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Microsoft Wants OLPC System to Run Windows XP

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-now-they-want-in dept.

Microsoft 553

Stony Stevenson passed us a link to an IT News story about Microsoft's recent request that the folks behind the XO laptop redesign it to suit their needs. The company now wants to be able to run Windows XP on the highly-publicized and inexpensive portable. "Microsoft general manager ... Utzschneider says a shrunken version of Windows XP could potentially run on 2 Gbytes of flash memory. The XO, however, can only hold 1 Gbyte. As a result, Microsoft wants the XO's designers to add a slot through which more memory can be added via a secure digital (SD) card, Utzschneider said. Microsoft's renewed interest in participating in OLPC might be viewed by skeptics as an admission that a rival offering for developing markets called Classmate — which uses an Intel processor on Microsoft software — has failed to catch on."

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arrogance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603173)

Ahhh, good old arrogance. Is there ever an opportunity for Microsoft to be arrogant that they won't pass up?

OLPC is tanking (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603689)

This is a nice guesture by MS, but of course the OLPC guys are going to stay their destructive course. OLPC is, was, and always will be simply a project to force people to use a really crappy version of Teh Lunix. It never did, and never will, be about "teh kidz".

If OLPC really WERE about the kids... why would they do everything possible to prevent people from getting the Classmate? Why would they care about preventing people from using Windows or MS Office?

If OLPC really were about the kids, they would be happy that "teh kidz" were getting computers, no matter who provided them or what it was running.

With every press release, the OLPC guys, and FOSSies in general, reveal their disgusting hypocracy. Using kids in poor countries as nothing more than a political prop.... it appears there is no limit to how immorally far FOSSies will go with their rabid hatred of Microsoft.

Re:OLPC is tanking (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603811)

Windows is actively damaging to a child's education. It's like teaching children creationism instead of evolution. Windows encourages a poor mental model of computation, right from its inappropriate file system metaphors up to its "piracy is bad" and DRM crap, and lack of exposed internals (the OLPC with it's Python UI allows hackery of the interface by the smarter kids). C

Copyright law is a great evil in society, and it's important that children are taught to question it. Windows won't do that.

umm.. giving it away, MS? (5, Insightful)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603185)

Negroponte might be ok with Microsoft's involvement, but unless they're willing to give it all away for free, OLPC can't actually afford it.

also, don't you love it when people who go out of their way to ruin a party decide it's ok for them to attend when no one shows up to theirs?

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (5, Insightful)

Josh Triplett (874994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603363)

Negroponte might be ok with Microsoft's involvement, but unless they're willing to give it all away for free, OLPC can't actually afford it.


For a system potentially going out to millions of new computer users, and shaping the way those users view all future technology, yes, they probably would give it out for free if necessary. The first hit comes for free. :)

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603423)

Agreed. It worked with IE!

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603589)

I'm not terribly up to date on all the latest goings on in the M$ word, but they didn't start charging for IE, did they?

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (5, Funny)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603649)

Ah! good point. They didn't eventually start charging for it. But oh do we still pay! :p

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603485)

The first hit comes for free. :)
My parents are looking at buying a computer (they don't own one right now, nor have they ever). Where do they obtain this 'free first hit'?

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603487)

Agree 110%

It's just that Microsoft are also attempting to increase the base cost of the unit, which is something that the OLPC project cannot have.

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (4, Funny)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603509)

not from microsoft, it doesnt. you're confusing monopolists with real businesspeople (drug dealers).

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (5, Interesting)

Skreems (598317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603435)

From what I've read, Negroponte would in no way be interested in Windows, even if it were donated for free. Every part of the XO is designed to aid collaboration, and understanding of what's going on under the hood. There's a hard-wired button next to the volume that pops up the source code for the current application, for chrissake. The idea is that the kids can use the computer, AND jump in and make changes, and learn in the process. It's not just a cheap laptop, it's a new computing environment. A lot of the value is in the custom software. Installing Windows would be as damaging to that effort as installing a straight Ubuntu distribution.

come on... (5, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603827)

Who wouldn't want a WinXP version with source code attached?
If i was Negroponte, i wouldn't say a flat 'NO'. I would ask for the source code :)

Re:umm.. giving it away, MS? (3, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603475)

Forget giving it away... why change the specs to suit MS? If they really want their OS on the platform they would be well served to streamline it enough to fit and run properly. Heck the Xbox consoles at their core run a highly customized version of WinNT and they only take up a few MB why do they need 2GB for the OLPC?

