[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2013-09-16

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Sep 16 12:41:13 EDT 2013

== Sugar Digest ==

1. The 'New York Times' had an article about the tablet invasion, No
Child Left Untableted, in this Sunday's magazine section [1]. The
author of the article was a skeptical of the approach taken by the
Murdoch-backed Amplify tablet. I've not seen the Amplify tablet yet,
so it is difficult to judge, but there is one photograph [2] in the
article that says it all: a tablet showing a blue screen with the
words "Eyes on Teacher". When technology becomes the affordance used
by the teacher to control the class, it is a sure sign that the use of
technology has gone seriously awry. With Sugar, we celebrate the fact
that the students are so engaged with learning that the teacher can
(in some cases literally) throw the stick out the window. It seems
with Amplify, they are handed a $199 digital stick.

2. There has been a renewed discussion on the lists about Android.
(The topic seems to come up once every 2-3 months.) Meanwhile, the
Sugar developer team continues to make great headway. Our approach has
two stages. The first stage [3] is to make HTML5/Javascript a
first-class development environment for Sugar. The basics are largely
complete: we already have about a dozen new activities that use the
new framework. There are many details that still need addressing and
undoubtedly the framework will change as we gather more experience,
but please do try it: early feedback is very helpful. The second stage
[4] is to migrate to the HTML5/JS apps to the Android platform. We
also need to migrate some Sugar services to Android, such as the data
store, and design some mechanisms for collaboration (we are exploring,
among other things, a web-services approach to collaboration).

There are other approaches to getting Sugar up on Android. I blogged
about some efforts last year by students at the Homi Baba Center to
get Linux running on a generic tablet in order to run Sugar. George
Hunt has been taking a similar approach. Ruben Rodríguez has been
working with Ubuntu on Android, which would also support Sugar. These
efforts would likely provide more backward compatibility to existing
Sugar deployments; the downside is the need to reboot to launch
Android apps. As always, the problem with dual-boot in a school
setting is that the maintenance and support costs double.

At the core of both efforts remains a dedication to what makes Sugar
valuable to the learner: the emphasis on tools for constructing; the
Journal providing interoperability between objects and a place for
reflection; the facility with which learners can collaborate; the
empowerment of the end user as the constructor of both tools and
knowledge. We remain dedicated to the principles of Free Software,
even in the commercial world of Android.

=== In the community ===

3. International Turtle Art Day will be on October 12. Pacita Peña and
Cecilia Alcala will be hosting an event in Caacupé and there will be
other events around the world sharing ideas and resources. Brian
Silverman and Artemis Papert will be featured guests. There are guides
to holding a Turtle Art Day event available in English [11] and
Spanish [12]. (Tip of the hat to Claudia Urea, who has led this

4. From 10-13 October, there will be an EduJam!, in Asunción [7]. On
the 13th, we will hold a hack-a-thon, and hopefully make some headway
on some of the open issues with Sugar on Android. We will also take
advantage of the occasion of so many Sugar oversight board members
(Gonzalo, Daniel, Claudia, and me) in one place to hold a SLOB meeting
(most likely on Sunday morning).

5. Google Summer of Code [8] is coming to a close. We have had a
terrific group of student interns, who contributed to a wide range of
projects. Many thanks to: Kalpa Welivitigoda, Akshit Khurana, Marion
Zepf, Casey DeLorme, Erik Price, Rahul Gaur, and Suraj KS. Also, many
thanks to our community mentors, including Marten Abente, Lionel
Laské, Claudia Urrea, Gonzalo Odaird, Remy DeCausemaker, and Aneesh

=== Tech Talk ===

6. We are wrapping up Sugar 100 and need all hands helping with both
closing a few outstanding tickets [9] and helping with testing.
Gonzalo and Jerry have been preparing images (Fedora 18) for OLPC AU
that can be used for testing [10]. Kudos to our release manager Daniel

7. Tom Gilliard has been making SoaS images on Fedora 20 that can also
be used for testing [11]. Meanwhile, the previous release of Sugar
(98.8) is available on Ubuntu (12.04) [12] thanks to the efforts of

=== Sugar Labs ===

8. Please visit (and contribute to) our planet [13].


[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/magazine/no-child-left-untableted.html
[2] http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/09/15/magazine/15klein3/15klein3-sfSpan.jpg
[3] http://developer.sugarlabs.org/web-architecture.md.html
[4] http://developer.sugarlabs.org/android.md.html
[5] http://people.sugarlabs.org/walter/Guia_Ingles_10-08-2013.pdf (en)
[6] http://people.sugarlabs.org/walter/Guia_Esp_12-08-2013.pdf (es)
[7] http://ceibaljam.org/drupal/?q=edujam2013
[8] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/2013
[9] http://bugs.sugarlabs.org/query?status=new&status=assigned&status=accepted&status=reopened&priority=Immediate&priority=Urgent&component=Sugar&status_field=New&order=priority
[10] http://build.laptop.org.au/xo/os/sugar-100
[11] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Fedora_20#SoaS_86_64-dm_.28remix.29
[12] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Ubuntu#Ubuntu_12.04.2_LTS_-_Dextrose_Sugar_Live
[13] http://planet.sugarlab.org

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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