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Peru To Be First To Put Windows On OLPC Laptop 292

Posted by kdawson
from the must-be-that-high-mountain-air dept.
Da Massive writes "The government of Peru will run the first ever trial of the One Laptop Per Child association's XO laptop running Windows XP. This puts the nation at the heart of a software controversy that has been raging for years between those who advocate making software and its source code free, such as Linux OS developers, and those who charge for software and keep the development recipes secret, such as Microsoft."
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Peru To Be First To Put Windows On OLPC Laptop

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  • Negroponte (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrSkwid (118965) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:36AM (#25036229) Homepage Journal

    He's always got my goat, I wish he'd give it back. I used to read his breathless commentary in Wired in the 90s, visionary - pah, up his own arse.

  • The Goal? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KGIII (973947) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:40AM (#25036247) Journal

    At least there is technology getting into the hands of children who can use it to further their education. Before we whine about it running on proprietary software let's also keep in mind that it gives them access greater than what they had, interoperability they may never have had, and there are plenty of open source projects that they can use if they want to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by seeker_1us (1203072)
      Access greater than what they had? To what? Access to Microsoft Software? How does that help learning?

      Interoperability greater than what they had? Interoperability to what? MS Office and other MS software which is notorious for not being interoperable?

      This computer was supposed to be a learning tool for children. To teach critical thinking. Not to be a platform for Office.

      How does turning it into an XP box help? XP is just essentially a vending machine.

      • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KGIII (973947) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:45AM (#25036513) Journal

        I will respond because I didn't make my initial statement without thinking. Greater than what they had - meaning more than. Before this they had nothing available probably. This is not less than nothing.

        Interoperability - as much as it pains you to acknowledge it, most of the world still runs Windows. In some places it still requires Windows. Until that changes my statement remains true.

        This computer can still be a learning tool for children. This tool can still teach critical thinking. One does NOT need to be using an open source platform to engage in critical thinking. Not to mention that Office most surely won't run on something of this nature but that only belies your unwillingness to accept anything other than a purist mentality or agreement of your opinions regardless of the reality.

        How does it help? It helps in that the tools are being put into the hands of children. It helps in that these kids are able to do the important things like search for more information on a subject that interests them, to reach informed choices about the topics that matter to them, and to better enable them to prepare for a future that might actually get them out of the slums and into an acceptable level of living.

        You do NOT need F/OSS for that. You don't NEED the best of breed to drive a car. You can do just fine in getting from Point A to Point B in a beat to shit old Honda.

        What about CHOICE? These people OPTED to use Windows. We can argue that their children didn't opt to but do you really think that they care? No. I don't. The few that will care, later on down the road, will make those choices as well. Until then they have email, browsers that go to wikipedia, search engines to learn more about the world around them, and so much more. For that I am happy, for that I am grateful, and to be honest I don't give a shit if it runs Windows, Linux, RiscOS, or garbledygook! So long as the job is done and that job is getting this coming generation into the information age. The ends justify the means.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ozphx (1061292)

          Excellent point. Any kid that is at all interested in hacking it is going to dual boot. Its not like every kid in Peru would otherwise suddenly going to pick up the code and start hacking it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by KGIII (973947) *

            We all probably started out on a closed source operating system... Why can't they? Why do we expect the results to be different? *sighs* People just flipped and modded my first post without actually thinking and maybe now I can post more often. ;)

            Get the tools out there into the hands of the children via whatever means nessesary. Let them work on it and learn. If they want to hack the code, trust me (look at us for example), they will.

          • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Bert64 (520050) <[moc.eeznerif.todhsals] [ta] [treb]> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @08:35AM (#25037197) Homepage

            Only if they are made aware of the possibilities. Windows actively discourages learning about the underlying system, and is designed to convince users that doing so is dangerous and should be avoided...

            The purpose is to encourage learning, not to create a dependency on proprietary software.

            One will result in increased costs of entry into the market for these countries, as all their potential workers will only know proprietary software and insist on it, making it more expensive to get going and flowing money out of the country.

