[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2015-12-05

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sat Dec 5 14:01:46 EST 2015

== Sugar Digest ==

1. Google Code-in [1] begins 7 December. We have more than 20 mentors from
the community and about 250 tasks defined across 5 categories:
documentation, quality assurance, outreach, user interface, and coding.
This year we have a balance between Python and Javascript tasks. We'll be
adding new tasks over the course of the next 7 weeks, so please let me know
if you have Sugary things that need doing. Please do help spread the word
to talented 13-17 year olds. Mariah has prepared a nice poster available at

2. We have seven candidates [3] for the seven open Sugar Labs oversight
board seats. I am not sure how the election committee plans to proceed --
stay tuned.

=== In the Community ===

3. Josh Burker continues to do great Turtle Blocks projects in his
workshops [4] and with his 3D printer [5].

4. A few weeks ago I was asked by Luis Galindo to make suggestions for the
COP21 workshop in Paris. In his email, he included some wishes from
students in Japan and Canada: "I need a way to produce no single waste in a
class room!" and "I need a way to use human energy to power the entire
physical classroom. For example, a stationary bicycle that powers a light
bulb. Where each desk in the classroom allows kids to move while they work,
and create enough energy to power the lights, charge their laptops
(assuming they have some), or more."

My initial response was to suggest that he get his hands on a couple of
OLPC XO 4s and some solar panels; he would be very close to achieving the
stated goals of both students. How did we manage to get so much right in
the design of the XO and Sugar: repairable (by the kids themselves),
designed for a long lifetime of operation; maximizing materials that can be
recycled; no toxic materials in the device (the very first laptop that
could claim to be entirely lead-free, since it was the very first laptop to
use a LED backlight); they form their own local network to make a
collaboration and communication space and again, no need for external
infrastructure or power (or exposing children to potential privacy
violations). And Sugar is full of tools for doing Science. (One feature
still unique in the marketplace is the ability to use the microphone port
as a sensor port.

Maybe the students can do what so few ministers of education was able to do
and re-imagine the classroom using a device we designed and build 10 years
ago (time flies)?

As a challenge, I suggested that we need a way to measure energy
consumption, waste, communication, or collaboration in the classroom as a
baseline for determining the impact of the classroom of the future? Given
the Paris climate summit, maybe it is time for the world to finally pick up
on some of the OLPC/Sugar contributions.

Alas, the workshop was cancelled due to the November 13 attacks.

5. As I mentioned in my position statement [6], I am in the process of
launching a new college for industrial design. I am instilling Free/Libre
Software as a core principle of the college and I hope to be able to make
Sugar be at the core of the educational technology section of the school.
More on that effort soon.

=== Tech Talk ===

6. James Cameron recently announced the release of OLPC OS 13.2.6 for XO-1,
XO-1.5, XO-1.75, and XO-4 (Sugar 0.107 on Fedora 18, with a few activities
upgraded). See [7] for details.

=== Sugar Labs ===

7. Please visit our planet [8].


[1] https://developers.google.com/open-source/gci/
[2] Mariah's poster
[3] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Oversight_Board/2015-2016-candidates
[6] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/User:Walter#Sugar_Stable.2FSugar_Future
[7] http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Release_notes/13.2.6
[8] http://planet.sugarlabs.org

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs
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