Uruguay Schools to Pilot Windows XO and MS Office


Uruguay's "El País" announced on the 7th day of the 7th month that 7 thousand 7th graders will receive XO computers in Treinta y Tres, Uruguay, running MS Office on Windows. (English translation via Google)

olpc windows xo
Windows XO laptops in Uruguay

The article stresses that Microsoft and the Uruguayan Central Education Council (CODICEN, the top authority as to school policy in Uruguay) will be monitoring closely the experience. This is interesting news considering that so far Ceibal, run by the LATU (Technological Laboratories of Uruguay, a government-financed, semi-independent body) has not shown much interest in monitoring and evaluation, even though it is indicated this pilot will be also part of Ceibal.

The CODICEN Director, Laura Motta, indicates her concern regarding possible backlash from defenders of open software, saying that "this is not a general change", moreover, that for Secondary education it has already been decided to work with open source software, so as "not to be committed to a single provider".

The M&E process should take up to the end of this school year (late November), and teacher training was begun this week, the second of the winter school break in Uruguay. No computers will be provided to the teachers, though "10 will be available in every school library".

It is not clear if these XO laptops were paid for by the Uruguayan government of donated by Microsoft, or whether they have some hardware enhancement. It is said they are "the same" as those the Primary school children use already.

An interesting "by the way" shared by another source indicates that there will be no internet connection provided for this pilot.

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So what is going to happen pretty soon when Microsoft stops selling XP? Surely Windows 7 won't run on it. And what about the X0-2, when Microsoft has said it is not porting Windows 7 to ARM?

As I have said before, it is pretty clear that Microsoft is actually trying to do anything with olpc, but it pretends it is to sow confusion. That's how I interpret this story.

If Microsoft drops support of XP on the XO, they could always try the forthcoming Google Chrome or just re-flash the machines back to SUgar only.

The complete quote from the Minister is "Ante posibles críticas de los defensores del uso de software libre, Motta recordó que ese es el software que se utiliza en todas las xo
[Sugar] y que la experiencia en Treinta y Tres no significa un cambio general, sino que es un plan piloto que permite observar prestaciones de otro tipo de software."

Facing possible criticism from advocates of Free Software, Motta drew attention to the fact that the same [Sugar] software is used as on all other XOs, and that the experiment in Thirty-Three does not constitute a changeover, but that it is a pilot plan to permit observation of any advantages from another kind of software.

In other words, these are dual-boot Linux + Windows XOs. I think that this is wonderful, as I have been saying ever since OLPC announced that Windows would only be available in the dual-boot configuration. At last Microsoft is funding a test of Linux vs. Windows on the same hardware by the same people, none of them on the Microsoft payroll.

Ok, it's going to be dual-boot. But why is that a benefit to anyone if, as I said above, Microsoft isn't going to support the XO? What use is it to observe advantages from other software if you are never going be be able to deploy it on a large scale?

I respectfully disagree that the Minister's comment is that *these* are dual boot. I assume that he makes reference to Sugar being the software running in the *other* machines of Ceibal. Then, until we get someone from Treinta y Tres to tell us, we won't know for sure either way...

OTOH, I must agree that if it is the policy of the Uruguayan decision makers not to be dependent of a single software provider, it makes complete sense for them to try out something else besides what is provided by their current monopoly, OLPC/Sugarlabs, in this case, Microsoft. :-)

Oops, that should read, "Microsoft is not actually trying to do anything with olpc"

@Eduardo What advantages from other software? The point is to observe that Windows is worse than useless, and have done with it. To be able to point our fingers at Microsoft and laugh.

ok, I'm with you now.

Interesting to note: this amounts to around 3% of laptops in Uruguay being able to be run Windows as-well-as GNU/Linux & Sugar.

I know is old news but whatever happened with this? Anyone knows anything about it? Is a year by now...
On different note. There is _a lot_ of windows related activity in the OFW front latelly ( http://tracker.coreboot.org/trac/openfirmware/search?q=windows&noquickjump=1&changeset=on )
Are XO-HS ( http://www.olpcnews.com/laptops/xo15/high_school_xo_laptop_uruguay.html ) also to run Windows?

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