            The other will result in a local industry where software is produced and supported locally, with money remaining in the local economy and jobs being created.

            • Bingo (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Mateo_LeFou (859634)

              OLPC has gone from an educational endeavor to just another plain old business-hegemony endeavor.

        • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by WillKemp (1338605) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:14AM (#25036655) Homepage

          That's true, to a certain extent. But OLPCs running Linux would achieve the same end for less money. And chances are that Windows won't run as well as the version of Linux that this machine was designed to run.

          And can poor people really afford to be sucked into the expensive world of Microsoft?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by KGIII (973947) *

            That is the only arguement that makes sense. Rather than the closed source vs. open source that one makes sense. In this case I have to say that there's enough freeware to make this work and given the publicity this is bound to be something that Microsoft does at little or no cost. (They do that you know... They do it to encourage adopting their platform of course but a business choice is not always a choice without ethics.)

            As I responded to another poster... This is not ideal. Ideal is not something we oft

            • by Bert64 (520050)

              A small number will desire to see the OS code..
              A larger number will be curious if presented with the opportunity to see the code, but will not even consider the possibility on their own simply due to a lack of awareness.
              Most of these kids won't realise how computers can be programmed if you don't show them and give them the choice.

            • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by tcr (39109) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @08:50AM (#25037329)

              Personally, I wasn't thinking in terms of getting into the OS code...
               
              How about having a huge repository of great software at their disposal for $0?
               
              Assuming they want to do something more than MS Office, their choices will often be to rely on warez (hello malware), or download shareware from iffy sources (hello more malware), and ending up with a slower, less efficient machine.
               
              Wouldn't it be great if they could just learn from any programming, mathematical, enginnering, astonomy apps that they could grab from a repository and just start using?
               

              • by KGIII (973947) *

                Actually there aren't too many open source projects I can think of that aren't ported to Windows so that pretty much negates your point. Well, and these PCs are sure as hell not going to be powerful enough to run Office.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by KGIII (973947) *

              *sighs* If you're going to mod it troll then at least have the courage to come defend your statement. Of all the views I've expressed tonight on this subject this one has been the most basic and easy to comprehend. If you don't like it then at least come back as AC (I read ALL posts in reply) and defend it with some factual information as well as why you think it was trolling. "I don't like it." Is not justification to moderate something as troll.

              I presented a clear, easy to comprehend, vision and understan

            • Re:The Goal? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:08AM (#25039297) Journal

              The problem I have with putting WinXP on it is the fact that it is an SSD,not a HDD. I have used Windows FLP,I have used Windows embedded,and of course have used vanilla XP. There is not a single version that doesn't just LOVE the swap. And since you are talking about a machine running on a medium with a limited number of write cycles to start with,and where there is almost no space to move things around,I'm betting it'll kill the SSD pretty damned quick.

              Also there is tons and tons of free educational software out there for Linux. From what I have read all they are getting is a student version of office and XP installed on the thing due to space restraints. That's it. So unless you want a ton of third world kids learning to waste time playing freecell I don't really see the point. The could have put a localized Edubuntu on there and given the kids lots to do and learn. So unless their goal is to make little sweatshops for underaged office workers it really seems like a waste of time and money in its current form. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What about CHOICE? These people OPTED to use Windows. We can argue that their children didn't opt to but do you really think that they care? No. I don't. The few that will care, later on down the road, will make those choices as well.

          No their GOVERNMENT opted for Windows. Given the history of corruption in many S-American countries I don't think that the question of whether Linux, RiscOS or Garbledygook OS would have done as good a job as Windows OS ever was ever even asked and if it was the question was quickly forgotten as soon as MS got through greasing the 'right people'.

          • Re:The Goal? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by KGIII (973947) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @08:06AM (#25036945) Journal

            I don't understand the why people automatically assume that there is bribery involved especially in a matter that is as open as this one. Could that have happened? Sure. Did it? Not to the best of my knowledge and I'm guessing you don't have any evidence to support your views either other than a perception which is nothing more than a preconceived notion.

