CyberTech Rambler

May 4, 2007

Windows running on OLPC

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 3:20 pm

OLPC clarifies that there is at present no plans to run Windows on OLPC, although its chief did say that it is now possible to run Windows on OLPC. A lot of people, including myself, links what its chief says with the announcement of three dollar Windows software package announced by Mr Gate in Beijing. May be I conveyed the incorrect impression that Windows is supported by the OLPC project. Perhaps by mentioning that Windows Embedded share source policy might just be enough to satisfy OLPC source code availability/tinkering objective I made it worse. If I did, I apologize.

In my view, Microsoft will come out with a version of Windows that will work with OLPC. Its a question of when. If Microsoft is willing to put money into failed or perceived to had failed initiatives such as PlayForSure and UMPC, OLPC is a much bigger and important battleground. If successful, OLPC will influence the hearts and minds of millions of new computer users and Microsoft cannot afford to be left out. the $3 software initiative ties very nicely to any Microsoft plans for OLPC. However, having get RedHat to do so much work on the operating system, OLPC project has at least the moral obligation to go with the OS with its first release, even if it intends to switch to Windows for the second batch. If OLPC did switch to Windows, it will face a very large political and developers revolt. Whether this is worthwhile will depends heavily on whether Microsoft can muster a large enough pool of developers to replace existing developers.

It is certainly possible that government pay third party to wipe the OS on OLPC and replace it with Windows when they received the computers. Again, this can be nicely tied to the $3 software initiative. OLPC project is larger than any operating system. The $3 software initiative is a large plan of Microsoft in developing countries. It not only sits nicely with OLPC, it can also reduce the cost of “rent-a-PC” scheme (though they probably call it PC hire-purchase) by Microsoft elsewhere. If both intersects may be we should let them compete. A bit of competition for OLPC will be good for consumers and drive technological changes.

One thing for sure, at least if Windows do indeed run on OLPC, any perceived  crippling of Windows  function stand a chance of being justified on hardware ground, unlike unnecessary technological crippling of Windows Starter Edition which are there because you cannot afford it.

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