Report: OLPC may eventually switch from Linux to Windows XP

Update on the usability of educational laptops: Interesting news about Sugar from Computer World:

OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte also told The Associated Press on Tuesday that an insistence upon using only free, open-source software had hampered the XO’s usability and scared away potential adopters.

The article doesn’t make it clear what about the usability of Sugar was problematic.

Report: OLPC may eventually switch from Linux to Windows XP

2 thoughts on “Report: OLPC may eventually switch from Linux to Windows XP”

  1. The interface definitely raises a few red flags for me, in terms of what Travis said on the previous post about this topic:

    “For me, the biggest question with something like Sugar is whether is does children a service or disservice to provide them with computing tools that will not expose them to many of the UI conventions used worldwide.”

    But in other regards, I wonder what the UI was based on, and if the ideas of designing for children in low-income, low-technology households was taken into account. The interface seems pretty obvious to me at the forefront, but if this is their first hypothetical introduction to a GUI, I wonder how they will react to the mainstream UIs later on. So interesting!

  2. The OLPC Wiki has some documents detailing their Human Interface Guidelines. I have not had a chance to read over these yet, but perhaps their is some discussion of principles underlying the design:

    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Human_Interface_Guidelines

    It’s interesting to note that there are a number of additional controls on the OLPC keyboard that are very task-specific and unique to the OLPC:

    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Human_Interface_Guidelines/The_Sugar_Interface/Input_Systems

    Also, there are apparently some bootable CD images available of different flavors of Linux sporting the Sugar environment running on top of them – I haven’t had chance to try one of these either, but I’ll hopefully take a look this weekend:

    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/LiveCd

    I’ll reserve any judgments until I’ve had a chance to actually try a live version of the interface and read a bit more about the basis for their design decisions.

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