[IAEP] [SoaS] SOAS[DP] Educator's Opinion

Sean DALY sdaly.be at gmail.com
Wed Sep 30 10:03:13 EDT 2009

Cross-posting to the marketing list, since this is a marketing discussion.

Caryl, I apologize if I seemed a bit short last night, I had had a
long day. My "nobody" is the hypothetical "typical" person... and
certainly not you. It's likely a different "nobody" than the "nobody"
I heard of who likes the name "Sugar on a Stick"... hypothetical
again, because no market studies or focus groups have been organized
by us yet. We have been relying on publicly available market studies
by Sugar competitors, which are actually gold mines of information.
And press pickup rate, which is a reliable indicator of something that
works (although unfortunately not of something that doesn't, since
other factors including luck are in the picture).

You are absolutely right that naming is essential to making the
unfamiliar seem inviting, which is why the marketing team spends so
much time on these issues. (Note that this is separate from version
numbers which are necessary in any case, and which in Sugar appear in
About in the Control Panel.) Brand building - developing brand values,
attributing them to the brand, growing the brand, extending it beyond
its original meaning - rely on names.

We are indeed working on going "big time"; there's no reason Sugar
cannot become the premier K-6 education platform. It's an empty space
and Sugar has an excellent chance of being on top in the category...
if our forward momentum continues, and we don't lose our one chance at
the snowball effect (Google, Facebook, Twitter), an effect OLPC
experienced for a time before running into difficulties (including
worried competitors). But since the GNU/Linux distros have such weak
market penetration, they are unlikely to be able to help us do that.
Sugar on a Stick in name and deed overcomes that limitation. LiveCDs
will play a part, but SoaS better communicates the concept of the
Journal and "everyone" (speaking hypothetically again about teachers
and parents in the developed world) knows what a USB stick is and has
used one.

Apple has of course world-class marketing and it's interesting to note
that they created the "cats" following years of numbering: OS7, OS8,
OS9. rather than OS10 followed by OS11, or OSX followed by OSXI, they
chose OSX 10.0, 10.1,..,10.5 and associated a big cat to each version.
The most difficult marketing leap they had to do was OS9->OSX since
the entire system changed; even the processor switch four years ago
was easier from a marketing standpoint.

Although that switch made GNU/Linux on Apple hardware easier to do, I
have dealt firsthand with Sugar's unavailability for PowerPC Macs. I
went nuts last May trying and failing to load a single SoaS stick on
several G4s (I knew it wouldn't boot them anyway). I'm afraid the only
solution for those machines will be virtualization, although I'm not
aware if Intel-only code can be emulated in virtualization over

So about naming... we need to protect the names Sugar, Sugar Labs, and
Sugar on a Stick. "Sugar" by itself is untrademarkable, which is why
we always tag "Sugar Labs" in our PR (and is why we are so
well-referenced). "Sugar on a Stick" should be a trademark of Sugar
Labs and as such licensed for use (and I would recommend such
licensing on very favorable terms to Solution Grove in particular, say
a token sum per year). Part of protecting our names in my view is to
coordinate with distros and insure that the names they choose won't
cause confusion... while being attractive and easy to remember.
Although a general numbering system like you suggested would be
useful, especially from a helpline/support point of view, practically
speaking I'm not sure adding a version number over a distro's name &
number would simplify things.


On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Yes! Roland, this is exactly what Apple does with their big cats.  We have
> Tiger (10.4) running on a Powerbook that originally came with Jaguar (10.2).
> I skipped Panther (10.3). My MacBook came with Leopard (10.5). Now they have
> come out with Snow Leopard (10.6-I don't plan to switch... it has some
> problems). I think Apple will run out of big cats long before we would run
> out of sugar related things. Note that Apple still uses version numbers just
> as Ubuntu does, which Sugar Labs should also do.
> I like a system like this.  It would help make the software a little less
> threatening to teachers, parents, and inexperienced children using it.
> Caryl
> ________________________________
> From: rgesthuizen at gmail.com
> Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2009 12:11:50 +1000
> Subject: Re: [IAEP] SOAS[DP] Educator's Opinion
> To: cbigenho at hotmail.com
> CC: soas at lists.sugarlabs.org; iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org
> I must admit Caryl that I like the Ubuntu system that uses a mix of release
> version number / build number and generic names for distributions based on
> animals (hardy herron etc.) http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/faq
> It would be interesting for Sugar to do something similar, rotating every
> year or so between different 'sugar' eating animals or plants .. perhaps
> even sugar based molecules such as monosaccharides glucose, dextrose,
> fructose, levulose, galactose, xylose then ribose. If you run out of these,
> you can then switch to polysaccharides such as sucrose etc. Now there is
> enough for 10 or more years. :-)
> Nicely, glucose is a primary key to life on our planet and nicely fits the
> launch of the version for the OLPC X0-1  :-)
> Regards Roland
> 2009/9/30 Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com>
> Hello Folks,
> With all this discussion of naming conventions, we seem to be failing to
> consider our targeted end-users: classroom teachers.  Most of them think
> Fedora is a hat. It could just as well be "derby" as far as they are
> concerned.  I suggest we propose a name to apply to all Sugar distributions
> in every form. Then these could be labeled in a way that developers will
> know what the underlying software is and that educators can tell whether it
> will work on the machines they have.
> Choose a name.  Get it registered. Add things like USB, SD, CD to indicate
> the intended carrier. Also add something that indicates what machines it
> will run on. Version numbers could be included too. All this could end up
> with a long name for each version, but it would tell everyone what it is in
> a way that they can understand. Such as (for example):
> Sugar4CD/PC/F11 (Sugar, version 4, made for liveCD, runs on PCs, Fedora11
> based).
> Caryl
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
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> --
> Roland Gesthuizen - ICT Coordinator - Westall Secondary College
> http://www.westallsc.vic.edu.au
> "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
> the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead
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