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No Windows (Officially) On OLPC 179

Posted by kdawson
from the thinking-of-the-children dept.
Kadin2048 writes "Despite reports last week in major news sources indicating that the One Laptop Per Child project was in negotiations with Microsoft to bring Windows XP to the low-cost platform, Walter Bender, president of Software and Content at OLPC, said in an interview with Ars Technica, 'We are a free and open-source shop. We have no one from OLPC working with Microsoft on developing a Windows platform for the XO.'"
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No Windows (Officially) On OLPC

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  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:46AM (#18970907)
    re MS forcing the price of the OLPC up with their hardware requirements look very silly now doesn't it.
    • by spencer4554 (661744) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:04AM (#18971059)
      MS is at the root of all evils in the world. You look silly for not seeing the big picture here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822)
      All it really seems to say is that OLPC staff aren't working on porting Windows, which no one, that I recall, ever claimed. The project has, however, also stated [theregister.co.uk] that Qanta, the company that is building the computer for the project, is working with Microsoft on Windows for the computer.
    • The hardware upgrades weren't done because of MS. The CPU upgrade was done because the newer Geode offers a bigger cash, that helps speeding up the Python interpreter. AMD provided the new chip for the same price of the old. The Memory upgrade was a specific request of the involved countries. They were requesting it because with a bigger flash the machine would be have remained usable for an extended number of years. The SD card was an addition that MS appreciated, but was unrelated. The chip controller had
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Locutus (9039)
        I could see either an SD slot or the extra FLASH but both seem to provide the same feature of added storage space. And just because the chipset has the support, it's not free or cheap. The SD slot required a new case and planarboard layout and it opens the package to environmental incursions. But like I said, putting expanded onboard FLASH or removable FLASH provide the same function. As far as increasing system runtime memory from 128MB to 256MB goes, it's a toss up as to if this really buys you anything
        • FLASH...FLASH...FLASH...

          Either "FLASH" is actually an acronym (and I didn't realize it), or you're making your post really annoying to read.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Locutus (9039)
            point taken, it's Flash not all caps. I'll use EEPROM instead. ;-)

            LoB
  • Heh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:49AM (#18970931)
    If there's one thing you can believe coming from the OLPC people, it's when they acknowledge that they don't have something!
  • 3 bucks? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:50AM (#18970943)

    Bender also indicated that Microsoft has not contacted OLPC regarding its $3 software bundling program, nor have any governments requested that the XO be outfitted with Windows.


    I'm sure Microsoft did contact them, and asked for $50 in licensing fees per unit to ship it with Windows Vista Crippled Edition Ultimate, so Bender told them to bite his shiny ass.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:51AM (#18970949)
    I am glad to hear that it won't be Windows. Open software is a much better choice when you are trying to distribute low-cost computers to every child. Windows would have locked them into the Windows upgrade cycle, required frequent net access for updates, and would have just hidden a lot of the internals from the kids.

    Open software, while it also requires updates, gives them a much better platform on which to learn. They can explore *nix operating systems, add programs - almost always for free, plus it will build an open software user base around the world. Not that that isn't already happening as more and more countries and companies switch to open source software, but by bringing on a new generation, this will be the push to put open source over the top.
    • Spare me (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shivetya (243324)
      Open software is a much better choice when you are trying to distribute low-cost computers to every child. Windows would have locked them into the Windows upgrade cycle, required frequent net access for updates, and would have just hidden a lot of the internals from the kids.



      Get real, these are not machines destined for upgrades and I seriously doubt a full blown version of windows would have ever be used.


      Besides, if you want to get nit picky. Windows delivers updates very easily and wholly hidden should y
      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        They are more concerned with making sure these people can communicate with each other, receive information helpful to their daily lives (like weather)

        The OLPC is purely designed to be a teaching tool. That's it. This is the One Laptop Per CHILD program, not One Laptop Per Parent or Per Family. It has nothing to do with adults communicating with each other or checking the weather. It may be able to do that, but that's not what it is designed for. It will also never be a substitute for a real teacher, and is
  • by AEton (654737) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:56AM (#18970985)
    For unrelated reasons, I was reading the OLPC Wiki's Myths page [laptop.org] weeks ago and noticed this entry, which hasn't changed any in the time since:

    The proposed $100 machine will run a Microsoft Windows operating system
    True: Microsoft is working on a Windows based system that can be executed on the OLPC laptop. False: There is no strategy change. The OLPC is continuing to develop a Linux-based software set for the laptop in conjunction with Red Hat. But since the OLPC project is open we cannot (and maybe even don't want to) stop other people from developing and supplying alternate software packages.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vhogemann (797994)
      Well...

