[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2010-03-07

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sun Mar 7 12:14:05 EST 2010

===Sugar Digest===

1. activities.sugarlabs.org (ASLO) has been the subject of much
discussion of the past few weeks. One thread has been in regard to
making ASLO a place where not only Sugar developers upload their
activities, but where Sugar learners upload the media objects that
they create with Sugar activities. For example, a place for children
to upload and share their Turtle Art projects or Physics simulations.
A second thread has been in regard to whether or not to allow
activities to be uploaded onto ASLO that contain non-Sugar
dependencies. An example might be an architecture-specific binary file
that is included in a .xo bundle or simply a dependence on a library
that is not part of the core Sugar distribution. The arguments for
such restrictions have to do with robustness and user experience. We
don't want users to download activities that subsequently don't run,
either because of an architecture mis-match or a missing dependency.
We also want to be very careful about automatically pulling in
dependencies because bandwidth and local storage are extremely limited
for many Sugar users. However, from the beginning, Sugar has
accommodated activities with dependencies external to the Sugar core:
Etoy, Write, and Browse being three examples. And with the growth of
the netbook market and innovations such as Sugar on a Stick, it is
inevitable that Sugar users will be using a wide variety of
architectures. (For example, OLPC is exploring the use of ARM
processors in their laptops.) And, while we want to provide a
consistent and substantial learning experience within Sugar itself,
the extent to which we can be inclusive of other learning activities
gives Sugar users the ability to reach further than they would
otherwise. None of this suggests that we are abandoning the idea of a
learning platform that provides a collection of affordances to the
learner, such as the Journal, collaboration, and view source; Sugar
(Sucrose and Fructose) is mostly written in Python with a consistent
user experience across all of its activities; but our learning
community should not have artificial walls and ceiling.

In a post that ties the two threads together, Ben Schwartz wrote:

:If Sugar is working as intended, 99% of Activities will be crap. This
is because the purpose of Sugar is to invite novices to engage
actively in software development. Novices make bad stuff, and we want
to install and run that stuff.

Or put another way, we want our learners to engage in creating and
debugging, sharing their creations and engaging in a dialog about
their creations. Developers learn by doing and so do children. ASLO is
not just a portal for developers, it is a portal for learners.

Aleksey Lim (alsroot) solicited a policy statement from SLOB regarding
the hosting of activity bundles with non-Sugar dependencies on

The Sugar Oversight Board passed a motion that: (1) Bundles with
non-Sugar dependencies be clearly marked in ASLO; (2) We work towards
a mechanism for supporting access to non-Sugar dependencies—a specific
endorsement of being open; and (3) We do not restrict ASLO while we
progress towards #2.

Mel Chua raised the question of support. I argued that this was a
question orthogonal to architecture and dependencies, but that we
clearly should make it clear to our user community that certain
activities are supported. We'll be discussing the details at our next

2. We are pulling together our Google Summer of Code proposal and will
be looking for mentors from the community. If you are interested in
being a mentor, please contact Tim McNamara (timclicks on IRC;
paperless AT timmcnamara DOT co DOT nz).

===In the community===

3. Things are moving quickly in Argentina. Gonzalo Odiard has been
blogging about their progress in La Rioja at
http://godiard.blogspot.com/ (Also see

===Sugar Labs===

4. 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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