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On June 6th, Laptop Magazine published an article Exclusive Hands-On With OLPC’s XO Running Windows XP claiming that the boot time of Windows XP on the XO 1.0 laptop was much slower than Microsoft's published numbers. The author also expressed frustration with long delays in loading applications such as Word 2003 on the XO.
Based on the system description in the article, it is clear that OLPC organization provided the author with a prototype/development build of an XO system that significantly differs from both the system Microsoft had worked on with the OLPC org, featured in the partnership announcement in May and then subsequently released to manufacturing a few weeks ago (Phase-1 release) as well as the version the two organizations are working on for future release (Phase-2 release). A detail list of the differences between the version Laptop Magazine tested and Phase-1 and Phase-2 machines are detailed below:
- The commercial BIOS slated to ship in Phase-1 boots Windows in less than 54 seconds. There are two causes for the increased boot time mentioned in the Laptop Magazine article. The speed of the SD card purchased by OLPC org to explore dual boot feasibility and the alpha quality of the BIOS developed by OLPC org (which differs from the BIOS used in the shipping version).
- The article mentions the 4GB SD card is a San Disk model that it is not the "Extreme III" model with 20bps read/write speed slated to ship on Phase-1 Windows machines. In fact, the pre-production test machine used for evaluation was not using the SD card provided by Microsoft. Microsoft has not provided OLPC with a Windows image on a 4GB SD card nor has Microsoft provided an electronic or OPK for image creation.
- The Windows image given to OLPC org and used in the test machine was from a February build made during the beta trial milestone. Since then, bugs were fixed on many of the drivers and performance was optimized for the XO. The RTM quality SD drivers (WinSE merge) & SP3 integrated image were not developed until the latter part of May.
- The tests performed by Laptop Magazine were carried out on a pre-production storage card with an untested BIOS and a beta version of the Windows XP image and supporting drivers. It is not the configuration that Microsoft & OLPC have been planning to ship in either Phase-1 or Phase-2 machines.
- Current tests reconfirm that the commercial BIOS that is planned for shipment with Phase-1 boots Windows in less than 54 seconds.
- Current tests reconfirm that on the Phase-1 RTM build of the Windows XP image, Microsoft Office Word 2003 cold loaded in 13 seconds and hot loaded in 8 seconds.
- Other inaccuracies contained in the Laptop Magazine review:
- In the RTM version, Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003 and Learning Essentials fit in a 2Gb SD card with at least 800Mb free. This is smaller than the 1.81 GB footprint seen by Laptop Magazine.
- The article states that the SD card (4GB) will require 1.81GB space for Windows and Firefox. In reality, the Windows image with Office 2003 & LE fits in just under 1GB. So, the image referenced in this article was modified from the original image provided to the OLPC org.
- The article mentions that SD card (4GB) will have 1.97GB of free space. Phase-1 RTM configuration will have at least 800MB free on a 2GB SD card.
- The article states that the entire 1GB NAND storage will be untouched. This is incorrect. The entire 1GB NAND storage will be formatted and used as free space for personal storage on Phase-1 Windows machines.
- The dual boot systems envisioned for Phase-2 will house both OS's on the same 4GB NAND drive, giving both an equal opportunity to exploit the higher throughput of the NAND controller
- The article says "While Microsoft puts its Learning Essentials on the XO, which include preloaded presentation and report templates, missing are the specialized education programs central to Sugar. There are no learning games preloaded." However, the software stack will be defined on a deal by deal basis.