CES always provides plenty of great news, and plenty of juicy gossip, but I love it best when it mixes the two and you end up with a nice big fight. This would appear to be what is happening right now after the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project announced that it and Microsoft were working to develop a dual-booting, Linux and Windows, version of the cheap and cheerful laptop for third world kids. Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC chairman, has been quoted as saying "We are working with them very closely to make a dual-boot system so that, like on an Apple, you can boot either one up. The version that's up and running of Windows on the XO is very fast, it's very, very successful. We're working very hard to do both."
Which is great news, as you can currently buy an OLPC laptop with a Fedora distro installed, and there is a version of Windows XP available that will run on it as well, but the two together would obviously make things much simpler within this particular marketplace where cost and clarity are everything.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is not playing ball and has issued its own statement which brings the clarity of mud (or should that be fud) to the situation:
“While we have investigated the possibility in the past, Microsoft is not developing dual-boot Windows XP support for One Laptop Per Child’s XO laptop. As we announced in December, Microsoft plans to publish formal design guidelines early this year that will assist flash-based
device manufacturers in designing machines that enable a high-quality Windows experience. Our current goal remains to provide a high-quality Windows experience on the XO device."
Which is bizarre, because on Tuesday morning Negreponte told InfoWorld that there was talk about merging OLPC laptops with Microsoft educational programs being run in developing countries, a talk with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation no less claiming "it's directly with Bill, and Craig Mundie, especially this morning, so this is really cooking at the moment."
All that seems to be cooking from where I am sitting is one huge mud pie...