[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] Deployment feedback braindump

David Farning dfarning at sugarlabs.org
Mon Aug 10 18:06:08 EDT 2009

FWIW,  It sounds like you both are pretty much in sync and are
providing two much needed voices.  The challenge that you both are
clearly articulating is that of seemingly unlimited needs and limited

The only thing I would like to add is, "Please note the tone of this
discussion with compared to similar discussion a year ago."   This
discussion we can build on!

I would encourage Tomeu not to take it personally.  _Everybody_ all
ways wants more from their engineer's.  I would encourage Daniel to
start breaking down the deployment needs in to items which we can
prioritize and implement.


On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Daniel Drake<dsd at laptop.org> wrote:
> Hi Tomeu,
> 2009/8/10 Tomeu Vizoso <tomeu at sugarlabs.org>:
>> Hi,
>> some thoughts follow. Please keep in mind that these are just my
>> personal opinions and that not everybody at Sugar Labs share the same
>> idea of what SLs is or should be.
> Thanks for the response.
> 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.
> Local labs need to feed into something bigger, which doesn't currently
> exist, although it could probably sit under the realm of sugarlabs if
> the right people were to step up.
> Also, when talking of scale, I am a little wary of local community
> efforts because they have previously proven disruptive to deployments.
> The sad reality is that you absolutely require more of a NGO or
> business setup to be working with the relevant authorities. And when
> this happens, the community efforts automatically become a bit
> distanced. For example in many of these places, the "official"
> organisation receives permission from the government for their staff
> to enter government schools - but only their staff (not community
> volunteers).
> You mention lack of involvement and feedback from deployments -- why
> do you think this is?
> Here are some of my thoughts:
> - The majority people we're working with are alien to the idea that
> they might be able to talk to the people who are writing the software
> that they are using. Since when has anyone been able to do that? Us
> open source people are still the oddities in the world.
> - People are afraid or mythed by the idea of this stuff being public
> and global ("why would I want my feedback to be public?"), and are
> confused/challenged by mailing lists.
> - The people most able to give the kind of feedback you are looking
> for are the teachers, who are probably even more distanced from these
> ideas. Many will lack connectivity and english language skills.
> - Many people who support the project with technical skills (e.g.
> Linux) come from purely academic backgrounds which means they
> understand the technical stuff well, but have little interest,
> experience (and sometimes ability) to become good community members.
> To put it plainly: in my opinion, wishing for substantially more
> involvement from deployments is not realistic. SugarLabs would benefit
> from being proactive here, especially by using the telephone rather
> than email to contact deployments, but this is of course subject to
> the "where are the resources?" question. Hopefully over time a
> proactive approach from our side would likewise encourage a proactive
> approach to communication from the deployments, but I suspect we'll
> have to be patient. and yes, this makes your job pretty difficult.
>> On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 19:41, Daniel Drake<dsd at laptop.org> wrote:
>>> At least from what I have seen, this kind of clarity seems to be
>>> missing from discussions that define the Sugar platform nowadays, as
>>> well as in the code that is flowing through the system. Does SugarLabs
>>> still have a high degree of interest in bigger-than-you-can-believe
>>> deployments in remote and really difficult parts of the world on
>>> low-spec hardware, or are we moving towards looking at occasional
>>> 30-student deployments on powerful computers in schools along the
>>> Charles? Or are we trying to do both?
>>> Are we still focusing on 6-12 year olds or has that changed?
>> How do you expect that the SLs volunteers know what OLPC deployments
>> need if they don't voice their needs? If you look at the Sugar commit
>> logs, you will see that almost all commits are from someone sitting in
>> a room somewhere in Europe, working on their free time. By which kind
>> of epiphany do you expect them to know what's best for OLPC
>> deployments?
> I think you misunderstood my position here. I am personally having
> trouble trying to formulate this kind of feedback because I no longer
> know what is important to Sugar. Maybe it is a personal
> misunderstanding, but after seeing some recent discussions and
> features I feel that some of the core goals that formed the project in
> its earlier stages have been lost. I am glad to see your response
> which suggests that these things are still important to you at least,
> so this will help me gather my thoughts.
>> That's an interesting statement, do you think we are grossly
>> overestimating the capacity of our users?
> In many cases, yes. We are also missing various opportunities to
> automate things which would really make basic system usage much
> smoother in a classroom. At the same time, most of my experience has
> been in classes within the first month of usage, so I'm not too sure
> how their skills develop.  But really the classroom use of these is
> often limited by the teacher who usually does not pick up things so
> fast.
>> You mean that you cannot open that library bundle by clicking on its
>> journal entry?
> Correct me if I'm wrong, but none of the methods that could be used by
> deployments to distribute materials this way in mass would result in a
> journal entry appearing for their users. These methods are installing
> through a package into /usr/whatever/library or unzipping into
> ~/Library.
>>> So I guess my wishlist from this email would be these items:
>>>  1. for SugarLabs' aims to become as clear as OLPC's 5 principles
>> Why is the current mission statement not clear?
>> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_Labs
> Because it's a mission statement. It's fluffy by design. It doesn't
> answer basic questions like what kind of computers are being targeted,
> which classroom environments  (if classrooms at all?), which learning
> models, target ages of children, if the focus is on code or content,
> if good infrastructure is important, how or if it is different from
> the other efforts of ICT for education, etc.
> Daniel
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