Several news sources are reporting on Portugal's agreement to purchase 500,000 second-generation Classmate PCs. The exact details of the transaction are still emerging, but parents will have the option of selecting either Windows XP or Linux pre-installed on the laptops.
The most significant aspect of this order, however, appears to be the equal footing on which it places Intel in its competition with OLPC:
The order is Intel's biggest to date for the Classmate PC, and instantly puts it at nearly the same level as competitor OLPC. That organization, founded by MIT's Nicholas Negroponte, has only received orders for about 622,000 XO laptops.
Since the laptops will be distributed to students during the 2008-2009 school year, it is also unclear if the laptops shipped will include the Atom processors slated for the next iteration on the Classmate or the Celeron chips currently in use.
The better question in my mind, though, is which OS will the parents pick, particularly in Europe where anti-Microsoft sentiment tends to be much higher than in other parts of the developing world. I'll report back as more details emerge, but anyone in Portugal, feel free to talk back below.