Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 3rd May 2007 18:30 UTC, submitted by Flatline
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Late last week the One Laptop Per Child project had a media event in Cambridge, and while I couldn't make the event, I did tape a video interview for the BBC on the project. During my preparation I kept coming across these claims that Microsoft and OLPC had partnered to put Windows XP Starter Edition on the OLPC, and according to one report, this was being done to get the XO laptop into US schools. None of this jibed with what I had been hearing from sources, so I decided to look into it further. As it turns out, a number of new outlets, including the AP and Reuters, mischaracterized the situation."
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v Aaaw.
by Almafeta on Thu 3rd May 2007 18:45 UTC
RE: Aaaw.
by butters on Thu 3rd May 2007 18:56 UTC in reply to "Aaaw."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

What development?

I would be morally opposed to preventing Microsoft from supporting the XO, but that doesn't mean that the OLPC Project should devote any resources to ensuring the viability of Windows on the XO. Normally, the free software community has to bend over backwards to support Microsoft technologies with no form of special assistance. Why should it be any different now that the tables are turned?

Edited 2007-05-03 18:57

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Aaaw.
by hamster on Thu 3rd May 2007 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Aaaw."
hamster Member since:
2006-10-06

We all know that the companies behind the project don't do it because they can make money from it...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Aaaw.
by archiesteel on Thu 3rd May 2007 19:30 UTC in reply to "Aaaw."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

It wasn't exciting. It was worrying. The OLPC is an important element in widening the use of F/OSS software. To have official Windows support for it would have been counter-productive.

That said, I am sure hobbyists will manage to install some version of Windows on it, just for kicks (and there's nothing wrong with that).

It's a good thing when Microsoft is prevented from increasing its near-monopoly status. They have a big enough part of the pie already, don't you think?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Aaaw.
by Almafeta on Thu 3rd May 2007 19:37 UTC in reply to "Aaaw."
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Earlier, it had been reported here that the OLPC project would be supporting Windows an an option*. Which was very good news, considering the quality of SugarUI (which has been nearly universally panned -- and which has also been reported on here**).

If OLPC wants to make it easier for children to learn how to use a computer and how to integrate them into their lives, then they should be teaching them on the OS they'll be using as adults. Kids don't need dumbed-down computers, they need a good reference or tutorial, a clean interface, and someone who will sit down and answer all the numerous questions of "Why?" Look at every 10-year-old kid who knows more about a computer than their parents, despite having had it half as long.

And as to the OLPC project 'bending over backward to support Microsoft technologies'? That's what happens when one of Microsoft's technologies is the standard; you support it. For example, OLPC's SugarUI version of AbiWord only uses Microsoft's .doc format**. Similarly, Windows is the industry standard OS, and it should be supported by OLPC. And I don't see how the tables are turned; OLPC needs software support to be useful for the most kids, and the best way to do that on the cheap is to run Windows, instead of this 'BarbieUI' they are currently using ("File management is hard!").

* http://www.osnews.com/story.php/17777/OLPC-USD-100-Laptop-to-Cost-U...
** http://www.osnews.com/story.php/17666/A-Brief-Look-at-OLPCs-SugarUI...

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Aaaw.
by archiesteel on Thu 3rd May 2007 20:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Aaaw."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Which was very good news, considering the quality of SugarUI (which has been nearly universally panned -- and which has also been reported on here**).


First of all, SugarUI wasn't "universally panned" (no, lots of people complaining about it on OSNews doesn't count as "universally panned"). It hasn't even been tried out with actual users yet - trying to bury it before it's even had a chance to be tested out in the real world, which is what you seem to be doing, is classic textbook FUD.

Second, regarding its quality: it's bound to continue evolving as user testing provides feedback. Just because it's a different UI paradigm doesn't mean it's inferior. I've tried it, and it's actually not bad, especially when you have little screen real estate.

If OLPC wants to make it easier for children to learn how to use a computer and how to integrate them into their lives, then they should be teaching them on the OS they'll be using as adults.


