[Sugar-news] Sugar Digest 2009-09-21

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Sep 21 20:41:40 EDT 2009

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. It was busy week: Simon, Aleksey, Sascha, and Tomeu have been
working around the clock on putting the finishing touches on the new
0.86 release of Sugar while Gary has been trying to keep pace with
testing and documentation. It is looking great. I kept busy too:
chacing a few more bugs in Turtle Art; writing a grant proposal with
help from David, David, and Caroline to the Wal-Mart foundation
(seeking support to run teacher workshops and do outreach); meeting
with a team from Babson who will help us develop a plan for how to
present Sugar to school districts; a panel at the Harvard Kennedy
School to a gathering of entrepreneurs in technology and development,
‘Beyond Mobile: The Next Generation of Technology for Empowerment’; an
article in Groklaw
[http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090918110925298] (with
lots of help from Sean); and a presentation at Software Freedom Day.

I did have a chance to do some reading: Bahktiar Mikhak posted a link
to an old paper by Seymour Papert, "Computer Criticism vs.
Technocentric Thinking"
He wrote it almost 30-years ago and I had last read it more than
10-years ago, but it is still relevamt today.

My favorite quote from the paper is: "The context for human
development is always a culture, never an isolated technology."

Another gem: "If you ask, 'What does a LOGO practitioner need to
know?' the answer goes beyond the ability to use and teach LOGO. The
practitioner needs to be able to talk about LOGO, to criticize it, and
to discuss other people's criticisms." .replace('LOGO','Sugar')

2. I have a bit more to report regarding last week's meeting at the
Interamerican Development Bank. The afternoon discussion ended on an
interesting note: what if anything should we be doing regarding
curriculum development? Again Papert: "Science as inquiry rather than
as answers". More concretely, when we first set up the teacher
workshops in Peru we challenged the teachers on the first day to come
up with a way to enhance something from the national curriculum by
using Sugar to be presented on the final day of the workshop. We
didn't give them a curriculum—they already had that from the ministry
of education. Rather, we wanted them to engage in a process of
inquiry. They rose to the challenge and engaged in a collaborative
discussion of discovery throughout the week-long event.

Papert's version: "Using the computer not as a 'thing in itself' that
may or may not deliver benefits, but as a material that can be
appropriated to do better whatever you are doing (and which will not
do anything if you are not!)"

A final word from Papert: "Do Not Ask What LOGO Can Do To People, But
What People Can Do With LOGO." .replace('LOGO','Sugar')

3. A few of us were on IRC Friday evening discussing with Rubén
Rodríguez Pérez his effort to port Sugar to Trisquel. By the time I
got to the venue for the Boston celebration of Software Freedom Day, I
had gotten this email:

:Hello everybody,

:The Sugar+Trisquel beta is ready for testing, many thanks to Aleksey
Lim and everyone in the #sugar and #fsfsys channels who helped us to
get it. The current release is a fully free live CD based in Sugar
0.84, running on top of Trisquel-edu 2.2.1 LTS "Robur" (which is
itself Hardy based). We will soon build one with Trisquel 3.0, for
better hardware support.

:We are very excited with this collaboration, as it will be a new and
fully libre way to distribute Sugar, and also a powerful tool to
include in our educational operating system Trisquel Edu.

:-Installable live CD, with MD5 self-checking utility.
:-Persistent user data in live-usb sessions, usb-creator included.
:-Boot menu with 30 selectable languages.
:-LTSP thin client support using a Trisquel Edu server.
:-Sugar style artwork, screenshots attached.

:It is a work in progress, but stable enough to be used and get some
tests. The artwork is also a proof of concept and can be easily
changed. We would be pleased if you send us your impressions and

:Known bugs in this release:
:-No sound in flash videos
:-No network selector

:The i686 iso image can is here:



=== Tech Talk ===

4. Bryan Berry announces on behalf of the Karma team that KARMA 0.1
has been released. See
for details.

5. Marten Vijn announced that there is new global mirror for Sugar
available at http://sugarlabs.cdn.cacheboy.net/

===Sugar Labs===

6. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on
the IAEP mailing list (Please see

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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