MIT Media Lab, the makers of the forthcoming $100 laptop for the developing world, has turned down an offer from Apple to supply the Mac OS X operating system in the product for free.
According to Seymour Papert from the MIT, it was turned down because it is not an open source system. Instead, the laptop (shown above) will go for a system with a code that can be altered, such as Linux.
That hasn't stopped Microsoft's marketing hounds from sniffing around, though – Bill Gates is rumoured to have met with Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of MIT, despite Windows lacking the required open source qualities.
While aid from such computing giants may well be helpful to the laptop's manufacturers, it's hard to ignore the whiff of corporate exploitation from such offers. After all, there'd be no better way to guarantee global adoption of an operating system than to have it pre-loaded onto a product that will be manufactured in the millions and distributed to schools like textbooks.
The rugged, wind-up laptop itself isn't likely to be available until late 2006, though it will have Wi-Fi, a colour screen a 500MHz processor and several USB ports.
When ready, they will be distributed through any ministries of education who want to adopt a policy of 'One Laptop per Child', a project developed by an independent, non-profit organisation which is working with the MIT Media Lab.
For more info and updates on this interesting project, pop this address in your favourites bar. We'll keep you posted.
16th November update: link updated (thanks for the email, Miles)