[IAEP] For Sugar Everywhere, Google-ize!

Chris Ball cjb at laptop.org
Wed Feb 16 18:42:31 EST 2011

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the proposal, lots of combustible material here.  :)

I wouldn't be very excited about just porting Sugar activities to a
stock Android base.  I think our goals for Sugar are mainly to build
educational software that:

* can be appropriated -- translated, modified, discussed.
* encourages creation rather than mere consumption of content.
* encourages joint collaboration and sharing.

I don't think stock Android apps can do these things well, so I don't
think we're advancing our goals by creating stock Android apps.  Of
course, you can still have a good educational experience on Android
that *doesn't* meet our goals, but I'm assuming we're willing to let
other people work on that; it's not what we consider Sugar to be about.
(I'm not disagreeing with your perception of where Sugar is now, just
arguing that a new proposal should still be able to meet our goals.)

So, we'd have to be modifying the Android base OS, as you suggest.
I think this idea would make much more sense for OLPC than for Sugar
Labs -- it's fine for OLPC to go hacking around in Android and create
a code editor, and Journal and Collaboration services and so on, but it
would be really hard to get anyone on a non-XO to be able to run them
because Android is so fragmented.  Each hardware vendor has their own
Android build (which they aren't obliged to provide source for!), and
most vendors ship devices root-locked to most users.  How would Sugar
Labs be proposing that owners of Android devices actually *run* our
patched Android OS, if we don't even have the vendor's source to patch?

Have you got any ideas on the above?  Again, I'm not disagreeing that
someone *could* make a Sugar-like environment by modifying Android,
just that it doesn't seem like Sugar Labs is the right group to be
interested in doing that, because it would be so hard to actually ship
the result without control over a hardware platform.  SL would go from
producing software that can run on most machines to producing software
that needs to be hand-tailored for each device..

How about ChromeOS instead, then?  Rumor is it was too slow to get
going, and is either going to be canceled or just merged with Android:


Of course, I don't actually believe everything I read on TechCrunch,
but the fact that it's an immature and unproven platform is undeniable;
SL shouldn't bet the farm on it as a platform yet, surely.


- Chris.
Chris Ball   <cjb at laptop.org>
One Laptop Per Child

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