[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] [SLOBS] Long-term support for Sugar

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Sep 21 23:50:14 EDT 2009

Bernie Innocenti wrote:
> How does, for instance, Gimp manage to work perfectly on *all* Linux
> distributions?  And how do all the other 19K packages in my distro
> manage to find *exactly* all the dynamic libraries they need when they
> are installed?

By having distinct packages built separately for each distribution by
experts.  This is incompatible with our (or at least my) goal of allowing
users to throw packages around as atomic objects, without internet access
and without having to understand anything beyond "my friend has Sugar, so
it will work".  It is also incompatible with allowing novices to generate
first-class Activities.

This is also incompatible with your proposal to "choose RPM".  The
equivalent here would be to choose RPM on Fedora, DEB on Ubuntu, ebuild on
Gentoo, tarball on Slackware, etc.

> We don't have to do anything special, either.  Some Sugar activities
> have already been natively packaged in the main Linux distributions.
> They work as well as any other packaged application, and none of the
> original authors need to be concerned about how this magic was
> performed.
>> What we can do is to create new, special, highly restricted scenarios, and
>> then demand that people package for them.  One such scenario that I
>> believe we can support with confidence is Activities written exclusively
>> in Python, using only functions from a static list of blessed modules.
> Sorry, I find this horribly restrictive.  My favorite educational
> application, XaoS, would not even be possible in this scenario.  Neither
> would Firefox, GCompris and many of the most popular activities that we
> offer on activities.sugarlabs.org today.
> With such a limitation, Sugar would be a really sad educational
> environment.
>> I agree, switching bundle formats would gain us a lot of these features.
>> However, I don't think features such as dependency tracking are of much
>> use to us, because we can't trust system package managers,
> Why not?

Because there is no way to build a single binary that will safely link
with all the different distros' libraries

>>  and we can't
>> afford to maintain our own complete distro and package database.
> Why would we have to?  Several good distros already exist... just pick
> one.  No, actually, let's pick many!

We can't pick one, because we wish to run on them all.  We can't pick
many, because then users cannot share Activity bundles.

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