[sugar] Microsoft

Seth Woodworth seth at isforinsects.com
Thu May 15 20:03:04 EDT 2008

Let's look at this with a slightly different lens before we blow up on NN
and Microsoft.

What does this agreement equate to?  And what are the alternatives to

If the XO was running a completely closed source stack with no documentation
on hardware, how would the Linux community feel?  They would feel that they
were being shut out and not allowed to run whatever software they wanted to
or develop.  This is something the linux community has speared hardware
companies over for years.

So as a fair practice I think it's clear that no special actions can
ethically be made to prevent Windows or any other OS from running on the
machine.  So a Windows port for the XO isn't something that could have been

Furthermore OLPC's sale of the XO hardware doesn't come with any
restrictions for use.  To not allow countries to install windows once they
take ownership would be a completely unethical move given OLPC's commitments
to freedom.

>From scuttlebut about this deal and the way that I understand it, it's the
equivalent of OLPC/Quanta selling the machines to Microsoft and they doing
whatever they want with them.  I'm not as clear on this point, but is there
an ethical problem with selling the machine to Microsoft?  Could OLPC
ethically Not sell the machine to whoever wanted to buy them in large
volumes?  We must remember that hardware companies have invested a good deal
of money on the expectation that they can at best break even on the XO
production.  They haven't reached nearly the levels of machines sold to
satisfy these manufacturors.

Do I want to see Windows on the XO?  No, never, and god I hope not.  Will
Microsoft end up screwing us?  Likely, given their history.

Will this still give us the chance to put great hardware and content into
the hands of children all over the world?  Yes.

But Linux and FOSS can't triumph over Microsoft by excluding them and by
obfusication.  We need to make a better product.

With Walter Bender on his own and dedicated to bringing Sugar to every
machine on a FOSS stack, and all OLPC produced software being safely GPL'ed,
I feel confident that Sugar can beat out Windows.  Let's focus on getting
sugar and linux and what we *can* do instead of being angry.  I plan on
staying and producing content, translations and improvements for OLPC and
for children.


Seth Woodworth

On Thu, May 15, 2008 at 4:27 PM, Asheesh Laroia <asheesh at creativecommons.org>

> On Thu, 15 May 2008, Nicholas Negroponte wrote:
> > One Laptop per Child is announcing an agreement with Microsoft
> > to make a dual boot, Linux/Windows, version of the XO laptop. In
> > addition, our intention is to engage one or more third parties to port
> Sugar to
> > run on Windows in order to reach a wider installed base of laptops. In
> the
> > meanwhile, OLPC remains fully committed to our goal: a completely free
> > and open learning platform for the world's children. The mission
> > statement of OLPC has not changed in three years (attached).
> My copy of this mail (as available at
> http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-May/005752.html ) does not
> have the attachment of the mission statement.
> -- Asheesh.
> --
> Absolutum obsoletum.  (If it works, it's out of date.)
>                -- Stafford Beer
> _______________________________________________
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