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Microsoft Looking to Run Windows on OLPC

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-thousand-dollar-laptop-program dept.

Microsoft 392

pete314 writes "Microsoft has been provided with a number of test models of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child computers and is trying to get Windows installed on them. The current design runs a custom version of Red Hat's Fedora Linux. Running Windows will take quite a bit of additional memory: the OLPC has 512Mb of Flash, where XP requires a minimum of 1.5Gb storage."

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392 comments

Open Spurce? (3, Insightful)

goldseries (932320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110854)

I thought the OLPC project had definativly decided to be open source so that no company would have control.

Re:Open Spurce? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17110874)

What happened to "I should be free to run whatever I like on my devices"?

Re:Open Spurce? (3, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111096)

What happened to "I should be free to run whatever I like on my devices"?
You are free to install whatever you like on your laptop once you got it.


However, the article here talks about what is pre-installed. And for the pre-installed OS, price is a criterion (in order not to exceed the $100 target price), as is hardware capabilities (again, fitting more memory would make it too expensive).

Re:Open Spurce? (4, Informative)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111258)

However, the article here talks about what is pre-installed.

To be fair, it only says that Microsoft want to "make [Windows] available" on the device, not pre-install it. There's no indication whatsoever in the article that Microsoft want to pre-install it, although one could obviously speculate that they'd like to sell units with Windows pre-installed to governments, this is not mentioned in the article.

Re:Open Spurce? (3, Interesting)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111110)

I don't think that having Linux on them is prohibiting installing Windows. You just may not have enough memory for the last one, but that's the life. It's the 100$, not the 1000$ PC.

Re:Open Spurce? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111326)

What happened to "I should be free to run whatever I like on my devices"?

It never worked that way. Neither my old P600 or my C64 have enough RAM to run Vista. Nor CPU power for that matter.

No computer comes with enough RAM or the correct CPU to run whatever OS one prefers. PPC Macs won't run Windows, PCs won't run z/OS, and so on. This machine is made specifically to have the lowest possible cost, and that is done by using the cheapest components available that will still run a useable OS and applications. You won't get a Vista capable machine for that price.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110882)

I think Nicholas Negroponte is just having a little fun at the expense of MicroSoft.
Oh, what a glorious day it shall be when MS has to admit their OS it too bloated and slow to compete with Linux.
I think MicroSoft's best bet at success would be a heavily stripped down version of Windows CE.

Re:Open Spurce? (1, Redundant)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110900)

I think Nicholas Negroponte is just having a little fun at the expense of MicroSoft.

But this is the second iteration of window-on-olpc. The last one was about a year ago. Presumably NN wants some charity from the Gates Foundation to help boost the project.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110926)

You don't understand Nicholas Negroponte, then. He's no particular friend of F/OSS, except as a mechanism for getting free labor for the OLPC project.

Re:Open Spurce? (2, Interesting)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111050)

Nor should he be.

I'm a big fan of FOSS in general but concerns about free code, open standards and the like are first world luxuries that really aren't important compared to getting these people better lives. If I could take a whole african country out of poverty in return for shutting down the copyleft lliscenses all together I would do it despite how much it would suck for me.

Re:Open Spurce? (4, Insightful)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111094)

You don't understand Nicholas Negroponte, then. He's no particular friend of F/OSS, except as a mechanism for getting free labor for the OLPC project.
It seems amazing to me that you could pick up a hammer, use it to do things that are damn near impossible with your hands, and formulate no opinion on the value of hammers in the process. It's a basic part of human learning. This must be why this project is taking so damned long...

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

PermanentMarker (916408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111086)

nah no need for linux I'm thinking they will run a customized windows mobile version on it, a small OS. with their main products included, with all the network connectivity included. Well personaly is just like PDA's more then PC's. They boot faster do the things in just a few clicks and most of all are handy, and a lot of software is available for them, even a lot freeware. Why i like it above linux, is that when you have to manage large envrionments i rather would like to be able to fallback on a company instead of a free group of voluntairs when there arise some problems. It could be novell or apple as well, but over the years MS has proven good in this field of support.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111092)

I think MicroSoft's best bet at success would be a heavily stripped down version of Windows CE.

This would work pretty well. At least according to MS (and why would they lie? Oh. right.) CE is very customisable and runs on some realtively low specced PDAs. The bits that aren't needed can be removed, and the licencing costs are lower than XP. When you have a $100 machine this is a very significant part of the overall cost.

You might be a little disappointed then (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111150)

Oh, what a glorious day it shall be when MS has to admit their OS it too bloated and slow to compete with Linux.


You might be a tad disappointed then.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of versions of Windows, including Windows Embedded and Windows CE, which run in a lot less RAM and reside on a lot less Flash. And even from the "normal" XP, there are a _lot_ of things which can be removed without the end user noticing much.

Sure, at that point you can still do the retarded thing and go "ha ha, so the full install didn't fit and they had to strip it down", but may I point out that the average Linux distro is even bigger than the full XP? SuSE Linux for example (to use an example from everyone's favourite, Novell) comes on a DVD or more than half a dozen CDs. Compressed. So that wouldn't fit there either.

As for slow, I don't know where you get your data from, but comparing my gaming XP box to my SuSE Linux 10.0 box, XP actually boots faster, and the GUI is quite a bit more responsive than X with either KDE or Gnome too.

I think MicroSoft's best bet at success would be a heavily stripped down version of Windows CE.