Okay, more misconceptions here. The goal of the OLPC is *not* to make children learn how to use a computer - it's a learning aid to increase their general knowledge (i.e. not only to learn about computers, but more generally about language skills, math, science, etc.).

Also, how do *you* know what OS they'll be using as adults? Remember, this is for kids in developing nations, one of the most fertile ground for Linux adoption.

On the contrary, I think it's a very good idea *not* to teach them about a particular interface. In any case, learning new UIs is easy, and one can learn to use more than one without any issues (computer games have told us that, as long as you respect certain conventions, users have no problems navigating new UIs.)

Kids don't need dumbed-down computers, they need a good reference or tutorial, a clean interface


This doesn't disqualify the OLPC in any way. It's not a dumbed-down computer (you can install pretty much anything on it, including other Linux distros and possibly other OSes), it'll certainly have references and tutorials given to the kids when they get it, and its interface is certainly a lot cleaner than, say, Windows'.

It seems to me you simply have a bias against it because Microsoft is not involved, and that a priority was given to F/OSS software...

Similarly, Windows is the industry standard OS


No, it isn't. It's the most prevalent desktop OS, but that's about it. It's not a "standard", because it can only be produced by Microsoft. Instead, it's a near-monopoly...the two terms are *not* synonymous.

OLPC needs software support to be useful for the most kids, and the best way to do that on the cheap is to run Windows


Hint: free software is cheaper than Windows - even with their latest 3$ dumping effort.

The OLPC is a good opportunity to chip away at Microsoft's dominance. In the eyes of everyone but the most diehard MS fans, that is a Good Thing.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Aaaw.
by diskinetic on Fri 4th May 2007 12:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Aaaw."
diskinetic Member since:
2005-12-09

"The goal of the OLPC is *not* to make children learn how to use a computer - it's a learning aid to increase their general knowledge (i.e. not only to learn about computers, but more generally about language skills, math, science, etc.)."

Hear, Hear! I know this is a tad off-topic, but I just want to applaud someone making the point that people do more with computers than install/tweak/critique OSes, even here at OSNews. I almost wish they had called it the "One mobile library per child" or the "One remote teaching device per child" so as to get the emphasis off the hardware and back onto the data and communication leap it affords.
If Microsoft wants to participate in the OLPC, a check for one of their bazillions of dollars would be greatly appreciated and probably highly featured on the web site. Any additional shoe-horning of their software is not only divisive , it's redundant. If this device never runs ANY other software other than its native set, and that teaches children vital educational skills that have thusfar eluded them, it is well and good enough.
I wish there were 10 possible points for just this sort of post.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Aaaw.
by DeadFishMan on Fri 4th May 2007 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Aaaw."
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

Now Iīll go even further on the off-topic road than you but I had to take that out of my chest: a bunch of OSNews readers do really seem to use their computers only to install OSes and compare them against other OSes!

In fact, it is getting very rare to get someone reviewing anything other than the installation, how pretty it looks and the fact that it comes with a web browser, an IM, a mp3 player and an office packages and how easy is to install third-party proprietary components.

I do tons of things in Linux on a daily basis and rarely open OO.org although I do have it installed for those rare moments when I need it: 3D modelling and animation using Blender, vectorial drawing using Inkscape, creating custom ringtones for my sisterīs cell phone using Audacity, download music and movies using P2P (There... I said it!), develop using FreePascal, chat on IRC and get my daily fix of anime using Konversation, read comicbooks with QcomickBook, play good old games using emulators such as ZSNES and gngeo, etc, etc, etc. And this is just what I could remember right now.

I used to be a distro junkie as well but back at a time when installing Linux was a hassle and something to be proud of but to install Linux is even easier than to install Windows these days. Eventually one will have to settle with one distro and then start getting productive with it. I canīt really subscribe to the notion that all that some people do with their computers is to browse the internet and type office documents all day long!

