Computer World is reporting that there’s a new development in the One Laptop Per Child computer program. According to Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of OLPC, they’re working together with Microsoft to develop a dual-boot system which would make Linux and Windows available on the affordable computers being sent to developing countries. Negroponte said, “We are working with them very closely to make a dual-boot system so that, like on an Apple, you can boot either one up. The version that’s up and running of Windows on the XO is very fast, it’s very, very successful. We’re working very hard to do both.”
So which version of Windows would they be running on the computers? You guessed it, Windows XP. That’s the version that Microsoft has offered for the project. While it sounds great to have a computer that can dual-boot two different operating systems, I’m wondering if they really expect that children from developing countries to use both? Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet came up with another good question worth thinking about – “Will XO laptops even have enough horsepower to dual-boot Windows and Linux?
Microsoft is known for their charity work in developing countries. In fact, they have a rather strong presence in certain countries and work with governments of those countries to build computer labs. Getting involved with charity is just something they do, so in this situation, and they offering XP as a nice gesture, or is there an ulterior motive? At least it makes sense now as to why Microsoft gave 40 engineers the daunting task of getting Windows XP running on the OLPC.