[Sugar-news] Sugar Digest 2008-07-21

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Jul 21 17:01:08 EDT 2008

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. Oversight: We had a meeting of the acting oversight board (minutes
are available at

2. Infrastructure: Ivan Krstić and Bernie Innocenti have been moving
the Sugar Labs back-end infrastructure to a new server hosted at MIT.
Please report any problems you may have encountered post-move (One
artifact to note: its.an.education.project at tema.lo-res.org WILL NOT
WORK. It will bounce e-mails. Please change your address book to
iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org).

3. "Follow Through": Chris Leonard has created a wiki page
(http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/EducationTeam/Lesson_Plan_resources) to
aggregate collections of lesson plans or curriculum development
materials "posted in some dusty corners of the Internet"; they provide
potentially useful modules of curricular content (constructionist and
instructionist) that can either be adapted or at least serve as
examples. Please contribute to the list with your own ideas and
feedback on the postings.

Another useful exercise would be to enhance these lesson plans through
consideration of everything Sugar has to offer: journaling,
collaboration, etc. A few detailed guides would go a long way towards
opening the door to others, regardless of where the learning goals
come from, generative or handed down from above.

4. From Blog of Project Ceibal: More resources for teachers and learners:
* http://olpc-ceibal.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-june-th-27th-we-launched-book-ceibal.html
* http://www.ceibal.edu.uy/gobiernoelectronico/pdf_libro/Libro_CEIBAL_en_la_sociedad_del_siglo_XXI.pdf
* http://swiki.agro.uba.ar/small_land/uploads/193/Libro_Completo.pdf

The communities deploying Sugar are beginning to make their materials
and learning publicly available. I look forward to seeing some of the
wonderful materials created by the team at Inttelmex made public soon.

5. Help wanted: OLPC has a posted job opening for a Sugar UI coder
(Please see http://laptop.org/en/jobs.shtml#User%20Interface%20Developer%20for%20Sugar).
There is also interest expressed by numerous parties for help porting
Sugar to a number of different Linux-based platforms. Please contact
me if you have an interest in such work.

=== Community jams and meetups ===

6. Teacher Jam Chicago: July 29, 2008 @ Google Chicago

7. Especially for teachers Uruguayans: A round table and conference of
the "Regional Forum Ceibal learn from Digital Content educational and
Intelligence" will be held in Montevideo on July 23—25 and will be
transmitted live on Gateway Ceibal.

===Tech Talk===

8. Ubuntu refresh: James Munro, with hep from Morgan Collett, has
created a fresh set of Ubuntu Sucrose packages (Please see

With some help from Marco Pesenti Gritti, I've been trying to get my
xsession configured on Ubuntu to run from the Joyride build in my home
directory (sugar-jhbuild) instead of the build installed from "apt-get
sugar". Not quite working due to some pathname scrambling—hopefully
I'll be able to post instructions soon.

9. Browse: Simon Schampijer released a new xulrunner rpm
(xulrunner-1.9-1.olpc3.2) that brings back Sugar- and OLPC-specific
patches (e.g., permission patch to work with Bitfrost, no-native theme
patch) that were lost when updating to the latest tarball. The layout
on many sites were broken without these patches. It is available in
Joyride >= 2155. Tomeu Vizoso solved the remaining issues that
prevented Google Gears from running on the Browse activity.

10. SocialCalc: Work continues on the spreadsheet; a mailing list has
been created to explore the use of spreadsheets in education and rural
community development (Please subscribe at

11. Geography: A team of students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
(RPI) have just finished developing a world-geography game (Please see
http://code.google.com/p/rpiolpcs08/). Gabriel Eirea
is working on "Conozco Uruguay", an Uruguayan geography educational
game. (There are also several GCompris geography games available,
thanks to Bruno Coudoin; please see

12. SMS: Ankur Verma has built an SMS Gateway that can be accessed by
XO through web browser, enabling one to send and receive SMS messages
from within Sugar (Please see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/SMS).

13. Physics: Brian Jordan worked on fleshing out OLPC Physics portal
page (Please see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Physics). He continues to
work on the physics activity, having collected advice from teachers
and testers, including feedback from the OLPC-Sur list (many of whom
are teachers using OLPC in Peru and Uruguay). Bobby Powers continued
to work on his system-dynamics activity (Please see
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Model and

14. Play Go: Andrés Ambrois has been working on the PlayGo activity;
he has made some patches and done some general cleaning up of the
code. He is going to tackle collaboration next (See

15. Food Force: Manusheel Gupta reports progress on the Food Force
game (Please see http://code.google.com/p/foodforce/).
* The artwork better fits with the text display;
* A messaging system has been developed, making it a more interactive


16. Sugar control panel: Simon added documentation for the graphical
control panel (Please see
and fixed related control-panel bugs, such as Ticket #7510.

