XO laptop now shipping with Windows XP
The One Laptop per Child project (OLPC) and Microsoft have agreed to start testing XO laptops with an adapted version of Windows XP. According to a press release, the first computers will be delivered to students in developing countries from June. Windows XP will be part of a software package costing $3. The release says that as the task of increasing the level of education in poor countries is too big for any single organisation, Microsoft and OLPC are committed to working with governments and non-governmental organisations.
The release also states that the availability of Windows, in addition to the already adapted Linux, will allow customers to choose the software most suitable to their needs. Customers want to be able to use existing educational software for Windows and the target is an dual-boot version of XO that can run both operating systems . Although Microsoft denied plans for an OLPC version of Windows in January, according to media reports the OX version of XP is now scheduled to be available in October. OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte adds that developers are working on porting the Sugar user interface to Windows.
Microsoft reports that it has been developing suitable drivers with partner companies for more than a year. The special version of Windows is now said to support the e-book reading mode, wireless networking, the camera and other hardware. According to Microsoft's developers blog, the adapted Windows version is identical to the implementation for Intel's Class Mate and the EeePC by Asus. For the XO notebook, both Windows and the BIOS had to be adapted to allow the system to be started from an SD card.
The web log continues to explain that the OLPC project plans to program a new BIOS and increase flash storage. Back in December 2007, when Microsoft released more specific XO plans, the 1 GB limitation was still one of the key problems. Bohdan Raciborski, Group Program Manager at Microsoft, explains that this problem has now been resolved. He describes in a video that apart from Windows, applications like Office have also been adapted. He explains that because of the low power processor used, System startup after switching on the laptop takes about 50 seconds.