It might come as a surprise, but some of the devices running Windows CE actually have less RAM and ROM/Flash than an OLPC. So why would MS need to strip it down?

So please, let's cut it down on the arrogant-fanboy-disconnected-from-reality act. MS does have a lot of faults, but being stupid isn't one of them. They _do_ employ some of the best programmers, and can (and do) throw ridiculous amounts of money at a problem, if they really want to. And both Windows and compilers are something they have two decades of experience with.

They already know how to compile something for size instead of unrolling and inlining everything for performance. It's not like they have yet to discover "wow, there's this 'size' option in the compile options of MSVC."

And they already have the experience with porting and stripping Windows to a variety of platforms. They actually used to have NT versions for pretty much everything including RISC and a few other architectures. The XBox 360 itself isn't an Intel machine either. And there even was a version of CE that ran on the Dreamcast.

The only question is whether they want to, exactly what they want to do there, and how much effort do they want to put into a computer whose price would more than double if they actually sold a Windows OEM license with it.

Then again, they already know how to play the fake-charity card by giving away a 50 cent CD and counting it as the price of a full Windows license generously donated. (In addition to some real charity too, it must be said.) So they could just give away a locked down version of Windows to some kids who otherwise couldn't afford a Windows computer anyway, thus ensuring that a whole generation in those countries grows on Windows and Windows Media Player formats. It's good marketting. _And_ write it off a some hundreds of millions of dollars in Windows licenses generously donated to the poor countries.

On the whole, I wouldn't be surprised if the effort right now isn't getting Windows installed, but figuring out how best to lock it down and how much and what bait they can build into it.

Re:You might be a little disappointed then (-1, Troll)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111452)

But if they wanna keep the laptop near $100, they're gonna have to strip down the hardware too so that it costs $10, which means they'll have to strip down windoze a bunch more to be able to run on something that bad...and it'll still cost $310 just for the windoze license!

Re:You might be a little disappointed then (5, Insightful)

Gheesh (191858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111468)

Sure, at that point you can still do the retarded thing and go "ha ha, so the full install didn't fit and they had to strip it down", but may I point out that the average Linux distro is even bigger than the full XP? SuSE Linux for example (to use an example from everyone's favourite, Novell) comes on a DVD or more than half a dozen CDs. Compressed. So that wouldn't fit there either.

May I point out that the average Linux distro you mention comes with one or more of each of these: word processor, presentation manager, spreadsheet, graphics manipulation software, HTTP and FTP server, development tools, CD&DVD burning software, IRC client, P2P,... Please tell me where can you find a Windows XP DVD that includes all of these on the base install and for the same price, because the OS on its own doesn't have much use for me.

Re:You might be a little disappointed then (5, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111580)

Thank you! Wish I had a mod point right now. That is one of the most irritating and clueless arguments I have ever heard, and I hear it frequently. "Look your linux install takes up WAY more space than my XP install" or "Your linux comes on a huge DVD or CD set". Well thats great son, but I also have every application I need installed, quite a few bells and whistles to tinker with when I'm bored, and a compiler (shock, gasp, you can actually compile real programs on a PC without magic software company magic machines) among other things. Oh yes the pain, oh dear lord a single huge DVD that carries my OS and all relevant apps that I may need in one place instead of a giant software folder of some couple dozen disks and serial numbers and registration cards and activation codes.

My other favorite is the "see distro XYZ costs this much, you can buy an OEM windows for $X or an upgrade disk for $Y less dollars". After reading what is either a troll or MS fanboy response I'm surprised that one didn't get tossed out there too.

Re:You might be a little disappointed then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111496)

W T F. You are all talking about Linux being bigger than Windows as if Linux were just an operating system. You are talking about distros here. The Windows core + shit like MSPaint take up a lot of space. A linux distributions has all kinds of software in it. Snap out of it.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111310)

I think MicroSoft's best bet at success would be a heavily stripped down version of Windows CE.

Stripped down? Have you seen the devices that CE can run on? If anything, I can imagine they'd need to bulk out CE to bring it up to the feature-set offered by the stripped-down Red Hat being run on the OLPC at present.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111022)

I find this turn of events somewhat surprising, given Gates' rather contemptuous, puerile comments [slashdot.org] in the past.

Re:Open Spurce? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111524)

Wow, I guess you got a new thesaurus as an early Christmas present.

Get off your soap box.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111140)

TFA mentions a Netevents conference in Hong Kong where Negroponte made this statement. The link to the events sheet is here [netevents.org], and the transcript of the interview is here [netevents.org] (Warning: DOC link).

In one of the last questions, he has this to say about microsoft's past criticisms:
"So when I read in the press, including some remarks from Bill, about "Geeze, get a real computer". Rubbish. This is a real computer. And even though it's not instant on at the moment, it will be instant on, instant off. How long does it take you to turn on your laptop? The little message that says do you want to communicate with Microsoft, I get it five times a day. My computer crashes five times a day."
..which is inline with all his past emphases on open source and linux. So what side is he really on, then? I think (and hope) this article is blown beyond the actual context.

Re:Open Spurce? (1)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111446)

*Ticks off another spelling of "definitely"*

definativly: That which is completely certain for native inhabitants. See "xenophobia".

Windows Fundamentals? (3, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110864)

Why wouldn't they just try to run some variant of Windows Fundamentals [microsoft.com] on them?

Re:Windows Fundamentals? (2, Informative)

smithfarm (862287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110916)

Quoting from the URL you cited: "[Windows Fundamentals] allows for a limited number of workloads to be executed locally, including security software, management software, terminal emulation software, document viewers, and the .NET Framework."

