[sugar] Sugar Digest 2008-10-20

Walter Bender walter.bender
Mon Oct 20 09:15:46 EDT 2008

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. Digital media and learning competition: I submitted a proposal to
the DML competition. The gist of our project plan is to reach out to
and support the Sugar community of educators and software developers.
We are seeking resources to expose more teachers and learners to the
features and benefits of Sugar and further enable its use by: (1)
stabilizing the software to the point where it is turnkey; (2) working
with and learning from diverse communities that seek better ways to
educate children; and (3) growing the number of users of and
contributors to Sugar. I made a similar proposal to the Google 10^100
program; the focus is on building our developer and user communities.

2. Sugar on a stick: Caroline Meeks and I visited a Boston public
school to discuss with them the possibility of piloting a USB Sugar
deployment, where the children would use USB sticks to boot Sugar at
school and at home, using whatever computers are available. This
deployment enables a school to use Sugar without making an upfront
investment in new computers. It could be a very cost-effective
approach to bootstrapping Sugar communities.

3. Daniel Ajoy has updated a number of links on the
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sur that point to pages that detail various
Activities as they are being applied in the classroom.

=== Community jams, meetups, and meetings ===

4. Peru translation sprint: A number of us are in Lima (beginning
Monday?today?at 15:30 UTC at Hotel a la FIA) this week, working on the
translation of the Sugar-related FLOSS manuals. We'll try to have a
prense on IRC (irc.freenode.net #sugar-meeting) during the sprint.

5. XOcamp2: C. Scott Ananian has been organizing a week of planning
for the next OLPC XO release (9.1) to be held the week of November 17
in Cambridge, MA. He'd like participation and talk proposals from the
Sugar Labs developers/users (the timing would be aligned with our 0.84
Release). Talk proposals should be sent to devel at lists.laptop.org.

=== Tech Talk ===

6. Sugar labs: David Van Assche reports that he has managed to get
Sugar and collaboration via eJabbers working on a Linux terminal
server (LTSP) using Ubuntu (a tip of the hat to those who offered
their help on the #sugar channel). This means that you can now convert
an existing networked lab to Sugar without installing any software on
the client terminals. See
http://www.nubae.com/sugar-on-ltsp-ubuntu-intrepid-ibex for a
step-by-step guide. It should be easily replicated on other
distrobutions by using a distro-specific package manager.

7. Journal: C. Scott has been working on a new design for the Journal
(See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Journal_reloaded). Lots of good ideas
about making the Journal generally more friendly to users, developers,
and to legacy applications.

8. GConf: Simon Schampijer has been landing the use of GConf for the
profile in sugar-jhbuild to store preferences (See
http://www.gnome.org/projects/gconf/). The old API in Sugar/profile
has been kept around so as not to break older Activities?for example
to request the nickname or the icon colors of the user. An advantage
of the new scheme is that you can run multiple instances of the
emulator by repeated issuing of the 'SUGAR_PROFILE=username
sugar-emulator' command. This works because we use gconf-dbus in
sugar-jhbuild and therefore run one gconf daemon per instance.

9. NetworkManager: Simon is working on adopting the Sugar shell to use
NetworkManager 0.7 during the next week (See Dan William's blog

10. Potpourri: As usual, Marco Pesenti Gritti has been busy; he:

    * wrote a proposal about an API stability policy for Glucose;
discussed in the Sugar meeting, approved with minor improvements;
Marco will make the necessary changes and officially post it on the
    * fixed various issues regarding the running of multiple Browse
instances; file pickers and downloads are now opened in the correct
    * started to refactor the zoom-levels part of the
window-management logic based on a patch by Benjamin Schwartz to get
rid of flickering in the Home View;
    * poked OLPC distro developers about the Fedora-10 migration
(Marco hopes we can make a call about it soon, because he'd like to
use the GTK/GIO API to implement standard-compliant startup
    * thought about making the Sugar shell more standards compliant to
better host legacy desktop applications; Sayamindu Dasgupta has
volunteered to help?we are still looking for someone to take over the
work of choosing and adapting a window manager to replace Matchbox.
    * discussed the next generation Journal design with C. Scott and
was happy to see that middle layer between Journal and file system was
not dropped; they made a lot progress on syncing on how to gradually
integrate it in Sugar;
    * fixed various regressions from the the Sugar shell refactoring
(Marco thanks everyone for the patience); and
    * made some Fedora LiveCD improvements?in particular get SLiM (a
simple login manager) to behave under selinux.

His pans for next week include:

    * adding window management items to the 0.84 roadmap;
    * following up with Benjamin about the icon cache, hopefully get
near to something that can be integrated;
    * looking into the LiveCD feedback (the principle blocker is NM
0.7 support, which Simon is working on;
    * figuring out where and how to host source-code releases in
preparation for 0.83.1 and starting to automating them;
    * sending a reminder about new activity proposals to make sure no
one is missing the deadline;
    * finishing up zoom level refactoring and getting rid of the
annoying flicker;
    * trimming down the review queue; and
    * reviewing and posting the API policy on the wiki.

11. Sceencast: Chris Ball has revisited the question of how to do a
Screencast in Sugar. He has written a new version of the Screencast
Activity (http://dev.laptop.org/~cjb/screencast/Screencast-1.xo). An
old version, built by MediaMods, is here

12: Other software releases this week include:
    * Jukebox-3.xo

Gadget 0.0.2 has been released. Highlights of the "Monster Lake"
release include:

    * support for constraining activity search results;
    * various bug fixes;
    * the addition of load simulation tools for testing purposes; and
    * support for multi-criteria search.

=== Sugar Labs ===

13. Self-organizing map (SOM): Gary Martin has generated another SOM
from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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