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Microsoft Education The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Takes On the OLPC 218

Posted by kdawson
from the close-to-free dept.
A number of readers sent us links to a BBC story on Microsoft's plan to provide the "Microsoft Student Innovation Suite" for $3 to governments around the world, for use in schools. The suite contains Windows XP Starter Edition and Windows Office Home and Student 2007, along with other educational software. To qualify, a government would have to provide free PCs to schools. Microsoft's stated goal is to double the number of PCs in use (and running Windows). An unbiased observer might wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.
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Microsoft Takes On the OLPC

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  • Unbiased observer? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cheapy (809643) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:27PM (#18799771)
    I don't understand how this "observer" would be unbiased. If he sees a grand conspiracy, he's not unbiased.
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ximogen (1033274) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:33PM (#18799869)
    From the article: "This is not a philanthropic effort, this is a business," Orlando Ayala of Microsoft told the Reuter's news agency.
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by walt-sjc (145127) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:41PM (#18800013)
    The OLPC box running linux is somewhere around $100-200 depending on the phase of the moon. A minimum PC (with monitor) for running XP will be at LEAST double that, and nowhere near as durable or able to run on low power as the OLPC box. This is no threat to the OLPC program or box itself.

    Nothing to see here...
  • Re:Unbiased my arse. (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:04PM (#18800391) Homepage Journal

    Care to back that up with an actual reference for those of us in the uninformed masses?

    Absolutely! The most important reference is the Halloween Documents [wikipedia.org]. Especially interesting (if you don't want to read the actual documents) is the following bit from Microsoft's Official Response to the Halloween documents [archive.org]. I refer specifically to this bit:

    "Q: The first document talked about extending standard protocols as a way to "deny OSS projects entry into the market." What does this mean?"
    "A: To better serve customers, Microsoft needs to innovate above standard protocols. By innovating above the base protocol, we are able to deliver advanced functionality to users. An example of this is adding transactional support for DTC over HTTP. This would be a value-add and would in no way break the standard or undermine the concept of standards, of which Microsoft is a significant supporter. Yet it would allow us to solve a class of problems in value chain integration for our Web-based customers that are not solved by any public standard today. Microsoft recognizes that customers are not served by implementations that are different without adding value; we therefore support standards as the foundation on which further innovation can be based."

    You don't see Microsoft own up to Embrace-and-Extend very often (although they did it in marketspeak...)

    Also interesting, right from my first wikipedia link, "Document X
    An e-mail from consultant Mike Anderer to SCO's Chris Sontag, also known as Halloween X: Follow The Money. Among other points, describes Microsoft's channeling of US$ 86 million to SCO."

    So right they're they were funding the assault on Linux. Although we all see how that has been working out; it's mostly cost IBM a lot of money and provided a lot of entertainment.

    You might also read Ballmer: 'Open source is not free' [computerworld.co.nz].

    You could go back in time and read a commentary on Ballmer's assertion that Linux is like cancer [theregister.co.uk], although that was just an idiot repeating something someone told him about the GPL once.

    And ahhhh, here we go, this is one of the articles I've been looking for all this time. Google really needs to deprecate the blogosphere in pagerank, it makes it quite impossible to find old articles because most bloggers are too stupid to cite properly. Ballmer sees free software as Microsoft's enemy No. 1 [nwsource.com]. And keep in mind that Microsoft signed the Novell deal in order to attack Linux: "Ballmer said in a question and answer session at a technology conference that Microsoft signed the deal because Linux "uses our intellectual property" and it wanted to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation [theregister.co.uk]"."

  • by supersocialist (884820) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:40PM (#18801029) Journal
    By the way, this may have been a common Vista problem where certain services go nuts. On a low-end laptop it's a disaster. I found a nice step-by-step guide to tracking the problem down using manual tasklisting and services.msc but I don't get the same thrill out of troubleshooting that I did when I was a kid. We returned the laptop and bought one that worked. (The new Acer Aspire 5100 unfortunately runs Vista, but it runs it with Aero and reasonable CPU usage.)

    Since it won't let me post this follow-up I'm just going to use my account and lose the mod points. I'm KILROY!
    Kilroy.
    Kilroy!
  • by bangenge (514660) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:58PM (#18808395)
    You could always use white boxes. It doesn't have to be a Dell or an HP. There are some shops here in the Philippines that sell $150 (or so) PCs with the monitor already. These are GHz Athlon XPs and sub-2GHz P4's and the old Durons/Celerons drop to about $100. These aren't second-hand stock (or so they claim), but rather surplus, unsold stock. It's not a bad investment for a school in a third-world country to buy a bunch of those for computer classes (about 40). If a school already has a bunch of working, relatively modern (700MHz++) computers, they don't even need to buy.

    I haven't seen XP starter edition yet, but I would guess (from what I've read) that it will run on those systems pretty fine. I don't know if it will stack up to OLPC, but i definitely think it can do what it's supposed to do: help children get educated in computers.

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