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

D. Joe sugarlabs at etrumeus.com
Wed Oct 28 10:06:25 EDT 2020

On Sat, Oct 24, 2020 at 12:27:56AM +0200, Martin Guy wrote:
> 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

Hi, Martin. Nice to see you stepping up to take this on.

Not sure quite where to start in response, but what I have so far: 

I'm slow and awkward working with code, but have a long (if haphazard) connection to using live images, learning the most back in the day from my time testing LNX-BBC daily builds


More recently, I've been the latest of a string of instructors to offer a Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Development course first built around programming on and for the XO. The deterioration in the ability to support the XO that James has mentioned was coming to a point right around the time I started, which I only gradually began to realize picking through the various pieces already scattered by the earlier fork of Sugarlabs from the OLPC project. 

So eventually I tried to move towards using a combination of live images of Sugar, either SoaS or live-build, either persistently installed on flash drives, or as the starting point for VMs running in Virtual Box for Windows on classroom (and, as available, student's own) machines. 

At one point, I began offering students the option to develop for Sugarizer, with some limited success, but my heart was mostly still with Sugar on VMs. 

When the pandemic hit in the most recent run of the course last spring, I pivoted us entirely towards Sugarizer. I'm not sure what's next for the course, possibly a move towards something other than Sugarlabs projects, and possible with other instructors. That said, I still have the older, underlying interest in the continued development of modestly-scoped live images (see also Finnix and GRML).

After having read your message yesterday, on my Ubuntu 18.04 destkop I dusted off the Debian chroot in which I last ran sugar-live-build. I updated my own wrapper chroot's Debian install, then the sugar-live-build repository against James's github upstream. I was able again to build an image that, at a crude initial level at least, seems to run OK under kvm, modulo the F3 metacity bug (which, from a testing perspective, is a win, since I can reproduce it at least). 

tl;dr: I might be able to help, mostly with testing and review, so long as I can reconcile my archiving habit with the disk space requirements of chrooted build systems.


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