To be fair, OLPC says that it will continue to offer the Sugar operating system as an alternative to the Windows version which is said to be available in September. Clearly, Nicholas Negroponte believes he can sell more machines to developing nations with the lure of Windows, but I dare say Negroponte has derailed the OLPC project and done it irreparable harm by betraying the community which helped him develop the first XO laptop.
May 16, 2008
The New York Times reports that the OLPC project and its founder, Nicholas Negroponte, have decided to adopt the Windows operating system for their XO laptop. Apparently, Negroponte is convinced that developing nations are not as interested in the XO laptop running open-source software and would prefer a "familiar" Windows operating system. This is stunning to me, because the truly innovative open-source operating system (Sugar) which currently runs on the XO laptop was designed from the ground up to empower people who have never used a computer before--who are perhaps even illiterate. It's really disappointing to see ground breaking innovation and what I believed to be one of the main pillars of the project, its open-source nature, thrown out the window to conform with some perceived norm which is Windows. It's ironically sad that the project which inspired a whole new genre of ultra-mobile PCs, most running open-source Linux operating systems which have much more modest hardware requirements, has now itself turned its back on the very same open-source community that played such a critical role in developing the XO laptop.