Report: OLPC may eventually switch from Linux to Windows XP

Insistence on open source scares people away, Negroponte says

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A source close to the OLPC said the group is still only showing off laptops running Sugar and Linux to prospective customers, but has indicated its willingness to offer XP if large educational customers deem it necessary for application-compatibility reasons.

Outgoing president Walter Bender told the blog OLPC News via e-mail on Monday that he didn't know of any plans to create a Windows XP-only version of the XO.

But Bender, a former colleague of Negroponte's at MIT, told AP on Tuesday that he was planning to launch an independent effort to get Sugar running on Linux computers other than the XO.

Though Negroponte has taken shots at Microsoft and Intel in the past several years, the OLPC has also hinted its willingness to abandon its ideological opposition to proprietary software such as Windows.

Negroponte "just wants to see lower-cost computers in kids' hands," OLPC board member Michael Evans said last April, after Microsoft began to offer Windows and Office for use on conventional PCs for US$3 to students in developing countries. "If that means other companies filling this need, he'd still be happy as a clam. Our mission is not to beat Apple, Dell or Microsoft."

Ironically, Evans is vice-president of corporate development for Red Hat, the Linux vendor whose Fedora version of its Red Hat operating system underpins the XO today.

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