[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] SLOBs Position on SoaS

Bill Bogstad bogstad at pobox.com
Wed Sep 16 12:39:08 EDT 2009

This note is only tangentially a response to Peter Robinson's...

Here's my thought process...

Computer technology can improve education for children.

Collaboration (i.e. Sugar) and free software (i.e. Linux) is the best
way to make this happen.

 The question is how do we get educators/schools to start using (or
switch to) Sugar/Linux for children's educational computing.

We can go down a route similar to OLPC.  Tell them to buy new hardware
(XOs), buy new server hardware (to run XS), reconfigure their networks
(Xs controls all network access).   (i.e. Convince  people at the top
of the organizations)

Or we can put together software systems which disturb pre-existing
technology as little as possible.   Require as few new hardware
purchases as possible.  Not require schools to make either/or
decisions.  Instead let them use old AND new.
This is probably a 'developed world' point of view.   The original
goal of OLPC was to bring technology to places/children
who have no access at all.   They did this through better/cheaper
hardware.  Sugar, however, is inherently software.  There is
nothing SugarLabs can do other then to try to support the widest range
of hardware possible.  However, widespread use in the developed world
on old/cheap hardware isn't a bad thing.   More real world usage will
(hopefully) result in more contributors and make it a better system
for all users.

As a result, I think the second approach is fundamental to getting
Sugar used and therefore improving education.   I also believe that
SoaS is fundamental to supporting old AND new environments and
therefore is fundamental to changing children's education.
Personally, I don't care what Linux distribution it is based on.  (My
personal desktop is Ubuntu, but I'm fine with SoaS being based on

I also don't think we can leave Sugar LiveUSB to any distribution.
My impression is that both LiveCD and LiveUSB Linux distributions are
essentially gimmicks for all of them.   Does anybody other then SoaS
use (or hope to use) Live environments for regular operations for
thousands if not millions of users?  Given the above, I conclude that
SoaS really needs to be something that SugarLabs supports.  That
doesn't mean that Sugar should be tied to SoaS, just that it really is
a fundamental
part of changing education.

Bill Bogstad

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