[Sugar-devel] [IAEP] Planning for the future (Samuel Greenfeld)

Sora Edwards-Thro sora at unleashkids.org
Wed Feb 25 15:19:18 EST 2015

I just got started with all of this in 2013, so my relationship with the
project is very different from many others on this list. I'm also not a
programmer. So this is just my perspective as a coordinator with schools
using XOs in Haiti.

I'm going to tackle the below item-by-item; looking forward to seeing what
others have to say. Thanks for bringing these questions to us all.

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 2:09 PM, Samuel Greenfeld <samuel at greenfeld.org>

> I am not necessarily discounting XOs; but several community members have
> said in the past they were not upgrading to the latest Sugar/OLPC OS
> versions.  This is because newer versions tend to need more resources and
> run slowly on older XO models.

 Here's a table Martin Dluhos generated of the start-up times on XO-1s for
different OS versions. It influenced our decision-making in Haiti (we have a
customized version of 12.1.0) <http://wiki.laptop.org/go/HaitiOS>; I don't
know what they decided in Nepal, where he was based.


Here was my input on that decision: "My gut is "keep moving forward" and go
with the latest thing because it's the latest, but I'm not the one who has
to fix things when they go wrong...I just report them. Basically, I'm
hoping those who have been involved much longer can help gauge what we're
gaining and giving upin terms of not only speed loading activities but the
support we'll require (12.1.0 more reliable, so less help needed?) and
receive (13.2.0 more shiny, so more help offered?) to keep things running."

Others should speak for themselves, but I think we stuck with 12.1.0
because the deadline to get things figured out was coming up and we wanted
something that had been battle-tested for the upcoming large and ambitious

XOs may always be part of the community; but they are not necessarily going
> to be the centerpiece going forward.

 Volunteers have collected and refurbished significant numbers of XO-1s
that are still awaiting deployment. It would be a shame to have those go to
waste when they can do good somewhere. Same goes for perhaps 1000 XOs
sitting in closets in Haiti - we've identified multiple schools (see here
<https://projectrive.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/kenscoff-special-report/> and
here <http://www.unleashkids.org/2014/07/11/special-report-thomazeau/>)
that have abandoned these programs for lack of training and electrical
solutions; a little funding and volunteer-work has been able to get those up
and running again

For my own project this summer: if we didn't have XOs, this project
wouldn't be happening, because we'd be spending all our budget on tablets /
laptops instead of the teacher training and programming assistance we'll
need to get good results.

So no, XOs aren't going to be the centerpiece, but in terms of our
operations in Haiti they're definitely a big part of the picture.

>    - An assessment of what is the current Sugar community, and what we
>    would like to see the community become.
> All I can give you is what we've got in Haiti. 13,200 XOs were apparently
deployed. See the blog posts mentioned above for evidence that many
actually made it to schools, but those programs did not survive into 2014.

In terms of schools where Unleash Kids volunteers have deployed XO-1s or
revived XO-1 programs:
60 to Mission of Hope (spring 2013)
25 to Silars' Orphanage (spring 2013)
10 to Ferrier (summer 2013)
10 to Ansapit (summer 2013)
20 to Cazeau (winter 2013)
18 to Hinche (winter 2013)
(I know a team went to Leogane as well; I don't know what they did there)
25 to Delmas (summer 2014)
120 in Lascahobas (summer 2014) but only 60 XOs actually being used in
10 in Bois D'Avril (summer 2014)

Programs are still going strong at Silars', Ansapit, Cazeau, and
Lascahobas. Programs have run into funding problems at Mission of Hope,
Ferrier, and Hinche, and Delmas. Bois D'Avril is doing its best, but they
could use some more training.

In 2014 I entered college and started considering how I can approach work
in Haiti from the perspective of a researcher and get funding. Nick Doiron
and I collaborated with others to create software for a USAID literacy
competition. My school funded a pilot test
<https://projectrive.wordpress.com/> of the software in December. We
installed it on the schoolserver and accessed it through browsers on the

I plan to acquire more funding to build on that project this summer. We'll
be needing to write new software for some aspects of the project. I hope to
host the application on the schoolserver, so that you don't need an XO or
Sugar to make it work. That's partly because if we get good results and
want to expand the program to more schools who already have their own
devices, we need something that works for everyone. I'm not sure we can ask
them to install a separate OS; we can ask them to go to a webpage or
install a schoolserver.

We've recently started discussing founding a nonprofit again among
ourselves in Unleash Kids. We talk about this every few months and never
really do anything about it, but personally I'm pretty gung-ho myself about
actually doing something this time. The IRS just came out with a new form
that's only 3 pages; it's supposed to make it easy for small groups like
Unleash Kids seems to be to make ourselves official. I'm sure the
accounting and process will be much more difficult than I'm assuming, but,
again, it's something I kind of see as essential now that I'm looking at
things in Haiti from a new angle.

That's a very brief and extremely self-centered history of a single set of
deployments within the community, but it's a start. Looking forward to
hearing what everyone else has to say.

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 2:20 PM, Jerry Vonau <me at jvonau.ca> wrote:

> > On February 24, 2015 at 8:55 AM Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >
> > I don't think Sugar Labs has lacked a long-term vision. It has been
> > since Day One to provide great tools for learning to children while
> > being hardware agnostic. That said, our tactics have been slowly
> > evolving as the market itself evolves. We launched Sugar Labs in early
> > 2008 when it was clear to some of us in the community that many
> > children would have access to computers other than the OLPC XO. We
> > wanted to reach those children, and indeed, many Sugar users run it on
> > netbooks such as the Intel Classmate. We've also continued to support
> > the XO as well. There are ~3 million XOs in the field, most of which
> > are still running Sugar as far as I know. (When I was in Nepal last
> > year, I saw Sugar running on machines built in 2007, a testament to
> > OLPC's hardware team.
> It would be interesting to know what version of sugar/OS those XO-1s are
> running.
> > I am not sure why Sam thinks we need to discount
> > those machines or the kids using them.)
> I know this is not a sugar issue directly, more of an OLPC issue but since
> Fedora F12 the entire i686 platform's userland is being compiled with
> -mtune=atom[1] which would use sse[2]. This causes problems for some parts
> of sugar[3] now that java[4] is being used more and the XO-1 lacks sse.
> Fixing one package that uses sse might fix one issue but this is really a
> distro wide setting and other issues may float to the top in other areas.
> Just pointing out issues with XO-1s as I see it.
> Jerry
> 1. http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/F12X86Support
> 2.
> https://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc-4.6.2/gcc/i386-and-x86_002d64-Options.html
> 3. http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2014-August/038536.html
> 4. http://bugs.sugarlabs.org/ticket/4785
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
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