[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2009-12-31

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Thu Dec 31 13:29:53 EST 2009

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. The coming of a new year is a good time for reflection and setting
of goals. At Sugar Labs, we have a lot to reflect upon in 2009 and a
lot to look forward to in 2010.

We began 2009 in engaged in a healthy debate about how best to put
powerful tools for learning into the hands of children. I consider it
a healthy sign that as we are reaching the end of 2009, we are still
engaged in that debate. As a community, we remain passionate and
outspoken about things that matter and we continue to ask how our work
impacts learning.

In January we felt the shock-wave of the "reorganization" of One
Laptop per Child. As a result OLPC has more directly leveraged the
efforts of the Sugar community and we have a more productive
cooperation between our organizations; perhaps more important, we are
beginning to see more cooperation between Sugar Labs and
one-laptop-per-child deployments around the world. In March we
released Sucrose 0.84 and got news of our acceptance into the Google
Summer of Code program. We were establishing a reputation for being
responsible and reliable members of the FOSS community. In September
we learned that ''every'' child in Uruguay is now a Sugar user. In
October, we exceeded 1-million downloads on activities.sugarlabs.org
(At the year's end, we are over the 1,750,000-download mark).

On the technical front, we reached some major milestones and saw many
smaller achievements in 2009: Simon Schampijer oversaw the 0.84 and
0.86 releases and is leading the 0.88 effort; Tomeu Vizoso, who does
all things Sugar, found the time to make "view source" universal
across all activities and integrate Gnash more fully into Sugar;
Sebastian Dziallas released two versions of Sugar on a Stick, leading
the way for other GNU/Linux distributions to release LiveUSB images of
Sugar, including Thomas C Gilliard, David Van Assche, and the openSUSE
community efforts as well as Rubén Rodríguez Pérez's Triquel-based
Sugar on Toast; Jonas Smedegaard continues his work on maintaining
Sugar on Debian; the Fedora community's dedication to Sugar remains
unparalleled(special kudos to Steven Parrish, Chris Ball, Daniel
Drake, Paul Fox, Peter Robinson, Mel Chua, et al.); Bryan Berry and
the team in Nepal launched the Karma project; Michael Stone made
signifigant progress in making Rainbow run outside of the constrains
of the OLPC deployments of Sugar; we saw patches being submitted by
educators; contributions of accessibility code from Esteban Arias and
the LATU team; the launch of our activity portal (thanks to Josh
Williams, Aleksey Lim, and David Farning); Benjamin Schwartz made
progress on GroupThink; the Activity Team made ebooks a central focus;
Bernie Innocenti, David Farning, and the Infrastructure Team have
given us a solid base for growth; Wade Brainerd (had a baby) and kept
the Activity Team vibrant; James Simmons has been both writing some of
our more popular activities and documenting how to write a Sugar
activity; Sayamindu Dasgupta has done great work leading the i18n team
and he made a fork of Turtle Art to support the Arduino; Raúl
Gutiérrez Segalés, Martin Abente,  and the team in Paraguay have made
numerous contributions, including an inventory tool and 3G support
(with cross-border cooperation from Daniel Castelo); and Aleksey Lim
made contributions to virtually every corner of Sugar and Sugar Labs.

My personal highlights for 2009 were a chance to meet so many
community members face to face for the first time: Tony Forster and
Bill Kerr in Melbourne; Sebastian Dziallas in Berlin; Gary Martin,
Sascha Silbe, Bruno Coudoin, David Van Assche, Marten Vijn, Christian
Vanizette, and Sean Daly in Paris; Pia Waugh and Donna Benjamin in
Hobart; Mike Usmar in Auckland and Tabitha Roper in Wellington; Diego
Uribe in Cambridge; Gerald Ardito in New York; Paul Flint, Kevin Cole,
Nicco Eneidi, and Colin Applegate in Barre; Luke Farone and Jeff
Elkner in Washington; Kiko Mayorga in Lima; etc.

I would also be remiss in not pointing out the pleasure I got in
reading Sdenka Salas's Sugar manual, Rosamel Norma Ramirez Mendez's
reports from her classroom in Uruguay, Tony Foster's blog posts on
Turtle Art, the posts by Bill Kerr's students on Sugar, and being
greeted by a room full of children running the Sugar Speak program in
a simultaneous chorus of "Welcome Mr. Bender."

We had set some short-term goals for ourselves in 2009: to grow our
community, broaden its code base, and most important, increase the
number of children using Sugar. While we may have fallen short in our
goals of "building a Sugar presence in the forums that teachers
habituate", the vector is pointing in the right direction--teacher
engagement on the Sur list being a bellwether. We did not reach as
many children through Sugar on netbooks; Sugar on a Stick; and Sugar
deployed through a terminal server as we are currently reaching
through our OLPC collaboration--something to aim for in 2010. Our "Big
Overarching Goals for 2010" will be the subject of a Sugar Digest post
in January.

2. The Babson College project report on Strategies for Sugar
deployments in US schools is now in the wiki (See
and [[http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:MCFE_Final_Presentation_SugarLabs_12-11.pdf]]).

=== Sugar Labs ===

3. 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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