Document viewers aside, those don't sound like applications that schoolchildren in poor Third World countries would want to run.

Re:Windows Fundamentals? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111042)

including, not limited to. .NET framework is quite a large class of applications in and of itself.

XP on OLPC?!? (2)

_Griphin_ (676977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110868)

Why don't they run Windows 2000 on them?!? Wouldn't that use less memory?!? It seems stable enough to run (I still run Win2K, I used to run XP), and perfect for the OLPC systems, though M$ wants it to run the latest OS, bloody EG0's.

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (2, Funny)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110904)

Were that the case, they would be trying to put vista on it.
In such an event, I dont exactly fancy their chances ;)

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110960)

The article seems to be speculating that they are trying to run XP. However, there are no quotes regarding this.

Heck, is there any reason they couldn't run windows 98se on this thing? Does windows 98 have support for wireless internet? They could just rename it Windows OLPC and install a lightweight firewall.

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111088)

Does Windows 98 have any support at all? MS are hardly going to resurrect a dead OS just to stick it on some cheap laptops. After all, it's not just a case of "here's the disc, get on with it" - they actually have to support, provide critical fixes etc.

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111216)

Except linux on the OLPC doesn't have any official support either. Win 98 support just expired June of this year. I don't know much about how windows 98 compares to XP for vulnerabilities, but it seems the biggest problem is that MS will want to stick IE on there, and the latest IE can only be installed on XP and possibly 2000, meaning either they are stuck with firefox (unlikely) or IE6 (which is riddled with bugs).

If they can get the OLPC running with windows 98 and a firewall and not have it be an instant zombie-spam machine, then I say let them. Hopefully MS will dump a few million into the OLPC and start getting these kids some laptops, regardless of the OS (I can understand the desire for open source, but getting any technology and educational materials to these kids will be beneficial).

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111066)

> Why don't they run Windows 2000 on them?!?

It's been retired. (No IE7, no support etc)

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111142)

Why don't they run Windows 2000 on them?!?
Because even naked heathen savages in bongo-bongo land know it's shit.

Re:XP on OLPC?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111550)

Windows 98 is still good, an hey... their only kids Bill, what do they know. If we give them 3.1, they'll think it's the future, and then we can give them free updates to ME, 2000 and XP until they decide to buy proper MS licensed hardware.

Why? (4, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110890)

The author of the article (and slashdot) quote the disk space required for XP, but why wouldn't they use XP embedded on a device like this? According to Wikipedia XP Embedded only needs "32MB Compact Flash, 32MB RAM" [wikipedia.org]. They should be able to get it running even without using the SD expansion slot (although that certainly wouldn't hurt).

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111114)

"The author of the article (and slashdot) quote the disk space required for XP, but why wouldn't they use XP embedded on a device like this?"
The biggest critics of Windows tend to be the least informed about it.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111366)

none sense. Do you boot from your knoppix CD all the time? XP embedded is worthless for daily use.

Application is the problem (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111514)

Windows XPe, as the wikipedia entry at which you point [wikipedia.org] says, is a componentized version of Windows. By striping out components, you can reduce it to the bare minimum - just the strict minimum needed to run Win 32 API with the specific drivers needed for such hardware.
And that's where the problem is : Once you've crammed Windows XP inside 32MB of flash, what do you do ?

According to the entry, Win XPe is mostly used for embed device. The kind of device on which you run one single function-specific application, and Win XPe is only here to provide kernel functionnality.
You can use it in ATMs in which case WinXPe is only here to provide a kernel, a graphics driver, an input driver and a network stack. And all you run next to it is a single application that does all the ATM stuff. And nothing else.
Robotics is another even better exemple. Sure it can be cramed into 32MB : because, all you need is a kernel to provide a communication stack and memory management. There's even no display and regular HID devices.

Compared to the Linux world, that's akin to having a system with only a striped down Kernel (with only a couple of necessary drivers compiled in), busybox (to provide all the necessary tools with minimal foot-print) and a micro C-lib and nothing more. All of which you run along a few simplified server inside a router. It's something you could run on This kind of boards [acmesystems.it].

*BUT* that's *NOT* what the OLPC needs. The OLPC needs to provide a full desktop environment. They a GUI. The need a desktop. They need application to browse the PC, they need graphical wizards to connect to the WiFi mesh. They need a browser, they need a mail clients, and mayber IRC and/or IM too. They need software to display ebooks. They need an office suite that covers most functionality that the kids need to write their own stuff. They need various developing environment (classical C/C++, scripts like Python or Perl, maybe web scripting like PHP) because, all OLPC was initially about was to encourage the kids to hack. Maybe also some multimedia apps.
Not just a single application.

Does this exist on WinXPe ? Yes because it's fully compatible with it's older brother, WinXP Pro. You have plenty of microsoft apps already available that could provide such functionality : Windows Desktop, Explorer, IE7, Outlook express, MSN, XForm viewer, Office, Visual Studio, .NET Framework, ASP.NET, IIS, Media Player.
But can it all get crammed together inside the OLPC ? Hell no. You'll need a rather beefy setup with eleventeen gazillions of gigabytes just to install this madness. (And that's all functionnality most non-custom Linux distros offer out of the box for a foot-print of only a few gigs).