How about some sponsorship... (2, Insightful)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603495)

I agree... if MS is willing to subsidize the extra cost associated with the upgraded design and will give the "shrunken" Windows XP to the project for free as an optional choice for those who wish to use it instead of the custom OS, then there's no reason to refuse. However, if it would add 1 cent to the project, or adds any type of restriction at all, I think the response to the request should be an emphatic "No."

Don't forget (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603655)

... They should include the source too. Free as in speech, not beer.

A little late to the party... (1)

reaktor (949798) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603189)

First the Zune trying to play catch-up, now this? Next Microsoft will release the Zu-phone, in 2010.

Re:A little late to the party... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603317)

Microsoft will release the Zu-phone, in 2010.

More likely the FU-Apple-Phone.

Re:A little late to the party... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603647)

> Zu-phone

Zu-phone ? Zoo-phone ? will that be putting bars on your Windows to keep you in ?

WTF? WinCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603191)

Now, I'm no fan of microsoft, but they have a not-too-bad embedded OS, possibly the best OS they've ever written, that should/would run fine in less than 1GB - WinCE (or whatever marketing dingbat name they're calling it now - "Powered" I think, though I might be out-of-date). So, again, wtf?

Re:WTF? WinCE (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603403)

Now, I'm no fan of microsoft, but they have a not-too-bad embedded OS

Why, I love Microsoft! When it comes to truth in advertising, their product names are the absolutely most truthful. Who but MS would name their media player WiMP? Or an OS WinCE? God these guys are hilarious! Or the bloated eye candy OS "Vista"!!!

God I love those guys! Too bad I have to use their software though...

Re:WTF? WinCE (3, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603511)

As another spoof video once pointed out, if you arrange the OS releases in the right order, you get Windows CE/ME/NT

Re:WTF? WinCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603429)

Windows CE is a cool embedded OS, and Windows Mobile is its derivative for pocketPCs and smartphones.

WM rocks, but I don't think it is a good first OS for kids, who are barely literate. The OLPC is designed to work with a low skill level.

Maybe WM as an option on a SD card?

Re:WTF? WinCE (1)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603431)

If you want to look at a kind-of, sort-of OLPC machine running winCE, check out the IBM Workpad:
http://www.hpcfactor.com/reviews/hardware/ibm/workpad-z50/ [hpcfactor.com]

I owned one about 6 years ago but sold it on eBay. It was very light and small, but easy to type on and great battery life.
I wish it had a bigger screen but that was really my only complaint.
It didn't have half the features of OLPC and retailed for over $1k, but it came out in '98 when laptops and anything small was still pretty expensive. Plus it was built by IBM.



Re:WTF? WinCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603579)

I hope you don't mean Windows Mobile. That thing is such a piece of shit... it "runs" my phone, and the fact that I put runs in quotes should tell you plenty.

Gotta reboot it basically every morning if I want to be able to do anything. I reset it so often the reset button stopped working and now I have to pull the battery.
It loses network connectivity but does not give any indication of such (i.e. the signal meters still read like everything is peachy, and I don't notice something is wrong until I try to make a call or do a manual send/receive)-- this was nearly disastrous one week when I was on call and not receiving automated server-down alerts or client phone calls.
Slow as dirt, even with nothing on it beyond the stock OS-- except for one small program I put on it to remove some shit Sprint preloaded. Can't even keep up with my slow typing. Gets so lagged that the 'new email' sound pauses in the middle of playing. And this is on a phone that was top of the line a little more than a year ago.

Not a day goes by that I don't want to put this phone on the ground and crush it with the heel of my boot.

Putting Windows Mobile on a low-power laptop for the third world would only teach those children frustration.

Umm... this is surprising how? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603193)

Microsoft will want Windows to run on any hardware they aren't actively trying to kill - it spreads their monopoly. If the OLPC project succeeds, it shifts from being a competitor to kill to a platform to run on.

nice (3, Funny)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603201)

Looks like their back to square one. Nice to see they're not making much progress.

Re:nice (-1, Troll)

fmobus (831767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603835)

Looks like their back to square one. Nice to see they're not making much progress.

Interesting sentence construction of yours. It parses like "To square one, [it] looks like their [Microsoft's] back".

Learn English, moron.

Burn Karma, burn! Yes, I'm being extremely rude because I KNOW parent is a native speaker. Non-native speakers do not make such silly mistakes. Oh, btw, English is my second language...

