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OLPC Set To Dump x86 For Arm Chips In XO 2

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-make-it-faster dept.

274

angry tapir writes with this excerpt from Good Gear Guide: "One Laptop Per Child is set to dump x86 processors, instead opting to put low-power Arm-based processors in its next-generation XO-2 laptop with the aim of improving battery life. The nonprofit is 'almost' committed to putting the Arm-based chip in the next-generation XO-2 laptop, which is due for release in 18 months, according to Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of OLPC. The XO-1 laptop currently ships with Advanced Micro Devices' aging Geode chip, which is based on an x86 design."

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274 comments

Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170709)

OLPC Set To Dump x86 For Arm Chips In XO 2

I'm sorry, I thought ARM is an acronym for Advanced RISC Machine (formerly Acorn RISC Machine) [wikipedia.org] . Why am I seeing it used as "Arm"?

Or is there something I don't know about the processing power of two of my appendages?

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170781)

In German "Arm" means poor. Pretty fitting I think.

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170977)

I couldn't take the OLPC project seriously when they went with geode over arm. Cheap, durable, and low power? ARM kicks geode's ass seven days a week.

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171277)

No in German "Arm" means arm (body part) and "arm" means poor.

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (1, Informative)

cheftw (996831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172207)

But what if it's at the start of a sentence, pedant? "Arm kann ich sein, aber klueger als Sie"

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (5, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170851)

Or is there something I don't know about the processing power of two of my appendages?

*flexes*

Slashdot, I'd like you to meet Blue and Cray.

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170857)

I hear your fore arm is pretty powerful.

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171357)

I hear your fore arm is pretty powerful.

A wise old mariner with powerful fore arms once said: "I yam what I yam."

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172325)

It's "forearm". That's the prefix "fore" plus the noun "arm". Why do I see words like this falling apart everywhere?

How is it that people seem to unlearn what they should've known since grade 2? It seems to spread like a virus through the population. We'll all be back to drawing on cave walls soon...

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (1)

Tyr_7BE (461429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171411)

+1, Pedantic

Re:Now with Shoulder & Elbow Joint Technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172021)

+1, Pedantic

+1, Instructional

Archlinux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170737)

if it doesn't support arch linux, it isn't worth getting..

Why is this highlighted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170751)

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but why is this article headline highlighted red on the index page?

Re:Why is this highlighted? (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170835)

It was angry, but it seems to have calmed down now.

Now they can get the keyboard back (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170779)

This is fine as long as they get the keyboard back. The single greatest Human interface tool (except for the SNES controller) not on a computer is really something sad.

Re:Now they can get the keyboard back (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170833)

A keyboard. How quaint. (cracks knuckles)

Re:Now they can get the keyboard back (2, Funny)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171441)

Hello, computer.

Re:Now they can get the keyboard back (1)

saider (177166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172189)

Use the mouse.

What does this mean for their WinXP models? (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170855)

I'm uninitiated at the arts of ARM, and am too lazy to look it up.

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (5, Informative)

alannon (54117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170919)

It would mean no Windows. ARM is not an x86 architecture.

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171215)

I don't know that. What about Windows CE? It's not that easy to get rid of MS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_CE

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (3, Informative)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171427)

WinCE (What were they thinking when they picked that name???) does not run standard windows apps. Since this is the reason many stick with windows, it kind of kills that whole aspect. WinCE is the core behind Windows Mobile and some embedded systems, and would not likely work well in a full laptop.

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172143)

[...] does not run standard windows apps. [...]

Why should that stop them? Linux doesn't run any useful apps, either. I guess they'll need to go with MacOS, and triple the price of the XO-2!

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172413)

Linux doesn't run any useful apps, either.

Yeah, you're probably being sarcastic, but I'm responding anyway.

Linux has the best web browser (Firefox), a very good office suite (Open Office) with an excellent word processor and spreadsheet, and many powerful media applications (Gimp for photo editing, Avidemux for video editing, Audacity for audio editing). And much more. And all of it is free.

