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Microsoft Working on XP for OLPC

“It will be mid-2008 at the earliest before we could have a production-quality release,” said Utzschneider. Much of that time will be spent adapting XP to run and boot from an SD card. He also says that engineers will have to develop a new BIOS to allow the computer to boot from flash.

Utzschneider stresses that pricing of the scaled-down XP hasn’t been finalized yet and even adds, “You should not assume that Windows on the XP is a done deal.” However despite the ominous tone of that last sentence, he says that Microsoft is committed to developing a quality port of Windows XP, but that “we still have a lot of work to do to complete the effort.”

You can read Utzschneider’s blog here.

  • OLPC isnt about operating systems. its about OLPC, it has simple tasks that it needs to be done. any additions can be to that framework. it doesnt matter that it runs linux. main concern is about computing. im not sure what windows wants to bring in ? microsoft had a very lax attitude towards security in the pursuit of getting custoemrs first, think about securing it later. but, why would children need to learn about windows, instead they could very well be happy with simple computing ? it sounds like the drug dealers approaching the teenagers.
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  • The purpose of OLPC was to bring computers to children in less-privileged countries, without the goal of profit. Microsoft's only goal is profit. I find it despicable that Microsoft would even consider charging for the XO version of Windows. I think they have enough cash on hand to just take the hit, after all, they're just revamping an OS they plan to discontinue in 2009 anyway. Also brings up an interesting point, is the Vista Kernel so bloated that it would be impossible to scale down for the XO?
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  • I agree with the drug-dealer comment. IF Microsoft can get a trimmed-down version of Windows XP working on an OLPC, then they'll probably sell it at $3, just like in China. THAT is the drug-dealer hook. Once they get the students used to using Microsoft, and have all their data in a proprietary Microsoft format (e.g. OOXML) the prices will rise until, like here in the States, the cost of software will far exceed the cost of the hardware.

    The OLPC was designed from the start to be a low-cost computer. It's supplied with a minimal amount of semi-permanent storage, in the form of flash memory. It's also supplied with a low-power processor so that it can be recharged by hand, rather than require a dependable electrical grid throughout the region of use. That storage is big enough for a distribution of the Linux operating system and a few critical applications, such as web browsing, email, and word-processing. It is NOT a large enough storage nor a fast enough processing platform to support bloated software.

    I have to wonder what Microsoft intends to remove from "XP" to make it OLPC-compatible. They've testified (under oath) that everything there was necessary. Either they lied <feigning shock> or they're expecting to dress-up an even older version of Windows (say, 98SE?) to LOOK like XP, or they will expect users to "upgrade" the OLPC with extra flash memory and faster processor to run it.

    Whatever the case is, I'd bet that the "applications" will be web-based, which really WILL lock the users into paying ever-increasing taxes to see their own documents. Why have a web-based application if you're going to store the data locally? No, no, no... Store it up on a Microsoft server, where it will be "safe" and you'll always have access to it. "Oh, did we forget to remind you that there will be a fee for storage? Gotcha!"
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  • Microsoft has already made a slimmed down version of XP. The version is called WinFLP{Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs}. See Wiki. I have used it. It seems to be just a functional as XP Pro. The minimum system requiremets are very low. Should run on OLPC just fine. IDK why its taken them a year to build a OS for it. Thats a joke. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Fundamentals_for_Legacy_PCs
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  • I think all of you are looking at this from the wrong perspective. Microsoft at the moment is on the defensive. You think M$ is thinking of the pore kids from some third world county? What is the concept of the program, buy one for you're kid and send one to some kid. Guess what will happen if al the US kids grow up using Linux? Right... next step Linux adopted in school since everyone knows it. Adoption in school... do I need to map out everything all the way to corporate level? I think you all get the point. I hope their financial influence will not win on this one.
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  • jalek
    They must be having trouble getting the copy protection, authentication, activation, calling home, etc. to work with such limited computing power.

    These machines are meant to be robust and efficient, MS has nothing to offer.
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  • If Win makes its way on to an OLPC, 80% of the OLPC staff has vowed to quit. I'd be surprised if this ever makes it further than an (un)news story.
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  • Check out these articles about Gates's initial reaction to OLPC:

    http://fussnotes.typepad.com/plexnex/2006/03/bill_gates_crit.html
    http://news.digitaltrends.com/news/story/9795/gates_derides_mits_100_olpc_laptop
    http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/16/bill-gates-has-his-say-of-things/
    http://www.digi-help.com/gadgets/bill-gates-olpc.asp
    http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0315-gates.html
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/microsoft-xp-olpc,news-62.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/30/technology/30gates.html?ex=1296277200&en=4e586bd7c9a4b218&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
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