One less worry for the underprivileged children of the world

Remember all that buzz last week about how the One Laptop Per Child program’s XO computer might end up able to run a version of Windows as an alternative to the open-source OS designed for it (see “OK, that’s $176 for the laptop, $3 for Windows and $500 for the remote tech support“)? Well, forget it. Apparently the major wire services and other news outlets latched on to a random info-nugget and extrapolated to the extreme.

Microsoft is indeed one of more than 1,500 companies accepted to OLPC’s developer program, does have access to XO prototypes and has made vague noises about developing for the machine, but that’s the extent of it, according to Walter Bender, president of software and content at OLPC. Bender told the folks at Ars Technica that his group has made no agreement with Microsoft, held no talks regarding the use of Microsoft’s $3 Student Innovation Suite, and received no requests from governments for a Windows version of the XO.

“We are a free and open-source shop. We have no one from OLPC working with Microsoft on developing a Windows platform for the XO. MS doesn’t get any special treatment from OLPC,” Bender told Ars.


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  • That story states “Negroponte disclosed that XO’s developers have been working with Microsoft Corp. to make sure a version of Windows can run on the machines as well.”
    Then after the spit-hits-the-spam Bender tells Ars Technica: “We have no one from OLPC working with Microsoft on developing a Windows platform for the XO”.
    Either Bender or Negroponte has it wrong.
    Ars admits Microsoft has said it will develop for the XO laptop and is a member of the developer program – despite ridiculing the device from day one.
    Despite what Bender, OLPC or Microsoft might say today it is clear that Microsoft (the monopolist) has its eye on this device and intends to get a piece of the action. Otherwise it would not even be in the developer program!
    Case closed IMHO.