What the OLPC needs isn't the Microsoft equivalent of an embed linux. What it needs is something similar to Damn Small Linux [damnsmalllinux.org] (or, I guess, what the current customized Red Hat is), id est : most desktop functionnality crammed inside a small space of only a few dozens of MB. *Not* GB.
And thats something WinXPe fails to provide. It only provides the envrionment (kernel, etc.) not all the apps.

If they want to cram WinXPe inside, the would have to put along specialized applications. Applications that already exists in the open-source world, do the needed task nicely, but are NOT made by Microsoft. I would be mostly like just replacing the kernel on the customized Linux distro with a Windows Kernel, and keeping the same apps. And admitting defeat, that they can't provide a fully microsoft alternative.

The closest thing Microsoft could provide is a Windows CE-based solution (and Pocket- / -CE version of office, IE, etc...). And then again it won't be optimal for them because :
- Win CE still lacks some functionality that is granted on Linux (hackability, programming and scripting tools in standard with a tiny memory foot print).
- What they need is to hook their target market on the Real stuff, on something that is compatible with Vista and XP, to prepare them for Microsoft current and future desktop solution. Not to showcase some very specific technology that is used on PDA and Smartphones and that is not compatible with the Vista Dells they intend to sell them later..

One of the most cool feature of the Linux family, that is often overlooked by all those who whine because there's too much choice, is that, depending on what choices you make, you can run the same system on platform that range from wrist-computers and routers all they way up to huge beowulf clusters, and stay mostly compatible.

Change the MS icon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17110898)

The MS icon with Bill Gates should be changed.

Bill Gates is leaving Microsoft so he is no longer involved with MS decisions.

I think that is NOT FAIR to use his image to represent Microsoft anymore.

Re:Change the MS icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17110938)

The borg^H^H^H^Hmicrosoft are not fair.

Has to be said... (3, Funny)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110942)

Won't someone PLEASE think of the children? Ohhh, looks like Microsoft is.

Memo to Microsoft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111192)


Memo to Microsoft

Why should children get second-class operating systems like XP when Microsoft should be getting Vista to run on this baby. The children deserve the best and you say that Vista is your "best operating system ever". Please Keep in mind that children are very visually oriented when it comes to learning especially in the early years so it needs to run Aero in full mode of operation.

Superb.... (0, Flamebait)

alpha713 (701963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110946)

One Laptop $100, One Copy of Windows ~$150, Seeing Microsoft Profit from the Third World...Priceless

Just sick (4, Insightful)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110948)

This is Microsoft wanting to get a grip of a future potential market, and locking them in. That's what this is all about; before you know it they get slapped with activating their laptops, DRM-enabled features and what not.

I really hope the OLPC-project wont get seduced by the money Microsoft is willing to put into this, it wont pay off in the long run.

It's clear Microsoft wants to do anything to stop alternatives from spreading; just imagine a future where these OLPCs have sprouted a whole new generation of Linux developers who now write code to feed themselves instead. But they don't know Windows, and Microsoft has an entire continent of PC users who they cannot sell licenses to, while they're writing their own applications building further on an alternative to Microsoft.

Re:Just sick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111048)

This is Microsoft wanting to get a grip of a future potential market

Everybody wants that, including redhat. Strange how if redhat offers something for free, then its a nice gift, but if microsoft does it, then a slashdotter calls it "sick" as if it were a crime against humanity.

Look, every company and every individual invests in charitable causes. Note I say invest because they also get a return out of it in some form or another, whether that is in the form of money or in the form of a "warm fuzzy" feeling. Both redhat and microsoft have something monetary to gain out of it. It's called capitalism, get used to it. Various people have already tried communism and various other forms of socialism, and every single one of them has failed miserably. Capitalism is here to stay.

whole new generation of Linux developers who now write code to feed themselves instead.

I somehow doubt a starving kid in africa is going to feed himself with code.

Re:Just sick (3, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111138)

Actually companies giving charitable donations to the third world for pure profit motive would be one of the best pieces of information I have heard in a long time. The day companies start giving away their products in the third world in anticipation of them becoming a real market is the begining of the end for poverty in those areas.

That having been said I think there is a reasonable justification for the original commenters skepticism. I mean there are charitable donations companies make with buisness motives (good PR) which are all find and nice and then their are loss leaders which aren't always so pleasent. When your cell company gives you a free phone with your contract it's something you should look at with sucpiscion lest the total cost be far more in the long run.

When redhat makes this donation we know it has only the first kind of profit motive as their ability to lock OLPC/users in is considerably limited by the GPL. I very much doubt MS is going to do anything evil to the people getting this laptop but the question is whether they will keep interest in the project or when their charitable motivations wane will OLPC start having to pay for windows. One also has to worry about future fights over enabling certain features and who doesn't qualify for the free OS.

Don't get me wrong if MS decided to donate a whole bunch of MONEY to the project as well as providing a long term contract to provide free versions of windows I think they should take it. But merely donating a version of windows doesn't really count as charity (they get it for free) and has some potential drawbacks despite MS's non-evil intentions.

Actually though I think you are totally wrong about them getting an income from coding. Just as african villages have started selling handcrafts through the internet if they get enough computers/internet don't be surprised to see people in the third world start doing IT related stuff. That's what makes the OLPC project so interesting. Frankly this seems the strongest argument for linux as I doubt visual studio will run on OLPC.

Re:Just sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111206)

rentacoder, soon all homework in the US will be done by the 3rd world!

Re:Just sick (4, Insightful)

denominateur (194939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111230)

Well, the redhat thing is slightly different. As linux is open and free there is no reason that the future market has to stick with a red hat product. They could just as well build their own distro...

