OLPC project to get Windows XP
The noble One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project recently revealed that the Windows XP operating system from Microsoft will, in the future, be available on XO laptops in addition to the current open source Linux operating system which they are currently using. The Windows-based XO systems will be released in the upcoming pilot programs from June onwards, and it is nice to see that the OLPC group and Microsoft finally come to an agreement where everyone can win. After all, the decision as to whether to include Windows XP or not did take a rather tumultous route to date, where both software and hardware on the XO were specially designed to offer special features that were only supported by the Linux-based software stack previously, but it is nice to see Microsoft take the effort to customize their own Windows to enable to run on the XO without sacrificing on the laptop’s capabilities such as dual-mode screen, camera, writing pad and WiFi connectivity in the process.
According to the New York Times, each Windows license and additional hardware required to support Windows will up the overall cost of the XO laptop to $200, which is double the target price of what OLPC envisioned. As for porting over OLPC’s Sugar education software system to Windows, Microsoft engineers will be relieved of that task since it falls under the jurisdiction of third-party developers. OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte stated, “From the beginning, the goal of OLPC has been to use technology to transform education by bringing connectivity and constructionist learning to the poorest children throughout the world. Today’s announcement, coupled with future plans for a dual boot version of the XO laptop, enhances our ability to deliver on this vision. In addition, OLPC will work with third parties to port its user interface, called Sugar, to Windows.”