[IAEP] What Sugar ships (was Re: [Sugar-devel] Proposal release management)

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Thu Jun 24 10:52:50 EDT 2010

On 24.06.2010, at 15:29, David Farning wrote:

> On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 4:49 AM, Bert Freudenberg <bert at freudenbergs.de> wrote:
>> To that extent I proposed to the Etoys developers to follow the Sugar development cycle more closely. And that's what we're going to do.
> Thanks Bert.  That will help those of us working downstream a great
> deal.  As a side note, what is the situation with Etoys vs scratch?

Why do you think there's a "vs"? Both have their place.

> Many teachers are very familiar with (and love) scratch and wonder why
> sugar ships Etoys:-(
> david

While Scratch is less powerful than Etoys, it certainly is more polished and easier to get into. That was one of its design goals - to let teenagers have immediate fun in an hour after school, without needing too much guidance. Etoys OTOH was designed to be used by a skilled teacher as part of a larger curriculum - and it is a prototype that "escaped into the wild" without seeing much polishing.

So I can see why teachers love Scratch. I love Scratch, too. It requires much less effort to get started. Certainly enough, Scratch comes pre-installed on many OLPC builds (and OLPC recently sponsored me to add basic Journal support). Besides, the xo bundle can easily be downloaded.

But for inclusion in Sugar itself there are more criteria than just ease of use. Like the willingness of developers to work in the Sugar community. Which is almost synonymous to the development process itself being open. Or making serious efforts to "fit" into Sugar - be that UI design, or supporting collaboration etc.

Etoys is working in that direction, and also welcoming contributions. The Scratch developers have other priorities. In a way, Scratch is so beautifully simple *because* its development is so tightly controlled. It's like an Apple product compared to a Linux one. The Linux program might be more powerful, but many people would still prefer the simpler, polished, less confusing Apple product. Others see beyond the flaws of the Linux program, and some dive in and help improving it. Given time, money, and effort it might even attract users in the general public ;)

Btw, a good way for teachers to learn about Etoys is attending Squeakfest:


Coming back to your question, "why Sugar ships Etoys", it's because Etoys developers care about it, and the others find it to be useful. Which is the case for anything that Sugar ships.

- Bert -

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