[ox-en] MS to create a flash version of windows xp for OLPC and other laptops in "emerging markets" (Modified by Geert Lovink)
- From: "Michael Gurstein" <gurstein gmail.com>
- Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2007 15:59:22 -0800
From ZD Net:
December 6th, 2007
XP on OLPC: Microsoft's gambit to stay in the emerging market
Posted by Larry Dignan @ 6:30 am
Windows XP may come to the One Laptop Per Child project as Microsoft
ports its operating system to flash-based devices such as Intel's
Classmate PC, ASUS Eee PC and the XO laptop. But Microsoft's big motive
is to stay relevant in emerging markets where officials are increasingly
mulling over Linux-based devices.
There's no reason to bash Microsoft's Unlimited Potential program, which
aims to bring technology "to the next 5 billion people." However, it's
really difficult not to read between the lines on this XP meets OLPC
Let's weigh the different factors based on Microsoft's official
its comments <http://blogs.technet.com/jamesu/> about porting XP and
coverage from Mary Jo Foley <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1015>,
Techmeme chatter <http://www.techmeme.com/071206/p17#a071206p17>.
From Microsoft's statement:
"Microsoft plans to publish formal design guidelines early next year
that will assist flash-based device manufacturers in designing
machines that enable a high-quality Windows experience. In addition,
there will be limited field trials in January 2008 of Windows XP for
One Laptop per Child's XO laptop. Microsoft's goal is to provide a
high-quality Windows experience on the XO device; if this is
achieved, then Windows XP for the XO could be available as early as
the second half of 2008."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* Memo to emerging markets: Put Windows
on the radar if you are mulling over the purchase of a Linux based
device. At least Microsoft isn't shy about it: "Governments evaluating
purchases of the XO should continue to consult with Microsoft regarding
possible Windows XP availability date, pricing and support policies."
This statement gets at what the Mandriva CEO was whining about
<http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=6845> in November. Microsoft's message:
Wait for us. Don't do anything drastic-like use Linux.
From Microsoft's blog post where it outlines some of the difficulties
porting XP to a flash based device:
"We have not announced formal plans to support the XO yet, and we
will not do so until after we start getting feedback from our first
limited field trials starting in January before we make the final
call. We do not want to set expectations we subsequently cannot
meet, especially when it comes to supporting the children's machine.
For governments in emerging markets evaluating purchases of Windows
for the XO, this means that so far we are not announcing an
availability date, pricing, or support policies. In fact, you should
not yet assume that Windows on the XO is a done deal. We are hopeful
that we will have a different story for you within six months."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* Again, no rush folks. You can hold
off that Linux love affair for six months right. Another thread:
Nicholas Negroponte jumped the gun with his XP on the XO riff.
From Microsoft's blog post:
"If you are in the US and Canada and are participating in the "Give
One Get One" program, you need to understand that Microsoft is not
currently planning to support a retail consumer release of Windows
XP on your XO computer."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* Do you really think that we would
kill demand for Vista and other laptops by selling a inexpensive XP
From the blog post:
"The XO computer uses flash memory instead of a hard disk drive for
storage. This is one of the reasons OLPC can get the production cost
of the computer down to $188. This is a relatively new class of
machine, and we have to do design work to get Windows and Office to
work reliably and with good performance using only 2 GB of storage.
The XO actually only comes with 1GB of flash, and we asked the OLPC
to add a slot for an internal SD card that will provide the 2 GB of
extra memory needed to run our software. (By comparison, an entry
level $499 Dell laptop comes with 60 GB of hard disk storage.) The
potential payoff for students and schools from this work, of course,
is that the tens of thousands of existing educational applications
written for Windows can potentially run on the XO."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* We are dangling the big payoff-a ton
of educational programs-if you'll wait a bit. However, we need to go on
a serious diet (that's what New Year's resolutions are for) and want to
complicate things with an SD card slot. And we'll be swell and give away
XP to get the price down.
From the blog post:
"Microsoft plans to publish some formal design guidelines early next
year that will help Flash PC manufacturers benefit from our early
work so they can design machines that enable a great Windows
experience at as low a cost as possible, and with a minimum of
custom design work necessary to get Windows to run on their
machines, such as we have encountered with the XO."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* We have a runaway train with these
flash devices. If these toys ever get serious traction Windows could
face a shutout.
From the blog post:
"We have a different support model than OLPC is envisioning: we are
not expecting K-6 school children to access the source code and do
their own programming in the event they have to fix a problem in the
computer. Certainly, we think there is a role for students in the
support of school computers - in fact, as part of our Partners in
Learning program we have trained over a million kids in a student
helpdesk program (like in this case study from Brazil) - but we also
think that local entrepreneurs and businesses need to play an
important role here when you are talking about deployments involving
tens of thousands of computers."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* And if these entrepreneurs and
business play a support role they can also sell more Microsoft products
in the future.
From the blog post:
"Finally, we are doing this engineering work for a moving target. It
is literally like designing parts of a car - well, actually a school
bus - while it is running down the highway at a high speed. I am not
meaning this as a knock on the OLPC organization
<http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=7135&tag=nl.e539>, because they are a
small group of people doing an amazing amount of innovative design
work in a short period of time. But we have only received a handful
of machines for most of the last year, and the XO team was doing
some hardware design changes as recently as this past August. This
affects our schedule.
Much of the technology in the XO is developed using open source
technology licenses that make it difficult for engineers employed by
commercial software companies like Microsoft to work directly on the
project. For this reason, we also had to follow a complicated
process to figure out interfaces for many of the XO's hardware
components and to deal with some of the hardware bugs they were
reporting in their design process in order to make progress on our
port. All of this slows us down, but that's OK given our overall
shared mission here."
*What Microsoft is really saying:* Ha! Think those open source folks
bought that one? But we aren't knocking the OLPC project. Why pick on
them when it's really the open source folks that are batty. Those damn
licenses are a pain. But that's OK. Really, it is. What? Why are you
glaring at me? It's really OK. Microsoft loves open source. Shared
mission and all. Right?!?
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