[IAEP] Gnome vs Sugar -- The judgement day

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 20:03:43 EDT 2010

Raul had what I had thought was a nice compromise solution: to
eliminate the control-panel section for switching. Then the switch
would be a deliberate act from the Terminal, presumably by deliberate
action by the student. Then any "damage" would be in the realm of
violating the social contract between teacher and student ("I defaced
my text book") as opposed to an accident ("the dog ate my homework").
In La Rioja, they are just beginning to discuss the topic, but the
Raul suggestion resonated with them.



On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 7:16 PM, Bernie Innocenti <bernie at codewiz.org> wrote:
> This morning we had a meeting with 15 formadores (teacher trainers) of
> Caacupé.
> After the initial excitement for a colorful and familiar desktop, the
> controversy around Gnome has been growing and growing. Many users and
> teachers love it and use it as their primary work environment, many
> others hate it wholeheartedly for the new problems it brings to the
> classroom (see the thread "GNOME and protecting Sugar" on sugar-devel@
> for the full details).
> There's consensus among the formadores that Gnome isn't designed for
> little children, and many think that it's just a distraction from the
> pedagogical goals of the project.
> So I called for a motion: who wants to disable GNOME in the next
> release?
>  Disable Gnome: 8 votes
>  Keep Gnome:    7 votes
> So Gnome will go, but there's hardly a general consensus about it. In
> fact, I fear the day in which we have to impose this decision on all
> users. Even those who think that Gnome should be disabled for others,
> would like to keep it for themselves.
> During the debate, a lot of people asked if it would be possible to hide
> gnome instead of removing it. Sure, that would be easy... but if we
> instruct our techies a secret command to re-enable it, within days it
> will spread among all children. Security by obscurity never works.
> Other suggestions to lock down the desktop were also knocked down:
> children become extremely clever when it comes to make room for mp3s and
> videos.
> Someone correctly pointed out that children where perfectly capable to
> fill up their filesystem with questionable materials even with Sugar
> 0.82, but at this point Gnome had become too much the root of all evils
> for anyone to consider the possibility that ditching it wouldn't really
> solve the issue at its root.
> Other proposals to instruct the students on how to correctly manage free
> space where similarly rejected. Teachers demand a technological mean to
> solve a problem of discipline and computer literacy.
> Many asked if we could enable Gnome only for teachers and perhaps 4th
> graders. I initially said no, because issuing two separate images with
> and without Gnome would be overkill for us. But is it true? I'm already
> brewing two separate builds for the XO-1 and XO-1.5... Building four
> images at release time is actually not a big deal.
> So this is probably what we're going to do, in the end. You can bet that
> many young children will figure out ways to obtain the forbidden
> software anyway... but at least the blame for it will no longer fall on
> us :-)
> --
>   // Bernie Innocenti - http://codewiz.org/
>  \X/  Sugar Labs       - http://sugarlabs.org/
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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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