[Sugar-devel] [ANNOUNCE] Get Books Activity 3, now with SneakerNet/ChappalNet support

Sayamindu Dasgupta sayamindu at gmail.com
Sat Nov 14 18:39:28 EST 2009

On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 4:16 AM, Jim Simmons <nicestep at gmail.com> wrote:
> Sayamindu,
> I'm not sure why you think you'd need to use multithreading to deal
> with the multiple chunks.  Can't you just bring them in one at a time,
> parse as you go, and then display the finished result set all at once?

I'm a bit worried with incredibly long result sets (for example, a USB
stick with a few thousand entries).

> I saw your Get Books activity got praised on the OLPC blog as being a
> key part of their latest efforts with Internet Archive books.  (My
> name was listed also, but it was clearly your Activity they were
> praising).

I'm not sure about this, but I think this was done to push OPDS as
much as possible, which I believe is a sensible thing to do :-)

> It just seemed to me that it would be a good idea to give
> your efforts an official status (its own git repository, wiki page,
> ASLO downloads, etc.) as soon as possible.  Even with the shortcomings
> you mention it deserves that much.
> If you want to keep the original around for awhile it's fine with me.
> In the short run it won;'t hurt anything.  In the long term it makes
> more sense to have just one Activity to find and get books on the
> Internet and just one Activity to read them.  I understood from you
> that eventually Read would be able to use the formats I wrote View
> Slides and Read Etexts for.  Those Activities could also stay around
> but they might be of more use to teachers and other adults than they
> would be to the young students Sugar is targetted at.

Agreed. I think will require a couple of releases more to fix the
immediate problems, and then we could perhaps make the activity more


> James Simmons
> On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 2:22 PM, Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Jim,
>> I think GIAB should stay. Get Books still has a few deficiencies :
>> * Metadata: GIAB seems to pull in more metadata that what is currently
>> offered by OPDS.
>> * Large resultsets: The OPDS results returned by IA are chunked into
>> segments of 50 items each. Get Books only handles the first segment.
>> Getting it to handle the other segments (essentially, loading them
>> automagically as the user scrolls down) requires quite a bit of coding
>> effort (and the optimal way here would be probably to use threading,
>> and threading in PyGTK can be a dangerous thing to tread on) - there
>> is no timeframe for its implementation yet.
>> * Formats: While the current format code is hardcoded, and I will
>> offer whatever is there in the OPDS data from next version, it will
>> not cover all the formats from IA. I would prefer not to hard-code
>> anything (since I'm handling a number of sources, hardcoding for a
>> particular source will lead to a lot of messy code)
>> Let me know what you think.
>> Thanks,
>> Sayamindu
>> On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 2:15 AM, Jim Simmons <nicestep at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Sayamindu,
>>> Regarding the "friendly fork" of Get Internet Archive Books, I'm
>>> thinking that perhaps you will soon have Get Books in good enough
>>> shape that the original Activity will no longer be needed, and at that
>>> point you should merge your clone with the mainline and take over the
>>> Activity.  About the only thing that GIAB can do that you can't (yet)
>>> is give the user a choice of download formats.  It shouldn't be too
>>> tough to implement that option if you restrict it to the Internet
>>> Archive.
>>> I could rename the original Activity in ASLO and rename its wiki page,
>>> then give you authority in git to update the mainline.  You would need
>>> to renumber your Activity version to number 4, as GIAB is currently at
>>> version 3.
>>> It's pretty clear that GIAB is a dead end and what you're doing is the
>>> future.  You've even addressed the future needs of the Rural Design
>>> Collective for distributing children's books on a thumb drive, which
>>> was something I had hoped to do with GIAB at some point.
>>> Let me know what you think.
>>> James Simmons
>>>> Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2009 04:26:07 +0530
>>>> From: Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu at gmail.com>
>>>> Subject: [Sugar-devel] [ANNOUNCE] Get Books Activity 3, now with
>>>>        SneakerNet/ChappalNet   support
>>>> To: OLPC Bookreader list <bookreader at lists.laptop.org>,         Sugar devel
>>>>        <sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org>
>>>> Message-ID:
>>>>        <a1314bfe0911051456k2e7791a8h989e41265d127b17 at mail.gmail.com>
>>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>>>> Hello,
>>>> Get Books Activity is a friendly fork of Jim Simmon's Get Internet
>>>> Archive Books activity and it allows Sugar users to search for and
>>>> download Ebooks from various sources. One of the major points of
>>>> concern for many was this activity required Internet access, and I
>>>> have tried to address that issue with this release.
>>>> The activity can now access catalogs in removable devices (pen drives,
>>>> etc) and lets the user search through these catalogs. A removable
>>>> device with a catalog will show up in the list of sources from which
>>>> the books can be downloaded/copied. Utilizing this feature, one will
>>>> be able to copy thousands of ebooks in a pen-drive, put a catalog file
>>>> (catalog.xml) in the root[1] directory of the device, and send it to
>>>> bandwidth starved areas. (think of a library on a stick ;-)
>>>> Apart from the above features, this release also has some subtle
>>>> changes in the behavior which will hopefully make the overall use
>>>> experience better. (for example, changing the source in the middle of
>>>> a search will trigger a new search within the new selected source)
>>>> I do not consider this release to be stable, so I have not uploaded it
>>>> to ASLO yet (I had to do a lot more refactoring that I would have
>>>> liked to get the removable device support working). To download the
>>>> activity (it should work with Sucrose 0.82 upwards), follow the link:
>>>> http://dev.laptop.org/~sayamindu/GetBooks-3.xo
>>>> To test the removable device support, in a USB drive, unzip
>>>> http://dev.laptop.org/~sayamindu/books_on_a_stick.zip [2] (make sure
>>>> that the catalog.xml file stays in the toplevel directory of the
>>>> drive), and plug the USB drive in wherever you are running Sugar. Get
>>>> Books is _supposed_ to detect removable devices as and when they are
>>>> plugged in/removed, but if your device does not show up, try
>>>> restarting the activity before trying anything else.
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Sayamindu
>> --
>> Sayamindu Dasgupta
>> [http://sayamindu.randomink.org/ramblings]

Sayamindu Dasgupta

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