            • by KGIII (973947) *

              I enjoy the troll modification folks. Really. Call a person on a view that they don't support and it is trolling but if I'd called them on the opinion that they thought Microsoft didn't bribe someone in the ISO I'd be a +9000 Insightful. Is the goal logic and truth or is the goal ideology? Is the goal facts or is the goal presumptions? If it is presumptions instead of factual information then, well, mob rules are certainly verifiable...

              Maybe now it won't take so many minutes of waiting in between posts.

        • by Bazman (4849)

          "You do NOT need F/OSS for that. You don't NEED the best of breed to drive a car. You can do just fine in getting from Point A to Point B in a beat to shit old Honda."

          Yeah, but to push an analogy your beat-to-shit old Honda only runs on Gatesoline. And only one person supplies Gatesoline. Whereas my beat-to-shit Ford only runs on Fordol. Imagine a world where every brand of car used its own brand of compatible fuel, because the manufacturers sold the cars cheap and made profit on the fuel. And you c

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wodelltech (168047)

          I tried to send my original G1G1 OLPC to a Kenyan orphanage. The first thing they asked me was if they could use it to manage their financial spreadsheet - they specifically wanted Excel. They also had data access via cell phone, but the WIFI was of no interest. The Windows laptop they had fit the bill just right.

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I would also add that having Windows on these things is a success of the OSS community. Without Linux, this project would not have been possible or even considered. Bill Gates himself told how useless he thought this initiative was.

          Without the threat to use Linux, Windows would never have made integration efforts for the OLPC.
        • Re:The Goal? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mhall119 (1035984) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:26AM (#25038685) Homepage Journal

          I will respond because I didn't make my initial statement without thinking. Greater than what they had - meaning more than. Before this they had nothing available probably. This is not less than nothing.

          No, before this they had an OLPC with Linux available. It's kind of like saying I'll give you a Ferrari, then later on saying I'm actually going to give you a Yugo. Sure, a Yugo is more than nothing, but it is less that what you were initially going to get.

          This computer can still be a learning tool for children. This tool can still teach critical thinking.

          How? What is shipping with WinXP on this laptop that will teach critical thinking?

          One does NOT need to be using an open source platform to engage in critical thinking.

          True, they could have chosen something like Solaris, or forked and closed a BSD like Apple did, and still had most of the benefit they got from Linux. But WinXP is a different beast. You get no compiler. The interface is compiled and you don't have the source. The apps are compiled and you don't have the source. Is there a single program (besides BAT files) on the WinXP that will be shipped with the OLPC that can be changed?

          You can do just fine in getting from Point A to Point B in a beat to shit old Honda.

          Which would be fine, if the goal of OLPC was just to give kids a computer, and if Windows were cheaper than Linux. Neither is true. You're passing up a brand new free Ferrari and instead paying $50 for a beat to shit old Honda.

          What about CHOICE? These people OPTED to use Windows. We can argue that their children didn't opt to but do you really think that they care? No. I don't.

          The point of OLPC was to give them what they need, not what they want. Peru might prefer money going to it's elected officials instead of laptops for kids, that doesn't mean that's what OLPC should be giving them. Again, OLPC wasn't supposed to be giving away a computer that people requested, they were supposed to be providing a tool that these kids could use to improve their situation. Will WinXP do that? Yes. Would Linux do it better? Yes.

          The few that will care, later on down the road, will make those choices as well. Until then they have email, browsers that go to wikipedia, search engines to learn more about the world around them, and so much more.

          They have that on the Linux install too. Again, the problem isn't that they're getting an "okay" OS, the problem is that they were supposed to get a great OS and aren't.

      • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jeremyp (130771) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:51AM (#25036843) Homepage Journal

        When was the last time you touched Windows? I only ask because you seem to be labouring under a misapprehension. There is no mechanism in Windows that stops you running software that was not written by Microsoft. Just because I have Windows, does not mean I have to run MS Office. I could choose any one of a number of Office packages including Open Source ones.

