlefield (or possibly a pig-sty) -- as is possible?

It's nonsense. It's rubbish. It's pernicious, nonsensical rubbish, designed solely to see who is going to make the next billion dollars out of the developing world.

That's it, people.

It, really, truly, is. Which truth depresses me.

Or it would do, except that the notion of taking on the entire, ****ing, stupid, crass, constipated, moribund, snouts-in-the-trough, multibillion-dollar IT world didn't instead fill me with a kind of unholy glee.

The essential purpose of hardware in education is to display information, in the form of symbols and pictures, on a screen. You know, the way it happens with ink on paper. The only function of the operating system is to manage this rather simple task. A reasonably computer-literate twelve-year old, such as one of my grandchildren, could arrange for it to happen, on a piece of equipment costing around the same as a teddy-bear and with the same running costs.


With cheers and with love

Martin Woodhouse

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