Walter Bender, one of the senior execs for the OLPC project, recently made a very public exit from the non-profit organization. He was the guy in charge of the Sugar UI used in XO notebooks, but after Negroponte announced that Windows XP would also be available on the so-called $100 laptop, he decided it was best to part ways due to differences in views about where the project was headed.

Following his departure Bender quickly founded Sugar Labs with the goal of taking the XO’s Sugar educational platform to other laptops, and almost immediately we heard he was discussing possible business opportunities with four low-cost notebook manufacturers. One of those manufacturers turned out to be Intel, with the company recently confirming it is working with the chip giant on a version of Sugar for the Classmate PC.

The move is seen as a huge boost for Sugar Labs in its bid to distribute its kid-friendly educational interface to multiple hardware and open-source platforms beyond the XO laptop. Contrary to what has been speculated, however, Bender confirmed that Sugar Labs and the OLPC project will also continue to work together on further development of the UI.