[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] Deployment feedback braindump

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Aug 10 13:27:40 EDT 2009

Daniel Drake wrote:
> What you are saying makes sense -- it is indeed a nice idea to keep
> SugarLabs as more of a loose structure, as a place for collaboration
> on anything that might further the general mission.
> It is a sensible idea to keep SugarLabs away from doing too much work
> on the OS building and deployment implementing side of things, because
> as you point out, even when you exclude those broad topics there is
> still a lack of resources on the bits that remain.
> That said, in a way, the "gap" that we're discussing is in some ways
> more important than any of the Sugar features currently being worked
> on, because the large majority of sugar users are currently a long way
> away from even having access to the features that were finished 6
> months ago. Difficult.
> I disagree about local labs being key to filling the gap. While a nice
> idea, I think it is necessary for there to be a central and
> location-independent deployment-focused upstream, otherwise there will
> be a lack of coordination accompanied by lots of duplication of work.

I agree... and I think the only way this will happen is for someone to
start a company.  You would be an ideal person to do such a thing.

Consider the Gnome Foundation.  The organization is composed principally
of software engineers, working on a technical problems.  They do not
attempt to manage deployments or provide end-user support.  They do not
produce operating systems, apart from a few Live CDs for testing and
validation purposes.  They employed no one for many years, and now employ
only one person, purely for administrative duties.

Gnome is widely deployed, and supported, but this is done by organizations
like Debian, Canonical, Slackware, and Red Hat.  These deployers have both
the incentive and the ability to respond quickly to user demands, by
customizing their Gnome installation.  They also communicate with Gnome
upstream, getting their modifications into mainline and pushing for
development that addresses their users' needs.  In fact, most of the Gnome
developers are actually employed by deployers, like Novell, and the Gnome
Foundation is merely the place where all the deployers' engineers come to
work together.

Sugar Labs is explicitly modeled on the Gnome Foundation.  I agree that
there is a gap between Sugar Labs and deployment, but this is best
addressed by a similar two-layer model.  OLPC is part of that second
layer, and so is Solution Grove, but we certainly need more.

As for "local labs"... the term seems to have been used for many things.
Some non-profit deployment organizations might request recognition as a
"local lab" if they think it helps their marketing, and Sugar labs would
likely be happy to confer the title upon them.

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