Ask OLPC a Question about Software/Summary
What software will be included?
Without being picky, we prefer the term activities (instead of applications). That taken care of, the software components initially planned to be included are: the operating system, a web-browser, a document viewer, a text editor, chat client, and some programming environments.
Are kids expected to program the laptop?
Are kids expected to write novels after they learn to read & write? No.
Can they write novels? Theoretically yes, but most will never go past writing for fun.
The same with the laptops and programming: just because they may learn how to do things with the computer doesn't turn them into programmers. They aren't required to learn programming any more than they need to know how to write a novel.
But they can if they want to, after all everything included is Open Source—so they can tinker with all of it. And that's the reason why several programming languages or environments are included, not for them to program them (in the software development sense) but to do things with the laptop. Currently included you find Etoys, Python, TamTam, Turtle Art, and some others to be determined. Java is not amongst them.
Will software for MS-DOS or MS-Windows work on it?
No. MS-DOS programs (not MS-Windows) may benefit from a second life through the use of third-party emulators, but don't count on it.
What will the interface look like?
Can we try Sugar without a real laptop?
Yes. The simplest way is to use an emulator and try it in your own computer.
Will the software be localized?
Yes. A major objective of the OLPC is that communities and their children preserve their cultural heritage and have the tools to bring it to the digital world—another reason for Open Source software. It won't be easy to support so many different languages, but who said otherwise? The community (national and global) is welcome to participate in the effort.