        Windows as a desktop platform is just as interoperable as any other desktop operating system, in fact more so because it will interoperate with Microsoft's proprietary stuff as well as all of the open standards.

        You're keen on teaching children critical thinking, but you're happy to tell lies about an operating system you don't like. That's not setting them a good example is it?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Trelane (16124)

          There is no mechanism in Windows that stops you running software that was not written by Microsoft.

          Is this where I point out the DR-DOS thing? Yes, I think so.

        • Not true (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PinkyDead (862370)

          You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that Microsoft's mechanism is software based.

          Microsoft is not the market leader in the desktop because of that silly little IE bundling nonsense nor are they the leader because the have the best O/S.

          Microsoft is the market leader, because for nearly 20 years every single PC that came out of the factory had a Windows sticker on it (I'll knock Bill Gates for a lot of things - but respect for one of the greatest business strategies since Jesus). Most people d

      • Before complaining, ask why they asked for the change. Did it have to do with usability or some other reason. Then ask, what changes for the people using it? Do they get to learn technology, become computer literate, when they otherwise would not have? Or are they still behind where the rest of the world is?

        If you are helping someone that is what is important. If the country believes a specific direction will help them more, then go with it. If you don't like it, don't help. But don't push your views an

      • by canuck57 (662392)

        How does turning it into an XP box help? XP is just essentially a vending machine.

        You are of course right. But the reason I am sure is purely political. At least it will not be Vista, this we know for sure.

    • Re:The Goal? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PinkyDead (862370) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:57AM (#25036315) Journal

      That is about as close as you could get to a modern equivalent to the justifications for imperialism and colonialism of the 18th and 19th centuries. Unfortunately, it's the same poor suckers that are getting victimised again.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by KGIII (973947) *

        And that is about the most retarded analogy ever. Please see my other response before typing further. I'm willing to listen to rebuttal but don't think I made the statements I made without thinking about them. The goal is to give these kids a chance. That chance doesn't NEED to be open source. I'd agree, entirely, that is SHOULD be open source but to state that it needs it is just foolhardy and showing a willingness to remain ignorant of the problems that these computers can actually solve.

        • by penix1 (722987)

          How is it solving problems? Exactly how does the purchase of an OS ONLY benefit those that can't afford it? These computers have XP on them and a scaled down version at that. You aren't honestly suggesting they will be able to run any program made for XP are you? That "educational software" you keep talking about only increases the price. How is having to pay multiple license fees, not to say anything about the now needed resources to track those licenses just to keep the BSA at bay, of a benefit?

          No, this m

          • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by KGIII (973947) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @08:35AM (#25037187) Journal

            I think you're trolling but I'll feed you regardless.

            They're not buying an OS only. They're getting a functional computer. Scaled down or not, it functions. It does what they need it to do. They'll be able to run all sorts of programs as I understand it. What makes you think that educational software only comes in the pay-for environment? Have you not seen the freeware (including open source) applications that run just fine in Windows? The price you mention is already paid for, the BSA is only involved if there's a reason to suspect piracy and, frankly, the BSA is pretty much full of evil fucktards regardless of the OS you're using. Your last statement shows your prejudice and without evidence to support it it is just silly. I can't think of a time when Microsoft has ever charged me for an add-on, update, or the likes.

            If, by means of zealotry, you want to go take these laptops from the hands of children then you have all the permissions in the world so long as you accept the consequences. Me? I'm just glad they have something more than what they had. If you want to take away the freedom of choice because those choices don't meet your idealogical conceptions then by all means, I suggest you run to Peru and start taking them from the hands of the children. While you are there you might as well hunt for a homeless child who's about to dumpster dive and get themselves a hamburger and take that from them too because you feel that eating meat is morally wrong. Go on, go punch one in the face and explain that eating from McDonald's is unacceptable because you've seen the documentary and you have your opinions on the subject.

