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Colombia Signs Up For OLPC Laptops With Windows

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the buncha-the-green-ones-hold-the-sugar dept.

Education 154

Reader Cowards Anonymous writes with this excerpt from Good Gear Guide: "Colombia will become the second country to use the One Laptop Per Child Project's (OLPC) XO laptops running Microsoft Windows XP in schools after signing an agreement for pilot programs in two towns. Schools in the towns of Quetame and Chia will be outfitted with the small green XO laptops developed by the OLPC. The pilot programs are expected to expand over time."

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Tragedy (5, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720265)

Isn't there enough pain and suffering down there?

Re:Tragedy (5, Funny)

Smelly Jeffrey (583520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720491)

According to the spec [laptop.org] , the XOs have a 433 MHz CPU and 256 MB of RAM.
Windows XP requires [microsoft.com] , a 233 MHz CPU and 64 MB of RAM.

I can just picture Microsoft suggesting that the XO is overpowered for the job, and that they should run Vista instead!

Re:Tragedy (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720935)

You should have been modded funny instead: according to Microsoft.com, the requirements for bottom-of-the-barrel Vista Home Basic are:

- 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 512 MB of system memory
- 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
- Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory
- DVD-ROM drive
- Audio Output
- Internet access (fees may apply)

No way in hell that they're going to force that upon Micro-Laptops. If anything Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot by keeping XP alive. Even Microsoft wouldn't be naive enough to believe that even a stripped-down version of Vista would run on one of those!

Re:Tragedy (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721327)

- Audio Output

Uhhh... Why?

Re:Tragedy (1)

magnus.ahlberg (1211924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721941)

Surely they want to make sure that users notice that amazing startup sound [slashdot.org] they created. :)

Re:Tragedy (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722573)

Robert Fripp, mastermind of long-lasting progressive geek band King Crimson [king-crimson.com] , made the sounds.

Kinda odd considering that King Crimson have always been an under-the radar cult band and using their sounds on Linux would be a more fitting match. Microsoft should have instead had Fall Out Boy or Puff Daddy record the sounds, those'd be much more appropriate to Vista :)

Deskchairs raped with napalm fire (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722747)

Might have had something to do with Ballmer being the Crimson King

Re:Tragedy (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723271)

To play sounds, obviously. An internet connection isn't required either but quite frankly a computer is quite boring without them.

I'll take that bet (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724315)

No way in hell that they're going to force that upon Micro-Laptops.

.
How many times has the geek been absolutely certain that this time the hardware requirements for a Windows OS would remain out-of-reach -- leaving a clear track ahead for Linux in some new market segment - only to see high-end specs become low-end specs in a year, or two, or three?

HP 8.9" 2133-E Mini-Note PC [walmart.com]
Vista Basic. 1.2 Ghz VIA CPU. VIA DX 9 Graphics. 2 GB RAM. 120 GB HDD. $610

I agree (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720627)

I agree. Why inflict an OLPC on some poor little kids? Especially since it's a vaporware product.

The best alternative would have been going with the Intel Classmate with Windows XP. The Classmate gives the locals at least temporary jobs assembling the machines, the machines come with support (unlike the YOYO [yer on yer own] support offered by the XO), and best of all, the kids still get exposure to an operating system which will not have them locked out of the worldwide marketplace (both jobs and ideas).

Sad day for Columbia, but good day for NeoCons like Nick Negroponte, who's brother John was running death squads out of the US embassy in Honduras. The right-wing fraudster apple sure doesnt fall far down the tree.

Hasn't the Negroponte inflicted enough suffering on Latin America?

Re:Tragedy (1, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721677)

They must be on crack. Oh wait.

The real question: (3, Funny)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720271)

Will they be reinforced to stop a 9mm round?

=Smidge=

Re:The real question: (4, Funny)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720553)

Whenever I see a moderation like (Score:0, Funny) I feel "I'm about to laugh at something I should be offended by"

Re:The real question: (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721681)

What I find more funny is that he started out at -1.

gentlemen (2, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720309)

let the conspiracy madness begin :)

Re:gentlemen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722209)

No need for a conspiracy. Colombia is a very right wing country (at least the ruling elite here are) and Windows is a better fit for keeping control than Linux is.

Too bad it's WIndows (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720353)

Too bad it's Windows; they might have actually had a chance to learn something about computers. Now all they'll learn is that things mysteriously going wrong can be fixed by a reboot for equally mysterious reasons and that applications are this highly polished black box that you're not allowed to examine to determine how they work since that might violate someone's intellectual property. They'll also learn that application crashes are fairly normal, that they don't happen for good reasons that can be permanently fixed but are more like a throwing of the dice so you better save your work frequently. If they're sharp they'll also learn that open standards are bad and should be subverted whenever possible.

Re:Too bad it's WIndows (1)

Crumplecorn (904797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721273)

On the upside, they'll learn that they don't actually need a cannon to kill a mosquito.

At least it's not Vista (0, Troll)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721621)

I mean, we don't want to be cruel

Re:Too bad it's WIndows (1, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723741)

Too bad it's Windows; they might have actually had a chance to learn something about computers.

You assume that the purpose of this deal is to have someone "learn something about computers". It might come as a surprise, but for a lot of people (and students), computers are not "the thing to learn about", but just a tool that assists in the process of learning.

