The broad influence of the One Laptop Per Child initiative continues to expand its sphere.
Not long ago it was unclear whether the PC--originally conceived as a $100 laptop for children in developing countries--would ever become a reality after a long series of delays. Now the XO laptop seems on the verge of becoming a hot item, and all the research that went into it is leading down divergent paths.
Case in point: Walter Bender, who just left the OLPC initiative to start up its open-source software spinoff, is reportedly in "informal discussions" to get its Linux operating system on low-cost laptops made by four manufacturers. The nonprofit spinoff, Sugar Laboratories, is having discussions with Pixel Qi and is interesting in pursuing a relationship with Intel, Bender told BetaNews. No other companies were named, though he mentioned Asus on Sugar Labs' Web site last week.
It's only the latest permutation in a long-running saga that has seen infighting, resignations, and other controversy since the project's inception. Last month OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the XO might switch from Linux to Windows XP, but that change remains to be seen. Stay tuned.