[IAEP] Priorities and Ideas (for GSoC)

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Fri Mar 13 17:49:58 EDT 2009

I will link to this thread (in IAEP) on the GSoC project
ideas<http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/ProjectIdeas>page. This
page is the primary location where prospective GSoC students will
come to learn about out project, and so I want them to get a feel for our
community discussion of priorities. So please, in this thread, try to be a
little bit more explicit and foot-noted than you would be otherwise, so they
can understand what we're talking about.

The primary purpose of GSoC, as others have pointed out, is NOT to do the
things we're too busy to get around to. It is primarily a community-building
exercise: to get students engaged in helping Sugar, and get mentors engaged
in passing on knowledge to new community members. If somebody develops an
educational game that only blind 3-year-olds use, but FINISHES it, has a
great time doing it, and becomes a long-term contributing community member,
then that would be a total GSoC success. However, that being said, we'd
still prefer projects that help acheive our highest priorities for Sugar.

There is no absolute ordering of Sugarlabs' priorities. Different members
will not agree perfectly on what steps will do more to help our educational
mission. So the list below is just my version. Community: Please respond
with your thoughts. Students: I'll link what I can in the list, but I can't
find good links, or even any links, for everything. If one of these ideas
intrigues you, please, come ask in IRC (#sugar on freenode) - we'd love to
try to point you in the right direction, and help you cut your ideas down to
a reasonable GSoC size.

My first priority is things that will have a strong effect on the long-term
rate of development of Sugar. I'd put just 2 things in that category: easier
sugarizing (primarily from
Flash <http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/ProjectIdeas#SWF_Sugar>, and
legacy Linux); and a structure for sugar unit tests (IMO we will never get
good enough software quality for wide adoption, running on multiple
distribution without automated

My second priority is things that will improve on sugar's key promises. An
easier and better way to handle files: versioned
improvements in creating and
using<http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Journal%2C_reloaded>tags for the
journal, file picker dialogs, and home
view <http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Wade/Ideas/Activity_Management>. A
simpler and safer security model: getting Rainbow into the Sugar
it's coverage of the Bitfrost
A simple and discoverable, yet powerful, UI overall: improved accessibility,
discoverable keyboard shortcuts. Ubiquitous connectivity and collaboration:
multi-pointer sharing, auto-collaborating data
viral/peer-to-peer activity
shared journals. Useful in the classroom: a one-click workflow for getting
AND turning in homework<http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/ProjectIdeas#Homework_turn-in>

My third priority is activities to better cover the core functions. Reading:
an improved Read<http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/ProjectIdeas#Improved_Read_activity>,
which handles true ebook formats. (PDF is made for printing, and deployments
have asked for this.) Writing: Write is pretty good. Communication: an email
activity. Math: a good spreadsheet/graphing utility (spreadsheets are not
the best back-end for graphs, but they are very very flexible).

My fourth priority is other educational activities. There are
of <http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Educational_activity_ideas>
ideas <http://sugarlabs.org/go/ActivityTeam/ProjectIdeas> out there.

Let me repeat, the best project is the one that gets done. The highest
priorities on my list are also the hardest. An achievable idea for an
educational activity is better than pie in the sky. And if you want to take
on a bigger task, ask us in IRC - we will help guide you.
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