      If Microsoft manage to fit a XP/Vista compatible OS inside the OLPC, I guess many people will be purchasing it to install on their desktops.. It would be perfect for a gaming machine!
      • It would be perfect for a gaming machine!

        Yeah, I can't wait to get a machine that's capable of playing Solitaire, Minesweeper, and FreeCell...
        • by vhogemann (797994)
          If it is XP/Vista compatible, probably it will be DirectX compatible too... It's just a matter of installing it on a full desktop computer.
  • Does it matter ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ceroklis (1083863) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:10AM (#18971145)
    They may not be collaborating with Microsoft on this issue, but this is not going to prevent Microsoft from porting Windows to the XO and trying to sell it (or give it away) to the governments that will purchase the laptops.

    I am sure some countries will be more than happy to get cheap laptops on one side and then install Windows on them in exchange for a large discount from Microsoft for their government's Windows/Office licenses on the other. Thailand, I am looking at you.

    Some countries involved in the program are serious about free software, but I am afraid others are just looking for a bargain. Not to be pessimistic but I will wait to see what happens before considering the OLPC project as an incredible boon for free software, like some people here.

    • by griffjon (14945)
      More specifically, and along the lines of previous commenter Aelion, OLPC itself (as Bender says) is not working on getting it installed, but they have given MS some test OLPC laptops to play with. I guess it depends on how you define "collaboration"
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      >They may not be collaborating with Microsoft on this issue, but this is not going to prevent Microsoft from porting Windows to the XO and trying to sell it (or give it away) to the governments that will purchase the laptops.

      So? What ever happened to freedom to innovate and freedom to tinker? Oh right, that doesnt apply when you use MS (or whoever is the bad guy nowadays) software. Maybe it should only run signed code to keep the boogeyman away. Is the DIY/tinker ethic just for FOSS now? How much of t
      • What ever happened to freedom to innovate and freedom to tinker?

        It was killed by the Xbox lockdown hardware.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ceroklis (1083863)

        First, I have nothing against users or editors of proprietary software. As an individual user you can evaluate software on different criteria (functionality, price, familiarity, ease of use, supported platforms, use of closed or open file formats/protocols, code quality, existence of irritating activation/licensing/time bomb schemes, support options, ability to study/audit/modify the code, ability to distribute modified versions, ...) and make choices based on what is more important to you. Not everyone wi

    • by evilviper (135110)

      I am sure some countries will be more than happy to get cheap laptops on one side and then install Windows on them in exchange for a large discount from Microsoft for their government's Windows/Office licenses on the other.

      That's absolutely an insane idea.

      First of all, countries aren't going to spend tens of millions of dollars on the OLPCs, to get a few thousand dollars in discounts from Microsoft. Second, they aren't going to be stupid enough to cripple the OLPC machines they are spending such a large am

  • But everyone knows having a Windows OS teaches a child invaluable lessons in stress management!
  • That's too bad (Score:3, Informative)

    by lakiw (1039502) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:18AM (#18971253)
    I was looking forward to using the "show code" button on Windows.

    BTW, yes there is an actual "show code" button on the keyboard. It's really cool. You can edit the code of most of the included applications and apply changes on the fly. I know it's for kids, but I REALLY want one of these laptops. Check it out at www.laptop.org
    • Re:That's too bad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:37AM (#18971485) Journal
      Why don't you check out Squeak [squeak.org] for your desktop or laptop. There's even an OS in progress that runs Squeak on the bare metal [squeak.org], with bootstrapping code in assembly and everything else in Squeak. Everything in Squeak is an object, including pixels in the frame buffer, and can have its code inspected and modified at run time. It should come as no surprise that Alan Kay is heavily involved with both projects.
    • by Locutus (9039)
      that is great but I hope that the customized code doesn't go back to the same location. I can't believe the OLPC people would do that and expect that what'll happen is a copy of the original program/application is made instead. The new version should still be accessable from the Sugar interface but identified as custom some way or another. Have a way to share that new program would be cool too and using the mesh network to share it makes complete sense.

      It's these kinds of things which give me hope that the
  • putting WinXP in OLPC would be like trying to stuff a hippopotamus in to a compact car...
  • So much for OLPC for having its potential buyers in getting to use software that the majority of the world uses.