Oh dear God no (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172397)

I'm a developer who ports Windows CE to devices. All day, every day. Teach classes on it even. Been doing it since CE 3.0. Currently on 6.0.

CE makes a passable embedded/PDA device, but there is no way in the world you'd want it on a laptop.

It just isn't made for that kind of a setup. No native compilers, no swap file. Expensive license restrictions. It's less like a computer and more like a gadget in terms of overall feel.

Use Linux instead.

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (1)

harlequinade (1122273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171291)

If this change means Uncle Bill can no longer hijack the OLPC project, I'm more than good with the concept.
And I'd be surprised if I'm not one of a very large crowd.

Don't blame Bill for this one (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172173)

If this change means Uncle Bill can no longer hijack the OLPC project, I'm more than good with the concept.

The XO was a product of the western media lab -

custom hardware, FOSS and a western - constructivist - philosophy of education bundled into an all or nothing package for the third world education minister.

His alternative was the Classmate - a straight-line path to the higher grades, the trade school or college, the job market -

for the students who had a real shot at making it that far.

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (2, Informative)

Patoski (121455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171319)

Windows CE runs on ARM [arm.com] . Granted, CE doesn't have the level of application support you'll find in other versions of Windows though.

Re:What does this mean for their WinXP models? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172005)

No problem. They made a good decision. It is XO laptop after all.

But... how are they going to run Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170871)

on this thing???

Full Windows on ARM (5, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170893)

From TFA

"Like many, we are urging Microsoft to make Windows -- not Windows Mobile -- available on the Arm. This is a complex question for them," Negroponte said.

OLPC is in talks with Microsoft to develop a version of a full Windows OS for XO-2, Negroponte said. The XO-2 is still 18 months away from release, so "a lot can change with regard to Microsoft and Arm," Negroponte said.

I don't really see this working. Windows has run on Risc before of course, but almost no one ported their applications to any of the Risc platforms. And a top of the line Arm (a Snapdragon or Cortex A8) is still less powerful than a bottom of the line x86 (Intel Atom), so it's not like you can run x86 binaries at an acceptable speed through emulation, like Dec tried with FX!32 on the Alpha.

Re:Full Windows on ARM (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171185)

The whole excuse people use for running Windows is it runs their applications. Seeing as how they're all for x86, porting Windows itself is only 1% of the issue.

Re:Full Windows on ARM (3, Insightful)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171449)

That should only be the case for native applications.
For pure .NET applications (fully MSIL) is should not matter as long as the runtime is available..

Re:Full Windows on ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172733)

But they'll get to play Solitaire! So that's 2% of the issue!

Re:Full Windows on ARM (3, Interesting)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171413)

Indeed, Windows Mobile (or CE or HPC) was a total rewrite, Even Windows 7 potentially has some DOS 1.0 code, but not WM. It took that much effort to get ARM working. It's actually a comparatively Sturdy OS, it just doesn't have enough decent software built for it.

I had a MS-DOS EMU app for my HP Journada 720 (Windows HPC on a 255Mhz ARM chip), and for anything beyond rudimentary shell type commands, it was unusably slow.

Linux + ARM however would be lovely. I've got all sorts of daemons crunching instructions on my Western Digital MyBook World NAS. Still, by default, I believe they lack an FPU. I wonder if they'd add a coprocessor...

Re:Full Windows on ARM (2, Informative)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171533)

"Even Windows 7 potentially has some DOS 1.0 code..."

What? You realize that Windows 7 lineage traces to Windows NT which ran on non-x86 processors, right? No DOS code.

I guess if by "potentially" you meant zero potential then that's right.

Re:Full Windows on ARM (2, Informative)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171957)

I suppose it depends on whether any of the vm86 mode in Windows 9x made it into Win2k and beyond.

