A stray comment today about Windows not working on ARM machines, by someone who thought all OLPC laptops had moved away from Linux, reminded me to reaffirm something:
Every one of the 2M+ XOs we’ve ever made shipped from the factory with Linux. As far as I know, under 7,000 XOs have ever run Windows natively* – some 0.3% of all laptops we have ever produced. Most of those dual-booted into both Sugar and Windows XP, as part of programs sponsored independently by Microsoft. I know of a few teachers that had those machines in at least one class, but have never seen reports from a class using them — if you know of one of these schools, I would be most interested to hear about the experience — particularly from schools that used both OSes.
The XO community around the world includes one of the largest deployments of Linux to primary students anywhere in the world. This is something we can all be proud of.
* To be fair: running Windows in emulation through wine or SugaredWine is quite popular for certain activities. Three cheers for the wine team’s excellent work!
Ian Quillen writes in Education Week about the varying motivations and sponsors of major global edutech projects. He notes the work of Plan Ceibal in Uruguay (with OLPC) and Kennisnet in the Netherlands (with OpenWijs and related programs), in addition to projects driven in part by for-profit corporations.
I will add a link to a free version of the story when I find one.
Last April, “In Tecno” compared the OLPC (‘of Uruguay, where it is in all primary schools’) and the Classmate (‘of Argentina, where it is in all 4th, 5th, and 6th grades’). It’s one of the few direct comparisons I’ve seen recorded, and worth watching.
Since then, Argentina has expanded its program to cover all primary schools as well – the largest deployment of laptops in primary schools in the world. It has also had one province (La Rioja) experiment with 60,000 OLPCs instead of Classmates. It is great to see Latin America embracing the idea of olpc so throughly; I hope that Argentina’s enthusiasm and successes give confidence to their neighbors, such as Bolivia and Brazil.