Colombia is the second country to pilot the use of One Laptop Per
Child’s XO laptops in conjunction with Windows XP instead of Linux,
Microsoft announced Tuesday.
The deal, announced with the state government of Cundinamarca, will see
the laptops put in two schools, including the Santa Maria Del Rio
primary school. That school, which just got its first computer lab,
will now get additional PCs with the software training and
infrastructure donated by Microsoft and the laptops themselves coming
from One Laptop Per Child.
Microsoft announced in September that Peru was the first country to sign up for the Windows-on-XO option.
That the Windows version of the OLPC machine is headed to Colombia is
not a surprise, given that Microsoft quoted Colombian officials in its
initial announcement that it was bringing Windows to the XO laptop.
“Transforming education is a fundamental goal of Microsoft Unlimited
Potential, our ambitious effort to bring sustained social and economic
opportunity to people who currently do not enjoy the benefits of
technology,” Microsoft senior VP (and Colombian native) Orlando Ayala
said in a statement.
“Along with the State of Cundinamarca and OLPC, we
are delivering a complete, relevant and affordable educational
computing solution to schoolchildren in Colombia that will enhance
their learning environment and prepare them for the global workforce,” he added.
The One Laptop Per Child effort started as a solidly Linux
affair, but the project got a lot of feedback about offering a Windows
option from countries that said they believe it’s important for
students to learn the operating system that dominates in business.
Over time, OLPC hopes to offer a version that can boot in
either Linux or Windows, though today countries have to choose one
version or the other. (CNET)