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OLPC project clarifies: no plans for Windows support



I'm a big OLPC fan, and an advocate of open source. When news surfaced over the last few weeks of a Windows-based version, I was concerned about the potential negative impact of commercial forces on the admittedly idealistic goals of OLPC.

It turns out that the way AP and other news sources reported the original story, attributing comments (but not directly quoting) Nicholas Negroponte, head of the nonprofit organization operating the OLPC project, mischaracterized the relationship between OLPC and Microsoft, drawing implications which may occur as a result of market forces but not due to any special relationship between OLPC and Microsoft.

The following quote from Walter Bender, president of Software and Content at OLPC, certainly clarified things for me:

"We are a free and open-source shop. We have no one from OLPC working with Microsoft on developing a Windows platform for the XO. MS doesn't get any special treatment from OLPC."


In re-reading several of the previous reports, it's unclear to me whether the writers intentionally obfuscated Negroponte's comments, or in their enthusiasm for the getting the story out were simply careless in their choice of words. Whatever the intention, the result was clearly a different story than the reality of the situation.

In any case, I'm happy to learn that OLPC will proceed on its mission focused on its own revolutionary software platform, and that XO owners will at least begin their experience of computers with something other than Microsoft Windows.

Mind you, I'm not against the use of Windows on OLPC, but would rather see market forces dictate the final added value (and accompanying cost) of any commercial software, including Microsoft Windows. I'm thinking that the company's recently announced $3 bundle gets pretty close to the mark.

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