As Nicholas Negroponte told us a few months back, One Laptop Per Child's (OLPC) XO laptop will be getting a Microsoft Windows XP operating system. It will not, however, completely replace the Sugar Linux OS that has been on the systems to date.
A joint press release from Microsoft and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) revealed that trials of the XO running Windows are planned to begin as soon as in June in select emerging markets. The release also mentioned that the intent is to create a version of the XO laptop that provides the ability to host both Windows and Linux operating systems. Finally, a Sugar/Windows XP Boot Camp?!
Then again, what's the use of having the Sugar interface if XP will be able to support the laptop’s e-book reading mode, standard Wi-Fi networking, camera, writing pad, and custom keys as well as power-saving and other features of the XO hardware? Will people see the use in using Sugar if they can just get all the applications that were built for the original system in a Microsoft OS? Perhaps a dual boot is the only solution for those that were resistant to the open-Sugar OS. Maybe Sugar is like those force-fed vegetables sitting on your plate; you don't think you like them, but you don't know until you try them.
Next week we're heading up to Cambridge to get some hands-on time with the new system. Stay tuned for our initial impressions.
Update: Those readers that are interested in upgrading their XO, purchased in Give 1, Get 1, to XP will have to be patient. According to OLPC Founder Nicholas Negroponte, " we are working on the dual boot and until such a time it will not be possible for users to upgrade their XO's. This is a combination of of the flexibility of changing the firmware and business decisions to be made by Microsoft."