            Lest you argue and say it isn't so basic as the food or you're not a vegetarian I suggest you scroll up and look at what you have typed. Again, I did not make those statements without thinking long and hard about them and even overcoming some inner turmoil. The ends justify the means if even a small percentage of people are given a higher standard of living or a greater awareness of the world around them that they would not have had otherwise. The operating system, in this case, is unimportant. I don't CARE what brand of drug saves my life. I care if it works. This works.

            I made those statements knowing I'd get piles of mods saying I was trolling. I made them with every bit of information I had (I've followed this and carefully thought about the benefits and the negatives for the entire time and, before you ask, I'm a double dipper in the BOGO so that each of my kids could have one) and I stand by them. As much as I love and sometimes even advocate the premise that open is better the reality is that this is better than nothing and that they made the choice to use Windows. I am fine with that, I make the choice to use Windows every day. Click my homepage link and you'll see that I actually make my living from Linux, for example, so don't think that this isn't something I haven't thought about.

            Am I defending the use of Microsoft products on the OLPC units? Yes. Yes I am. Not because it is Microsoft but because of the potential benefits for those who receive the units. They can accomplish all that they want to on the laptop regardless of the OS that came initially installed.

            The ONLY reason I can see that is justified is the cost. The price does increase I'd assume. (I don't have the numbers and I'm not an econ/biz major/grad.) Those are small enough even at 1:10 that it is still justifiable to me. If only one child got a laptop that would be better than nothing regardless of the OS it ran.

        • Re:The Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PinkyDead (862370) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @08:01AM (#25036905) Journal

          The goal is to give these kids a chance.

          Who's goal? Because it certainly isn't Microsoft's. They want as much lock-in as they can get and they don't care how they get it. All large corporations want the same thing because they are driven by the demands of their shareholders for profit - and rightly so.

          But the OLPC project wasn't started to enhance the balance sheet of Microsoft - yet it affects its credibility and its effectiveness for Microsoft to use it as a marketing tool and at the same time harms the chances of other projects that will find it harder to garner non-profit support when it is clear that at the point of success some profit-junky will just rush in to exploit it. That is the main reason why open source should be used - because it shares the vision that created the OLPC in the first place.

    • Re:The Goal? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by noundi (1044080) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:18AM (#25036391)
      Let's also keep in mind that fewer children get these laptops now due to license fees, and who will make profit out of this? Peru? The children of Peru? The guys behind OLPC?

      No--but this guy [codinghorror.com] will.
      • by KGIII (973947) *

        Sorry to respond to your post last but your post was the only one with a valid point. I conceed your point and I ask, "Is some better than none?" This is not ideal, few situations in life truly are ever ideal. Your post is my only real concern. The whole, "How much does that added cost actually cost in terms of fewer units making it into the hands of the children?" At initial math is looks like it is 1:10 which adds up to quite a lot. Someone with an eco/biz major can likely shine the light on it but it is

    • why not just use classmates then. i have nothing against MS or peru in this case but the original point of the OLPC project was to give them the technology without making them dependent on anybody. Much like giving farmers old trackors which they can fix, is much more useful than some brand new air conditioned JCB.

      Yes giving them computers is good, but getting them dependant on us is not so good.
      But its the fact that OLPC started out with a much better goal than just selling cheap laptops and now its been r

      • by KGIII (973947) *

        You raise some points that I thought about. Microsoft is the de facto standard. We can argue about monopolies and we can argue about right or wrong but that doesn't alter the reality. If it were MY country I probably would also have opted for Microsoft's Windows XP on them because that is the most likely to find compatible software, interact with the infrastructure that is already in place, and is most easily supported with the current generation of technicians.