Perhaps that could be the topic of one of those articles where the OSNews staff ask questions to their readers such as the last one about movies: Do you use Linux (or any other OS other than Windows)? If so, what for? What do you do with the darn thing? ;) That probably would raise interesting discussions (Hint: and drive more page views! XD)

Now someone please mod me down accordingly as the rant above surely goes against the guidelines. ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Aaaw.
by Silent_Seer on Fri 4th May 2007 20:59 UTC in reply to "Aaaw."
Silent_Seer Member since:
2007-04-06

What makes you think that Linux, the Sugar interface, and accompanying software makes it less useful to the kids. For kids, give them a platform and they will get used to it faster than you can.

Windows is the industry standard, so what? To run most the windows software you are going to need powerful hardware. It's like saying x86 is the industry standard, so use it for every project. Even microsoft does not go by that thinking, see the Xbox 360.

It's all in the applications, give them the apps that they need and it should be enough. If they need compatibility with common formats, then there will be converters and readers.

And these same kids will also be able to master Windows if they need to. Because they are fresh minds and not loaded with baggage of the monoculture, that we face daily. I remember jumping from BBC to DOS to windows when I was at school, it was a piece of cake.

The sugar is designed to make it look like a toy so that adults won't find it useful (easy to adjust to). But don't worry about the kids, they will adapt and be as productive as you and me in no time.

Reply Score: 1

what a shocker
by TechGeek on Thu 3rd May 2007 18:55 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Why would you want to put that OS on the OLPC. That defeats the whole purpose which is to promote an open community throughout the developing world. I for one would not want to shackle the people getting this laptop to MS for all eternity. Not to mention this was an idea by open source companies. MS should stay out of it. I dont want them using this initiative as a means of expanding their reach or creating a future profit source.

Reply Score: 5

Photo in article
by Bobthearch on Thu 3rd May 2007 19:13 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

I wish they'd stop using that old media release photo of the OLPC machine. That's an old protype design, brightly-colored, child-friendly, and uniquely interesting. The more recent photos show a bland and uninspiring design, like a chincy TabletPC (seen here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070426/ap_on_hi_te/hundred_dollar_lapt... ).

It's misleading to continue using the old 'good' prototype for publicity photos.

-Bob

Reply Score: 5

Yep
by Xaero_Vincent on Thu 3rd May 2007 20:00 UTC in reply to "Photo in article"
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

Interesting that these machines will cost $175 when my *much* more powerful Fedora Linux-powered Compaq C303NR laptop only costed $299; could have costed just $99 if I had agreed to a Vonage subscription.

Anyway, I'm glad this just turned out to be a rumor because XO was given a simular offer by Apple for free OS X on OLPC and was turned down for not being open source.

Edited 2007-05-03 20:03

Reply Score: 4

RE: Yep
by martineriksen on Fri 4th May 2007 11:16 UTC in reply to "Yep"
martineriksen Member since:
2007-04-12

You have to remember that the OLPC is specifically engineered from the ground up, to work in more rugged environment with little electricity. That comes with a price. Which over time should come down to 100$, as production goes up.

I will bet that the OLPC can handle a lot more stress than your Compaq.

Reply Score: 1

just a note
by umccullough on Thu 3rd May 2007 23:00 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

The original article was updated to remove Reuters as one of the news outlets that mistakenly reported this.

Might want to update the snippet here on OSNews to correlate.

Reply Score: 3

Typical of AP to get it wrong
by bousozoku on Fri 4th May 2007 07:49 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

AP, in general, should not report on technology, since they don't seem to understand it.

Having machines that don't rely on Windows will likely make them less of a problem to maintain, especially with the simple goals of the project.

For the intentions of the computer, the current interface is useful enough and should keep students out of trouble. That way, they can focus on the learning, not how to get back to where they're supposed to be.

Looking back at the Xerox Alto, the Apple Lisa, the Apple Mac and other GUI machines and remembering how people ridiculed their "toy" interfaces and how they would never catch on, it's certainly possible that the OLPC will do great things for the world. We could even see a grown-up version for offices at some point.

Reply Score: 1

Correction
by jasutton on Fri 4th May 2007 14:22 UTC
jasutton
Member since:
2006-03-28

From the article:

Reuters was named as a news outlet which reported the alleged Microsoft-OLPC hookup. Reuters did not in fact do so.

Reply Score: 1