At a fund raiser last night for City on a Hill honoring Nicholas Negroponte, he said and the New York Times reports today that the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project will put Windows XP on the XO laptop after becoming a Microsoft OEM. Adding Windows to the XO will add approximately $3 per unit for Microsoft’s licensing fee, and the extra hardware required to run dual-boot (running both Windows and Linux) systems will add another $15 to $17 or so to the cost of each machine. Limited runs will begin next month.
This is an important move by OLPC, one with serious consequences. “'I think our goals are dramatically enhanced with Microsoft's decision and this partnership because we will reach many more children,'' Negroponte told the Times. ''There are now many more countries prepared to look at the XO and collaborative learning and some of the things we stand for.''
The dual boot option will accommodate less-developed countries with needs for open source software and other OLPC functionality, and the need for business critical applications, like Office, supplied by Microsoft. This won’t mean that more adults will use XO; it will mean that children will have a longer run with XO and it won’t be relegated to lower school laptop use exclusively.