[SoaS] [DP] updating the draft decision panel report

Sean DALY sdaly.be at gmail.com
Thu Oct 29 17:04:56 EDT 2009

My apologies for the delay, I've had a very full plate.

I wish to comment on Question 2, "Should SL be neutral about
distributions containing Sugar, and refuse to endorse one over

This question is unfortunately ambiguous. Let me explain, then answer
it in the manner of my Norman forbears ;-)

A key part of the Sugar Labs message is that hardware is secondary -
that Sugar should potentially run on most anything; one could say

Implied in that message is that operating systems are secondary, too.
The VirtualBox solutions are well-crafted with their approach of
aiding parents and teachers get Sugar up and running without
installing an entirely new OS just to do so.

Distributions are secondary as well. They provide the basis for Sugar
to run, but for classroom needs, the less said the better; an ideal
Sugar machine is turned on and shows the Home View shortly after,
finds the rest of the class on the network, and so on.

This is not to demean the enormous work that goes into distributions
to work on varied hardware, nor to make Sugar work over the varied
distributions (and I'm not forgetting the enormous XS school server
work). It's just that Sugar benefits from the meme that the distro or
hardware is irrelevant. Sugar benefits because the industry-centric
discussion of "Windows machines versus Apple machines versus Linux
machines" becomes an education-centric discussion of "how best to help
children learn with a screen on a computing device".

Concerns about preferable treatment towards one distro or another
distract from a supertruth: the true competitor of Sugar and the
distros it runs on is the system preinstalled on most PCs, which today
is Microsoft Windows.

There is a key difference between the GNU/Linux distributions and the
two other predominant proprietary operating systems: GNU/Linux systems
are open and thus closest to our education mission of "low floor, no

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