OLPC: Run the Sugar OS, buy the XO for $350?


Fans of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project have been following the program for years now, admiring the XO’s innovative design and altruistic aims. Still, that doesn’t mean we’ve been able to stifle that most primal of geek urges when faced with a shiny, new piece of tech: we want it. To that end, I’ve got two bits of good news. First, folks wanting to take the XO’s Sugar OS for a test run are in luck: as the Red Hat-based OS is open-source, it’s available as a free download. As if that wasn’t enough, the folks at UneasySilence have gone a step further, making available a pre-configured VMWare image of the OS, as well as instructions for Mac users who favor Parallels.

Still, for those of us waiting patiently to turn the XO’s hand crank, merely running the Sugar OS isn’t going to cut it. The good news, however, is that you may not have to wait much longer. OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen told Reuters the foundation is deciding whether or not to sell XO units in the United states later this year. The laptops would retail here for $350 or even $525–considerably higher than the $176 they retail for in the developing world. The reason? Jepsen says the foundation is “looking for ways to subsidize manufacturing of the devices so that it can get more of them into the hands of poor children.” So for each XO purchased here in the States, a few more lappies would get cranked out for the kids who need them. That could make the XO that rare piece of kit that satisfies your thirst for tech while also appeasing your conscience.

For more on the XO:
– see this article from UneasySilence on the Sugar OS
– and this article on consumer sales from OLPC News

More stories about VMWare   Red Hat   Open-Source   OLPC   Mac OS X   Laptops  

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