        As near as I can tell those few kids who are a

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:47AM (#25036279)

    This trial will be a great success. Everything will work great. If need be there will be one MS support person per child. The problems will come two years down the line when it turns out that vista's successor is needed to do any work with windows and doesn't run on the existing hardware. Remember the London stock exchange. Everybody knew how "Windows" increased it's stability. Now, it's two years later and nobody remembers that Windows was involved at the point when the whole thing crashes and can't be recovered.

    Don't say that this trial will be bad or won't succeed. MS will throw everything they have to make it work. Do remember that Peru is building up problems for the future. Do try to explain how that will happen. Do remind people that the first trial has nothing to do with the reality. Do remind them that it's what happens two years or more down the line which you have to look at. Do remind them that the London Stock Exchange will never be credible again.

    • by jimdread (1089853) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:13AM (#25036367)

      It's okay for kids to learn how to use Microsoft software. Microsoft knows that they have to provide educational software for that to happen. They couldn't sit back and allow Linux to dominate that market. The Egyptian and Peruvian governments believe that their children must learn how to use Microsoft software, since it's dominant.

      It's easy to imagine that it will all go wrong in the future, and maybe it will. One good thing is that if XP on the XO fails, it'll be easy to install Linux on those machines. So Microsoft can't afford to boost the project at the start, and then let it die. If they do that, Linux will take over. Microsoft will have to commit to this project for years to come.

      This will also allow direct comparisons between countries which give their children XP XOs and countries which issue Linux XOs. If the Linux ones are working well and the Windows ones are breaking too easily, it'll look very bad for Microsoft. Conversely, if the Windows ones are working well and the Linux ones turn out not to be doing the job, then future countries might like to choose Windows for their XOs.

      The XO project has forced Microsoft to directly compete with Linux on the desktop. This is a battle that Microsoft must win. But can they do it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Yes, Microsoft will have to directly compete against Linux, but the bigger question is will Microsoft play fair. From Microsoft's history, I have to doubt that Linux and Windows will be given equal opportunity. What's going to stop these countries from purchasing Windows solely because the OS appears to work rather than which system provides better overall capabilities.

        Also, weren't the specs of the OLPC laptop already bumped up in order to theoretically support Windows as they're now doing? If so, th
  • Seriously, there is nothing controversial about someone else not agreeing with you or your beliefs.
    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:58AM (#25036317)
      The controversy is that the OLPC program started off with the goal of delivering an entirely open source machine, and ended up delivering Windows XP. I don't expect everyone to agree with each other, but at least agree with yourself.
      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:13AM (#25036369)
        To be a bit more specific; OLPC took donations from people who believed they were helping to increase educational freedom in basic computing in the third world and used that money to further the aims of a company specifically trying to reduce that freedom. I'm not totally sure that Sugar is a good idea; I really don't know if OLPC with Linux could be perfect. However, I do know that the organisation was built up on money from people donating their second laptops and that those donations are being channeled into things many of those people don't belive in or wish to support.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rtfa-troll (1340807)

          those donations are being channeled into things many of those people don't belive in or wish to support.

          Whilst I don't know if Microsoft paid the "donate one get one" price that everyone else had to pay; I note that I seem to have been taken in by MS FUD [slashdot.org] and at least MS has had to pay something towards the cost of these laptops. Apologies to anyone at OLPC who I offended. I'll be more careful about trusting MS in future :-) :-(

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dreamchaser (49529)

        I thought the main goal was to bring affordable laptops to children around the world, and that OSS was just a means to an end.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lordofthechia (598872)

          The goal was to deliver an educational platform.

          Same as if we decided a program to teach kids in country x to improve their mechanical knowledge and allow them to explore new fuels. We come up with an easy to understand vehicle design and engine that is efficient and runs on fuels of tomorrow. More importantly they can look under the hood and easily experiment with / modify parts at will.

