November 3rd, 2007

Microsoft empire to expand via OLPC?

Having read about the unfortunate mandriva/classmate deal which Microsoft managed to hijack to its advantage, its pretty clear what their strategy will be as regards the bigger fish - OLPC

Microsoft certainly has deep pockets and will willingly pay to make sure governments around the world put windows on any OLPC deals that they purchase. But is there anything we can do to stop it?

It can of course be stopped by making it a condition of sale that only an open source OS can be used (at least for the government - maybe allow the end user to change it if they so wish) and I would urge the OLPC board to implement this ASAP. Failure to do so could have disastrous consequences and as such outweighs any question of morality or ethics about such a move. IMO its the lessor of two evils to restrict OS choice in this case to prevent monopoly abuse via corruption.

I had been tempted by the recent OLPC offer to give 1 get 1 but until I see such a clause that prevents change of OS I am holding back and I would urge others that dont want to see it hijacked by Microsoft to back away from it too.

Its unfortunate these days that Microsoft destroys all competition and will happily exploit any freedom we give it to continue its unfair, illegal and anti-competitive behaviour but we will never win unless we fight like they do. And you can bet if Microsoft was behind OLPC that is exactly what it would do - force all of them to use its software. As distasteful as it may sound to some people we need to start taking a leaf out of their book to level the playing field and we will easily beat them as long as the field remains level.

So please, OLPC board, safeguard the rest of the world from the Microsoft monopoly and add that clause!