17. Speech synthesis: Hemant Goyals's Google Summer of Code project,
"Integration of Speech Synthesis in Sugar Environment", is making
great progress, acroding to Simon, the project supervisor. You can
follow the progress at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Hemant_goyal.

18. Creative Commons: The addition of a Creative Commons (CC)
licensing functionality in the Journal was discussed at this week's
Sugar developers meeting (Please see

# Eben Eliason will make mock-up by August 15
# Asheesh Laroia will then port the existing interface to incorporate
Eben's mockup;
# after code review, the CC feature will be included

19. Collaboration: Morgan Collett tested a fix for blocker Ticket
#7444 ("cannot close a shared activity when the initiator has
disconnected"). Elliot Fairweather work on the BuddyInfo interface for
telepathy-synapse; he has Cerebro/Synapse enabled buddies appearing in
the mesh view (Please see
http://people.collabora.co.uk/~elliot/synapse_buddy.png).  Guillaume
Desmottes made some improvements on "Gadget" integration into Sugar
(Gadget is an XMPP server component being developed to scale
Jabber-server-based collaborative activities). The presence-service is
now able to properly manage buddies and activities from gadget views
and update them according Gadget events.

20. Translations: Sayamindu Dasgupta is testing a new language-pack
generation system. New features include:

* Support for activity.linfo files, which will support the translation
of the names of activities;
* Support for rollback and uninstallation of individual language packs;
* Support for branches, which will enable support for the various
branches within Joyride, e.g., 8.1.x, 8.2.x, and eventually, 9.1.x

21. Sugar Almanac: Faisal Anwar continues his work on the Sugar
developer documentation. He has some sample code and instructions on
using Pango to render fonts in your Sugar activities as well as an
updated set of steps to internationalize your activity (based on the
instructions at
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Internationalization_in_Sugar) and his own
experience getting text to translate (Please see
You can visit the Almanac at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_Almanac).

22. Tinderbox: Edward Cherlin contacted Luke Crawford, who runs a
colocation center in California;  Luke has offered Sugar Labs Xen
virtual machines for use as tinderboxes. The first test machine,
running CentOS, is at sugarlabs1.xen.prgmr.com. Luke is building a
Fedora 9 image for us, which should be ready some time this week.
Depending on our needs and his excess capacity, it will be possible to
add more machines. Marco offered to take the lead on setting up the tinderboxes.

23. Activity updates: Eben Eliason has been working on tickets
relevant to the pending 8.2 release, including new mockups for a
software update system. Eben has been leading the discussion about
activity versioning, which will probably not be resolved until release
9.1 Tomeu Vizoso added the ability to delete activities from the Home
View. C. Scott Ananian worked an activity update control panel
(http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/4951) inspired by OLPC Austria's XO-get
activity and Bert Freudenberg's script. Scott requests that activity
authors consider adding "update_url" fields to their activity.info
files (Please see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Activity_bundles). Brian
Jordan wrote a script for pulling activities from git repositories and
creating symlinks to them from the Activities folder; this enables you
to "git pull" the newest version of an activity from a repository
directly in a running Sugar environment (Please see

24. Developer meetings: Upcoming meetings will have a fixed set of
points that are discussed each meeting; additional topics that can be
added by the attendees (Please see

* updates from the past week (e.g. process changes);
* Sugar roadmap;
* review of the latest bugs (for which we need help);
* introduction of new developers

Additional topics can be added by the developers during the week
(Please see http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/Meetings#How_to_add_topics).
Those of you on the Sugar mailing list should expect to receive three
meeting-related messages each week:
* Monday: reminder to add_topics
* Thursday: meeting reminder
* Thursday: minutes from the meeting

25. Release process: Marco Pesenti Gritti, back from vacation, has
been spending time thinking about the interaction of the OLPC and
SugarLabs release processes; progress is being made, but there is more
work to do. We'd like to get this right, as it will only get more
complicated as we are working with more vendors and more

26. 8.2.0 bug fixing: Marco has been busy triaging and diagnosing
tickets and reviewing patches for the upcoming 8.2.0 release. (One
collection of bugs he dispatched were related to problems with the
zoom-level logic in Joyride.)

=== Sugar Labs ===

27. Self-organizing map (SOM): Gary Martin has generated another SOM
from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Image:2008-July-12-18-som.jpg). A
prominent theme is mathematics education.


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