[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2008-07-28

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 21:49:19 EDT 2008

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. Award-winning: We can start referring to Sugar as "award-winning
software." It earned a silver medal in the International Design
Excellence Awards '08 and was undoubtedly one of the reasons the OLPC
XO-1 laptop won the gold medal (Please see

2. Outreach: Dave Farning has been developing a road map for outreach
to various communities (apparently we already have the attention of
the design community; maybe our next award will be from the education
community). Specifically, he suggests that we:

* Engage the package maintainers for the various Linux distributions
** Make sure they are aware of Sugar;
** Help build a community within each distribution to packages Sugar
and Sugar Activities;
** Help expand the community to include testers, developers, and translators.

* Engage education-focused distributions
** Make sure they are aware of Sugar;
** Make sure they are aware of the Sugar packaging efforts (either
.deb or .rpm);
** Help expand the community to include testers, developers, and translators.

* Engage the education community
** Make sure they are aware of Sugar;
** Help expand the community to include testers, developers, and translators;
** Help expand the community to include development of pedagogy;
models of use; etc.

Dave reports our progress to date:

* We are working with Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu and are working
towards a basic set of stable packages for their distributions;
* We are in the initial stage of identifying and establishing contact
with eduction distributions (Please help us);
* Outside of the OLPC deployments, we are still in the initial stage
of identifying and establishing contact with education communities
(Again, your help is needed here--we want to establish a "bottom-up"
approach to compliment the OLPC top-down efforts).

3. "Congratulations! but Sugar sucks": As we near code freeze for
Sucrose 8.2, Ben Schwartz has identified six areas in need of
improvement. In a thread with a somewhat unfortunate subject field,
these are discussed as candidate areas we should focus on for the next
release (Please see
http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-July/007390.html). The
discussion begs the question of how Sugar Labs can rise above
day-to-day deployment headaches in order to ensure that there is a
solid foundation being built. A model I have been advocating for Sugar
Labs is as the place where the goals and architecture for Sugar are
established. The community, of course, vets those goals, critiques the
architecture, and provides the means of achieving those goals.

4. "Kid contributions": John Gilmore started a discussion bemoaning
the fact that as far as we know, there have not yet been any patches
to Sugar submitted by a child (Please see
http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-July/007349.html). My
response to John was:
* we need better tools for software development on the XO (Jameson
Chema Quinn has been making some progress on the Develop activity--see
* while the children have not yet been making modification to the
Sugar codebase, there is evidence of a cultural shift in schools using
Sugar that is synergistic with the ideals of appropriation of not just
software, but of ideas. Not a bad start.

5. OEMs: Are we ready to start contacting OEMs? (There are a number of
new products being announced in the low-cost laptop space. How do we
ensure that Sugar is an option for these products?)

6. Physics: Edward Cherlin has proposed we "start a physics textbook
project combining Measure, Etoys, SciPy, and all of the low-cost
instruments we can come up with" (Please see

=== Community jams and meetups ===

7. Physics game jam: Brian Jordangi is organizing a physics game-jam
competition in Boston, MA the weekend of August 29.

8. FLOSS Manual sprint: Anne Gentile is organizing an OLPC/Sugar FLOSS
Manuals book sprint in Austin, TX at the end of next month.

===Tech Talk===

9. Sugar-jhbuild: I finally managed to get my xsessions configured so
that I could run both Sugar as installed by apt-get sugar and the
latest jpyride version I built by hand using sugar-jhbuild (Please see
for the details).

10. Sugar appliance: Bryan Kearney has built a Sugar appliance based
upon the Thincrust toolkit (Please see http://www.thincrust.net where
you'll learn that "an appliance is a pre-configured application and
operating system bundle"). The directions for using the appliance are:
# Download http://sugar.s3.amazonaws.com/sugarAppliance.tar.gz
# Untar and unzip it
# Run virt-image sugar.xml
# At the login, select "Autologin"

11. Develop: Jameson Chema Quinn has made a new version of Develop
(Please see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Develop). Jameson recommends you
use a recent Joyride (> 2170).

12. Roadmap updates: Marco Pesenti Gritti announced that letting the
code freeze for this release slip. "With the current speed of
development of the OLPC release it would just be impractical." Marcvo
started a tentative 0.84 schedule (Please see

Marco is finally back working full time on OLPC. He spent this week
fixing blocker bugs for the next release, doing a lot of triage and
several patch reviews. He implemented an improved logic handling new
windows in the Browse activity, which, while not yet ideal, should
allow all the web sites that Uruguay has had problems with to work
correctly. Marco also tracked down and fixed an infinite loop in the
shell. Finally, with Tomeu Vizoso, he solved a problem with the web
widget size allocation, which is likely to have caused several

13. Sucrose Release Candidate 1: The new Sucrose 0.81.5 Development
Release is out. Thanks to all the contributors! Simon Schampijer
reports that we now have one more release before code freeze
(excluding more changes to the road map). Please test, give feedback,
and file bugs (Please see

Simon has been implementing a mechanism for feedback from 'Register'
process in the form of an alert that is displayed in the Home view.

14. Computer vision: Nirav Patel is soliciting feedback regarding what
computer vision should it be in regard to "gaming, input,
accessibility, education, or anything else" (Please see
http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/games/2008-July/000664.html). He
gives some examples at http://eclecti.cc/olpc.

15. Etoys: Takashi Yamamiya reports that there is new release of
Etoys, which includes Tubes, a Pango speed-up, and a fix to the

* http://dev.laptop.org/pub/sugar/sources/etoys/etoys-3.0.2059.tar.gz
* http://dev.laptop.org/pub/sugar/sources/etoys-activity/etoys-activity-85.tar.gz
* http://etoys.laptop.org/rpms/squeak-vm-3.10-3olpc6.i386.rpm

=== Sugar Labs ===

16. Infrastructure: Bernie Innocenti reports that on Monday, the
following services were moved to Solarsail:
* mailing lists
* wiki.sugarlabs.org
* email aliases forwarding

Additional services that we might want to migrate from dev.laptop.org include:
* git
* trac
* the sugar@ mailing list
* wiki pages related to Sugar
* pootle

We decided to wait moving these until we get the full backups running
and the machine racked in its final home.

Services still hosted by develer.com include:
* api.sugarlabs.org
* courses.sugrlabs.org
* developer accounts
* nameservers
* user drop box for downloads.sugarlabs.org

The above services will go on our second machine as soon if we get it
racked.  Develer is glad to keep them as long as needed.

Thanks to Bernie and Ivan Krstić.

17. Self-organizing map (SOM): Gary Martin has generated another SOM
from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see
http://sugarlabs.org/go/Image:2008-July-19-25-som.jpg). The verbs are
prominent: doing; programming; learning; and education; math; etc.


More information about the IAEP mailing list