Now all they'll learn is that things mysteriously going wrong can be fixed by a reboot for equally mysterious reasons

Oh yes; as opposed to the ritual of rebuilding and installing a new kernel version to fix a non-working piece of hardware that's so very transparent to a layman.

applications are this highly polished black box that you're not allowed to examine to determine how they work since that might violate someone's intellectual property.

You know, Windows doesn't delete F/OSS applications on sight. And there are plenty of them available - you might have heard titles such as "Firefox", or "OpenOffice", or "gcc".

Besides, do you seriously think there is much useful to be derived from inspecting, say, Firefox source code, in school?

They'll also learn that application crashes are fairly normal, that they don't happen for good reasons that can be permanently fixed but are more like a throwing of the dice so you better save your work frequently.

That's so totally unlike Linux apps! I mean, you go to a bugtracker of any major F/OSS project, search for "crash" or "segfault", and not a single open or recently closed ticket is to be found!

If they're sharp they'll also learn that open standards are bad and should be subverted whenever possible.

Absolutely - that patented MS 25th frame technique which replaces your desktop with a huge banner that says "OpenXML good, ODF bad".

Or did you mean that, somehow, a typical MS Office user would even know the difference between "open" and "not so open" standards, much less the subtleties of "subverting" the former?

Or are you afraid that the kids might - o horror! - use OpenXML SDK to parse and generate Word and Excel documents, and find that it is actually surprisingly easy to do so, and the output is perfectly understandable?

This is a blip. (3, Informative)

RustinHWright (1304191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724067)

A.) This is TWO TOWNS. I'm finding all the teeth gnashing here a bit sad. The real deployments are already underway and most are using Linux.

If you RTFA you'll find that:
. . .several towns in Colombia were in the process of buying or deploying its XO laptops, most of which use a Red Hat Fedora Linux OS... An initial 20,000 laptops will be handed out . . . in . . . Bogota. Another 90,000 laptops will be deployed in Cartagena.

Around 1,000 XO laptops have been earmarked for schools in regions where the Revolutionary Army of Colombia rebel group remains active. The XO is already used in Marina Orth, former home to drug lord Pablo Escobar.

B.) And what makes you so sure that in a few years they won't eventually switch the OS on the M$ boxes when the press and suits go away? Quite a few Latin American countries are framing the switch to Linux as a nationalistic thing, as a chance to use Spanish-language optimized versions from Mexico instead of the Norteamericano corporate beast.

In short, dudes, relax.

Pet Project (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720407)

The ones going to Quetame will be standard OLPC laptops, the other town will get the Greener Green(tm) version with foliage.

Chia... (-1, Offtopic)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720409)

...I'm sure I had a pet from there once.

failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (4, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720413)

I have to wonder what role Sugar plays in the decision to go with XP.

You get one choice that looks like a computer, windows and menus and the like; and you get one choice that looks like nothing you've ever seen, that doesn't give kids experience with a typical computer internface and is based on unproven ideas about how children learn.

OLPC w/ XFCE FTW.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720815)

and you get one choice that looks like nothing you've ever seen

Oh, this old, tired line again. When I was at school, sure there was MS and Word, but it was DOS 3.2 and Word 2.something which ran in text mode only. If I remember correctly. So frankly what I had at school was NOTHING like what I have now. The point is, it doesn't matter what you teach kids today, since it will be nothing like what is in the office when they turn 21, even if you teach them MS products, they won't be the MS products of 2020.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1, Insightful)

Informative (1347701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721359)

Kids this young should be helped to understand what a computer is in general, and how one interfaces with it. The networking aspect of sugar sounds expecially good for that.

I feel sorry for the kids that will only learn how to be office droids.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (2, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721707)

This may sound a bit wierd, but I wish that my first computer was a commodore 64. I think it would have been a much more educational experience than Win 3.1 on a mulitimedia PC. Meh. Shoulda woulda coulda.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722111)

My first computer WAS a Commodore 64. Actually it was a Commodore Vic 20 and I later UPGRADED to the 64. Yes, I am that old...

Did I learn MORE than someone using Win 3.1? No. I learned different stuff. I did learn about PEEKs and POKEs and an oddball OS running on very, very limited hardware. I learned to be patient while Crush, Crumble and Chomp spent 30 minutes loading from cassette tape (50% of the time it would fail too, plus when you die you had to RELOAD the game, good times). You could have learned fairly equivalent stuff on Windows. Keep in mind the Commodores were NOT open source operating systems.

For someone who cares about how computers work, open source software is great. However, the vast majority of people on the planet have very, very little interest in knowing how computers work. They don't care how their TV works or car either. They have things they want to do with those tools, not spend time tinkering with those tools.

That does NOT make them bad people either. If you think it does, you should really get out more and meet a more diverse group of people. If you like tinkering with the system, great! Enjoy it!

If I don't stop now I am going to drop into a very long rambling reminiscence of the good, bad and ugly of working with Commodores. Ah, you never forget your first love...

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722165)

Windows 3.1 and multimedia PC's are about two decades apart.

--Toll_Free

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723441)

The point is, it doesn't matter what you teach kids today, since it will be nothing like what is in the office when they turn 21

Precisely, which is why giving them Windows XP is no better or worse than giving them Linux. It will all be different later anyhow.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723563)

The problem is we had a chance to break from ms standards with XO. If it took off Linux will now be a targetable market and these students likely will prefer it in the office when they get older.

Since they chose Windows developers will now say go install Windows we wont port to sugar

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723857)

Fact != Perception. The fact that whatever technology you're taught in school is almost certainly going to be obsolete by the time you even begin to write your CV doesn't mean that the people in charge of purchasing decisions don't believe it'll matter.

