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[school-discuss] XP, OLPC, Vi$ta, &c

James Utzschneider is one of the leaders of
Micro$oft's project to adapt Windows XP to
the OLPC XO. He has recently posted updates
about this on his blog:


Below are the portions that had me laughing
the hardest while I was reading:

"We do not want to set expectations we subsequently
cannot meet. . . . In fact, you should not yet assume
that Windows on the XO is a done deal. . . .

"We have to do design work to get Windows and Office
to work reliably and with good performance using only
2 GB of storage. . . .

"The potential payoff for students and schools from
this work, of course, is that the tens of thousands
of existing educational applications written for
Windows can potentially run on the XO. . . .

"We have a different support model than OLPC
is envisioning: we are not expecting K-6 school
children to access the source code and do their
own programming in the event they have to fix a
problem in the computer. . . ."
[Question for Daniel Howard: is this how things
are being done in the Malawi project? :-)]

"We want to deliver an out-of-the-box user
experience similar to the quality people expect
from Windows running on more expensive classes
of machines. . . .

"Much of the technology in the XO is developed using
open source technology licenses that make it difficult
for engineers employed by commercial software companies
like Microsoft to work directly on the project. . . .

"We are investing in programs and partners around
the world to foster innovative schools, innovative
teachers, and innovative students. We have a lot
going on here, and there is clearly a role for low
cost hardware as part of this vision."

About that last paragraph: I *definitely* have a
hard time believing that the perpetrators of
Vi$ta have much respect for "low cost hardware."

And speaking of Vi$ta. . . . If zillions of
people who got Vi$ta preloaded on new boxes are
eager to downgrade back to XP, as indicated on
the following web site . . .


. . . and ?the next five billion" computer users
(as Micro$oft calls them) are going to be using XP
(as M$ is dreaming), exactly who is going to be
using Vi$ta? Are there actually enough dumb rich
masochists out there to keep Vi$ta going?

Here is my guess at how current trends in PC
operating systems may work themselves out over
the next several years (maybe longer). The PC
environment, broadly defined, will be divided up
into the following groups:

==> Widespread but essentially stagnating Windows,
with XP as the dominant flavor;

==> Mac holding onto most of its installed base
and the niches where it may work best, but doing
little expansion beyond that;

==> A variety of fringe & specialized OSes;

==> Finally, and most important, a rising tide
of whichever Linux distros can maintain the best
overall combinations of power and user-friendliness.
(I expect that some of the BSDs will also hang on,
for a while at least.)

Now the geeks who *really* know what they're talking
about can respond to my casual opinionating. :-)


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