          Here comes big oil and subverts the platform by swapping out the (hydrogen/electric/whatever) engines with gas burning

      • The controversy is that the OLPC program started off

        Nah, man. That isn't the "controversy" at all. It's all about this massive secret the reporter uncovered from the seedy underbelly of The Internet, and chose to enlighten us with:

        This puts the nation at the heart of a software controversy that has been raging for years between those who advocate making software and its source code free, such as Linux OS developers, and those who charge for software and keep the development recipes secret, such as Microso

  • I wish (Score:3, Informative)

    by jsse (254124) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:58AM (#25036323) Homepage Journal
    they'd make haste, as it'd be very awkward if the trial went passed Windows XP's life cycle. [microsoft.com]

    Otherwise they might have to do another trial on Vista; and by the time the trial ends, Vista's life cycle...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      XP is still being shipped on netbooks and they will provide fixes for it until 2014 [microsoft.com]. That means that XP will have been supported for 13 years, since it was released in 2001.

      Good luck on getting fixes for a 13 year old Linux distribution.

  • So... the OLPC... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pieterh (196118) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:58AM (#25036325) Homepage

    * Microsoft used every trick they could, including subsidies from the Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, to destroy OLPC/Linux projects.
    * The OLPC was never distributed en-masse to developers who could have turned it into a living ecosystem.
    * Running Windows on the OLPC is just stupid.
    * Cheap netbooks will make the OLPC redundant.
    * While Microsoft was attacking the OLPC, it lost sight of the fact that Linux is the obvious choice for Chinese netbooks. ... in ten years time every schoolkid in Latin America, Asia, and Africa will be using netbook-style computers that cost $20 and they will be running Linux, and they will have everything the OLPC wanted to have, and more.

    Free software will, eventually, set us free. ("us" = "everyone on the planet except the rich who can afford toys that lock them in and rob them blind").

    • by renoX (11677) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:46AM (#25036805)

      >* Cheap netbooks will make the OLPC redundant.

      I agree with your previous points, but not this one: netbooks have a fan (so are more fragile), consume as much power as regular laptops (which they are with a smaller screen), their screen cannot be read easily in daylight on a sunny day, they don't have mesh networking, etc: there are many reasons why the OLPC XO-1 is better suited for the third world schools than netbooks (even running Linux).

      >* While Microsoft was attacking the OLPC, it lost sight of the fact that Linux is the obvious choice for Chinese netbooks.

      Not really, hence their push for Windows-XP for netbooks. Chinese users have always pirated Windows, why wouldn't they pirate Windows XP for their netbooks. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft make a Vista-light or keep making an XP version for those netbooks to ensure that Linux's usage stay marginal.

      >in ten years time every schoolkid in Latin America, Asia, and Africa will be using netbook-style computers that cost $20 and they will be running Linux, and they will have everything the OLPC wanted to have, and more.

      Maybe, have you noticed that the price of netbooks since the first EEE 701 have only gone up?
      Hardware makers don't like too cheap hardware because they're afraid of loosing sells of higher priced laptops..

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050)

        I agree with your previous points, but not this one: netbooks have a fan (so are more fragile), consume as much power as regular laptops (which they are with a smaller screen), their screen cannot be read easily in daylight on a sunny day, they don't have mesh networking, etc: there are many reasons why the OLPC XO-1 is better suited for the third world schools than netbooks (even running Linux).

        Isn't mesh networking simply a software function? or does it require explicit hardware support?
        The fan and screen are relatively easy things that could be changed... Most netbooks are considerably more powerful than the OLPC, and would happily run fanless if clocked down to similar performance levels.

        Not really, hence their push for Windows-XP for netbooks. Chinese users have always pirated Windows, why wouldn't they pirate Windows XP for their netbooks. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft make a Vista-light or keep making an XP version for those netbooks to ensure that Linux's usage stay marginal.

        Because in order to further reduce cost, some of these manufacturers forego the more expensive x86 compatible processors that can run windows, in favor of cheaper and lower power chinese produced ARM or MIPS ba

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wren337 (182018)

      The OLPC paved the way for cheap netbooks no question. But if you've ever had an OLPC in your hands, it has a great feel that you're not going to match with any of the netbooks out there. The form factor and construction are pretty great. I'd like to see more hardware platforms with that kind of durable feel designed into them - this is a laptop you could leave on the floorboard of your car, or hand to young children and let them use it in the yard unsupervised.