If any of the 16-bit ASM code behind the various int 21h DOS calls was retained in the real-mode emulation layer then one could say modern Windows still has DOS code still in it.

Re:Full Windows on ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171535)

I had a MS-DOS EMU app for my HP Journada 720 (Windows HPC on a 255Mhz ARM chip), and for anything beyond rudimentary shell type commands, it was unusably slow.

Eh? I had an MS-DOS emulator on my 8MHz ARM-based Archimedes A310 back in 1987. In case you weren't paying attention that's eight megahertz. And I could play DOS games on it. WTF is your HP computer doing? Is Windows in your box eating all your cycles?

Re:Full Windows on ARM (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172497)

Probably... Windows in my cell phone eats my battery alive, and sometimes the interface gets unreasonably slow, so it's probably munching on cycles too :)

Re:Full Windows on ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171469)

The DEC solution used binary translation not emulation. The programs were essentially dynamically recompiled and the recompilations were cached for later use to avoid the startup penalty. The recompilation process had issues but it worked pretty well. I ran office on Windows on Alpha.

Re:Full Windows on ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171607)

Shouldn't the .NET VM make .NET programs cross platform though?

Re:Full Windows on ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171853)

hehhehehe funny. Thanks for the laugh.

Re:Full Windows on ARM (2, Insightful)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171857)

I may be kind of cynical, but it seems ot me the OLPC project is now saying they recognize a lower power, less expensive processor would be a major benefit to their stated goals...but they can't (or really don't want to) adopt it anyway unless Microsoft® gives them the "okay", since they've effectively abandoned already-capable-of-running-on-ARM Linux for Microsoft.

OLPC is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170899)

It's sad, but this is just a confirmation that the OLPC is dead. How sad :-(

Re:OLPC is dead (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171009)

Nigs will just have to back to drawing with a stick in the dirt.

Re:OLPC is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171363)

Drawing with a stick in the dirt was good enough for Archimedes. As was the ARM, funnily enough.

Its irrelevant anyway... (3, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170901)

The OLPC project is dying. Four years ago, you didn't have the netbooks. Now you do.

Shifting to ARM will simply ensure the death of the OLPC project, because being able to run real windows is an underappreciated benefit of x86.

Re:Its irrelevant anyway... (2, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171025)

Shifting to ARM will simply ensure the death of the OLPC project, because being able to run real windows is an underappreciated benefit of x86.

Or for that matter, being able to run OS X. For example, by all accounts the Dell Mini 9 can be turned into an excellent low-cost Hackintosh.

But you are correct about the effect of the netbook market on the OLPC project. The OLPC was a visionary idea, but visionaries rarely outlast the revolutions they help create.

Re:Its irrelevant anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171181)

So what you are saying is that on pain of death nobody is going to stop you from upgrading to Windows 7.

Well, good for you. You have fun with that.

Re:Its irrelevant anyway... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171329)

I'm pretty sure the scope of the OLPC is not for commercial use. Why would anyone care if it runs Windows? It's a computer. It's better than nothing.

Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (5, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170935)

I seem to recall seeing something awhile ago that Ubuntu is being ported to the ARM architecture. If the port is ready, using it would be a much better proposition than begging Microsoft to make a custom Windows OS for the XO-2, IMO. What would stop Microsoft from deliberately crippling the OS (and making it practically useless as a result) like they did with the starter editions of XP and Vista? Those were meant for the same type of market demographic as OLPC, after all.

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171063)

Next month is the when that release is scheduled.

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171087)

What would stop Microsoft from deliberately crippling the OS (and making it practically useless as a result) like they did with the starter editions of XP and Vista?

Nothing at all. What's the incentive for people to use an OS from an manufacturer who deems them worthy of crapware?

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171241)

Nothing at all. What's the incentive for people to use an OS from an manufacturer who deems them worthy of crapware?

Masochism.

