[Sugar-devel] Maintaining the sugar-live-build

Martin Guy martinwguy at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 18:27:56 EDT 2020

Hi all, first post here. Old Unix hack, new to live-build and Sugar.

Short version: The cheapest used laptops are 32-bit but all Sugar Live
images require a 64-bit CPU. Only sugar-live-build can easily be
rebuilt without much technical knowledge, but when built suffers from
a metacity bug which makes it unusable unless you know the F3 trick.
Manpower is lacking to maintain it fully, and I am looking at stepping
up to do this.

Long version:

I'd like to be able to make cheap OLPC-clones for kids here out of the
cheapest and most plentiful used laptops, which are mostly 32-bit
WinXP systems, but all the live images I've found (sugar-live-build,
OLPC OS 20.04.0, Fedora Sugar on a Stick) are built for 64-bit
processors and none of them boot into an immediately working system,
which is what I want.

Fedora Soas boots into a lightdm login screen without ever telling you
that the required username is "liveuser". Also, Fedora SoaS seems to
give no source code or build instructions, just a binary 64-bit blob
(isn't that against the GPL?) and Fedora doesn't have a 32-bit kernel
any more, just 32-bit rpms.

OLPC OS unpacks an Ubuntu ISO image, injects sugar into it (in
solution presumably :) and repacks it, but it doesn't start Sugar

The sugar-live-build distribution images work properly, but it turns
out that they are not build from vanilla sugar-live-build, but with
some magic to work around a bug in Debian-buster's version of
metacity, which makes the Journal open up full-screen instead of
iconified, thereby obscuring the Activities page, with no apparent way
out (unless you can guess to press F3). I'm seeing with quozl about
making a fix to this, but he's already up to his eyes in other work
(though very generously with help for my technical questions, bless!)

So, as I'm a retired Unix wizard with spare time, I'm looking at the
idea of offering to maintain SLB.

The directions I'd like to go in are:
- to modify SLB to update metacity to a working version (3.34 instead
of Debian buster's 3.30), probably by downloading it from
snapshot.debian.org, which should be as secure as the rest of the
Debian that it downloads
- to make a 32-bit images of it available as well as the 64-bit one.
Or just make a 32-bit one as that would work on 64-bit CPUs and I
can't see Sugar making much use of more than 4GB of RAM as the XO's
are 1 or 2GB machines.
- to include more Activities in the default build than just the base
and demos, to make it more appetizing, in the style of Fedora SoaS for
example, with Maze and other trinkets.

I'd be interested to know what other users/developers think about
this, and how to proceed if it seems like a good idea

Best wishes & thanks for a wonderful alternative to the ubiquitous
1970's desktop


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