OLPC and Microsoft

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I saw this article:


and asked Mel Chua, who is an intern and volunteer at OLPC, to comment.

She responded:

It's not a particularly well-informed article, imo.

OLPC's paid developers are still working on an open-source stack. Always have been.

Microsoft has paid its own developers to make XP work on the XO. Their time, their money, their resources, their program. (Also noting that hobbyists have started "Debian on the XO", "Ubuntu on the XO," etc. projects of their own... this is MS's corporate version, "XP on the XO.")

I believe the deal is that Microsoft will purchase XO laptops in gargantuan quantities (like countries can purchase them in gargantuan quantities) and then do whatever the heck it likes with them for large country-wide rollouts, if those countries want to go through MS instead of the OSS community. XOs aren't going to appear on Wal-mart shelves running Windows, or be available to individual US customers that want a cheap Windows laptop. MS will do tech support for those, handle deployment for those, OLPC isn't going to deal with that; our volunteers aren't going to help someone troubleshoot their Windows computer anyway.

The OSS stack will continue to be available to countries, via G1G1 when the second round of the program opens up - my impression is that the OSS stack is going to be "OLPC" and "the default," and MS is just setting up their own alternative programme with the stream of hardware they're getting on the side.

"The move has led to the resignation of two key project leaders" - if they mean Ivan and Walter, that was long before the deal with Microsoft, and for other reasons, from what I've heard.

This is by no means the definitive word on the subject, but this is my personal view of the situation after talking to many people and sitting in at many meetings at the office figuring out the situation, and handling a lot of emails from friends and fellow volunters about "what's up with OLPC and MS?" like this one. ;)


note: I'd welcome you all to find alternative sources of information and opinions on the topic, as I don't have The Definitive Guide to anything at OLPC, and it's quite possible I've gotten details wrong in the above note - what I was trying to convey is that "no, OLPC is not outright replacing ALL of the open-source stack on ALL XOs with Microsoft products; it's still developing pretty much all open-source stuff itself!" Also, you can't un-open-source code, and the volunteer community around OLPC is pretty darn committed to free software, so it's not like that option will - or even can - magically go away. Mchua 10:03, 2 June 2008 (PDT)"

Response from Smari: Why Ivan quit:

http://radian.org/notebook/maintaining-clarity http://radian.org/notebook/sic-transit-gloria-laptopi

Stallman on XP for OLPC:


- Smári