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171179)

You know there is something called debian which runs on all sorts of architectures. And this debian resembles ubuntu somewhat :P Relevant link: http://www.debian.org/ports

Metamoderation (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171309)

How is the parent modded 0 and the grandparent 4, insightful? Maybe I'll be informative if I mention that I think Facebook is being ported to ARM...

Re:Metamoderation (1)

skroops (1237422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171665)

Because he posted as AC

Debian Maintains An ARM Distro (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171359)

It work great. I run it on an nslu2.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSLU2 [wikipedia.org]

How much power saving are we talking about here? It seems to me the LCD panel/backlight are by far the biggest consumer of battery power.

Re:Debian Maintains An ARM Distro (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171691)

It seems to me the LCD panel/backlight are by far the biggest consumer of battery power.

Don't forget that the XO screen has a monochrome no-backlight (reflective) mode.

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (3, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171367)

Microsoft wouldn't need to artificially limit an ARM port of Windows to only allow three applications to run at a time, since there would only be about three applications available for the platform.

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171377)

Even if Microsoft bends over backwards, and dedicates half their resources to the ARM port, it'll still be crippled. Not because "OMG M$ suxx0rs!" but for the same reason that always comes up in windows vs. linux flame wars.

Applications.

Perhaps the largest argument in favor of windows on x86 is that virtually every bit of legacy software that somebody or other absolutely cannot live without for whatever reason runs on it. There is zero chance of most Wintel legacy software ever being ported to ARM(not to mention drivers. Given how much the x86/x86-64 transition sucked, it is pretty much impossible to be optimistic about an x86/ARM transition).

Re:Does Ubuntu run on ARM? (4, Insightful)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172599)

This is basically a weakness of proprietary software in general...

We've had x86_64 for what, 6 years now? Windows XP got ported pretty fast, but driver support is still awful since most hardware vendors haven't bothered to port their drivers. And true 64-bit app support is even worse.

On the other hand, the Linux kernel got ported to x86_64 shortly before the physical processors were actually available. I was running a full-blown Debian distro on it a couple months later. All the apps were open-source and the kernel makes great efforts to design device drivers for portability, and so for distro maintainers it was largely a matter of just recompiling the packages.

What lags behind in 64-bit support under Linux? Surprise, surprise, it's closed-source stuff like Flash and video drivers.

Closed-source software develops a massive amount of inertia against architecture changes. With open-source, as soon as one developer decides to recompile for the new architecture, maybe tweaks the code a bit, you're off and running.

still pissed at Intel.... (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170945)

The guy is so pissed off at the likes of Intel he's driving the platform into a ditch. An ARM based client computer. May as well try and bring back the Amiga.

Re:still pissed at Intel.... (4, Interesting)

glop (181086) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171095)

Well, actually the netbook makers such as Asus are trying to move towards ARM-based machines with Linux so that they can reach much lower price points.
In some way it makes more sense than the x86 Linux offering they had: why pay for x86 compatibility if the users aren't going to be able to install Word or the windows drivers for the printer they just bought? You might as well go fully incompatible and buy cheaper chips that use less power etc.
As nobody had predicted the success of netbooks and the reasons of that success are not completely clear, it makes sense to try the ARM approach just in case it's going to be very successful.
I believe that some people run AmigaOS on their netbook by the way ;-)

Re:still pissed at Intel.... (1)

Phantom Gremlin (161961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171323)

You may be right. I like your hypothesis the best of everything posted so far.

Intel's Atom is a quite powerful alternative. I wonder if they considered it?

 

Re:still pissed at Intel.... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172451)

Yeah, what an idiot, no one would ever buy one of those [apple.com] .

FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170973)

Advanced Micro Devices = AMD.

Time for OS X (5, Interesting)

macs4all (973270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171031)

I remember clearly that /. reported that Steve Jobs had originally agreed to license OS X to the OLPC project for free (as in beer), but that the offer was refused.

Since it is a well-known fact that Apple has had OS X working on an ARM architecture in the iPhone and iPod Touch for nearly 2 years now, it would seem a no-brainer at this point for OLPC to take Apple up on their offer.

