OLPC Project Founder Now Wants to Dump Open Source for Windows

Kachina Shaw

Linux helped the One Laptop Per Child project get thousands of low-cost computers into the hands of children in developing countries around the world, but now the OLPC's founder says certain pressures may force future machines to carry Windows XP instead.


Nicholas Negroponte, who has never been afraid to announce his irritation with anyone or anything, is currently apparently irritated with the Sugar GUI developed for the OLPC laptops, the lack of support for Flash, and open source "fundamentalists." This Computerworld piece says Negroponte wants to address incompatibility and other performance issues in the OLPC laptops "without worrying about the fundamentalism in some of the open-source community."


The OLPC project is changing shape on most fronts. It lost its CTO at the beginning of the year, and President Walter Bender just resigned, as well.


So what might this mean for Microsoft? Probably not a whole lot. OLPC already was working on a dual Linux/Windows version, and the XP version is just a rumor, at this point. Though if Microsoft wants to claim this project as one of its own, it might work a bit harder on an appropriate stripped-down version that won't continue to make the "low-cost" laptops more and more expensive. I do think that the only way the OLPC project will stay alive more than a year or two more is to make the move to Windows and the improved application interoperability that competing products such as the Intel Classmate offer. Without doing so, it'll never make it in its target markets of developing countries' educational systems or any other market, for that matter.

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Apr 24, 2008 1:13 AM Du238 Du238  says:
YES, it's true that Microsoft's strategy is and has been about anti-competitive behavior. And we can even add, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies--and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets...But, the real question isn't even Microsoft here, it's how the economy is based upon IPR. In the U.S. business function under the laws, of which "Intellectual Property Rights" dictate how businesses conduct themselves. Microsoft like many other corporations are just exploiting the given situation.In lessor developing countries, even such one as mainland China, where rampant economic development occurs, the need for sharing the works of innovation remains a top priority, and NOT the need of maintaining monopolies such as the MPAA and RIAA content distributors. Does anyone think in Sudan, for example, the need of preventing others from building upon prior innovation is greater in need? Have you recently been to Sudan? Have you been to many of the third world developing countries? Where even toilets are missing, where people are under oppression and told IPR like in China needs to be adopted. Why or rather for who's benefit? The truth is, IPR has increasingly become an instrument for securing huge investments. But for a democratic society, that thrives on a large diversity of freely expressed and discussed cultural expressions, it's succumbs to stagnation and regression, all because of some bureaucratic encumbrance of intellectual property rights.Copyrights are selfish; they place the good of the one (the creator) over the good of the many (the audience). Instead of allowing a work to be improved and redistributed by those who may be more qualified than the original author, works are restricted in the name of monetary profit.Supporting open source code, allows everyone to build upon and improve technology. People become enablers, not dependent upon such corporations like Microsoft. Whom dictate with pre-loaded PC client machines their EULA draconian stipulations. The public isn't allowed to review the source code. How is that better? It just establishes a special market niche for Microsoft to hold on to it's monopolistic business practices...OLPC shouldn't force developing "cheaper growing adults" with software that is ALL proprietary source code. If you let OLPC become owned, copyrighted and patent, you're going to create even more dependency upon Microsoft or whatever other IPR corporation. Reply

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