[sugar] A special linux distribution for developing OLPC applications

Dan Williams dcbw
Thu Jan 4 12:18:59 EST 2007

On Thu, 2007-01-04 at 08:20 -0800, Bryan Berry wrote:
> Hey guys, we are thinking of building a new linux distribution
> pre-configured w/ all of the development tools for Sugar and Squeak.
> The reason for this is that it is fairly complicated to set up
> Sugar-jhbuild from scratch and download all the development tools and
> documentation.  Complicating this picture, broadband isn't a reality
> for most developers where we are (Nepal).  Building sugar-jhbuild from
> scratch will take days across a 56K line.

I think the problem you'll run into is the same reason we're using
jhbuild; the dev bits are constantly in flux.  So, even if you prebuild
everything and give out CDs, you'll still need to distribute a bunch of
updates on a weekly basis.  None of the process is stable yet, and that
means a lot of churn of the bits.  You might be able to save some time
by packaging up the stuff we don't expect to change that often (glib,
gtk) but stuff like sugar, gstreamer, python bindings, etc are likely to
change quite a bit.  We may also be adding packages or removing packages
from our build images at various times, which complicates doing this
from a distribution.  For example, a lot of stuff links to OpenGL
libraries, and these may be present on your development distribution.
But the OLPC likely won't have OpenGL libraries.  So if you build an
activity on a normal distro (this is true for anything even Fedora Core)
it won't necessarily run on the real OLPC because of missing libraries.

I'm not saying you shouldn't try, but it might be quite a bit of pain
for the time being due to the flux of development.


> We have alot of talented open-source developers here in Nepal that are
> very interested in contributing to OLPC.  We can't give everyone of
> them an XO but at least we can help them started on their existing
> hardware.  We envision that people all over the world could use this
> distro for Sugar applications development.   We even would like to
> eventually build in tools for that non-technical people, such as
> teachers, could use the distro to create learning materials.
> We intend to hand out CDs of the distro at FOSS meetings and computer
> science Departments.
> Does anyone know if a similar tool exists?  We would like to avoid
> duplicating the efforts of others.  
> Here is the basic description of what we have in mind
> http://wiki.olpcnepal.org/index.php?title=Make_A_Distro
> We intend to use Ubuntu 6.10 and subsequent Ubuntu releases.  We don't
> want to get into the business of patch management.
> Let me know what you think. 
> Tentatively we are thinking of calling it XO-Buntu (ZO-buntu) or
> Saraswati after the Hindu goddess of knowledge
> Bryan Berry
> OLPC Nepal
> wiki.olpcnepal.org
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