[Sugar-devel] Enhancing Sugar to support multiple users

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Sun Sep 5 20:24:28 EDT 2010

On Sun, Sep 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM, Sascha Silbe
<sascha-ml-reply-to-2010-2 at silbe.org> wrote:
> Excerpts from Christoph Derndorfer's message of Sun Sep 05 21:57:09 +0200 2010:
>> I just created a new ticket (http://bugs.sugarlabs.org/ticket/2292) to get
>> some discussions started on what changes need to be made to Sugar to work
>> well in an environment where multiple users will work on the same machine
>> (which is how Peru's next 300,000 XOs will be used:
>> http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/peru/peru_between_one_laptop_per_child_and_seven_children_per_laptop.html
>> ).
> I don't think we should change anything in Sugar, for two orthogonal reasons:
> 1. There is already an existing, proven, well-working mechanism to
>   support multiple users on the same machine that's way older than
>   Sugar: user accounts. Check out any computer lab at a university
>   to see how it works (though I suppose you already know).

Supporting user accounts is not a novel mechanism, and probably
sufficient, but doing it in a Sugar-like way would still benefit from
child-focused design and input.  It's something that would be good to
see as part of / a flavor of Sugar one day, rather than as an external
hack by people trying to use Sugar "as nature never intended".

> 2. If the Peru government wants Sugar to adapt to being used by multiple
>   users (in what way exactly?), let _them_ do the work.

The question of the right way to support multiple users on a single
Sugar instance (usb key, computer) is separate from "who will do the

>   (If OTOH you use one account per child, there's nothing to change in
>   Sugar, so no reason for a ticket).

I don't think you can give Sugar an accountname as a startup
parameter, so there's at least something to change.

> PS: I know this kind of setup (some 30 computers for the entire school)
> from my school days; I've even administered the machines back then. It
> was called a "computer room" (we had two of them). I think you can guess
> how much time most pupils spent in there outside of special computer
> (i.e. word processing etc.) classes? Computer use in regular subjects
> was close to zero, similar to our fancy "language lab" (a class room
> with tape recorders built into desktops) which we used a whopping
> two times during my entire school life.

I had similar experiences, though they were well used by a few
students.  I'd like to hear more details about what Peru is planning -
which sounds more like a fixed group sharing a computer than that sort
of traditional 'lab'.


Samuel Klein          identi.ca:sj           w:user:sj

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