Re:Time for OS X (2, Interesting)

fpophoto (1382097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171285)

Then Apple better get some work done. The most failure prone piece of software currently on my ipod touch is Safari.

Re:Time for OS X (1, Redundant)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171493)

Since it is a well-known fact that Apple has had OS X working on an ARM architecture in the iPhone and iPod Touch for nearly 2 years now, it would seem a no-brainer at this point for OLPC to take Apple up on their offer.

OS X doesn't run on ARM any more than Windows XP does. The OS on the iPhone may share code or features with the desktop version, but it's not the same OS, and it's highly tailored to the iPhone hardware. Adapting it to work on an OLPC wouldn't be the same task as installing OS X on an x86 computer.

Re:Time for OS X (2, Interesting)

macs4all (973270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171855)

Do you honestly think it would be MORE work than porting XP to ARM? Or Ubuntu (which I gather has NOT been sucessfully ported to ARM yet). I believe there are embedded Linuces that do run on ARM, but those are not "desktop" distros any more than you claim that the iPod Touch/iPhone version of OS X is. So, what's your point?

I never said that it would just be a matter of downloading the iPod Touch firmware into an OLPC machine and rebooting. But remember this: We're talking about a FUTURE product, not an existing one. If the decision were made to go with OS X, don'tcha think that the OLPC engineers and Apple's could come to some hardware consensus that would make porting OS X a simple(r) task.

Say what you want about Apple and NextStep/Rhapsody/OS X, but I believe that most slashdotters will agree: It is a VERY platform-agnostic OS. After all, versions of OS X already run on at least 3 vastly-different CPU architectures now (PPC G3, PPC G4/G5, x86, ARM10 (IIRC)). Do you really think that Apple isn't up to the task of adding a 4th, 5th, 6th in a reasonably short period of time?

Re:Time for OS X (1)

emj (15659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172493)

Sure cross compiling for ARM is hard [slashdot.org] but people do it, dev versions of the Pandora runs desktop Linux fine. It actually pretty easy to run Linux on ARM.

Re:Time for OS X (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172575)

I'm pretty sure Debian can be used for desktops. I used to run Debian on my Psion Series 5mx, which was much less powerful than the specs for these new ARM-based SCCs.

Re:Time for OS X (1)

TheManInTheMoon (1495657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171991)

You're absolutely right, however, I think Apple might be doing just this... many sources are saying that Apple is looking at producing a touch-screen netbook. My bet is that they'll produce a device exactly half way between the MacBook and the iPod Touch. It could use the recently released multi-core ARM cpu. Basically, a iTunes App Store connected netbook/tablet. Pretty cool. It could obviously use the new ultra-ultra-low-power Atoms, or even the Nano. Apple, being in control of software and the hardware can do anything they want... and at the moment, it appears that people are willing to spend more on Apple gear. It could of course go hollibly "pear" shaped, and end up as the next Newton (no pun intended).

Re:Time for OS X (2, Insightful)

deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172327)

I paid $200 for my XO in the G1G1 deal. 6 months later I paid $200 for my iPhone 3G. The iPhone has 8 times the capacity, Wifi so easy a kid can configure it, and is hands down a better 'computer' than the XO in my opinion. Sure, it doesn't have Python, but coding on the tiny keyboard was a pain anyhow.

Apple has been making computers for education long before Negroponte. I wouldn't be surprised if it comes ahead again. Think of all the educational apps that can be built with the iPhone SDK and distribute for free. Never, EVER, spurn Apple while Jobs is still alive. He'll make you eat your words.

Re:Time for OS X (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172603)

I wonder if the big batch of 10" touchscreen LCD panels they are rumored to have bought are for an educational market killer.

