This is good news. It shows that once more that Universitites and private industry can find common grounds to their mutual benefit (and the benefit of society).
Microsoft is to begin field tests of Windows XP working on the so-called $100 laptop, or XO, early in 2008. It has not committed to offering XP on the XO laptop but hopes to release the operating system in the first half of 2008 if the trials succeed. The work, undertaken as part of the firm's plans to widen access to technology, forms part of a project to run Windows on flash-based machines. The Negrponte group has taken its first orders, with 100,00 bought by Uruguay and 40,000 by Peru, with an option for a further 210,000. The availability of Windows on the XO could boost take-up of the machine. There have been reports that some countries have been cautious about signing-up to the project because it does not run Windows, the world's most popular operating system. For Microsoft the challenge in porting XP to the XO machine has been in re-writing many drivers for the operating system that control functions like the laptop's webcam and wireless connections. "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," said Mr Utzschneider.