[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2009-07-06
walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Jul 6 08:06:00 EDT 2009
1. It was great to catch up with some old friends at the Gran Canaria
Desktop Summit. John (J5) Palmieri and Chris Blizzard, both of whom were
part of the original Sugar team were there, along with major contributors to
the GNOME and KDE communities. Collabora was well represented, as were the
Cairo and Gstreamer communities.
This was the first time that GUADEC and Akademy were combined their summits
into one congress. It was clear there is much more in common between the two
major GNU/Linux desktop communities than there are differences. While I
largely talked about Sugar and the interdependency between FLOSS and
learning, I also used my keynote as an opportunity to draw attention to the
need for: better SVG support; a unified approach to collaboration on the
desktop; a better and unified datastore architecture; and an amplification
of our collective efforts in internationalization. I tried to make the
distinction between simplifying complex things and using simple tools to
reach to complexity and suggested that the current trends of the desktop
accomplish neither goal. The latter, "learning-centric" approach should be
our goal, since we take pleasure in complex things. I didn't have time to
dwell on "the cloud", but Richard Stallman (rms) touch on the topic of
Internet services in his talk. He saw them as a threat to freedom since the
end user essentially cedes total control to the service provider. My issue
is more narrow: we tend to be users, not creators of services. Yet there are
many services that can amplify our ability to be expressive and engage in a
critical dialog about that expression, so they have a role.
As usual, I used Sugar (and Turtle Art) to give my presentation. While most
people had heard of Sugar, it seemed that few had actually seen it in
action. The overall reaction was positive and we will undoubted get some new
contributors as a result of this renewed exposure to the desktop community.
(We already have a volunteer to work on the touch-screen interface.)
My keynote was sandwiched between Robert Lefkowitz (r0ml) and rms, who have
markedly different positions re Free Software. I was sitting between the two
of them at a post-talk press conference, which was—for me—entertaining. In
regard to Sugar, rms acknowledged the point that learning can play an
important role in appreciating, hence sustaining freedom—it was nice to make
that connection. One concern r0ml raised was that there are powerful
intermediaries between the developer and the user that are the real power
brokers. I argued that Sugar on a Stick was an example of disintermediation
in the context of schools—the IT department need not be involved at all.
A related point that r0ml made is that most people cannot program, so Free
Software is a limited use to them. In response, rms said that they are still
free to use it an redistribute it and even hire someone to make
modifications. I went further, saying that they are free to learn to program
and that the next generation ''will'' learn to program, since computation is
our most powerful tool of expression. We owe it to them to help them achieve
It was a pleasure feeling the heat as I walked the kilometer along the
promenade between the hotel and the auditorium after all the rain and cold
we have had this spring and summer in Boston. Thanks are due to my host
David Neary, who introduced me to a great tapas restaurant—the sardines were
===In the community===
2. Representatives from Sugar Labs Colombia will be at the Free Software
area in Campus Party Colombia [
http://www.campus-party.com.co/index.php/software-libre.html] this week.
(Campus Party is the largest technology event in Colombia.) On Wednesday
night, they will introduce Sugar Labs and the Sugar Labs Colombia Foundation
at an one-hour conference, "OLPC y Sugar en Colombia Construyendo software
para aprender a aprender." They'll be demonstrating Sugar on a Stick, Sugar
LiveCDs, Sugar on a variety of hardware platforms, including the OLPC XO,
the Intel Classmate, etc.
3. Squeakfest [http://squeakfest.org] will be held in Los Angeles 10–12
August and in Porto Alegre 23–25 Julho.
4. There will be a Sugar track at the Free Software Week [
http://www.freesoftwareweek.org/] in Bolzano, Italy, the week of 9 November
2009. We will start the Sugar Hackfest the weekend before in order to
accommodate the restricted schedules of some of our community members, e.g.,
5. Bastien Guerry reports that James Clayson is organizing a conference
about Constructionism [
http://www.aup.fr/news/special_events/constructionism2010.htm] at the
American University of Paris in 16–20 August 2010. Sugar Labs should
consider how it could participate.
6. Roadmaps: There a two roadmap discussions underway: Sucrose 0.86 and
Sugar on a Stick V2. Both are detailed in the wiki. Your timely input would
7. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on the
IAEP mailing list (Please see [[File:2009-Jun-27-Jul-3-som.jpg]]).
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Sugar-devel