It's hard to fault them for thinking as such, though... after all, I studied math in school using my dad's books, which my grandpa had bought for him second-hand when he was a kid, and they served me just fine. For all the advancement in the more 'theoretical' fields of mathematics, basic algebra and geometry has stayed pretty much the same for the last two hundred years or so.

Still, I wish more people outside of the technological fields would realize the breakneck speeds at which it's changing. Too many stupid policies and laws are being made due to ignorance of that fact.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723983)

The point is, it doesn't matter what you teach kids today, since it will be nothing like what is in the office when they turn 21

I will bet you $20 that office software 10 years from now will still use files and some sort of desktop metaphor - things lacking in Sugar.

Just as cars eventually settled, after a period of diversity, into the wheel-and-pedals interface we have today, the GUI has settled into the desktop metaphor.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721441)

You get one choice that looks like a computer, windows and menus and the like; and you get one choice that looks like nothing you've ever seen,

Have you actually used Sugar? The difference between Sugar and Windows is really no different then between Gnome and Windows or KDE and Windows or any other GUI. Sugar really only has two main differences to a normal GUI: every application is started in fullscreen (just like on lots of PDA, mobile phones, etc.) and you don't have a normal filesystem, instead you get a Journal which really is not much different from Gnomes Beagle or other desktop search applications. Other then that its really just cosmetic, they call their applications Activities, their taskbar is called Frame and instead of text menus you have large icons.

Where Sugar fails isn't in the interface, even if that still has more then a few rough edges, but in backward compatibility. Sugar can run Sugar application and little else. X11 applications will still work, as long as they only need a single window, but there doesn't seems to be a clear way how one would easily integrate them into Sugar.

Re:failure for Sugar, not for Linux? (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724135)

Have you actually used Sugar?

Tried. It's gods-awful. Finally put XFCE on my OLPC, now it's usable.

Sugar really only has two main differences to a normal GUI: every application is started in fullscreen...and you don't have a normal filesystem, instead you get a Journal

The fullscreen thing was irritating and unnecessary (you need it on a phone or PDA due to lack of screen real estate, but not on the OLPC), but one might be able to live with it

The "Journal" is a steaming pile of shit, and whoever thought it up should be put in the stocks and pelted with rotten fruit. If Gnome's Beagle is anything like it, then I'm not missing anything.

joy! (0, Offtopic)

CheshireFerk-o (412142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720419)

i wonder how much cocaine u can stuff into an XO?

...and the slavery begins. (0, Troll)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720445)

You know, as one of those prototypical evil world-dominating US citizen types, I should be happy that, vis-a-vis Microsoft, we're enslaving the world to an American-made product. Nevermind that it's second-rate and vastly inferior to Linux in more aspects than I care to count. Nevermind that it'll end up hurting innovation and the pocketbooks of third-world countries barely struggling to bring themselves upwards. They'll all be dependent on us!

Then again, I realize that damnit, it's a colossal waste of potential, energy, and resources... not to mention money.

Forget all the ephemeral left-leaning talking points bandied about concerning resentment towards the USA - thanks to intentionally crippling developing nations with Windows, future generations are gonna hate us more than you can ever imagine...

/P

Re:...and the slavery begins. (4, Interesting)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720695)

Nevermind that it's second-rate and vastly inferior to Linux in more aspects than I care to count.
Unless you look at the aspects where Linux is inferior to Windows.

They'll all be dependent on us!
How did Microsoft becomes "us"? ... assuming you mean the Windows OS on the XO laptops. Microsoft is based in the US but the company exists around the world so finding support shouldn't be hard from any country. You're too Microsoft focused. Your perceived entrapment case is larger than you think if you broaden your scope beyond only the OS: OLPC is funded by member organizations, including AMD, Brightstar Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, SES, Nortel Networks, and Red Hat.[2][3] Each company has donated two million dollars. While OLPC is 'not for profit', the XO-1 manufacturers including many members are expected to receive 5-10% profit from sales of the unit. [wikipedia.org] Companies are profiting fiscally and Microsoft isn't mentioned...

crippling developing nations with Windows, future generations are gonna hate us more than you can ever imagine...
Nothing is being forced on them. It's the developing country's choice what to deploy. There's no reason for "them" to hate "us" over their decision about these laptops.

Dammit the incessant arguing gets tiring. Ultimately these countries are getting set up with hardware and software. Learning can be achieved on any of these platforms. Many techies are putting their OS arguments as priority over real people in developing nations. This is why things slow down. But this is tech news, and maybe we shouldn't expect to find many altruistic nerds.

Re:...and the slavery begins. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721051)

How did Microsoft becomes "us"? ...

Agreed. But also remember that the US government allowed that company to get away with its questionable practices. And the government was chosen by the people (isn't that supposed to be a democracy?) so you can't really say people are 0.000% innocent on this.

Nothing is being forced on them. It's the developing country's choice what to deploy.

On the immediate situation you're right.
On the other hand, most (perhaps all?) of the countries in Latin America had their history heavily changed by the U.S. thanks to its Cold War policies.

Things changed for better, for worse? Dunno. I used to be a leftist until my mid 20s, nowadays I'm sceptic of both sides.
The only thing I'm sure is that the governments we have nowadays in Latin America would not exist the way they are, had the U.S. not interfered.

Historical responsability is made of lots of grey tones.

Re:...and the slavery begins. (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722205)

The US is NOT a democracy.

