[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] How to Make Activity Designers Happy , Parts I and II

Michael Stone michael at laptop.org
Fri Jan 2 17:52:06 EST 2009

On Fri, Jan 02, 2009 at 04:01:34PM -0500, Walter Bender wrote:
>On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 3:52 PM, Michael Stone <michael at laptop.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 02, 2009 at 12:25:13PM -0800, Bryan Berry wrote:
>>> On Fri, 2009-01-02 at 15:18 -0500, Walter Bender wrote:
>>>> (3) We need lots more Activities.
>>> While there is consensus on this point, there is not consensus on the
>>> best way to get a lot more Activities. That is, pulling a lot more
>>> developers into building learning activities that run on Sugar.
>> I see some orthogonal proposals at work:
>>  a) supply better compatibility with existing X11 apps.
>>  b) offer genuine support for popular software platforms (e.g. flash
>>     and java?) even on space-constrained hardware platforms like the
>>     XO.
>>  c) catalyze the creation and improvement of free authoring and
>>     remixing environments for popular mime-types uncovered by existing
>>     free offerings or the available environments are unusable on the
>>     available hardware
>> Consequently, it seems to me that the most useful political discussion
>> we can have now is over how to work through the obvious conflict between
>> the "libre" folks and the "usability" folks. Thoughts?
>I guess I am slow. Can you spell out this "obvious" conflict in the
>context of this discussion?

Sure. Basically, I think we're in an iterated prisoner's dilemma
situation. The dilemma arises from the facts that 

  a) Sugar exists in both one global and myriad local environments and

  b) Pairs of people frequently have access to resources which they are
     unable to share; e.g. expertise, time, or non-redistributable code.

Fact (a) affords us a range of strategies during each iteration varying
between the hypothetical extremes of "acting locally" and "acting

Fact (b) means that acting locally frequently affords us payoffs which
cannot be shared with our partners in the game or which are actively
detrimental to those other players.

The situation is iterated because we seem to have to make decisions
along these lines every month or so.

The connection to the "libre" vs "usability" dichotomy that I mentioned
above is that I see the "libre" folks as asking all players to choose
strategies which optimize "global" payoffs at the (great) expense of
"local" payoffs; and vice-versa for the "usability" folks.

Does this explanation help clarify things for you? Would a different
metaphor be more helpful?



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