Is Microsoft working on building a laptop for the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) program? Yes, but the intended machine will run Windows XP only, rather than both Windows XP and Linux, Microsoft officials said today, refuting an earlier report that made the waves on Slashdot and OSNews.
No Dual-Boot OLPC Is in the works, Says Microsoft
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2008-01-11 2:52 amtomcat
Like we needed them to tell us it won’t dual boot. The MS version will barely be able to contain a bare Windows install…
Nonsense. Read this.
2008-01-11 3:29 amJohann Chua
And MS will actually use this in a shipping version of XP? You have really good inside info!
2008-01-11 2:10 pmwirespot
Nonsense. Read this.
Dude, be serious. That’s experimental work, which will result in a working product in 5 years or so, at best. They need a Windows for the OLPC right now. If it’s going to be XP, my point stands: it will fill up the XO device and there won’t be room for anything else. Windows CE or XPe would be much better candidates, but it remains to be seen if they can be retrofitted for the XO.
Not to mention that the application pool for both CE and XPe is much much smaller than the one for XP. So even if they pick one of them, the users will have limited choice of software.
2008-01-11 6:28 ambutters
I don’t see why it shouldn’t dual boot. The XO uses a raw Flash medium (MTD) as its mass storage. This means that the OS has to provide an I/O pathway and filesystem designed specifically for Flash. Linux provides this support in the form of its mtd and jffs2 modules.
Windows XP, as far as I know, has no support for MTD media. All Flash-based devices and add-ons supported by Windows use an FTL. This is a firmware abstraction that exports an ordinary block device to the OS. In order to make Windows run on the XO, Microsoft lobbied the OLPC project to include an internal SD interface.
Accordingly, A Windows-capable XO will have two mass storage media: the hardwired MTD and an SD card. Windows will only be able to see the SD card. The MTD would be idle silicon. Therefore, there is no reason why users shouldn’t be able to install Linux and GRUB on the MTD for dual-booting.
2008-01-11 2:13 pmwirespot
The point wasn’t that it can’t dual boot, it was that there isn’t enough space in 1 GB to install both XP and the original XO Linux. XP would eat up all that space, in fact it would probably need another GB. And all this for just the base install, without extra software.
So it denies the whole idea behind the OLPC. Frankly, I see all this as just a stunt. Negroponte needs some money and Microsoft will deliver it, but in turn they’ll want to bastardize the entire concept just to brag that Windows also runs on the OLPC. Pah.
2008-01-11 9:25 pmbutters
No, I think you misunderstand me. The XOs with Windows installed will have two Flash devices: the original 1GB MTD plus at least another 1GB (probably more) on an SD card. They will add more storage and leave the existing storage unused. That’s why there will be enough space for two OS images.
I heard they are trying to come as close as possible to the real Windows eXPerience(TM) on the OLPC. I hope the device has good hardware for displaying a vibrant blue color ..
(BTW: Funny how not even MS seems to believe in Vista – that OS must be rotten to the core if they don’t manage to adapt it – looks like clean modulare designs and implementations are done elsewhere).
2008-01-11 1:08 amlemur2
I heard they are trying to come as close as possible to the real Windows eXPerience(TM) on the OLPC. I hope the device has good hardware for displaying a vibrant blue color.
The “real Windows eXPerience(TM) on the OLPC” will, of course, include Notepad, Calc, Wordpad and Paint (yes, all 4!) and you may even have enough room left over to install the program whose very name is an oxymoron – Microsoft Works. Although that, of course, would be extra … as of course any actual educational programs (available from 3rd parties) …
Lets just ignore the cost for the moment, hey. It would surely be inappropriate to mention that to get the same capabilities on “Windows for the XO” that actually already come included with the default Linux install …
… would likely more than treble the cost of the XO.
The “real Windows eXPerience(TM) on the OLPC” will actually be a nightmare.
Well, at least the children will see their first EULA. But with Vista, they would get a better idea of what happens when your hardware is not the latest power horse, along with a gentle introduction to DRM. Maybe next time.
Oh, get ready for XOBigF!
Wouldn’t be better if they put there a Windows Mobile OS or a WinCE? When do you use the XP and when WinCE on small computers like that?
2008-01-11 2:16 pmjabbotts
If I remember correctly. OLPC aproached MS during the initial fase of deciding on an OS; “would you like to donate a copy of Windows with source code for this little machine we’re building too support education?”
MS; “you can have an older version of winCE without the source code”
OLPC: “thanks, we’ll look at other options”
I don’t think that even today, winCE (mobile or whatever they rebranded it now) could compaire to the functions available with a more flexible and modular OS. Mind you, I also don’t know if the winXO build is a trimmed down XP kernel or if they did some mixing betwee the CE and XP lines.
Whats the point of putting Windows on it ? Honestly.
Apart from the millions of future Linux users/programmers, why would Microsoft want to criplle their own software to make it fit ?
Computers for children is good idea. MS’s just as anyone’s help is welcome. But why I’m not jumping of joy? Got no idea…
Like we needed them to tell us it won’t dual boot. The MS version will barely be able to contain a bare Windows install, let alone Windows and something else to dual boot with. The comments to the previous story on both OSNews and Slashdot showed that the people already figured this out on their own, thank you very much.
Edited 2008-01-11 00:18 UTC