Microsoft is horrified because (5, Insightful)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603207)

They are probable horrified because if all the kids grow up on linux they will prefer linux in the future. I know I use windows more because that is what I learned when I was younger and so it is less work to get adjusted to the next version.

Re:Microsoft is horrified because (4, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603505)

So true. A friend of mine had never used a computer before and bought an eMachines with XP loaded. Well, his nephew and nephew's wife browsed a bunch of porn sites and got it so riddled with viruses and spyware it was unuseable, so I reinstalled from the GHOST CD and put in a better firewall, Firefox, etc.

Two weeks later it was hosed again so I reinstalled XP yet again, and installed Mandriva as dual boot. I disabled networking in Windows, problems solved.

He found Mandriva/KDE easier to use than XP. But then again, he'd never used a computer before and didn't have to unlearn anything.

-mcgrew

Re:Microsoft is horrified because (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603843)

If I paid you $200, would you learn to use Linux instead?

Re:Microsoft is horrified because (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603863)

They are probable horrified because if all the kids grow up on linux they will prefer linux in the future. I know I use windows more because that is what I learned when I was younger and so it is less work to get adjusted to the next version.
I used MS-DOS when I was younger. By your logic, I should be using FreeDOS.

LOL! (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603229)

Microsoft Wants OLPC System to Run Windows XP

Yeah, and I want to get laid. [slashdot.org] Good luck to us both, but I'm pretty sure I'll get laid before Vista runs on an OLPC. In fact, when Vista runs on an OLPC I'm going to get one and play Duke Nukem 4ever on it.

Re:LOL! (2, Informative)

danomac (1032160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603699)

Did you even read the article? Or even the text you quoted? No one is talking about running Vista on that hardware.

XP might be possible, but I'd wonder about being able to add any software to it.

Re:LOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603805)

I read that staccato stream of consciousness journal you linked to for humorous effect but can't for the life of me divine exactly from where your peculiar, angry--perhaps even bitter--sarcastic gestalt comes from. I'm in my mid twenties (26) and have never had sex even once, yet somehow you've managed to amass a greater sense of entitlement than I have! I didn't even think that was possible. Actually I'm rather impressed.

Yeah, way off topic, hence the AC.

Maybe I should have just replied to the journal now that I think about it. But I'm already at this page so...

OVPC (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603231)

Then they will have to change it to One Virus Per Child.

Re:OVPC (5, Funny)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603473)

OVPC would still be inaccurate...
Because guaranteed, there would be more than one. ;)

Ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603233)

I don't know about the rest of you, but when it comes to influencing the parts of my brain that control aggresive behavior, clips of movie violence [slashdot.org] have nothing on this.

First priority is keeping cost low (2)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603235)

It seems to me that Microsoft has missed the point a little bit. The whole reason for the OLPC is to get as many laptops out there as possible. A redesign would take a long time, cost money, and have no real benefit. If they REALLLY wanted Windows on the OLPC they could redesign it do it would work on less than 1 gb of memory, but that's Logical.

Re:First priority is keeping cost low (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603779)

You're right. So I say give it to them in the next model and watch them dig their own hole. It'll be as funny as Vista is. The thing will run like a rock and be a total disaster. It'll be expensive for Microsoft trying to get it to work and expensive for the people who fall for their crap. As an added comedic bonus once people realize that they can't get Windows to work well on these computers the Gates Foundation [wikipedia.org] might end up paying for Linux OLPCs. In any case it'll give people just experiencing computers for the first time a true idea of what Windows is like in comparison to Linux.

What?? (5, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603243)

One more thing to break, probably (including a 2GB SD card) a $40-$50 increase in cost per machine, for what advantage?

Given the nature of the machine, I don't see why MS should have any trouble shrinking XP to under 1GB.

Anyway, what help has MS given to the project and/or what help are they offering to make this request even remotely worth the consideration of the XO project?

Re:What?? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603501)

If they cared, they'd put 2k on it. I saw a post somewhere the other day saying it was taking them so long for three reasons. They needed new drivers (reasonable), they aren't used to doing this (usually Dell or whoever, somewhat reasonable), and they are having trouble getting Office et all to run in 2GB of storage (stupid).

I ran Windows 95 on a 386 with 8MB or RAM. It was slow, but it ran. A Pentium 166 with 32 ran Office 95 fine. With 2GB of total storage, Office + Windows shouldn't a problem.

Re:What?? (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603547)

One more thing to break, probably (including a 2GB SD card) a $40-$50 increase in cost per machine, for what advantage?

