Huh?!? Apple offered OSX for free, but was declined for not being open source. Now they’re going with Windows?!? Will OLPC = “One License Per Child” now? I don’t really see the purpose of using a commercial OS, on a stripped down laptop, for third world countries, when it requires more resources and costs more. Ugh.
In a somewhat shocking revelation, One Laptop Per Child has said that they might dump Linux from their XO laptops in favor of the Voleâ€™s Windows XP. The seeming surrender to the evil corporate world comes just a day after the companyâ€™s president tendered his resignation.
OLPC, the educational project which purportedly aims to provide small, cheap laptops for kids has, since its inception, been running its home-made Sugar application, run on Linux, but on Tuesday, OLPC chairman and founder, Nicholas Negroponte, told AP that this was all about to change.
In an attack on pro open saucers, Negroponte slammed â€œthe fundamentalism in some of the open-source community” and reckoned that by pushing the free, open-sauce software on OLPC XOs, the company was scaring people away. “One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist” he snarled.
Sounds like either Mr. Negroponte has fallen victim to invasion of the corporate body snatchers, or the Vole has told him theyâ€™ll be mailing him a very big cheque.
An XO that can run on either Windows or Linux has been in the pipeline for some time already, but the fact that Linux and free open-sauce might be phased out altogether on the childish machine, is sad and disappointing news for anyone who actually believed OLPC was an ideological company, standing up to the software behemoths. Obviously OLPC has now switched sides and is preparing to educate children about the harsh realities of capitalist monopoly giants crushing their weaker opponents instead.
Negroponte used to cry foul at what he saw as Intelâ€™s backhanded attempt to undermine the OLPC project with their Windows based Classmate PCs, but it seems the tables have turned.
Instead of staying true to their goals of helping to overcome third world educational resource obstacles, OLPCâ€™s new strategy seems to be cosying up to richer Western customers, who can afford to shell out more than your average African to buy an XO for their private schooled child.
But then again, with very disappointing sales of only 500,000 XO laptops, when they were originally predicted to sell by their millions, OLPC has had to up their prices to cover manufacturing costs anyway. Instead of an almost affordable $100 (think third world here), the laptops are going for $200, which is probably more than an African family earns in a year.
Switching to Windows XP also means that XO is going to start packing a heck of a lot more disk space than it currently has (1 GB). The XOâ€™s current Sugar and stripped-down versions of Firefox, and other open-source software, only use up a combined 200 MB, which leave 800 MB free.
But Windows XP Home SP2 takes a greedy 1.1 GB of disk space, not including the various patches and updates thought to add another 165 MB each year. Bunging a bigger solid state drive into an XO is going to hike the price even more. Oh well, maybe the company should just change their name to One Laptop Per Rich Child (OLPRC), doesnâ€™t quite have the same ring to it, but, hey, just think of the profits.
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