[IAEP] [SLOBS] "New Co" / Nueva Empresa

Aleksey Lim alsroot at sugarlabs.org
Tue May 22 09:52:33 EDT 2012

Hi all!

(Here it is my vision on the original post's subject. It is not assumed
to be a full plan for new organization, but rather a couple of points
to consider for new organization.)

== Initial premiss ==

The initial fork in thinking is an answer to the following question:

    What Sugar Labs organization is intended for?

The possible top level answers might be:

1.1 Sugar Labs is an organization that is intended to develop particular
    software (represented by Sugar Shell, some underneath components, and,
    a set of Sugar Activities). Any other use cases that are not directly
    related to the development process [of mentioned particular software
    projects] is not a subject for Sugar Labs.

1.2 Or, the purpose of Sugar Labs is more general and exactly about
    promoting principals mentioned on its Mission[1] page. Such promotion
    does not include only development of the particular software, but
    it is also about:

    * accenting [1] principals in the existing software (because
      [re]creating "Sugar native" software is really useless way,
      much better to make existing software working well with Sugar and
      without making Sugar specific variants);

    * concurrent implementations are welcome (Sugar Labs is not about
      promoting particular software, but about promoting particular
      principals that can be achieved by different ways);

    * not being tied to particular hardware (hardware vendors) of software 
      (GNU/Linux distributions);

    * helping people to embody these principals "in the field".

Both ways are useful (but require different tactic and strategy) but it is
important to make it clear what particular organization (Sugar Labs)
is intended for.

The intention for "New Co", how I got it, is entirely inspired by the 1.2.
And the rest of the following text also assumes 1.2 as the right answer.

== How it is done today and why it is not enough? ==

For me, there are two kinds of issues:

2.1 Dispersion of Sugar versions and different quality of Sugar support
    on different GNU/Linux distributions.

    But in general, I don't think that following only GNU/Linux
    distribution way for Sugar is useful after all. Distributions work
    perfect for providing base software (underlying OS and huge
    components like Desktop Environments or Firefox), but it stops
    working well if we need the same Sugar platform on all mainstream
    platforms, e.g., it is not all time possible to package newly
    released Sugar version to already released GNU/Linux discussion, or,
    GNU/Linux discussion way just doesn't work if we need to provide the
    whole majority of Sugar Activities (including experimental ones).

    It is really impossible to have community behaving well if we don't
    have the same basis.

2.2 The second kind of issues is that Sugar Labs doesn't play a role
    [what it could play] in community driven process "in the field".

    (once more, this text assumes 1.2 as the right answer)

    Processing work in the field might require some kind of sponsorship
    (especially for community driven efforts) in case of coordination
    and/or funding. But the Deployment Team is mostly dead rather than
    alive. For sure, we can say it's dead because nobody needs it. But
    whats the right way of thinking, Deployment Team behaves on demand
    or it needs to promote its work withing possible local communities?
    I guess 1.2 assumes exactly the second option.

    Besides, there is no setup process with [deployment] project basis
    founding. It might be really useful to have such program within SL
    to make possible donators make donations on project basis and see how
    their donation work.

== Proper niche ==

Before looking how new organization might be useful to solve 2.* issues,
it will be right to outline the niche that new organization might take.

3.1 The 1.2's principals are too general to create commercial entity
    with strong following ways that are general for such kinds of
    organization, e.g., new organization shouldn't/can't pursue the
    goal to be self sustainable, or, new organization should not try to
    be the only player in the field, etc.

3.2 It is not useful to compete with local strong organizations like
    Ceibal(s) in Uruguay or Paraguay Educa, and, with service providers
    like activitycentral.com. More over, new organization might provide
    a basic software stack that can be customizable by all of these
    organizations to meet local needs.

3.3 In other words, it will be useful to take a niche where existing
    organizations work not well or doesn't work at all. In particular,
    be an organization that provides an organization help and funding
    flows (mostly crowdfunding) for local community driven efforts.
    Most of them, presumable, are micro and mini deployment programs
    when a bunch of people are willing to help some local institutions
    (schools, e.g.) to setup Sugar learning platform based system
    during one month or so. Also, as 1.2 says, not all of local programs
    should be particular hardware based, e.g., particular school might
    already have hardware for computer labs, etc.

== How new organization can fix current issues ==

Regarding 2.1.

4.1 Create common software stack.

    Thats not about creating Sugar OS, quite opposite, create a thin
    (more or less) high level software stack that can be applied on any
    mainstream GNU/Linux distribution, thus, work on any mainstream
    hardware (these GNU/Linux distributions support).

    So, we will have the same software environment regardless the
    underneath OS/hardware.

4.2 Having the same software environment, it will be easy to provide the
    same content sharing system (we still luck). Because it will be much
    easy to spread it (we have the same sources for the software).

Regarding 2.2. 

4.3 In addition to providing common software stack, new organization
    should provide practices and procedures how to setup local deployment
    program in most useful way.

4.4 New organization should provide a way to forward funding (mostly
    crowdfunding) flows to particular program and provide everything to
    make this funding open/clear for donators and easy handled by local
    deployment people.

== Questions ==

5.1 It should be useful that new organization will be a guarantee for
    institutions where local deployment happens (schools, etc.) to make
    them assured that even after finishing the program, there will be
    a way to get some help. But it really a question should new
    organization provide such guarantee if it is not a commercial service
    provider with employees.

== How new organization is different to the Sugar Labs itself ==

First of all, for me it is a question should it be a new organization or
everything can be done within the Sugar Labs (with help from SFC). I
guess it highly depends on how 4.4 and 5.1 will be solved and will it be
possible to handle it with help from SFC.

But anyway, 4.* should be treated in more reliable way than it happens
right now.

[1] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/What_is_Sugar


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