It's a democratic republic.

BIG difference.

You voted?

--Toll_Free

Don't they know? (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720451)

Green and blue (and even lesser: blue with white print) do not match!

hmmm. (4, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720497)

FTFA

Installing Microsoft software in OLPC's laptops has been controversial. OLPC started out offering Linux on the devices because the OS costs nothing and organizers believed it made the device run more efficiently. Some open-source software advocates hoped the XO would spread the use of Linux and the open source philosophy to the 5 billion people living without computers in the developing world.

Microsoft hopes to capture these 5 billion people for its future market potential.

..at least they are honest about it. and none of this "offering a better, competative.." rubbish. its plain old "get them when they are young" philosophy....

Re:hmmm. (4, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720647)

As opposed to the equally blatantly stated "Spread the use of Linux and the open source philosophy"?

They're both attempting to do the same thing... but apparently, Microsoft has more money to throw at the problem.

Re:hmmm. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720721)

Well that's just douchy Atlanpiss

I know you've forgotten that the open source philosophy is one of freedom of choice - or beer but how could you forget that you are at slashdot?

I officially call upon the mighty slashers to mod you down for ignorance.

Re:hmmm. (3, Insightful)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720731)

Spreading free and open access to information is a bit nicer goal than getting the kids young so we can rape them with licensing fees when they get older.

Re:hmmm. (4, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721121)

Possibly. I'm not necessarily convinced that free and open access to information is necessary... or even useful.

However, IMNSHO, that's not what Open Source is about anyway. Open Source has really never been terribly important for your average person; all of its important freedoms relate to developers. The freedom to sprout wings and fly away is irrelevant to people who have no ability to sprout wings and fly away, and in the same manner, the vast majority of computer users (and this percentage is growing, not shrinking) are not developers. Open Source, arguably, does not strive to protect them or provide open and free access to them.

Microsoft's tactics are primarily profit-driven, of course. But Microsoft is no longer a booming growth organization like it once was; it must shift its goals toward long-term sustainability and medium growth, and this it has tried to do. You'll notice this in the fact that Microsoft's licensing fees are not terribly high. The vast majority of users, in fact, do not pay these fees on anything but an irregular basis, and the fees they do pay, which are rolled into OEM machines, are so low when spread across the time involved that Microsoft's 'raping license fees' work out for your average user somewhere between $20-$30 per year, I would imagine.

Is free cheaper? Certainly! But it's patently obvious that Microsoft hardly rapes their customer base with license fees. This is especially true in developing countries where copyright infringement runs entirely rampant. Huge numbers of people would rather pirate Windows in the developing world than run Linux, and I think that says something about Microsoft's sustainability strategy.

Ultimately, I think Microsoft's attempts here, and in various other places across the globe is merely an attempt by the organization to replace its pirated software with licensed software, by making it clear what benefit partnership with Microsoft brings, including huge rebates and funding sponsorships. The problem is that Linux doesn't bring huge wads of cash with it. The value of open source software is intangible and arguably non-existent to a lot of these people.

Re:hmmm. (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721591)

The vast majority of users, in fact, do not pay these fees on anything but an irregular basis, and the fees they do pay, which are rolled into OEM machines, are so low when spread across the time involved that Microsoft's 'raping license fees' work out for your average user somewhere between $20-$30 per year, I would imagine.

Why, as a consumer, can I not buy Windows for a similiar low price, or a low multiple? Why is it in the hundreds of $$$? Why are there over 6 versions of Vista now? Why not just 2?

Possibly. I'm not necessarily convinced that free and open access to information is necessary... or even useful.

Don't use wikipedia then. I use it about 50 times a day. I just contributed $100 toward it because it's that usefull to me. No static, "closed-soure" encyclopedia comes close for me for 'esoteric' topics.

Re:hmmm. (2, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721763)

Why, as a consumer, can I not buy Windows for a similiar low price, or a low multiple? Why is it in the hundreds of $$$? Why are there over 6 versions of Vista now? Why not just 2?

For much the same reason as large organizations get deep, deep discounts on anything else and individuals don't. Economies of scale.

As for the versioning, it's worth nothing that while there are... six? versions of Windows, Microsoft has not attempted, nor expects, that all of those versions of windows can be bought by all people. For 99% of home users, there are two versions- Home Premium and Ultimate.

For 99% of Business uses, there are three versions- Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Enterprise is available solely through Software Assurance, and provides a variety of licensing and support benefits not otherwise available... but again, if you're licensing from Microsoft via SA, you've got people who know which version is best for you.

There are a lot of versions out there, no doubt about it. It's not a good thing. But it's not like Microsoft just dumped six different versions on store shelves and said "Go buy!"

Don't use wikipedia then. I use it about 50 times a day. I just contributed $100 toward it because it's that usefull to me. No static, "closed-soure" encyclopedia comes close for me for 'esoteric' topics.

That was not exactly what I was referring to when I said 'free and open access to information'... information, like any tool, can be used as a weapon. I'm not in favor of wandering down the street handing out fully loaded assault rifles to passers-by, so why should I be in favor of handing out copies of "The Prepatory Manual of Explosives"?

Re:hmmm. (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723279)

For much the same reason as large organizations get deep, deep discounts on anything else and individuals don't. Economies of scale.

Economy of scale refers primarily to production. The savings come from manufacturing 1 million identical widgets, whether you sell them to 1 million individuals or 100 large companies is not as important. It's how Ikea can offer cheap furniture, even though most of us buy one table at a time.

