Why No Microsoft Software for $100 Laptop?


During this morning’s Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR’s Scott Simon
reflected on the progress
of the One Laptop Per Child XO project, pointing to the salient features of a laptop whose target price is $100, listing the light weight, low power consumption, camera, speakers, microphone, water-resistance, and bright light operation. In particular he pointed out the presence of the “Get Source” key, which exposes the source of the currently running program. This is why the XO cannot run Microsoft software. OLPC hopes that eventually Microsoft software can run on the XO, but open sourcing is critical to the whole usefulness of the laptop. Yet Microsoft’s proprietary code has made Bill Gates a philanthrope whose Gates Foundation insists that scientists who receive its grants share their findings, believing that open sourcing of information spurs and sharpens medical research. The company from which its assets are derived prefers to do business as usual.