The government of Peru will run the first-ever trial of the One Laptop Per Child association’s low-cost XO laptop running on Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, putting the nation at the heart of a software controversy, reports PC World. The little green laptop, which OLPC is trying to reduce to just $100 per device, will be given out to school children throughout Peru for use over the next nine months as part of the trial. Currently, the XO costs around $200 to build.
Kids and their teachers will use the laptops as part of efforts to introduce more technology into classrooms in Peru, including Microsoft’s Student Innovation Suite of software. The program puts Peru at the heart of a software controversy that has been raging for years between those who advocate making software and its source code free, such as Linux OS developers, and those who charge for software and keep the development recipes secret, such as Microsoft. OLPC started out offering the XO with Linux because the OS cost nothing and organizers believed it made the device run more efficiently. Some open-source software advocates hoped the XO would spread the use of Linux and the open source philosophy to the 5 billion people living without computers in the developing world. The decision to put Windows on the laptops came about because officials in some countries, such as Egypt, feared a non-Windows laptop would ill prepare students for the real world, in which Microsoft software dominates…
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