Re:Time for OS X (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172359)

Actually, I had that thought when I wrote my original post. However, I think that the touchscreens that have been ordered have more to do with the rumored "iTouch(TM)" or "iPad(TM)" product [slashdot.org] , than they do with OLPC. Having said that, wouldn't an iPad(TM) make porting OS X to the OLPC X02 quite a bit easier as well?

Re:Time for OS X (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172429)

Yes, the notion of OS X on an ARM-based OLPC should be laughed right off slashdot.

It's not as if Apple has had ANY success or experience porting their software to (or writing new software for) an ARM architecture. Oh wait.

I mean, it's not as if they have any experience writing software that integrates well across multiple hardware platforms. Oh wait.

I mean, it's not as if they have any experience designing clean & usable interfaces that people generally find easy to learn, and which make more powerful features available to advanced users by building on top of a unix foundation. Oh wait.

You're right. The notion of Mac OS being proted to an XO-2 is just ludicrous. It'd be much better to wait and let Microsoft port XP to the XO-2. They have a long and illustrious track record of releasing compatible, secure, feature-rich operating systems right on schedule.

Negroponte's Revenge on Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171043)

The logical next gen for OLPC would have been a netbook derivative using Intel's next gen Atom processor. Since Intel dropped out of the OLPC consortium, mostly out of unhappiness by Nicholas N over Intel's competing Classmate PC, Intel has been dirty word at OLPC. I can see NN deliberately driving the design to something non-Intel

Re:Negroponte's Revenge on Intel (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171235)

I doubt that the OLPC project is feeling warm and fuzzy about intel; but I don't think that that is the reason for ARM vs. Atom.

Thing is, to fulfill its objectives, the XO-2 has to be cheap, really cheap, to make. Atom based netbooks, even for the lowest spec models, in a highly competitive free market optimization process, have essentially failed to crack the $200 mark. Most are $300-$400. The OLPC guys really want less than $100. At this point, a $200 Atom netbook has already been cut to the bone, very little left(you might be able to cut out the ethernet jack and VGA; but you'd need to add the wireless mesh chip, and the more rugged case, it'd be a wash). Expecting that branch of development to halve in cost in the near future is pretty implausible.

That, rather than bitterness, is most likely the real reason. ARM is available, from a variety of vendors, at price/performance points that scale relatively smoothly from highish-end microcontrollers to modestly powerful laptop chips. x86 isn't(not yet, anyway).

Re:Negroponte's Revenge on Intel (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171375)

Atom based netbooks, even for the lowest spec models, in a highly competitive free market optimization process, have essentially failed to crack the $200 mark.

I don't think thats necessarily a "We can't make them for less than $200" but rather a "Everyone is going to think our laptops are crap if they are less than $200" idea.

Re:Negroponte's Revenge on Intel (2, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172753)

I suspect power consumption has more to do with it (although given that battery cost is a significant cost of a system, reducing power may reduce cost too)

Re:Negroponte's Revenge on Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172639)

You do realize that the current XO uses an AMD Geode, right? How exactly will switching from an AMD x86 chip to a non-Intel, non-x86 chip hurt Intel in any way? I work for Intel, and I can't figure out how this would possibly hurt us.

Cue Transmeta... (2, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171067)

...oh yeah, nevermind.

Damn.

Anti-microsoft? (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171107)

ARM architecture will allow them to dodge harassment from Microsoft goons. They can respond "we'd LOVE to have a derivative of your OS on our machines but unfortunately we use ARM chips!"

Negroponte probably got sick of pigs heads on his doorstep and anonymous phone calls at 4am.

Poor OLPC (3, Interesting)

bbasgen (165297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171169)

"Like many, we are urging Microsoft to make Windows -- not Windows Mobile -- available on the Arm. This is a complex question for them," Negroponte said. OLPC is in talks with Microsoft to develop a version of a full Windows OS for XO-2, Negroponte said. The XO-2 is still 18 months away from release, so "a lot can change with regard to Microsoft and Arm," Negroponte said.

