The open standards of Mac OS X have been trounced by open source software in a project to develop a $100 computer to help bridge the digital divide.

An organisation, One Laptop Per Child, is developing the machines to bridge the gap between the developed and the developing world. (The link goes to the MIT website, the organisation that got the project off the ground).

The project team want to develop a low-cost computer to distribute to millions of school-age children.

OS X spurned for Linux

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs offered to furnish the project with free copies of Mac OS X for each machine, but the project team elected to choose open source rather than proprietary solutions.

The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-colour, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up). It will be WiFi-enabled, will carry USB ports and host a 1GB drive and a 500MHz processor.

Project co-founder and MIT professor Seymour Papert said: "We declined because it's not open source".

Nicholas Negroponte, founding chairman of MIT's Media Lab, will demonstrate a working prototype of the computer at the UN technology conference in Tunisia this week.

Current plans call for producing five to ten million units beginning in late 2006 or early 2007.

The initiative was first announced by Negroponte at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, in January 2005.