    I think this project is a waste of resources. Why build new and crippled systems (hardware-wise) and sell it to third world countries and call it a humanitarian service when there are thousands of old computers that are in working condition, capable of running XP and other modern software, but are not being used at all or are being thrown out. We could be saving a ton of resources if we just had a
    • by Vexorian (959249)
      define crippled and non-standard.
    • electricity (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zogger (617870)
      All of those used computers and the displays needed you mention require being plugged into the mains, which may or may not exist where these little laptops are going. The laptops are self powered with a pull string generator charger. That makes a rather big difference one might think. They are also LAPTOPS, which means the kids can haul them to and from school, etc. They also have integral MESH NETWORKING, which your used desktop systems don't have.

      And so on. Every one of these points has been brainstormed,
    • Charging the poor for new books is by no means charity. Do you think the poor should not have new books? Do you think they should all have to read books cast-off by the west?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ajs318 (655362)
      The OLPC is not designed for that. Passing on our cast-offs to someone who can use them is one thing, and it's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself (unless it ends up overloading the electricity / telecoms infrastructure or mucking up established working practices) but OLPC aims to be something radically different.

      The ultimate aim is for some future revision of the OLPC design to be manufactured in the third world for use in the third world, thus breaking their dependency on the West. In order
    • by kabz (770151)
      The OLPC is capable of being charged from a human powered generator where mains power is not available. The OLPC has a screen readable in daylight that also consumes very little power. It is more like very capable eBook, with a keyboard and wireless, than a conventional laptop.

      I think it's a fantastic idea, and the rantings of people who say it's lame, and that people need XP and Office, will be shown to be about as accurate as the people who said the personal computer was a waste of time.

      I wonder the OLPC
  • I mean, I believe Windows still has a place in various environments where it's hard to find competing well-tried products, but if there's some environment I can't understand why one would use it, it's in aids for development nations. They don't need the hottest nVidia drivers for gaming, they don't need advanced CAD applications for construction, they just need the standard stuff, that many Linux distros today offers perfectly fine. They can even get full office suites, and then I think they're starting to
  • by PinkyDead (862370) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:40AM (#18972367) Journal
    ...but that lack of Windows on the OLPC could be an issue.

    Mainly because your average Joe Schmo is absolutely convinced that Windows is a program for writing letters on, or something equally stupid. The lack of interoperability with the rest of the world (however stupid the rest of the world is) puts people at a serious disadvantage.

    For instance, we all know that ODT is the superior document format, but try giving one to someone (in the Joe Schmo category) who only uses Word. They look at you as if you had two heads. Same thing is actually quite common for the pdf format (I'm telling you, it happens).

    The OLPCs are not going to people who are sitting on the side of a ditch oblivious of the wider IT world. They will have heard of Windows, and they will want to know why they are getting this 'second-rate' linux thingy. When they do business they will do it with some idiot who is blissfully unaware of anything outside of Office.

    I wouldn't for one second suggest that Windows should be shipped with the OLPC. But there are perception issues that must be dealt with.

    I'm reminded of the film 'The Shipping News' - when asked what kind of computer he wants, Quoyle says 'an IBM'. He didn't know whether it was any good or not, he just knew that it was the 'right' answer. And unfortunately, at the moment 'Microsoft' is the 'right' answer.
    • The OLPCs are not going to people who are sitting on the side of a ditch oblivious of the wider IT world. They will have heard of Windows, and they will want to know why they are getting this 'second-rate' linux thingy.

      IIRC, the Windows monopoly is a lot less strong in the market for "real" computers in places like Brazil, a major OLPC launch area, and the perception of Linux as "second rate" is considerably less than in the US. Further, the demonstrations have been well received by students, parents, and e

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pembo13 (770295)
      What is the people receiving these machines don't have this ridiculous bias towards Windows?
    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      ...but that lack of Windows on the OLPC could be an issue.

      Mainly because your average Joe Schmo is absolutely convinced that Windows is a program for writing letters on, or something equally stupid. The lack of interoperability with the rest of the world (however stupid the rest of the world is) puts people at a serious disadvantage.

      The OLPC is an educational tool, not a stupidity maintenance tool.

    • by Vexorian (959249)
      Looking the problem the opposite way, this would help these countries to get away of these totally inconvenient pseudo standards, with more people using ODF this average joe will have to react. Either way .doc / .xls ./ppt compat in OOo is doing "well enough" I don't think OLPC is supposed to be a computer for corporate Dilberts that will need every single feature to be correctly implemented.
    • by grcumb (781340)

      The OLPCs are not going to people who are sitting on the side of a ditch oblivious of the wider IT world. They will have heard of Windows, and they will want to know why they are getting this 'second-rate' linux thingy.

      That's perfectly untrue.

      I've set up several computer centres in developing countries, and the one I'm currently living in will be involved in an OLPC pilot project shortly. I can tell you with 100% confidence that the people who are being targeted by OLPC don't give a hoot whether they're

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