Now, sure, there are some savings in delivering large orders, but discount bulk pricing is more an issue of marketing and leverage than 'economy of scale'.

Re:hmmm. (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724217)

It's also a case of preferring defined revenue (although I argue there certainly are economies of scale involved in software licensing- Microsoft can sell you ten million software licenses at absolutely no cost to itself, but there is a definite cost to putting ten million boxes of Windows Vista on the shelf) over undefined revenue.

Microsoft knows that Dell will buy 50 million licenses a year- that's a much better deal for Microsoft than hoping that the 60 million boxed copies of Vista they put on the shelf might or might not sell.

Re:hmmm. (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724293)

Information in that sense can be a weapon, but it is only a true weapon when coupled with censorship.

Re:hmmm. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721821)

> of users, in fact, do not pay these fees on anything but an irregular basis, and the fees they do pay,
> which are rolled into OEM machines, are so low when spread across
> the time involved that Microsoft's 'raping license fees' work out
> for your average user somewhere between $20-$30 per year, I would imagine.

It's not just about the Microsoft tax but the fact that Microsoft
conspires against you in order to make it nearly impossible to
use anything else. It doesn't matter what your requirements. It
doesn't matter how poorly Microsoft's product meeds those
requirements. If they get their way, you will be forced to use
their crap whether you want to or not.

The only thing that's keeping them at bay is Free Software.

It even helps keep the world safe for the one remaining real
competitor to Microsoft left: namely Apple.

It's more than just the cost of Windows. It's also the cost of
all of the overhead of dealing with Windows crap and remaining
"compatible" with whatever sort of app Microsoft might have
dominance in today.

Linux even makes the world safer for older versions of Windows.

The fact that I don't have to deal with any stupid license
manager is also very convenient should I decide to pick up
a machine that doesn't have a copy of Windows or needs to
have the copy it does have wiped.

It's really easy to get out of touch with the BS Microsoft likes to subject it's captive audience too...

Re:hmmm. (2, Interesting)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722075)

It's not just about the Microsoft tax but the fact that Microsoft conspires against you in order to make it nearly impossible to use anything else. It doesn't matter what your requirements. It doesn't matter how poorly Microsoft's product meeds those requirements. If they get their way, you will be forced to use their crap whether you want to or not.

Firstly, it's linguistically incorrect to call it a tax. A tax, by definition, is a charge imposed by a government.

However, that point aside, your argument is not new. All organized economic systems will gravitate toward monopoly and all systems, period, will gravitate toward homogeneity without an external guiding force. The advantages, in both cases, are simply too large to ignore.

This is especially true in software. It's not even that Microsft has to conspire against you. Compatibility is simply so important, and the easiest way to be compatible is for everyone to have the same thing. There is enormous impetus for everyone to adopt the market leader in software in order to maintain that same compatibility.

Now, whether or not Microsoft is purposefully stopping their opponents from being compatible, they probably are, although I think it's nowhere near as bad as some people claim. Microsoft is a large, almost monolithic entity, and it is very slow to adapt. Given the speed at which other organizations can, and have in the past adapted, I think there are many other forces in play preventing ultimate compatibility with Microsoft systems, some of which are more significant, than Microsoft's obstinate 'conspiracy'.

The only thing that's keeping them at bay is Free Software.

It even helps keep the world safe for the one remaining real
competitor to Microsoft left: namely Apple.

Can we please keep the nutcase conspiracy wanking down to a dull roar?

It's more than just the cost of Windows. It's also the cost of
all of the overhead of dealing with Windows crap and remaining
"compatible" with whatever sort of app Microsoft might have
dominance in today.

This argument applies to anything... for example, healthcare service provisioning. And yet the argument is ultimately uncompelling. If you compare universal healthcare to market-based health care, in almost every metric universal health care in the western world comes out better overall, despite being, almost by nature, a monopoly at one level or another.

There are, indeed, overhead costs that arise. But these costs, in many cases, are not sufficient to outweigh the simple gains of homogeneity that arises through monopoly.

Re:hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724265)

Linguistically, it is incorrect to use the words "nutcase conspiracy wanking".

You arrogant twat.

Just saying.

Re:hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722765)

I'm not necessarily convinced that free and open access to information is necessary... or even useful.

As long as you don't want a functional capitalist economy, there's no reason to educate the peasants. As Lao Tse said, it won't make them happy.

But, if you want to have a capitalist economic system that actually works, you need informed and educated consumers as well as a free flow of information to producers. When it's networked properly, all the consumers are producers, and everybody wins. When an authoritarian, anti-intellectual government acts to limit connections and set up hierarchies of production and consumption that are unrelated to social needs (or predicated on fake needs like religious dogma or pseudo-populist ideology) everybody loses... but only in the long run. Short term, you can live like a king by fleecing the common man.

Re:hmmm. (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723207)

Open Source is not about freedom. Open source is a technical issue, about building better software through open source and open standards.

You are talking about the free software philosophy. Free software is about users, not developers.

When you use free software, as a user, you are free to buy updates and improvements from whoever you like, and even hire people to do it for you. Proprietary software comes with lock in, which is not important for throwaway software, but if very important for mission critical stuff.

Proprietary software is meant for the developed world, and their licensing schemes are meant to get as much money as they can. The thing is that in the developing world pockets are not as deep, and things simply can't get done because of having chosen proprietary software in the past, and having to deal with a monopoly in support.

