[Sugar-devel] [IAEP] SLOBs Position on SoaS
dmc.sugar at filteredperception.org
Wed Sep 16 20:22:42 EDT 2009
Bill Bogstad wrote:
> This note is only tangentially a response to Peter Robinson's...
> Here's my thought process...
> Computer technology can improve education for children.
> Collaboration (i.e. Sugar) and free software (i.e. Linux) is the best
> way to make this happen.
> The question is how do we get educators/schools to start using (or
> switch to) Sugar/Linux for children's educational computing.
> We can go down a route similar to OLPC. Tell them to buy new hardware
> (XOs), buy new server hardware (to run XS), reconfigure their networks
> (Xs controls all network access). (i.e. Convince people at the top
> of the organizations)
> Or we can put together software systems which disturb pre-existing
> technology as little as possible. Require as few new hardware
> purchases as possible. Not require schools to make either/or
> decisions. Instead let them use old AND new.
> This is probably a 'developed world' point of view. The original
> goal of OLPC was to bring technology to places/children
> who have no access at all. They did this through better/cheaper
> hardware. Sugar, however, is inherently software. There is
> nothing SugarLabs can do other then to try to support the widest range
> of hardware possible. However, widespread use in the developed world
> on old/cheap hardware isn't a bad thing. More real world usage will
> (hopefully) result in more contributors and make it a better system
> for all users.
> As a result, I think the second approach is fundamental to getting
> Sugar used and therefore improving education. I also believe that
> SoaS is fundamental to supporting old AND new environments and
> therefore is fundamental to changing children's education.
> Personally, I don't care what Linux distribution it is based on. (My
> personal desktop is Ubuntu, but I'm fine with SoaS being based on
> I also don't think we can leave Sugar LiveUSB to any distribution.
> My impression is that both LiveCD and LiveUSB Linux distributions are
> essentially gimmicks for all of them.
I generally agree with the rest of your sentiments in this mail, but as
the now quasi-official 'Godfather of Fedora LiveCD' I have to respond to
this 'gimmick' claim.
It should be noted that historically the linux LiveCD (and the alternate
more usable but less compatable LiveUSB form) solved this problem for
linux distributions, and still solves it to this day-
Linux support for a wide variety of hardware is excellent, but on
average lags by months and years, and even widely varies from
distribution to distribution based on a bazaar of differing priorities.
People used to sit down with several redhat install CDs, spend a long
time, feeding CDs, possibly fighting partitioning nightmares, only to
end up with a linux install that didn't (yet) support some favorite
piece of hardware. Then, reading forums, the user might try again with
a different distro, and just repeat until either giving up in
frustration, or finding an acceptable result after hours or days of futzing.
LiveCDs gloriously solved this problem. Users could completely non
destructively try out the entire OS, albeit quite slow (or not so slow
with LiveUSB), and trivially discover whether or not this particular
release of this particular distro was suitable enough to justify
Then the LiveOS installer came into play, which made things even much
Then my rebootless LiveOS installer came into play, which still hasn't
caught any great press or reviews, but I still think will when enough
people try it. But that is entirely beside the point of this historic
I also implemented LiveUSB persistence for Fedora, which apparently
quite a few people actually use, even though I'll be the first to agree
with your below words, that it is probably not, and may never be a
solution for millions of users, _in and of itself, without installation_.
To me, I view LiveUSB, with or without persistence, as primarily an
_installation medium_. It is something you can carry on your keychain,
walk up to a random PC configuration, use to test compatability, and
then at your option, permanently install to the local system disk, or an
external usb (rotating) disk, or even an external usb flash disk.
Though as mentioned in a prior mail, I don't have enough personal
experience with the installed to flash case. I hear anecdotes that it
doesn't work too well with old crappy flash, and that features of btrfs
in the pipeline should make it work much better in the future. I'm sure
there are plenty of experts here trailblazing that particular bleeding
edge, and I look forward to benefiting from their work in the future.
In summary - LiveUSB == primarily trial and installation medium. I.e.
perhaps the thing that _generates_
'installed-normal-nonlive-fedora-on-a-stick' on sticks whose flash is
performancewise on par or better than a usb rotating disk.
Does anybody other then SoaS
> use (or hope to use) Live environments for regular operations for
> thousands if not millions of users? Given the above, I conclude that
> SoaS really needs to be something that SugarLabs supports. That
> doesn't mean that Sugar should be tied to SoaS, just that it really is
> a fundamental
> part of changing education.
> Bill Bogstad
> Sugar-devel mailing list
> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
More information about the Sugar-devel