The road to the One Laptop Per Child has been riddled with humps and bumps, such as hardware issues, the failure of the ‘G1G1’ scheme, and the inability to reach the USD 100 price mark, culminating in the resignation of the project’s president yesterday. Now, Negroponte, the project’s founder and chairman, has stated something that might alienate the project’s strongest supporters even further: the OLPC might evolve into using Windows XP only.The State reports that while the device would run Windows XP, the open source Sugar user interface would still be draped over it. Negroponte also stated to AP that the insistence upon using only open source software had “hampered the XO’s usability and scared away potential adopters”. He claims that the Sugar UI “grew amorphously” and “didn’t have a software architect who did it in a crisp way”.
There are several examples like that, that we have to address without worrying about the fundamentalism in some of the open-source community. One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist.
It is interesting to note that this turn-around on open source also removes the roadblock blocking Apple’s offer of releasing a build of Mac OS X specifically for the XO, originally offered by Apple during the start of the project.
The OLPC has sold about 500000 machines, way too short of the millions of devices it expected to sell by this time. This caused the price of the XO to remain far above the USD 100 target is started out with; an XO will currently set you back USD 188.