Re:hmmm. (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723363)

I have a problem with the first statement you made... "I'm not necessarily convinced that free and open access to information is necessary... or even useful"

So what you're saying is that things like libraries aren't useful? Please explain that statement in clearer terms...

How Open Source benefits consumers (2, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723565)



I hate getting into internet arguments, and I'm only replying to this comment because Atlantis seems like a thoughtful person who has presented a reasoned, but off-mark perspective here.

Open Source has really never been terribly important for your average person; all of its important freedoms relate to developers.

The freedoms that Open Source brings to developers directly impacts users. Support for hardware and software provided by corporations can only last as long as there is a commercial interest in people using a given product. Old peripherals don't get drivers coded by their vendor for new OS releases and new peripherals don't get drivers bundled for old OS installations. Open source has thankfully picked up the slack for these users. Microsoft intentionally is withholding additional development on fixes, updates, etc. on this end-of-lifed OS, pressuring users to purchase an upgrade to its replacement OS. As new protocols, file formats, and other technical evolutions come along, XP will not be updated to support them.

With the OLPC program, WinXP laptop recipients are being shackled to limited future use of their gifted laptop. The Sugar laptop recipients have a multitude of developers committed to continuing the relevance of their platform for many years to come.

Please don't take this as a Microsoft-bashing rant. Substitute the name 'Microsoft' with any closed-source vendor. Microsoft is just the convenient example in this discussion. Take Internet Explorer. Once Netscape collapsed, there was no commercial incentive for Microsoft to improve its browser. (Yes, I know this is heading into the economics of competition-- I'll return to the original point of Open Source benefiting the user.) Since MS dominated the product category, they could withdraw those development resources to focus on other areas of generating profit. Internet Explorer withered for years because there was no pressure to add features or increase it's performance. The cost of developing a new, competing browser from scratch eliminated any possible threats from other commercial software vendors, too. That is, if they weren't given a community-developed code base for free. Eventually, Internet Explorer became embarrassingly antiquated, lacking modern features such as tabbed browsing because open source projects brought innovations to this product category which motivated Microsoft to restart IE development.

I could go on with many more examples of open source benefiting consumers, but I pity this dead horse I'm beating.

Seth

Re:hmmm. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721215)

So people not using Windows is a problem now?

Re:hmmm. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721267)

Yes, but the linux option will benefit the kids more...

Linux gives them a system which is open, allowing those kids who are technically minded to learn about it in depth and provide support to their peers. When they grow up, those kids will be able to sell such services to others, while the non technical kids will be able to buy support services from the others. So you end up with an IT industry that's locally based, rather than having to pay for expensive foreign services and additional software (what seems like pocket change to people in the first world, is a months wages for people in these third world countries).

And if you train people in the third world sufficiently well, they will be able to provide services to people in the first world, and because the cost of living is so much lower they can live like kings while still undercutting the competition.

Not to mention the fact that although they may get the original OLPC laptops for free or very cheap, once they get older and require computers for business purposes they won't be free, and having the cost of software on top makes it hurt twice as much...

Also, whats the point in learning xp instead of linux? the false assumption that its what the kids will end up using when they go on to get jobs? xp is obsolete, and becoming increasingly difficult to obtain... By the time these kids are old enough to get jobs xp will be nowhere to be seen and they will have to use something significantly different.

Re:hmmm. (2, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721873)

Yes, but the linux option will benefit the kids more...

Perhaps, but you certainly haven't proven such a claim.

Linux gives them a system which is open, allowing those kids who are technically minded to learn about it in depth and provide support to their peers. When they grow up, those kids will be able to sell such services to others, while the non technical kids will be able to buy support services from the others. So you end up with an IT industry that's locally based, rather than having to pay for expensive foreign services and additional software (what seems like pocket change to people in the first world, is a months wages for people in these third world countries).

This is entirely supposition, but more importantly, it's based on a chain of events that's never been shown to actually occur in a lot of the developing world. Places like India, with developed computer-sience industries don't start making their money by selling to theselves. They make their money by doing work for foreign organizations cheaper. The problem is, Linux doesn't pay very well.

And if you train people in the third world sufficiently well, they will be able to provide services to people in the first world, and because the cost of living is so much lower they can live like kings while still undercutting the competition.

Possibly. Providing services like that, however, requires significant infrastructure investment, and in fact, the OLPC people are not, to my knowledge, training anyone at all to do anything. They are merely providing laptops. Suggesting that poor villagers will get into software development and support to support their families is ridiculous, in my opinion.

However, you really ignored my primary point. Linux adds nothing of value. Open Source is not valuable to people in the developing world. Microsoft, however, goes in and throws around buckets of money- both Microsoft's and the Gates Foundation's- and that is valuable.

That's why those places choose Microsoft. Because it's 'better'. There's more value.

Re:hmmm. (2, Insightful)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722277)

I call bullshit.

Accordingly, your theory would say that nobody in IT today would have learned on MS platforms.

I did.

And most people in the industry, outside of *nix and OS/400 types, also did. Or migrated from other machines to PC based hardware when the other machines (Commodores, etc) disappeared.

So saying that open source will breed tech types is complete bullshit. Tech types will figure out how to work on their machines as well as modify them, no matter what the operating system is.

--Toll_Free

Re:hmmm. (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723893)

The difference is, OSS supporters would be happy if students knew both, Microsoft wouldn't.

Re:hmmm. (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720713)

The funny part is, it's the OSS advocates referenced in the article who have been pushing "get 'em while they're young" under the guise of "offering a better etc..." as a feature while insisting the same behavior by Microsoft is a bug.

