Dual-booting One Laptop Per Child, and not with the Mac

OLPC is getting itself some Windows, but where's the sense in that, asks CNET Blog Network contributor Matt Asay.

This is bizarre. Word on the street is that the One Laptop Per Child project will be adding Windows to its repertoire. Not separate machines, mind you. Windows/Linux dual-boot machines.

Where's the sense in that?

It's not that OLPC has been free of proprietary "taint" from the beginning. Back in 2006 it kicked up a furor over its inclusion of proprietary software.

But what about horsepower? Or what about the real question: Why? What purpose does it serve? Mary Jo Foley, of CNET sister site ZDNet, notes:

Why would anyone--kids, governments and/or laptop makers--want a dual-boot Linux/Windows OLPC systems in the first place? Dual-boot Macs make sense: There are some Windows-only programs that Mac users want/need to run. But this scenario doesn't make sense for the kinds of apps that XO laptops will be geared to run.

This isn't a moral or philosophical issue. It's a practical issue. Why?

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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