Microsoft Announces BSOLPC
Apparently unable to stomach the idea of thousands of school children in developing countries running the Linux operating system on their new laptops, Microsoft is working on a version of Windows XP for the One Laptop Per Child project’s XO machine.
The company has assigned some 40 developers to the project and plans to begin limited field trials in January. If all goes well, XP for the XO could be available as early as the second half of 2008. “We want Windows to run on the XO and we are investing significant energy and talent,” James Utzschneider, general manager of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Group, told The Wall Street Journal. “We really want to make sure we have a quality experience before we make commitment to governments.”
Quite an interesting turnabout. After all, Microsoft has been slagging the One Laptop Per Child project’s XO machine since its conception. Just a year ago, Bill Gates publicly derided it while presenting Redmond’s ultra-mobile Origami machine at the Government Leaders Forum. “The last thing you want for a shared-use computer is for it to be something without a disk, and with a tiny little screen,” he said. “If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user. Geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you’re not sitting there cranking the thing while you’re trying to type.”