  • In Other news, South America suddenly has reported a massive jump in instance of BotNet initiated spam......
  • Drivers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JohnFluxx (413620) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:12AM (#25036365)

    What about drivers? Windows has very few drivers compared to Linux, so won't this have only minimal support for extra USB devices? I don't think 3rd party drivers will work on the OLPC.

  • by teazen (876487) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:15AM (#25036375) Homepage
    Ed McNierney, Vice President of Software Development of OLPC sent a message to the OLPC-devel mailing list today, stating that "Microsoft has previously ordered a number of XO laptops for XP testing and pilot deployment. The usage and distribution of these machines for that effort is up to Microsoft, and that's what they're doing in Peru."

    So Microsoft does a tiny-weeny implementation with one pilot school in Peru all by itself, while the main deployment in Peru with about 260.000 laptops will run Sugar on Linux. But no reporter seems to take the time to fud-check Microsoft's press statements. Surprise!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MikeUW (999162)

      Well thanks for clarifying that...my first thought was wtf are they doing this for when Peru already passed a law [slashdot.org] favouring open source three years ago.

      • by teazen (876487) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:04AM (#25036605) Homepage
        What also needs clarifying perhaps is that it's not OLPC that's abandoning Linux for Windows. OLPC is basically becoming more and more a hardware vendor. It's not OLPC that does the deployments and it's not OLPC that decides what software will be shipped with the cute green thingies. That would be the governments and grassroots organizations that buy said laptops.

        Here in Nepal, where our grassroots organization has started a pilot project, there's as of yet not all to much help from OLPC, except from IRC and mailing-list traffic. Also Sugar for example is now handled by an independent organization called Sugarlabs, even though the developers of OLPC and Sugarlabs still work together.

        So there's at least three parties, but usually the playing field is quite a bit more complicated in a deployment zone (rivalling hardware vendors, the relationship between grassroots organizations and governments, elections, etc...), and all players can mix and match with others. We for example can run our educational software on a classmate if we want or need to. And Sugar is on the way to be ported to other platforms. Windows can run on the XO...

        Also the headlines about the XO lately make it seem like Windows has already won the race. But the reality atm is that there are 55k Linux/Sugar XO's are being shipped every month and a stable, workable Windows on the XO is still a few months away. Also the new round of Give One Get One will contain Linux, not Windows. And I have yet to hear of a confirmed large scale XO deployment with Windows on in stead of Linux.
  • While I don't doubt that Microsoft has went to strenuous efforts to make sure that XP gets on these devices (cheap, small form factor devices are a huge, gaping hole in Microsoft's OEM channel) these projects always manage to shoot themselves in the foot, and the problem here is the software. Sugar is just complete shit, quite frankly. A self-righteous piece of software, full of its own self-importance, that didn't really solve or offer anything.

    Now, maybe if somebody had got a clue, looked around the fr
  • by Mista2 (1093071) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:13AM (#25036653)
    With Windows installed, the students will be able to learn how to use Office to create documents and pay their MS tax. With Sugar, thy might have a chance to learn how Operating Systems work, can change and compile their own if they want to, and a locked down OS miht have helped keep many common pieces of malware away. I thought the OLPC was supposed to be a learning tool, not just another $100 netbook.
  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:14AM (#25036665) Homepage Journal

    Putting a pig on lipstick.

  • This puts the nation at the heart of a software controversy...

    I'm not really certain it's so much an OSS v proprietary story as much as government officials being influenced by big corporate money.

  • Only a trial (Score:4, Informative)

    by The New Andy (873493) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:42AM (#25036787) Homepage Journal
    Open Source On The Air [fosscasts.org] has an interview with Pia Waugh which talks about this. The vast majority of the laptops will be Linux, there is a small trial of Windows (and as you'd expect, it doesn't run so well).

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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