The founder of the ambitious "$100 laptop" project, which plans to give inexpensive computers to schoolchildren in developing countries, revealed Thursday that the machine for now costs $175, and it will be able to run Windows in addition to its homegrown, open-source interface.
Even at $175, the computers upend the standard economics in the PC industry. A huge reason has been XO's use of the free, open-source Linux operating system, tweaked for this project with the help of one of its sponsors, Red Hat.
However, Negroponte disclosed that XO's developers have been working with Microsoft so a version of Windows can run on the machines as well. It could be the $3 software package that Microsoft announced last week for governments that subsidize student computers. It includes Windows XP Starter Edition and some of Microsoft's "productivity" software.