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

Philippe Clérié philippe at gcal.net
Wed Sep 16 15:49:28 EDT 2009

First, by secondary, I did not mean to imply second class. I use KDE on both 
Ubuntu and Fedora. And I know they are not in anyway second class citizens 
on either distribution. In this case, secondary meant alternate, other, 
whatever is not the default. I apologize if I wasn't clear.

It seems clear that you would prefer that Sugar be only an upstream desktop 
environment, packaged by the distributions. Sugar could then be deployed as 
an alternative desktop by anyone using any distribution containing Sugar 
packages. And, anyone, even Sugar Labs could make a spin or a remix at will. 
Basically doing the same thing as Gnome or KDE or XFCE. This is certainly a 
valid strategy, just not the one I would pursue. I keep remembering the 
title of a book about Jack Welch and GE: "Control your destiny or someone 
else will". I do believe that Sugar Labs needs to have a product in order to 
control its destiny.

I admit to having some difficulties understanding why you would want to keep 
Sugar as an upstream only.  Perhaps the arguments have already been made. 
I'm a late comer to the list so I am certainly unaware of what's been 
discussed prior to my joining in July. If so could someone please give me a 
pointer? Or a recap?



The trouble with common sense is that it is so uncommon.

On Wednesday 16 September 2009 10:58:23 Peter Robinson wrote:
> 2009/9/16 Philippe Clérié <philippe at gcal.net>:
> >> Isn't there a wider question first? the one that asks if Sugar Labs is
> >> actually interested in being a distributor rather than just an
> >> upstream.
> >
> > Sugar Labs needs to be a distributor because:
> I disagree.
> > 1) You need a product to market. The comparison with Gnome does not
> > hold. There have always been distributions that made Gnome their
> > official desktop environment, even very early on. That is not the case
> > for Sugar. Whether in Fedora, Debian or Ubuntu, Sugar will always be a
> > secondary desktop at best.
> That is in fact completely incorrect. KDE is not the primary desktop
> in Fedora but there is a team that makes it a first class Desktop in
> Fedora. The team in sugar that deal with Sugar actually do most of
> their work in Fedora and then basically add a few minor things to make
> it SoaS. No reason they couldn't do all of that upstream, it also
> means that Sugar is definitely not a second class desktop in Fedora.
> Its basically the same class as that of SoaS.
> > 2) Sugar needs a dedicated distribution. Geeks will always be able to
> > navigate distributions installation procedures to choose Sugar as a
> > desktop. I am afraid that is not the case for the vast majority of
> > teachers out there. They need something that they can pick up and run
> > with.
> There's nothing to stop that from happening in another distribution.
> You could easily have "Fedora Sugar Desktop" and have it basically
> exactly the same stability and ability to run off a USB stick etc.
> Also in my experience of doing a pilot in the UK a lot of teachers are
> confused by "Sugar on a Stick" and you basically get blank looks and
> they have no idea how to boot their laptop or any other device off a
> USB stick. They see them as a way of moving documents around, not
> something to run a OS from.
> > 3) A distribution can be a source of revenue. Inevitably, as the
> > developers of Sugar, you will be asked to provides services in one form
> > or another. You'll want a distribution you control for efficiently
> > doing that.
> It can be, but is there plans to?
> > 4) Maintaining a distribution is an invaluable experience. You'll hit
> > integration bugs before they are discovered downstream and those
> > reported by downstreams will ring a bell and be easier to find and fix.
> And in the reverse of that argument by using an upstream such as
> Fedora you don't need to learn about all those issues or you can use
> all the learning that Fedora or another distro has gained by
> supporting millions of existing users and hence you don't need to
> re-invent the wheel hence saving a lot of engineering time.
> > 5) A distribution will give you control. Other integrators won't
> > necessarily follow your philosophy in how Sugar is packaged and/or
> > deployed.
> That's certainly not the case in Fedora. The Fedora and Sugar
> philosophy in most cases is very similar.
> > There are probably other good reasons that people can come up with.
> >
> > The last thing I'd like to add is that it's not an either/or
> > proposition. Sugar Labs needs to be *both* upstream and a distributor.
> That depends on which way you look at it actually. There's advantages
> to both approaches.
> Peter
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