[sf-lug] not to bring up the xp-olpc thing again, but...

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Fri May 16 13:08:06 PDT 2008

Lx Rudis wrote:
> my GF just sent me this from BBC, and i don't recall
> if this question got asked already:
> which 'four or five countries' is Negroponte referring
> to?  i was under impression that offshore IT had an
> interest in moving their people away from an OS that
> 'phones home' to the continental US...guess i'm an
> idealist, eh?
> here's the link:
>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7402365.stm

Here's another.
> ...another question that springs to mind:  is there
> anything online regarding benchmarking of computer's
> performance with Xp vs. the resident OS?

There's a video somewhere of XP on XO, but no publically available

> thx.  please flame me privately if i'm opening old
> wounds here.  i went into the archive, got more
> confused, and rooting around solo on the web seems to
> be eating time with no real answers...sameer?  help..?
I don't think anyone has *real* answers...just their perception of
what's happening. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. OLPC does
not mention Free and Open Source Software in its mission. Their mission
(as it reads on http://laptop.org/vision/mission/) is about education.
>From that page:

<begin quote>

OLPC is not, at heart, a technology program, nor is the XO a product in
any conventional sense of the word. OLPC is a non-profit organization
providing a means to an end—an end that sees children in even the most
remote regions of the globe being given the opportunity to tap into
their own potential, to be exposed to a whole world of ideas, and to
contribute to a more productive and saner world community.

<end quote>

So, if XP or Vista or OSX or Haiku further their mission, then so be it.
The plan (AFAIK) is to make Sugar independent of the OS, so it will run
on anything that supports it. See

Now, there are those who take this on as a challenge and say that let's
make Linux the best chioce for the XO, and let the public decide. I
think that's a bit naïve, because the public really does not make the
decision. The purchasing body (in this case governments) does and they
can be bought off and sold.

What I find interesting is that Negroponte says that governments are
*asking* for Windows. The demand vector is no longer only tracking the
educational needs, but is now squarely focused on a particular platform.
I assume that these government officials are think that they are getting
the whole deal - a Windows computer like the ones that everyone else
uses. They may not be realizing that installing MS Office 2007 on the XO
may be a bit challenging ;-)

Anyway, as long as the machine ships Linuxnatively and XP on the SD
card, the free hippie stuff (as one of my colleague calls it) still has
a chance. If its Windows only, we still have a FOSS Sugar environment
that will allow people to pick up on say, Python coding via Pippy

We also don't know what Generation 2 machines will be like. There was
some talk
(http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-April/012921.html) about
ARM or x86 using a System-on-Chip approach
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System-on-a-chip). If that happens, the XO
will be a lot more like an embedded platform than it is today. That
supposedly gets revealed on the 20th by OLPC.

Sugar has grown a lot, but there is a long way to go. "Foot in the door"
only works if you push the door after you jam it with your shoe!


Dr. Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Information Systems
San Francisco State University
San Francisco CA 94132 USA

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