[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2009-12-22

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Tue Dec 22 13:28:20 EST 2009

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. Tomeu Vizoso blogged [http://blog.tomeuvizoso.net/] about his trip
to Uruguay. He attended the First International Event on Experiences
about the Ceibal Plan [http://www.ceibal09.com.uy/]. As well he spent
time at LATU [http://www.latu.org.uy/] (Laboratorio Tecnológico del
Uruguay), the organization managing the technical aspects of the
Sugar/OLPC deployment in Uruguay. While it was a great opportunity for
Tomeu to see Sugar in action and meet local teachers and
technologists, perhaps the most important aspect of the trip was that
he had the opportunity to lead the .uy community closer to the
mainline Sugar community.

"The concrete issue they found when developing on their own was that
every time that their upstream (OLPC) produced a new image build, in
order to benefit from the improvements in that release they had to
apply the customizations made locally, solve any conflicts and retest
everything. If they had contributed those modifications to Sugar, OLPC
images would have come with them and no further work would be needed.
Reaching the point in which they can directly use the OLPC images
as-is is still a bit far away, but every bit that they integrate
upstream is a step in the right direction and reduces their
development and support costs. Also, when their employees work within
the communities that maintain their software, they work directly with
the most qualified engineers in those technologies, increasing local

You can read first-hand reports from Uruguay here

2. John Markoff of the ''New York Times'' wrote about a new book by
Jim Gray, ''A Deluge of Data Shapes a New Era in Computing''
[http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/science/15books.html]. According to
Markoff, Gray, who works for Microsoft, describes an "era in which an
“exaflood” of observational data was threatening to overwhelm
scientists. The only way to cope with it, he argued, was a new
generation of scientific computing tools to manage, visualize and
analyze the data flood." He argues for government support for "cheaper
clusters of computers to manage and process all this[sic] data." The
goal is "to have a world in which all of the science literature is
online, all of the science data is online, and they interoperate with
each other." Alas, there is no mention of Free Software in the
article. It is not clear to me how a proprietary system would solve
any of the problems Gray is describing. Sigh.

3. I have been working through a number of logistical and
administrative issues with the Software Freedom Conservancy with the
goal of streamlining our interactions with them. (Like Sugar Labs,
they are a volunteer organization—the extent to which we can smooth
out any mismatches in expectation or practice will well serve both
organizations. While we benefit from the numerous services provided by
the conservancy, we are also under an obligation to abide by its
mission--promoting FOSS projects--and work within its administrative
structure. With input from Karen and Bradley, I've written up some
administrative procedures for handling transactions
regarding requests for payment, project proposal approvals, and
license requests in the wiki. Feedback is most welcome.

=== From the community ===

4. Raúl Gutiérrez Segalés and the Sugar/OLPC team in Paraguay have
developed an inventory and tracking system for helping to manage
deployment logistics. There tool lets you:
* import list of children and their document IDs; and upload
information about schools, teachers, geographic coordinates, etc.;
* keep track of laptops given to children;
* report tickets (screen broken, OS reinstall needed); do follow-ups;
and close tickets;
* use an embedded Google-maps widget to track access points and
servers and their availability;
* generate reports: laptops delivered; open tickets; network status;
network availability over time; laptops spread among schools; etc.;
* report stolen laptops (so they won't get more leases);
* automatize generation of leases (based on the status of laptops:
activated, stolen, etc.)

The manual (in Spanish) is available here
[http://wiki.paraguayeduca.org/index.php/Inventario_manual]. An
English-language manual is in the works.

To install the package, you'll need to add their repository:
Create the file /etc/yum.repos.d/pyeduca.repo with the following content:
name=Packages used by Paraguay Educa

yum install inventario

5. Jim Simmons is writing a FLOSSmanual guide to writing Sugar
Activities for beginners (See

=== Help Wanted ===

6. Tomeu has created a new page in the wiki
[http://wiki.suagrlabs.org/go/Vacants] for describing "vacancies" in
our community.

=== Tech Talk ===

7. Chris Ball announce Build OS64 as the "final" release build for new
XO-1.5 laptops. This is a Fedora-11-based system with Suagr 0.84 as
well as a GNOME desktop. Release notes are available here

8. Bryan Berry announced the release of Karma Version 0.2 (See
http://karma.sugarlabs.org). "The Karma Project aims to create
high-quality open-source educational software using openweb
technologies for the Sugar desktop educational environment. karma.js
is a Javascript library for manipulating HTML 5 and SVG in any
context." Please note that you will need Firefox 3.5 or Google
Chrome/Chromium to run the demos. The Karma-2.xo bundle is available
at [http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/downloads/file/26522/karma-2.xo].
There is a Karma tutorial series as well (See

9. Sayamindu Dasgupta has built a fork of Turtle Art
that supports the Arduino [http://www.arduino.cc/]. The Arduino is "an
open-source electronics prototyping platform... intended for artists,
designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive
objects or environments." Instructions can be found here
Note that there is also support for the Arduino for Etoys (See

10. Michael Stone announced the release of rainbow-0.8.6. (Rainbow
implements portions of the isolation shell described in the
[wiki.laptop.org/go/Bitfrost Bitfrost] threat model and security
architecture.) There are a number of new features in this release,
including "support for garbage collection of uids, ui sugar for
resuming uids, bug fixes to the resume logic, and a simplified
singly-linked list library." Please help with testing:
:git:    git://dev.laptop.org/users/mstone/security
:tar:    http://dev.laptop.org/~mstone/releases/SOURCES/rainbow-0.8.6.tar.bz2
:browse: http://dev.laptop.org/git/users/mstone/security/tree/?id=rainbow-0.8.6
:setup:  http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Rainbow/Installation_Instructions
:tests:  http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Rainbow/Testing

11. Simon Schampijer announced the first tarballs for Sugar 0.88. Some
of the new features [http://wiki/sugarlabs.org/go/[Features] are ready
for testing. (Simon will be working with Sebastian Sdziallas to make a
Sugar-on-a-Stick spin for facilitating testing.)

=== Sugar Labs ===

12. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion
on the IAEP mailing list (Please see

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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