So it can run the industry standard operating system, if the *user* desires. I know that many here are rabidly anti-Microsoft, but sometimes people are going to want to be able to run what nearly everyone else runs.

And Microsoft just asked for an added slot, which certainly wouldn't add much cost. Are you arguing that the machine should be intentionally crippled just to prevent Windows from running?

Re:What?? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603847)

Dude, you should actually learn to read a comment or two before posting. As reasonable as you're trying to be, all your points are completely refuted in this very thread.

Re:What?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603669)

Yeah, an additional $45-$50 for the hardware and then an additional $50 for the OS.... and oh yeah another $50+ for office. That triples the cost. Why? So that MS doesn't lose marketshare? Why doesn't MS use some of their billions to sponsor their own project, make it compatible with the same apps and protocols and then let it compete with the OLPC project and see which one wins in the market? OLPC scares the crap out of Balmer because he knows this is the beginning of the end for their business model and revenue stream.

Think of the millions of kids whose first computing experience WON'T be Windows. Kids that will, after a few years view the Windows interface as inconceivibly "alien" to them. All of them in growing markets.

Mine came with an SD slot. (1, Informative)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603717)

The XO I have has an SD card slot so I dunno what M$ is smoking.

Re:What?? (1)

cmeans (81143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603721)

So long as Microsoft is willing to absorb the cost of the design/implementation change, and kickin some dough to help get the device to more kids, it seems like a win/win. However, Microsoft will have to be willing to take care of problems users might have with the machine when running under Windows...this is probably their back door. This is only a good idea if it's good for the kids...this is not a good idea if it's just good for business.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603849)

but if they shrink it down to under 1GB, the HW requirements between Vista & XP would be far greater than it already is. & people would be even less willing to use Vista (when compared to lower XP HW prices).

uuh, they're just begging for a... (1, Troll)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603245)

patented slashdot slapdown, and I will attempt to deliver my best shot:

So what M$ is saying that if you upgrade the hardware you can get a downgraded XP? That's nice.. "we're not petty or anything, but we'd rather see less laptops in the hands of children in developing countries than have them using Linux".

Well, between the Classmate going downhill and Linux being free, the only one looking to make a buck are the chair manufacturers.

How about the software though? (5, Insightful)

WeirdJohn (1170585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603255)

Let's say there was the capacity to add another gig of flash, and XP could run on it. How much educational software would then fit in the machine? How much development tools would fit for the kids to develop apps (I'm thinking specifically of the capabilities Squeak/EToys gives the XO here)? How secure would the grid computing model be?

I think Microsoft are looking at XO as a low cost laptop instead of as a delivery platform for education and collaboration.

Re:How about the software though? (2, Insightful)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603381)

I think they're looking at it as a long term threat in a market they're not willing to develop themselves.. Call me idealistic, but in that sense they might actually be right..

Re:How about the software though? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603499)

I've put a stripped-down version of XP Embedded on a computer with 384 MB of flash memory. A large portion of the space I took up was for the .Net framework; if I didn't need that, the OS would have filled half.

There would be plenty of room for software. The idea really isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.

Re:How about the software though? (1)

WeirdJohn (1170585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603725)

Hmmm.... but dotNet doesn't really compare to Squeak/Etoys. AFAIK there is no integrated GUI development environment, no 30 years worth of mature libraries, and "Write Once Run Anywhere" is only a dream, to say nothing for the ease of working in a real OOP environment with everything being dynamically bound and a real object, instead being of a bastard stepchild of Java.

Re:How about the software though? (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603677)

Let's say there was the capacity to add another gig of flash, and XP could run on it. How much educational software would then fit in the machine? How much development tools would fit for the kids to develop apps (I'm thinking specifically of the capabilities Squeak/EToys gives the XO here)? How secure would the grid computing model be?

Good points, all. Let's just summarise by asking one simple question: Why?

The XO has everything it needs already. I've done a month-long evaluation of one of the late prototypes and I can assure you that there is no similar combination of software available for Windows. And even if such a beast existed, there is no way it could be made to run as well on 128 MB RAM and a 400 MHz processor. And even if it could, it wouldn't be as nicely integrated into the overall environment. And even if it were perfectly integrated, there's no way it would come as cheap. And even if it did come as cheap, there's no way people could get the source and alter it to their individual needs.

... But let's just summarise by asking that one simple question: Why?

