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Nicholas Negroponte, the nutty MIT professor who has championed the idea of cheap laptops for Third World children, is feuding with his own programmers. Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child is best known for its distinctive hardware — the candy-colored, devil-horn-antennaed XO notebook computer. But he's turned his attention to Sugar, the Linux-based software which runs on the XO. Negroponte, cozying up to Microsoft, wants Sugar to be rewritten for Windows. Great idea, says OLPC developer C. Scott Ananian — hire 10 Windows developers right away, suspend all other software development, and maybe it will happen.

Scott, Scott, Scott: Negroponte has never been in the business of doing anything. His core competency is talking. The sooner you learn this, the happier you'll be at One Laptop Per Child. Negroponte's goals with One Laptop Per Child are admirable and visionary. As with many visionaries, his contact with reality is infrequent and tenuous. The best way to get OLPC's hardware and software built: Send Negroponte on another worldwide goodwill tour, keeping him as far from the labs as possible.