[Sugar-devel] Enhancing Sugar to support multiple users

Tomeu Vizoso tomeu at sugarlabs.org
Mon Sep 6 04:14:02 EDT 2010

On Mon, Sep 6, 2010 at 02:24, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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".

I'm confused by this, Sugar's architecture follows closely that of
other modern X11-based desktops which also means it will just work
fine in a multi-user system.

Running parallel instances of Sugar each on its own account is
something that should be completely supported by Sugar's architecture
and not a hack at all.

>> 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
> work".
>>   (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.

When you start Sugar, you are already in an user account, so you don't
really need to give it an username.

What is going to allow the user to choose an account with which to log
in is a display manager and you have several implementations to choose
from. All should work fine with Sugar.

I believe Simon has used this deployment mode in his pilots in Berlin.



>> 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'.
> SJ
> --
> Samuel Klein          identi.ca:sj           w:user:sj
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