[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2009-11-16

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 14:47:30 EST 2009

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. I am writing this update today while waiting to see if I will
called to jury duty. I was originally supposed to report last week,
but a deferment was granted since I was in Bolzano. I am not sure why
I had never been called before—both my wife and children have served
several times. But unlike the airport in Rome, there is at least a
place to sit and plug in my laptop and get on-line while I wait, so
here it goes.

I was in Rome overnight in transit from Bolzano, where we held a
week-long Sugar Camp
Bolzano is in South Tyrol, in the Italian Alps. The autonomous
regional government is a user of free software and is exploring ways
in which they can engage the FOSS community more deeply. They have a
regional development organization, TIS [http://www.tis.bz.it/], that
fosters FOSS projects in the region, provides infrastructure and
support, and an annual Free Software Week. It was in the context of
[http://www.freesoftwareweek.org/ Free Software Week] that we came to

Rather than meet at TIS, we (Simon Schampijer, Tomeu Vizoso, Dave
Farning, Sean Daly, Stefan Unterhauser (Dogi), Carlo Falciola, Adam
Holt, Christian Vanizette, and I) spent the week at
[http://www.cts-einaudi.it/ CTS Luigi Einaudi], a technical school a
short walk from the city center. We were given a comfortable room with
Internet access, just upstairs from the school's coffee bar and next
door to where the [http://live.gnome.org/ZeitgeistHackFest2009 Gnome
Zeitgeist team] was meeting. Over the course of the week, we
interacted with teachers, students, developers, and a variety of
people in the region who have an interest in Sugar.

We had a busy week. My typical day was to get up at 6:00, go down
stairs for an early breakfast with David, who would have already been
up for at least an hour, take a 20-minute walk to the school, arriving
at 8:00, in time for the first espresso of the day. We'd write code,
discuss ideas, brainstorm, and write more code until 20:00, at which
point we'd make a plan for dinner—usually a pizza or some knudel and
the local weizenbier or a glass of lagrein. Somehow or other, we would
never manage to get back to the hostel until after midnight. Pizza,
Python, and friends, surrounded by the Dolomites—not a bad way to
spend the week.

We made progress on the roadmap for 0.88, having brainstormed on a
number of topics
[http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:Ideas_0.88_0.90.pdf]. The themes
that rose to the top were: a simplified collaboration model;
resolution of some outstanding issues regarding the Home View, e.g.,
how to best launch new verses resume activities; and some changes to
the Journal—possibly the incorporation of versions and a better
integration of the Journal into the activity workflow, e.g., making it
possible to modify the description field while the activity is open.
Other themes include accessibility and testing.

Simon organized the discussions through the week. He kept us focused
and productive. He also got some hacking in, spending time working
through many of the issues associated with providing global support
for spell-check. In doing this, he'll have laid out the framework for
providing other global services.

Tomeu spend most of his week being interrupted by people asking him
questions. (Five minutes of Tomeu time usually was enough to keep me
busy for a few hours.) But he did manage to make progress on his work
on Python introspection. This work will lead to a much more efficient
use of Python modules in Sugar.

David and Dogi (working with Bernie and Aleksey from afar) did an
overhaul of some of our back-end systems, which had been becoming
stressed as more and more people are using Sugar. (For example, we've
already surpassed 1.5-million downloads from activities.sugarlabs.org.
It was just a few weeks ago that we reached the 1-million milestone.)
They have also stream-lined the process for setting up local mirrors.
We encourage you to set up a mirror in your region. (Argentina and
Paraguay have recently set up mirrors.)

Carlo help us in drafting [[a set of guidelines]] by which third
parties might work with Sugar Labs in establishing various value-added
services to the Sugar user community. We will be discussing these
guidelines over the next few weeks. We also spent time with Patrick
Ohnewein from TIS to discuss opportunities specific to South Tyrol.

Sean and Christian discussed a number different opportunities
regarding marketing. One idea that emerged is ''The Sugar Journal'',
along the lines of ''The Perl Journal'', which would include articles
written by teachers, developers, and other community members.

For my part, I spent most of the week sketching out some ideas. I
coded up a [http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xb44q3_color-selector-2_tech]
for both the control panel (it has changed a bit since I made the
screencast) and the initial start screen and started coding up an
activity toolbar widget for accessing the journal detail view from
within an activity (as opposed to as you exit an activity), and I
learned a bit more about Cairo (it uses a display list) from Tomeu in
my efforts to refactor the turtle graphics with in Turtle Art.

We had a series of really good discussions with the
[http://live.gnome.org/GnomeZeitgeist] team. Their work definitely has
long-term implications for the Journal and they expressed interest in
making their work relevant to our needs.

We also got some help on the Record activity from Daniel Siegel, the
author of [http://projects.gnome.org/cheese] diagnosed the problems we
are having with Blueberry (apparently there is a Cairo bug in Fedora
12) and on the OLPC XO 1.5 hardware (there is a missing driver).

2. Before heading to Bolzano, I made a quick trip to the West Coast to
give a keynote that the QT Developers Day conference. Lots of
enthusiasm for Sugar and lots of work being put into Qt on
small-footprint devices.

3. Eric Bachard has announced
the availability of the Sugar port of OOo4Kids] (Open Office for
Kids). A .xo bundle should be available for download from
[http://activities.sugarlabs.org] soon.

4. We had a Sugar Labs oversight board meeting last Friday in which we
discussed mailing list policies. The meeting
is available in the wiki. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, 20
November 2009 at 15:00 UTC (10:00 EST).

5. The Spanish-language version of Sdenka Z. Salas Pilco's guide to
using Sugar in the classroom is available on the wiki (Please see

=== In the community ===

6. OLPC Germany will meet in Hamburg on November 22. Please see
Everyone interested in OLPC and Sugar is invited!

7. OLPC-San Francisco and OLPC NYC are planning community summits on
November 21. Please see

=== Tech Talk ===

8. Sebastian Dziallas announced that after considering input from the
various teams involved in Sugar Labs and the Sugar on a Stick
creation, we're shifting the release schedule as follows:

:2009-11-17  Fedora 12 Final Release
:2009-11-29  Image Gold Master Creation & Upload
:2009-12-08  Sugar on a Stick (Blueberry) Public Release

Please consider Sugar on a Stick V2 to be in freeze.

=== Sugar Labs ===

9. Gary Martin has generated SOMs from the past two weeks of
discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see
[http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2009-Oct-31-Nov-6-som.jpg and

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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