Re:Just sick (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111530)

Everybody wants that, including redhat. Strange how if redhat offers something for free, then its a nice gift, but if microsoft does it, then a slashdotter calls it "sick" as if it were a crime against humanity.

Exactly. And this is why [redhat.com]:

This agreement governs the use of the Software and any updates to the Software, regardless of the delivery mechanism. The Software is a collective work under U.S. Copyright Law. Subject to the following terms, Red Hat, Inc. ("Red Hat") grants to the user ("Client") a license to this collective work pursuant to the GNU General Public License v.2.

Compare that with things like this [microsoft.com]:

1.2 Mandatory Activation. The license rights granted under this EULA are limited to the first thirty (30) days after you first install the Software unless you supply information required to activate your licensed copy in the manner described during the setup sequence of the Software. You can activate the Software through the use of the Internet or telephone; toll charges may apply. You may also need to reactivate the Software if you modify your computer hardware or alter the Software.

See also: Straw man [wikipedia.org]

Re:Just sick (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111112)

Yeah, it's a trap! I blame Novell. Fortunately RMS will change GPLv2 to stop Tivo from installing SuSE on OLPC laptops, though I don't know if it will help with the SCO lawsuit in Massachusetts.

Re:Just sick (2, Interesting)

jaspeers (550101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111204)

This is a charitable organization we're talking about here. Bill Gates is possibly the most generous philanthropist on the planet. Whatever you may think of his business tactics, the thought of DRM and activation on these cheap little devices made for the third world is just plain silly. The thought that Gates wants to use this little laptop to take over the rest of the world doesn't pass the laugh test.

I'm not a MS shill. I'm worse than that. I'm a Mac guy. I just think the picture you're painting in your modded-up post is ludicrous and paranoid.

Re:Just sick (5, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111296)

"Bill Gates is possibly the most generous philanthropist on the planet."

Steal the world riches and your despised, give 10% of it back and your a hero.

Re:Just sick (1)

Lord Maud'Dib (611577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111382)

I'm going to print this out and frame it. The perfect rebuttal. 100% correct but so many people just don't see it that way. What was it Warren Buffett implied about Gates when he donated all that money?

Re:Just sick (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111534)

Why not hold your judgement until you know what's actually going on? That way you won't look quite so childish. Saying it's "just sick" shows how emotionally bent out of shape you're able to get just over a mention of MS, regardless of knowing what they're actually doing. That's not objective. That helps no-one. What if MS was actually good for those kids? What if, and this is just an example (before you try to commit suicide over MS being hypothetically portrayed in positive light), they got more benefit out of using an OS they'd be likely to encounter in other parts of the world, in industry, etc.? Cynicism and knee-jerk reactions, like that which you so greatly displayed, could actually hurt their futures, if more folks thought like you. Being an unobjective fanboy helps no-one.

Case of bits/bytes (1, Troll)

l_bratch (865693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110958)

Both instances of the letter 'b' in the article summary should be uppercase 'B'.

B = bytes, b = bits.

Re:Case of bits/bytes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111270)

You just had to get your 2-bits in didn't you?

please think of the children! (2, Insightful)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110962)

What happens when thousands of these laptops are connected to the internet by little kids with no prior experience? What next, install AVG, Spybot, and the rest before distribution? Teach kids about spyware, bots and viruses before they even learn how to browse?

Re:please think of the children! (1)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111120)

I doubt they'd install a regular version of XP on there, it would have to be locked down pretty well security wise for this type of system (which is as it should be anyway.) I'm no Microsoft fan, but if they're willing to provide the software for free then at least they're doing something for the OLPC effort. I doubt the systems will end up running Windows out of the box, but it can't hurt to give the owners of the OLPC systems a choice later on. We do after all have this choice on our computers.

Re:please think of the children! (1)

Snarfiorix (1001357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111276)

Teach kids about spy ware, bots and viruses before they even learn how to browse?

Excellent idea... Include the adults as well.

The biggest appeal about Windows is the availability of software and ease to install it. That is also it's biggest security risk, because there is such an abundance of Windows targeted malware on the internet that comes calling with screaming banners, offering yet another free piece of junk.

I have become in the habit of thoroughly checking anything I download and install (that goes for my Ubuntu box as well, even the latest firmware updates for my digital camera is under such scrutiny)

Education about trusted sources would reduce the number of zombies, spy bots, virii among the users.

Whatever happened to "Don't take candy from strangers"?

Re:please think of the children! (2, Insightful)

morie (227571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111308)

With Fedora on it and the OLPC's distributed throughout the world, someone will get the idea to release a virus/worm sooner or later for this.

It may even be the beginning of Linux virus trouble taking off seriously.

Prediction (5, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110964)

I bet Microsoft gets together a version of Windows for OLPC and then offers it to OLPC users for free or next to nothing. That's how it works, they give you the first copy free and then you get hooked -- pretty soon you're turning tricks in the alley just to get the security updates. I've seen it a thousand times.

Windows Mobile 2003 (2, Interesting)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17110968)

If they can fit Windows on a Pocket PC device, some suitable modification of this might work on the OLPC PC. Pocket PCS between 32 to 128 MBytes of RAM and 32+ MBytes of ROM so would fit nicely. Remove the touch screen functionality, add some keyboard and other minimum functionality needed and you should still be well within the memory requirements.