Re:How about the software though? (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603871)

capacity to add another gig of flash, and XP could run on it. How much educational software would then fit in the machine?

the summary does say SD card, not memory. (which FYI is already in the OLPC specification http://wiki.laptop.org/go/SD [laptop.org] )

I would assume M.S. would want to sell 5GB sd cards, or similar with some apps, and a installer that overwrites linux on the internal flash. And they want SD, so they can require a signature off the card to lock down copying.

since http:www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ [nu2.nu] already fits a XP under a CD (well, it'll run most XP programs, with the XP kernel...) short of full office, not sure why 1GB + USB/sd isn't enough.

Stop the presses! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603265)

OLPC with Windows XP!

Now children can read their books by cool blue light! Once the capabilities of the OLPC are bumped up to run Windows comfortably, they will also be able to heat their food* on the machine itself!

* Microsoft has declined to provide food.

Not Living in the Real World (0, Flamebait)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603269)

Microsoft is clearly not living in the real world here. The whole computer costs less than standalone Windows.

The the very worst part is that because Windows won't fit, Microsoft's solution is to suggest (demand) that they fix the PC. And fix it by adding cost, complication, and vulnerability to the elements. Those are the actions of a bully.

Re:Not Living in the Real World (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603471)

Microsoft don't charge other people what they charge you for Windows. You see, they know you're a sucker so you get to pay the most.
 

That is so Microsoft (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603279)

Redesign the machine to fit our OS.

Classic.

Sadly, they already have done it. (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603855)

Microsoft has done it before. Most keyboards have two keys to the left and right of the spacebar with their Windows logo on it being the most obvious to the end-user. Not to mention the "designed for:" stickers that have appeared in recent years.

Since they've managed to muscle their way into the common PC hardware, they somehow feel it's their birthright to do the same with the XO.

Maybe if they can't recover quickly enough from the Vista debacle, they'll regain a perspective of their place in the heirarchy of computing.

Let the bloat begin (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603281)

From the article: "Microsoft's call for changes to the system that would add features but increase its price could provoke a backlash from OLPC purists who maintain that the XO must be produced at the lowest cost possible."

Then I guess I'm a "purist" on this one. An internal SD slot would be nice, but then so would a Core 2 Duo... you have to draw the line and when you're shooting for $100 you have to draw it very soon. I don't think the OLPC will succeed by conforming to Wintel; by definition, if Microsoft really understood this niche, it wouldn't exist for OLPC to fill!

Microsofts PR dep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603293)

Hopefully they won't succeed. The last thing the OLPC project wants is locking its children into a crippled OS owned by a convicted monopolist. I'm pretty sure Microsoft is gonna say "upgrade to Windows" if they get Windows XP working on the XO.

If they want to go that far (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603303)

You mean they're not trying to get it to run Vista?

Seriously, Microsoft just can't resist trying to get a piece of every market out there. That's why the XBox exists. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, but I am saying that it gets kind of annoying when MS wants to push a sovereign group to make adjustments to their own products just so that Microsoft can have a piece of the action.

Of course, this would also raise the price of the OLPC portable.

I hope they ignore MS just stick with FOSS and keep the price as affordable as possible.

Amazing... (3, Insightful)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603307)

Such a project was no priority until Negroponte and others made OLPC come to the fore.

Too bad that back around '96 we only heard fudware/vaporware from the likes of and from ms when others kept demanding smaller windows footprint in disk space, RAM, and other resources. When competition fell and died, ms never really followed through.

Now, with virtualization (WINE, Win4Lin, VMWare, Virtual Box, Bochs, et al), numerous terminal setups, kiosk modes, a besieging amount of Open Source software, populous countries with attractive budgets, and other factors make ms just go into me-too, and copy-cat mode, innovation being just a buzzword to check off on marketing brochures and bandy in conventions.

Now, if only Open Source developers would somehow garner the attention of human interface design and make thinks vastly more polished and less rickety/designed-for-the-nerdgineer, and if people like myself (non-developers) could make use of Eclipse, Glade, Trolltech's software, and things like that, we could spark a whole new renaissance of non-ms stuff that could level the playing field.

How dare ms try to push manufacturers to add more than Linux requires to get OLPC out there. This is just to dick up the manufacturing process to delay boxes otherwise slated for OLPC assembly and deployment, at least as I see it...

Luckily (4, Insightful)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603325)

Luckily Mr. Negroponte is an intelligent man who is not interested in profits, but in doing the right thing, and can happily tell them to fuck the hell off.
That's what I'd do anyway.

Who in the right mind would try to educate young kids about computers while using Windows?
Yes, a lot of us new geeks started on Windows, but as soon as we got to "know Unix" we jumped that crappy ship and never looked back.