They jettisoned Sugar, and they keep courting Microsoft. So sad. I wish the article would have explored the "open source" hardware concept. No idea what the heck that means from the article or for OLPC:

OLPC can't implement all its ideas in XO-2, so it ultimately wants to "open source" the hardware design to other PC makers for use in building devices, McNierney said. He hopes that opening up the hardware design will spur the development of a "rich family of devices" that accelerate the adoption of the XO-2 technology.

Re:Poor OLPC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171661)

They jettisoned Sugar, and they keep courting Microsoft. So sad. I wish the article would have explored the "open source" hardware concept. No idea what the heck that means from the article or for OLPC:

Not true. Sugar is still being used. Windows XP still does not boot correctly on the XO. Open source hardware is a concept that has been around a while. I know that concept is hard for Wintel folk to understand,

Defective by Design? (0)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171237)

What does such a move mean for backward compatibility? Aren't their applications already written with the existing OLPC in mind? I am afraid, it will not be as easy as "just recompile" to port some of them and those, who have already paid for theirs may have to pay again to be able to use them on the new hardware...

Re:Defective by Design? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171821)

What does such a move mean for backward compatibility? Aren't their applications already written with the existing OLPC in mind? I am afraid, it will not be as easy as "just recompile" to port some of them and those, who have already paid for theirs may have to pay again to be able to use them on the new hardware...

How did this get a score of 2? This just shows lack of knowledge of the OLPC project. The OS/GUI is open source. Sugar is free to download as are the Activities which are written in python.

No successor (4, Informative)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171263)

The fact that AMD is not planning a successor to the Geode [engadget.com] processor used in the XO-1 probably influenced this decision, at least in part. In 18 months, there may not be any Geodes remaining.

Re:No successor (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172101)

Well, they could switch to the Intel Atom chip. But the ARM makes more sense. The only reason I can see for using an x86 chip is binary compatibility, and it's not like that's a big issue for a project that's so thoroughly open source. I never quite understood why they went with the Geode in the first place. Because Quanta gave them a good price on the motherboards?

No Change (5, Insightful)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171415)

OLPC is in talks with Microsoft to develop a version of a full Windows OS for XO-2, Negroponte said.

So you'd get all of the disadvantages of Windows, while simultaneously loosing the only real advantage it has, plentiful software. Smart.

This is fine; close to native DS virtulisation?! (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171589)

I do not think Microsoft will work on an ARM port, even something that translates x86 to ARM because the ARM processor is likely to be way too slow for this.

Nintendo DS runs on an ARM architecture. Maybe now we can run those games at full speed on another device? Certainly now with an emulator on this device there would be less translation and more instruction passing. Great!

Same goes for any other ARM-based processor device and emulation.

Wine will not run on this and neither will Windows. I am so fine with that.

Re:This is fine; close to native DS virtulisation? (1)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172573)

Doesn't quite work like that. The DS has such a significantly different architecture that even though they use an ARM, everything will have to be emulated(with some dynamic recompilation) anyway.

LARM versus Wintel (1)

TW Burger (646637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172031)

Linux with ARM is superior to Windows with Intel x86 in this platform and target user group. I have worked with both and ARM is not powerful (comparatively) but is exceedingly power efficient.

Re:LARM versus Wintel (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172423)

I for one don't welcome this particular acronymous coward ;)

Linux (and open source in general) is great because you can switch architectures much more freely. You can make choices based on technical merit, instead of being stuck on x86 due to some closed application.

For example, a few months ago, the power supply in my x86 server crashed. I mounted its hard drive with a USB adapter into an iMac, emerged the requisite servers, and continued serving the same content from the same partitions.

Qplus 2, Troll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172505)

P(EClick Here All major marketing

Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172763)

Android runs on ARM, perhaps they could adapt the netbook to include a touch screen and have it as an extension of the android OS.

Does Windows Run on ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172781)

I thought the OLPC people were dropping all OS's in favour of Windows XP. Does XP run on ARM?
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