Microsoft opens Windows for Children’s Laptop

6 Dec 2007

Microsoft plans to have a stable version of its Windows XP operating system in trial by early next year for the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) XO, or Children’s Laptop, which currently runs on a free, open source Linux operating system from Red Hat.

This initiative is part of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential programme that works with various government bodies around the world to provide resources and support for children needing more access to technology.

James Utzschneider, a Microsoft employee who blogs for the Redmond-based company on behalf of Unlimited Potential, said on his blog: “We are hard at work on the project here, and we are using an approach that is a little unusual for Microsoft in that we are managing the entire process of adapting and testing an existing version of Windows for a new PC.”

Utzschneider said the project started at the beginning of this year and that because feedback from trials will not begin to filter in until January 2008, a production-quality release is planned for mid-2008 at the earliest.

The reason that it is taking a while for the XP operating system to work on the XO laptop is because of the Flash memory it uses for storage in place of a hard disk drive. With only one gigabyte of Flash storage Microsoft has asked the OLPC to provide a slot for extra memory because it feels that Microsoft XP and its applications will not perform sufficiently on anything less.

Part of the reason Microsoft is keen to let people know that XP on the Children’s Laptop is a work in progress is because of the recent ‘Give One Get One’ offer that ran in the US and Canada which gave residents the chance to own one of these laptops themselves.

“Microsoft is not currently planning to support a retail consumer release of Windows XP on your XO computer,” said Utzschneider.

By Marie Boran