OLPC CTO Windows 8 on XO a Possibility

first_imgThe folks from One Laptop Per Child were on-hand at this year’s ces, courtesy of the organization’s hardware partner, Marvell. I had the opportunity to chat up OLPC’s chief technology officer, Edward McNierey, who was showcasing a forthcoming version of the company’s flagship XO laptop.The new system, due out later this year, is the organization’s first to be built around an ARM chip. In light of Microsoft’s announcement earlier this week of a new version of Windows capable of running on an ARM processor, I had to ask whether the company had any plans to partner with Microsoft on a future system.McNierey joked that the company had finally managed to create a version of hardware that couldn’t run a Windows OS, adding that the organization’s head, Nicholas Negroponte had predicted that Microsoft would soon issue an ARM compatible OS, prior to the recent announcement.  Asked whether OLPC is open to such a partnership, McNierey told Gearlog, “They’ve got to finish and ship it first,” adding that, ultimately such a decision is, “not really up to us. We have an open system and open firmware approach. We provide Linux on all of our systems. If someone choose to install an open operating system–some users have done pilots and prototypes with Windows XP before. That’s okay.”If Microsoft wants its OS to be on future XOs, the implementation will ultimately be up to Redmond to execute, as the company has done in the past, when it participated in the Give One, Get One promotion, sending dual boot (Windows/the standard XO Linux) to India and developing nations in Africa. Of the two million XO systems out there, OLPC know of at least 7,500 running Windows. There are most likely even more–after all, the systems have a USB slot, allowing users to load any applicable OS they want on the device.If Microsoft actually ships Windows on ARM and someone chooses to install that operating system, that’s okay. We expect that country to work with Microsoft to do the actually implementation, just like Microsoft did the implementation to get Windows XP to run on the original XO laptop.And as for that upcoming touchscreen tablet the company is hoping to design for less than $100 in parts (the current XO is almost twice that), OLPC is gunning for a 2012 release date. “The first step is to get an ARM version of the XO laptop before the end of the year, said McNierey. “We’re then going to use that same platform to launch a tablet version. That’s probably not going to be until next year, because we need an unbreakable display. Maybe things will happen, maybe we’ll get lucky, but we really expect to it come out next year.”last_img read more