Re:Windows Mobile 2003 (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111210)

Have you actually tried to use windows on the pocket PC, It must be the worst operating system ever intented.

E.g I'll save your documents to volitile ram so that when your battery goes flat you'll loose everything.

etc... etc... etc....

Re:Windows Mobile 2003 (1, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111286)

You're out of date, I'm afraid. As of the current version, windows Mobile 5, introduced I believe over a year ago, data storage is on non-volatile flash memory, no data is lost when the battery dies anymore.

However I still use a Windows Mobile 2003 device, but I've never lost any data, you get plenty of warning about low battery, you have a backup battery, and you sync all your data with your PC anyway. So enough with the FUD, okay.

Re:Windows Mobile 2003 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111386)

What do you call "windows" exactly? WinCE has nothing to do with NT, except similarity in part of the win32 library.

Also, shipping WinCE as a workstation OS would canibalize NT's status as microsoft's flagship OS. Of course, WinCE is better than NT for small workstation usage! That's why it's so important to create mindshare walls against this idea.

From a technical standpoint, recompiling WinCE on 386 would still not give the "windows" compatibility you expect. WinCE doesn't have most of the NT win32 library, and thus you wouldn't be able to run 99% of the software. Even NOTEPAD.EXE is not binary compatible between WinCE and NT.

Windows ME anyone? (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111026)

If all you had to do was install a fresh copy of XP on the machines then MS wouldn't need to do any work in porting the system to OLPC. Almost certainly by cutting out inessential features MS could reduce the memory demands for XP significantly, though given Mc's notorious interdependence problems perhaps not enough. But this is why MS has a specialized mobile OS just for this sort of problem.

Sure OLPC is inclined to go with a FOSS solution and has some good justifications for doing so but I don't see how they in good conscience could refuse an offer from MS to pay for some *huge* number of the laptops complete with a guarantee of a free version of windows for all the OLPC machines.

Whatever I might think of the technical and design features of MS software it does get the job done not to mention it's extreme ubiquity means that knowing how to use windows is a more useful skill than knowing how to use some random other interface. The worries about MS controlling the project could easily be dealt with via the right sort of contract, and unlike other corporate agreements signing a contract in bad faith or weaseling out of it in this situation would just be too horrible from a PR standpoint for MS to ever consider. So as much as I might wish all these kids were brought up using Linux if MS is going to give away millions of these devices just for running windows the offer should be taken.

Hopefully more companies start taking a long term view of things and donating their products to the third world to prepare for when they become consumers.

Re:Windows ME anyone? (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111100)

Sure OLPC is inclined to go with a FOSS solution and has some good justifications for doing so but I don't see how they in good conscience could refuse an offer from MS to pay for some *huge* number of the laptops complete with a guarantee of a free version of windows for all the OLPC machines.
This may be a difficult concept for some people to wrap their heads around, but maybe Microsoft's software isn't better than what they're already planning on using. It doesn't matter how much it costs if the software sucks.

Re:Windows ME anyone? (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111414)

Whatever I might think of the technical and design features of MS software it does get the job done not to mention it's extreme ubiquity means that knowing how to use windows is a more useful skill than knowing how to use some random other interface.

So you're suggesting that the under-developed world should similarly spawn generations of clueless lusers who "know" the interface (to the degree any interface today is substantively different from another) and measure their knowledge in terms of how fast they can can click and point, or memorising what, by default, is listed on the menus?

Hopefully more companies start taking a long term view of things and donating their products to the third world to prepare for when they become consumers.

Indeed. So the goal of the potent learning tool [designed so that] the emerging world can leapfrog decades of development--immediately transforming the content and quality of their children's learning [laptop.org] is to enable them to become consumers? Dunno about you, but I tend to be optimistic when it comes to kids, and trust in the belief that, given the chance, they could grow up to become anything. My guess is that if you asked a randomly-selected child targetted by this program what they want to be when they grow up, they might say something like astronaut, or scientist. Aspiring to become an office drone, or a consumer, happens only at a later age, when you've forgotten your own potential or settled for something less.

Sorry to sound so critical, but your argument has taken Teach a Man to Fish, and reduced it to Teach a Man to Recognise a Fish, and then reduced even further to Teach a Man How to Buy a Fish with his Credit Card. Computers are an increasingly large part of our daily lives. Maybe we should be encouraging people to actually learn something about them and the world they're creating around us, to say nothing of what else is freely available? Or at least give them the opportunity.

As for the article, I'm not surprised, but that doesn't mean I'm any less disturbed by a monopoly with a living history of crushing anything and everything that threatens its bottom line becoming involved with a project that offers freedom and knowledge. Then, again, that monopoly is chaired by a philanthropist, so now worries, right?

What does it matter ? (2, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111032)

As long as it has a programming language included, and a course on how to use it (Basic has lots of open courses available ... and I kinda don't think C++ would be very appropriate :-p)

1.5GB assertion unfair (4, Interesting)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111036)

As much as I hate Windows, I think it's unfair to imply that it requires so much more than Linux does. I've installed Fedora before and it isn't small - definitely not small enough to fit on a 512MB footprint. But RedHat altered it so that it would require less. Likewise, Microsoft could alter Windows to require less. The big difference is that anyone has the right to alter Linux whereas Microsoft is the only one that can do that for Windows.

Re:1.5GB assertion unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111212)

Cause you can't strip down windows very low.
you can boot a fully functional linux on a floppy easily.

the difference is that you can do it already, whereas they need to modify winxp.
it's like saying, linux can run on maybe 10 architectures, windows like 2. Ok its unfair, they can recode windows to run on 10!
sure.. but its not done yet.