GNU/Linux and FOSS are the way of the future. It's like p2p networks and RIAA. You can't magically stop the spread of open knowledge.

Negroponte will give them a stable and innovative learning platform that will benefit both their computing skills and more importantly their general education and knowledge.

Just the other day I thought about making a bumper sticker or a shirt that says "Microsoft is the reason you suck at computers."
(I've just trademarked that.) (Or is it copyrighted? WTH, I'll do both.)

Re:Luckily (2, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603533)

"Luckily Mr. Negroponte is an intelligent man who is not interested in profits, but in doing the right thing, and can happily tell them to fuck the hell off. That's what I'd do anyway."

But will he? He's already struck a very odd deal with Intel. Unfortunately for Negroponte, he was thrown into the fray with MS and Intel when they decided to compete with OLPC. Both assume they're big enough to look that bad and they're right. Now Intel has joined OLPC and what becomes of AMD? How pissed must they be?

Many within the OLPC ranks may stomach a move to Intel but a wholesale move to MS would cause a mass exodus. I see a disturbing possibility: OLPC moving to Windows and Intel and the vacuum of fleeing engineers being replaced with MS techs. There's a reason Gates and Co. are compared to the Borg, Folks!

Developers, developers, developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603329)

So they are telling us that they don't have the most competent developer team in the world and they can't overcome a little problem like that ? Noone need more than 640K, remember ?
--
No, I'm not making fun of Microsoft... they are the best, aren't they ?

There's already a SD Slot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603347)

Can't the slot just be mounted before the bootloader? It apparently takes HCSD cards too.

http://laptop.org/en/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml [laptop.org]

OLPC's response (5, Funny)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603355)

1 Gbyte should be enough for anyone :-)

Re:OLPC's response (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603799)

...with only $200 to spend on a laptop with solid state storage.

Hey Microsoft... BUILD YOUR OWN! (5, Interesting)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603357)

You want a low cost computer to give to the children of the world that runs XP? You're sitting on billions of capital. Your ex-CEO runs a worldwide charity. You have manufacturing experience with the XBox360. You have industry alliances with all the major chip manufacturers.

Why don't you BUILD one? I'm sure you could make it "better" and you'd have a whole new customer base. You could even lock out competitors.

Or better yet, why dontcha give away copies of Windows CE? That runs under a gig... doesn't it?

Vista-Capable OLPC (3, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603377)

The article continues: "A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that a Vista-Capable OLPC release is in the works. The laptop will run Remote Desktop, connecting over the wireless network to a server running Windows Vista."

What's the point? (5, Interesting)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603385)

Microsoft's only argument seems to be that there's lots of educational software written for Windows that becomes available this way. But if the OLPC becomes very widespread, surely those programs will be adapted for the OLPC. If the OLPC doesn't have Windows, the software will be adapted to the Windows-less OLPC.

Re:What's the point? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603459)

Of course if MS really cared about the edu software, etc. to run on it, they could just help out the Wine project a little...

Where's the humor tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603451)

Where's the humor tag?

More than it seems... (4, Insightful)

Techguy666 (759128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603465)

From the OLPC website http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php [laptopgiving.org] :

OLPC's commitment to software freedom gives children the opportunity to use their laptops on their own terms. The children--and their teachers--have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content. There's even a button located on the keyboard that allows children to view the programming behind certain applications.


So, Microsoft wants the XO to run their operating system? Are they willing to release the source code to Windows XP *and* let kids rewrite it??

This isn't merely Microsoft wanting to change one little hardware spec. The ramifications are that the laptops will probably require more power to run that extra SD slot; the laptop will cost more for the redesign, re-molding, extra parts; the whole philosophy of the software will change and the kid's desire to explore and tinker stifled. I don't think Microsoft cares beyond a "developing countries == potential market" attitude...

p.s. If you want to buy an XO, that's also the link: http://www.laptopgiving.org/ [laptopgiving.org]

Microsoft not taking it seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603467)

Microsoft is not taking this seriously. If they were serious about getting some version of Windows running on this machine, they probably should start with Windows CE (or whatever they are currently calling it... Windows .NET or something?) Since it was made for PDAs (and now used on smart phones) I would guess 1GB of flash and 256MB of RAM would be spacious for it, and the CPU rather quick.

