MIT Media Lab, the makers of the $100 laptop for the developing world has turned down an offer from Apple to supply the Mac OS X operating system because it isn't an open source system.

According to the Wall Street Journal Steve Jobs, Apple's Chief Executive, offered to provide free copies of the company's operating system, OS X, for the machine, according to Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT who is one of the initiative's founders. "We declined because it's not open source", says Dr. Papert, noting the designers want an operating system that can be tinkered with.

MIT it seems is also talking Microsoft. Again according to the WSJ Mr. Negroponte discussed the project last week with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Craig Mundie, chief technical officer of advanced strategies and policy. "We're in serious discussions to determine what the appropriate type of involvement is with us with their project", says Mr. Mundie.

The technical specifications of the $100 laptops, which are expected to be ready for shipment by the end of 2006 or early 2007.

The model will include a hand crank that would allow users to wind-up power when there's no electricity. They'd be foldable into more positions than traditional notebook PCs, and carried like slim lunch boxes.

The machines will also have 500Mhz processor and 1Gb of onboard memory, and be Wi-Fi compatible. More interestingly they run the Linux operating system to further cut down on cost.

One solution suggested could be the use of a dual-mode, flexible LCD display being developed at MIT, which may allow for a 12-inch screen that costs only $12 to build and meant for outdoor reading, the display would be able to shift from full colour to glare-resistant black and white.

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