Re:1.5GB assertion unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111298)

There are also embeded windows versions.

On ./ people have opinions about Windows but rarely know what they are talking about...

Such a shame, it used to be a pretty good forum...

Re:1.5GB assertion unfair (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111360)

There is no one Linux. Puppy Linux is just as much Linux as Fedora. By contrast, a stripped version of Windows is a stripped down version of Windows, not the real thing.

Re:1.5GB assertion unfair (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111560)

I think it's unfair to imply that it requires so much more than Linux does. I've installed Fedora before and it isn't small - definitely not small enough to fit on a 512MB footprint
I believe this is incorrect: a Fedora minimal install is around 300MB.

Noooo (5, Insightful)

robzon (981455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111128)

I can't quite imagine how this would work. Windows is a much harder OS to maintain in the long run. All this virus, spyware and adware crap - those poor kids' lives are bad enough without it.
Besides that, I don't trust MS's intentions. I bet they are now working on how to squeeze some money out of this in the future. This is not exactly what I've expected from OLPC.

Price??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111144)

I thought the OLPC had to be about 100 USD and was lately priced 150 USD at costs. Raising the memory to 1,5 Gb of memory will not make it any cheaper.....

Or is MicroSoft also willing to donate the costs for additional memory? This would make them even more suspicious, paying more money to get THEIR software to run on it.

All good and all about the OLPC, but in a capitalistic world we are in, there are to many huge businesses involved who wouldn't care less for their own employees. But when it comes to 'charity' they are on the front row. Scary. Teach children about morality, not about capital power and Marxism.

- Unomi -

OLPC and slimware Linux (2, Interesting)

ehack (115197) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111188)

Win 95 would be very happy with 512MB. So would CE, I guess.

But the real question is why has Linux got so bloated ? When I started using Redhat, it ran very well in 16MB, with X. At the time Linux the system you installed to revive your obsolete PC with 4MB of RAM. And you could recompile your kernel with those 4MB of RAM. Now that Linus has moved to making multiprocessor kernels, you'de better buy an up to date machine to install any current distro.

I can't wait for OLPC, because the necessity for supporting it will mean the resurgence of a slimware distro.

Re:OLPC and slimware Linux (1)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111224)

There are still some slim ones, eg DSL and puppylinux. I think that you can also optimise gentoo quite easily for small size.

Re:OLPC and slimware Linux (1)

waferhead (557795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111330)

ALmost modded you up, but feel I must agree in text.

I remember running Slackware _and_ X11 on a WHOLE 4Mb, 486DX33 machine, and it rocked.

I remember upgrading my A3000 to run NetBSD 1.0 and Linux (1.13 (???))
(tarballs only in those days)

All systems were smooth and totally usable.

Having said that, Linux has one major advantage for projects like this:
It is designed to be modular, and what you don't need can be easily stripped out, even by an advanced user, much less a programmer.

CE probably has the same ability, but at what level of granularity?
At what cost if you want to do CE apps? Maybe for profit?

If the machines don't come with SOME kind of open/Free programming enviroment, it seems a bit of a waste, as all they'll end up being is AIM clients and such.

Re:OLPC and slimware Linux (3, Insightful)

namekuseijin (604504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111404)

Strip it down. Throw Gnome or KDE and their memory-hungry associated daemons away and put a simple user interface upfront (FluxBox, XFCE), put in a good autonomous file-manager configured to proxy the right files to the right applications, make sure XMMS is fully loaded of plugins and is the only media player (light and lean) and give the kids some GIMP fun. Don't mind putting Apache, MySQL or PostgreSQL in there: kids are not likely to use them. If high-level scripting is really needed to run anything, just chose one out of perl/python/ruby, ok? Run as few services/daemons as possible. Save the memory for the inevitable resource hogs: Firefox (much lower) and OpenOffice (much higher)...

It'll fly like as if running on a dual-core...

Re:OLPC and slimware Linux (1)

namekuseijin (604504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111426)

hehe, just after posting this i realized why the need for OpenOffice? Do we really want kids to become automatous, office-dwelling creeps at this early age? save them the trouble and just throw a text editor and calculator...

ah! i guess it's better than Wordpad...

Re:OLPC and slimware Linux (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111498)

I can't wait for OLPC, because the necessity for supporting it will mean the resurgence of a slimware distro.
While I don't use Linux at this point, my choice would be something resembling slimware. (Let's nickname it "slackware". Is that catchy enough?)....Seriously, it makes one appreciate the presence of a 2.4 kernel in Slackware. The last time I looked at it (one of the Slack 11 pre-releases), the distro was still mighty snappy with KDE. Hail to the minimal!

No way will MS let the 3rd world slip into OS. (2, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111236)

Like a 'pharmaceutical' dealer or cigarette company they are trying any trick in the play book to extend their 'product'.
First hit will be free.
Back end for networking will be free at first.
Then the small hits start.
Upgrades. Support costs.
Before you know it, low cost open source is turned into a revenue stream.

I thought MS couldn't disgust me more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111292)

They won't stop until every computer is running Windows with its activation and DRM garbage. Other countries hate America enough, do we really need to introduce these poor people to the woes of Windows and corporations? I hope OLPC gives a big fat "fuck you" to Microsoft. This is one big and very rare chance we can make an alternative widespread, don't ruin it!