          IMHO Microsoft shouldn't even attempt it. I have read Microsoft's goal in this is to try to introduce more people to Windows. But, I think it will backfire -- they will get XP shoehorned on but it won't run well or support many "normal" windows applications (due to not meeting the app's system requirements.). So rather than giving people a favorable introduction to Windows, the first impression will be like "why do people put up with this?" Of course, the Linux version on the OLPC also won't support many normal Linux apps, but it doesn't try to behave like a normal Linux distro, so this won't seem so odd.

Tell you what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603469)

Tell you what Microsoft, you show us the stripped-down version of XP you see running comfortably and stably, with apps, in 2GB of system flash ... and then we'll talk.

Imagine the reply (3, Funny)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603489)

"Microsoft's recent request that the folks behind the XO laptop redesign it to suit their needs"

From: OLPC
To: Microsoft
re: Redesign

Dear Microsoft,

Our design works for us. It's set. We won't change it. Would would, however, be willing to offer XP as an alternate operating system. You'll just need to redesign it to fit our needs.

Sincerely,
The XO team

P.S.: Sorry to hear about the Classmate.

BartPE would fit. Should imply that XP fits. (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603513)

BartPE [nu2.nu] fits on a 256MB USB Flash drive [tomshardware.com] . Surely something similar would be workable in 1GB.

Embrace and Extort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603517)

Or Embrace and Extinguish?

HAHA HA and HAHA some more (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603529)

Can we PLEASE get a new set of icons? One with a foot and a gun please.

There simply are no words to describe the incredulity that I feel after reading just the summary. The people in Redmond must be high. You have to wonder what the folks developing WinCE are thinking about this. I know that you can cut Windows down to a minimal set of functions and resource usage, but that is just messed up.

You would think they have enough to worry about just trying to get Vista installed on 300,000 machines and off of the worst products of 2007 lists. I guess, if you are going to be on that list, might as well dominate the list.

Re:HAHA HA and HAHA some more (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603591)

I've said it once and I'll say it again. Microsoft is inherently evil. Like kicking puppies.

Finally, XP on a flash drive? (1)

accident (575230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603559)

An XP tailored to run on flash memory would make a great live boot option for all windows users. After all there is still no windows "live cd", despite the many non-windows full featured live cds available.

I wouldn't be surprised if XP on XO was highly customised to not boot on anything but the exact XO hardware.

Sounds good (0)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603593)

Let's put a slot on a device so it can collect dirt. Also will windows run well on SD memory, which is notoriously slow?

Why can't Microsoft just make their own device if they want it so badly? Why does anything with an x86 have to run Windows? Makes me wonder if we wouldn't be better off pushing solutions that run ARM, PPC, MIPS, Sparc, Microblaze, etc.

Why Windows on the OLPC is a bad idea. (5, Informative)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603635)

1. You're are not legally allowed to share it with your friends, not even for educational use!

2. Viruses/Spyware - this is a computer designed to give new users an introduction to computing, and a tool for education, can you imagine the grief virii would cause here, especially in a mass scale / network environment.

3. Cost.

4. Linux is not communism, Vendor lock-in is.

I'm a sysadmin at a school in South Africa, the funding is poor, the choices we have are limited. I really feel strongly against bringing M$ into the OLPC scene, these computers are about education, sharing and hopefully the spirit of giving. Not virii, DRM, WGA, Vendor Lock-In and legal woes.

I for one would not welcome these monopolistic overlords.

bizarre story (4, Informative)

ywwg (20925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603657)

This is a bizarre story, seeing as I've had a 4 gig SD card plugged into my OLPC for more than a year. It's been there the whole time, and there was even an inaccurate rumor that the slot was added just for microsoft. In fact it turned out to cost next to nothing to add the connector.

I don't think this is an admission of anything. (5, Informative)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603719)

Microsoft has a long history of announcing new vaporware whenever someone does something interesting to try and keep as many people waiting until the Microsoft branded version comes out. Anyone remember Cairo? Microsoft was going to have us using a fulltext searchable metadata-rich filesystem back in the early 1990's so we didn't have to retrain to build on NeXT. Microsoft was going to be bringing us pen-based computers in the late 1980's so nobody should early-adopt with Dylan on Newton.

They don't have any intention of getting Windows to run on the OLPC. If they can buy enough time for the OLPC to run out of money, they don't have to do anything, and that is more like Microsoft. So long as Microsoft has presence in a market, the market remains stalled, and the state of the art languishes.

The XO has an SD slot already... (3, Informative)

dominator (61418) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603737)

This is old news.