Re:hmmm. (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721395)

OSS advocates don't have financial motivation for their suggestion. And I don't see any "under the guise of..."-type posts.

Re:hmmm. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722835)

It doesn't matter that they don't have a financial motivation - it matters that they have a political agenda they've been pushing under the guise of a charitable effort. If you haven't seen any "under the guise of" type posts, all I can think is that you haven't been reading the coverage of the OLPC here on /. - because those posts have been abundant.

Re:hmmm. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723647)

The posters here seem to be advocating legitimate reasons (mostly) for using FOSS. It isn't being pushed as being superior because of deception, it is being pushed as superior because it the poster feels that it really is superior. Contrast with MS, which has a reason to be biased in saying it's product is better.

Re:hmmm. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723789)

OSS advocates don't have financial motivation for their suggestion.

You mean, RedHat (for example) is a non-profit?

Re:hmmm. (2, Insightful)

Informative (1347701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721457)

Not quite, because OSS also often runs on windows. You have a choice. M$ wants lock-in. Think schoolyard drug dealer.

Re:hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721741)

Those damn freedom mongers! How dare they?

Cool (3, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720511)

Now they won't need drugs mules anymore because they can simply email us the cocaine!

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721241)

Now they won't need drugs mules anymore because they can simply email us the cocaine!

Ouch.. this is a heavy one.
I think that such jokes should only be said when they're really, really, really funny. To the extent that even the object of such joke is able to laugh at him/herself.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722355)

Now they won't need drugs mules anymore because they can simply email us the cocaine!

So if we all Colombians are drug dealers means all of you gringos are junkies right?
Not funny at all.

Re:Cool (1)

dtokra (1404893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722469)

what a jerk-oker..... your ignorance makes me laugh

Donkeys and coke (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25720593)

Give the poor Colombians a break! Their favorite past times are making sweet loving to donkeys and chewing coca leaf. VBS TV have a nice documentary on the the donkey part on http://www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=823490101

FUDGE (-1, Offtopic)

scientus (1357317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720677)

The decision to put Windows on the laptops came about because officials in some countries feared a non-Windows laptop would ill prepare students for the real world, in which Microsoft software dominates.

We run windows because everybody develops for windows.

We develop for windows because everybody runs windows

Don't some people realize they are being shafted with an inferior product, of which they hve no idea the quality of? Also what makes Colombia thing windows is the so dominent, even microsoft uses FreeBSD for mail servers, etc. This is only pure FUD toward these nations.

Cite, please (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721625)

even microsoft uses FreeBSD for mail servers

Link, please?

Re:Cite, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721967)

hotmail.com [hotmail.com]

Human Rights Watch (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720809)

The hope is kids become more interested in computers than joining the rebels, though the organization Human Rights Watch notes that many kids in the area are forced into the group and shot if they try to leave.

OK, anyone thinks that old Bill is exaggerating this time? I think maybe this could get him in trouble. Or I am underestimating his lawyers?

Even in Colombia, Microsoft is trying to catch up (4, Informative)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720811)

From TFA:

The groups did not say how many laptops would be handed out as part of the trial nor when it would start.

So it's an unspecified number of laptops at an unspecified point in the future. In the mean time, the linux version of the OLPC is a step or two ahead, and will be deploying 110,000 laptops running sugar:

Last month, OLPC announced that several towns in Colombia were in the process of buying or deploying its XO laptops, most of which use a Red Hat Fedora Linux OS core customized by OLPC and a graphical user interface aimed at kids called Sugar.

An initial 20,000 laptops will be handed out at schools in the capital, Bogota, thanks to several Colombian foundations and private donors. Another 90,000 laptops will be deployed in Cartagena.

Why will this pilot use windows laptops? easy, because Microsoft is paying for a big chunk of it:

Microsoft and OLPC will donate the XO laptops

This is quite interesting, after Bill Gates said the OLPC project was the wrong thing to spend charity money on, which should be spent on more fundamental things like food and healthcare. Clearly, this is not charity, it is fighting for the marketshare of the future.

The official excuse:

The decision to put Windows on the laptops came about because officials in some countries feared a non-Windows laptop would ill prepare students for the real world, in which Microsoft software dominates.

..is totally retarded. Anyone who has had a decent education can learn to use basic office programs in a day if needed. And anyhow, by the time these kids will enter the workforce, windows will be on version 15 (we're talking primary school kids!) and anything specific they learn about the system would be totally useless.

Re:Even in Colombia, Microsoft is trying to catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721711)

my company would like to switch to Vista, but we are still waiting for the kids that grew op with Vista. They will start looking for a job in about 15 years, and we will make the switch then.

Re:Even in Colombia, Microsoft is trying to catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722157)

The official excuse:

The decision to put Windows on the laptops came about because officials in some countries feared a non-Windows laptop would ill prepare students for the real world, in which Microsoft software dominates.

..is totally retarded. Anyone who has had a decent education can learn to use basic office programs in a day if needed.

And yet, to listen to people on Slashdot, the office 2007 ribbon interface is such a terrible change it's practically a crime against humanity.

Re:Even in Colombia, Microsoft is trying to catch (1)

MinistryOfTruthiness (1396923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723827)

Sadly, crimes against humanity are often user-friendly.

Re:Even in Colombia, Microsoft is trying to catch (1)

Ideally Nowhere (1384225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723035)

"...totally retarded"? Right. Don't take your "decent education" for granted. Only about half the Colombians go to high school and it may not even be free down there.