They can (if they really want to) (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111342)

Consider these unofficial tools:

1) nLite can minimize the storage requirements

2) LitePC has managed to produce working installations of Windows (ok 9x only but still you can run most modern Windows apps) at 9MB flash cards (http://www.litepc.com/eos.html)

It's relatively easy to compress 2K to fit into 512MB and still leave space for apps.

Memory or Storage? (0, Redundant)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111416)

Running Windows will take quite a bit of additional memory: the OLPC has 512Mb of Flash, where XP requires a minimum of 1.5Gb storage.

Geez, can we not mix up our terminology like we're a bunch of noobs? Does Windows require quite a bit more memory? Or hard drive space?

Windows fits on a 64MB Compact Flash (1)

deaconB (1014003) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111448)

As much as I dislike Microsoft, this is an unfair comparison.
Does the OLPC box need support for token ring network, color laser printers, and digitizing tablets? No. But people buying XP might. Microsoft offers a version of Windows that consumer electronics manufacturers can slim down, if hardware resources are limited.
In fact, you can buy an RCA model RM4100 thin client directly from Microsoft. It's a thin client with only 128MB of RAM, and only a 64MB Compact Flash (SanDisk SDCFB-64-201-00).
The RM4100 has a serious memory leak problem whenever one visits a website using Flash - but failing to free up memory when you're done with it is careless programming, not a hardware limitation.

As a contributor... (4, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111478)

As a OLPC contributor (see this [laptop.org]) and as a friend of an OLPC staffer, I have to say this is a pointless endeavour. The OLPC staff won't use Windows because it's too insecure, and isn't free.

Remember, they want to send MILLIONS of laptops into the field and avoid downtime caused by viruses, bugs, overflows, etc. The laptops are going to be hardened down quite a bit so even if a user app is exploited the laptop as a whole is still ok. They're using GNU/Linux for more reasons than the fact it costs $0 to license. They have to be able to recover from flaws in the field, of which they want to have precious few of.

And besides, even if Windows were secure, they would have to give away fully functional copies for FREE to make the budget. Even charging OLPC $1 for the license would hurt the budget ($1 * millions of laptops == no good). In short, there isn't really a "market" here other than trying to expose another generation to inferior software.

Tom

Re:As a contributor... (2, Interesting)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111566)

I too find it difficult to believe that even if Windows was free that they'd ever put it on these machines. Hasn't the OLPC programme already made a stance on this sort of thing already, with the rejection of Jobs' free OS X offer? It would seem odd to me if they suddenly made a reversal and stuck Windows on these machines.

I suspect, as others have already said, that we're talking about Microsoft offering a version of Windows for the laptop, not trying to get it pre-installed.

XPLite Can do it! (1)

294__K (1035804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111510)

"The latest developments in XPLite now see clean installations of Windows XP in under 350MB..."

http://www.litepc.com/xplite.html/ [litepc.com]

Re:XPLite Can do it! (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111554)

Yeah, but then you need an office suite, a solid browser, games, media player, etc... oh and room store the kids files...

I'm sure one of the CE's would be better than XP. But since it's not free and the OLPC staffers can't hack at it (or the related office tools for instance) it's not suited for the project at all.

Tom

Fedora/Red Hat in the Third World (2, Interesting)

flanners (1035794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111518)

I noticed a lot of Red Hat/Fedora books that looked useful on the shelves in Indonesian bookstores when I was there doing tsunami related work last year. I think both OSes would be hard to teach to people who had never been allowed to use a computer before, but I think that linux will be useful in teaching more fundamantal internet skills - creating websites, doing e-mail with text-based MUAs like PINE, using shell accounts. I was lucky to get provisioned with one of the laptops that IBM gave away after the tsunami, and was able to write up project proposals that got funded and work with images and create websites about the project I started, and keep my e-mail inboxes from always being overquota, but I was a little bothered seeing many of those useful tools used for entertainment in the midst of a tricky disaster recovery situation. Indonesian Red Cross volunteers used a neat satellite based remote site in Teunom mostly for viewing porn, and it was not maintained and usable for random people who showed up (like me) that often had critical information about the situation in sorrounding districts. IBM distributed laptops that were useless witout downloading a lot of free software, so having time and access to download OpenOffice and Adobe Reader was critical. I guess I see these laptops mostly as being useful in humanitarian emergencies, because that is my experience, but I cannot imagine growing up in that grinding poverty, with the occasional flash website to view for my edification.

viruses, spyware, exploits - no thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17111522)

One of the initial ideas about creating the OLPC was to enable every child in developing countries to have a notebook computer. Microsoft Windows is a proprietory and problematic operating system that would require a significantly more powerful machine and still run painfully slow. This would introduce a multitude of problems from an exploding per unit price to the many well known virus, spyware, and security problems.

Linux has become the major operating systems in countries such as India and, for good reasons, is now becoming popular in developed countries as well. It is an inherently better operating system that does not suffer those problems and more suitable solution for the OLPC as well as for any other computer system.

But its for the kids! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111572)

Obsolete the hardware, and rasie the 'hidden costs' before it even gets in the kids hands. Good move, morons.

Why couldnt they just run embedded XP, if they *really* want to go windows and raise the cost? It isnt that much of a resource hog.

Btw E,mbedded XP takes 300meg (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17111584)

If you select the right pacakges and not include useless crud like wav files or themes or IIS servers. You can make a trimmed
custom XP using Embedded XP taking less than 300meg easily. Hell even 64meg if you are desperate.

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