I tend to avoid writing stories about the OLPC XO Laptop because it’s not really targeted at consumers. I’m much more interested in laptops you can walk into a store and buy, or at least order online from Taiwanese dealers. But if Nicholas Negroponte hadn’t turned his dream of a low cost laptop into reality, it’s possibel that the Asus Eee PC and all the low cost mini-notebooks that have followed it never would have existed. So every now and then it’s worth taking a peek at OLPC land.

And this week there are two interesting stories making the rounds. Gizmodo reports that developers of the OLPC have created a limited edition red XO laptop specifically for the folks working to cram Windows XP onto the device. Basically, it’s just like your good old green XO, but it has 2GB of solid state memory instead of 1 to make Windows XP slightly more comfortable. OLPC only pumped out about 100 of these red laptops and there are no plans to make any more.

In other news, the unique Sugar OS software interface designed for the XO Laptop might not stay unique for long. PC World says that Sugar Labs, the foundation behind the user interface, is working with Intel to create similar software for the Classmate PC. The Classmate is Intel’s answer to the XO Laptop. It features more storage, a more traditional looking laptop body, and is designed to run Windows XP.

So if you’re keeping track, that means Windows is coming to the XO Laptop, while Linux could be coming to the Classmate PC.

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One reply on “OLPC adds some color, Classmate PC steals its OS”

  1. Really, only the words “tragic loss” comes to mind when I think about Microsoft’s usage of XP in 3rd world students’ lives. The beauty behind Linux and the OLPC’s open source code is that the students are ALLOWED to read the code for their programs.

    It is really beneficial for the next wave of digitally connected students around the world NOT to utilize Microsoft (partially because it feels like a post-colonial dilemma) partly because self-empowerment lies in their hands via open-source. Culturally, it just makes more sense.

    I also feel disappointed with Intel for making the decision to depart from their agreement to help OLPC’s development. They were in, and then they left over “differences.” But for an international charitable endeavor such as the OLPC program, leaving the XO laptop to struggle for another supplier was simply a selfish and immoral move when considering the needs of the children in the world.

    Unforgivable. And, now that the XP-Intel combo is trying to actively get its claws into the rest of the computers of the underprivileged, it just makes me feel like the evil empire is back.

    I will buy the XO laptops for donative purposes, but I don’t think I can support the Classmate.

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