And anyhow, by the time these kids will enter the workforce, windows will be on version 15 (we're talking primary school kids!) and anything specific they learn about the system would be totally useless.

Someone who learned how to use Office 95 13 years ago can probably work their way around the latest version of office. And it's smart to target at the education level accessible to all children, which is different for each country.

Re:Even in Colombia, Microsoft is trying to catch (2, Insightful)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723523)

"...totally retarded"? Right. Don't take your "decent education" for granted. Only about half the Colombians go to high school and it may not even be free down there.

I don't take decent education for granted. I just don't think "using *office" (microsoft's or any other version) should be anywhere near a kid's education, at all, except as a tool to write reports essays and stuff (and for that, OLPC-sugar offers abiword). Just like you don't teach them to operate a cash register, or to build walls, just because that's the work they might end up doing. Education (especially early education) is NOT about giving pupils the tools for today's job market. It is about giving them the basic culture/mindset that allows them to become CITIZENS and learn the tools for tomorrow's job market, when they will need them.

And anyhow, by the time these kids will enter the workforce, windows will be on version 15 (we're talking primary school kids!) and anything specific they learn about the system would be totally useless.

Someone who learned how to use Office 95 13 years ago can probably work their way around the latest version of office. And it's smart to target at the education level accessible to all children, which is different for each country.

Yeah, and someone who used lotus notes 15 years ago will also be able to wrap his head around excel, ribbon or no ribbon.

What a mistake. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25720867)

Running Windows on an OLPC is like buying a Corvette with a Volkswagen engine in it.

What a waste. Very sad.

Re:What a mistake. (1)

vally_manea (911530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721049)

Actually it depends on the engine, check this out W16 [wikipedia.org]

Re:What a mistake. (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721207)

Show me a Volkswagen that uses that engine.

Also, from one of the external links in your Wikipedia article: "The only short-coming of W-engines is that they require very thin connecting rods, as the crankshaft is much shorter than V-engines. While VR6 uses con-rods with 20mm thickness, the W-engines run with 13mm ones. This prevent it from becoming racing engines. Tight cylinder heads may also limit its breathing and ventilation."

So, while a marvel of technology that Bugatti did manage to use in a very limited production vehicle, the W engine isn't quite in the same league as the LSx engines from GM that one would find in street cars and race cars alike.

Re:What a mistake. (1)

Nixoloco (675549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25721927)


Wouldn't it be more like buying a pretty little, colorful Scooter with an elderly hamster in a wheel under the hood?

Re:What a mistake. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722011)

You're seriously trying to compare ANY Chevy to ANY german car?

What are you smoking?

A volkswagen engine is bound to be an IMPROVEMENT.

Over there across the pond they don't just try to paint a turd a pretty color and try to sell that to you...

Re:What a mistake. (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724229)

Two things:

1. GM LS Series V8 Engine
2. STFU.

Re:What a mistake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723877)

Thank you! I was beginning to worry we weren't going to have a stupid car analogy but you have swooped in and saved the day.

it's a pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721217)

i'm afraid of what could happen now

I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25721695)

MS probably lobbied (=corrupted, it's a same thing) some poor government bastard in Colombia to choose Windows-based OLPC.

I fail to see why it's so important for Microsoft, not that it has anything to do with usual Linux UI's. Btw., is MS giving OS for free on these devices?

Anyway, Seems that MS is desperetely blocking every imaginable desktop-market entry point for Linux.

NOT SO FUNNY YOU NON COLOMBIANS IDIOTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25722181)

why do you have everytime an article is over colombian afairs take the drugs an violence jokes???

Can't you see more far than your nose?
This is an intent in taking information and technology to people instead of selling guns an other weapons made on USA! Do you now than each time you buy a gram of any drugs from Colombia or other country you are killing people?

Look at positive things: 110.000 children or maybe 110.000 familys with access to information, knowledge, tools, courses, job oportunitys, education, online participation on opinion driven sites, thigt communication with relatives and streng family links = good people.

I'm a colombian and i hate when people talk over other people problems without knowing or living nothing.

weopenlatest (2)

weopenlatest (748393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25722273)

Interesting that it is a right-wing nation like Columbia that chooses to get it's OLPC laptops with Windows installed. There's no good reason why the choice of software should be a political decision (that goes for you too, Stallman), yet so often that is the case.

I'd like to invite some of the government officials who balked at a commie OS to my office where they can see that real business is done with open source products all the time.

Columbia did NOT choose Win-OLPC (2, Informative)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723583)

Interesting that it is a right-wing nation like Columbia that chooses to get it's OLPC laptops with Windows installed.

Colombia (not Columbia) made no such choice. This is a future pilot program of unspecified size that microsoft is at least partially paying for. In the meantime, 110000 sugar-base OLPCs are already scheduled for deployment in Colombia (according to TFA). Summary is totally misleading.

plus 5, troll) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723845)

I don't like it (1)

logfish (1245392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723861)

I thought about sponsoring the OLPC project once... and now I'm glad I didn't do anything like that.

We need a FOSS pledge for hardware vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724119)

How many times has this happened? They release the first version of their device with Linux, rely on the FOSS community to debug them, and when the hardest part is done, sell out to Microsoft. Same thing happened to Eee - even their (shitty) Linux version was bought by Microsoft. Why should I buy any more Linux-out-of-the-box devices if this is going to happen over and over again?

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