The important part is to note the verb's tense. MSFT said "we asked OLPC to add a SD card". The OLPC folks complied, and the slot's been there for a while.

Since I develop some software that's made its way onto the laptop, I managed to pick up a B2 machine a few months ago, complete with SD slot (in the most awkward place - under the monitor but above the keyboard. almost impossible to get to).

See http://www.laptop.org/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml [laptop.org] , under the "external connectors" section.

Redesign Windows to meet the XO's needs (0, Offtopic)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603745)

Windows 3.0 used to run on machines with 512K (that's half a meg, not half a gig).

If Microsoft wants Windows to run on the XO, why should the XO be the one that has to make the accommodation?

It's already got it... (5, Informative)

drwho (4190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603747)

Well, I hope when they come to Cambridge, Microsoft will realize a few things:

1) The machine is in production. It's too late to make hardware changes. Wayyyyy too late.

2) It's already got an SD slot. And it will hold a 4gb, possibly 8gb, SD device.

3) OLPC is not really interested in running Windows..or any other proprietary product (even the Marvell Libertas has been a very contentious issue). Go port XP to the XO if you want, but don't expect to be welcomed with open arms.

4) How can you be so clueless as to the above facts? Perhaps you could blithely ignore #3, but #1 and #2 are pretty evident.

MS is... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603753)

... the center of the universe ... king of the world ... the Supreme Ruler ... the one who knows best ... our digital overlord ...

Just creating vaporware... (1)

erikjan (1157147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603757)

I think MS is just creating vaporware. Now they cabn go round and tell everybody that if they wait just little longer they can buy an KLPC laptop running windows. It will probably never happpen but it buys time, and slows the uptake of OLPC.

Microsoft cannot miss 2008 (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603759)

2008 will the year of cheap laptops (XO and Asus EEE are below $300).

Everybody will be able to afford a computer at this price.
The problem is that Microsoft's OSes is very expensive and need a lot of power to run (both with CPU speed, RAM and harddisk).

When they started working on Vista, Microsoft did bet that in the future everybody would own a supercomputer.

Today's situation shows that they guessed wrong, and that's why they are trying desperately to refurbish their old OS.

I think they made another error, since Win98 is more suitable for such computers, but they stopped maintaining it (it will be too expensive to maintain).

Note that when the hardware is cheap, the software needs to be cheap, since people won't pay an OS that costs 10% of the hardware's price !

How about, "No" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603771)

for an answer. Microsoft has been deriding this project for a long time. Their FUD didn't shut it down, so I would question their motives now and not let them be a part of it.

If they give XP away for free, I hope they get busted for dumping to try to prevent competition.

for flash...doesn't it already have SD and USB? (2, Insightful)

john_heidemann (104993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603783)

The article says Windows wants 2GiB of flash memory.

If they need secondary storage, doesn't the laptop already have both an SD slot and a USB slot? (See the OLPC specs [laptop.org] !) And if the SD slot is non functional, can't XP boot off of a USB flash disk?

So what's the problem?

Microsoft is struggling to adapt XP (3, Interesting)

sucker_muts (776572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603823)

It seems MS is trying hard to get XP to work on the OLPC, but since the SD connection is not a standard one, they need to make the drivers to all the hardware themselves AND they so definitely can not touch any olpc GPL code they need to be very careful! Things are not going as smooth as MS would like it to be.

Some interesting stories:
concerns for this all [olpcnews.com]
general info about the things MS is doing [wired.com]

Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21603825)

So let me get this straight.... Microsoft spent about ten years making version after version after version of Windows, each absurdly more bloated the last and each requiring absurdly more hardware resources than the last, just to run decently. They always targeted each new version for the high-end PC hardware available at the time. This was no accident; customers have complained about it for the entire lifetime of the Windows product line.

Meanwhile, over roughly the same decade, Linux has grown enormously in power while only growing modestly in bloat and resource requirements.

Now someone designs a clever new inexpensive and intentionally very low-powered computer -- something Microsoft never had the vision to anticipate or prepare for. Linux runs fine on this new computer because unlike Windows, Linux has long been designed for flexibility and adaptibility to diverse hardware, including the very low-end. Microsoft suddenly decides they want a piece of this action, even though they've intentionally designed Windows in such a way as to preclude this possibility, and then they have the nerve to ask the hardware manufacturer to change the hardware to accomodate their bloat?

Unbelievable. I hope the OLPC folks tell Microsoft to sleep in the bed they made for themselves.

And I want... (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21603829)

... Microsoft to close their software business.
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