While my review of the XP experience was based on dissecting the XP on XO video that the Microsoft Unlimited Potential folks put together, the lucky bastards fine folks over at Laptopmag got to play with the XPXO hands-on last week, and have posted their review, which answers a few of my outstanding questions, but largely supports my criticisms based solely on the video. Over at OLPCNews.com, Christoph has summarized many of the outstanding problems with XP on XO, as well.
The XPXO is slow to boot: "The system took a sluggish 1 minute and 24 seconds to boot; that is about three times the 30 second boot up we have seen on Sugar and 34 seconds longer than the claimed time of 50 seconds."
It comes with some standard XP software (and firefox 2 -- tho 3 would probably be much nicer on the memory), but (at least currently) a paucity of educational software.
It's decent on application launch times, but nothing spectacular, and experiences quite the slowdown if you're multitasking with Office applications :
Displayed on it are the standard Microsoft shortcuts, including the Recycling Bin, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft Powerpoint, etc. Also downloaded was FireFox 2. 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
Unsurprisingly, it is unable to mesh, but video performs decently (warning: watching the LaptopMag video on XPXO video quality will rickroll you. Seriously.)
They come to the conclusion that XP is not quite ready for primetime on the XO, and I wonder if it ever truly will be. Laptopmag doesn't go into power management or interface concerns (like my complaint about having to choose video codecs before recording in XP, as opposed to the simple approach Sugar Record takes).
The elephant in the room continues to be security. XP Unlimited Potential currently ships with Service Pack 2 (SP3 just started pushing out as an automatic update), SP2 came out over four years ago, on August 25, 2004. Unmentioned in the article is anti-spyware and anti-virus programs being pre-installed and updatable, but at least to me, squinting at the screenshot from laptopmag, it certainly looks like the classic red security shield indicating that some part of the security system isn't working. That's not very promising, and will further degrade speed (and SD card life, I'd imagine).