[Sugar-devel] Journal criticism (or not)
jim.simmons at walgreens.com
Thu May 28 12:16:51 EDT 2009
My two cents:
When I started programming computers 30+ years ago data was stored in
punch cards and reels of tape. Disk storage was available, but too
expensive to use to store large amounts of data. (I didn't hear the
word "gigabyte" until the late 80's). In classes at college I studied
database management systems. The book had ONE chapter on relational
databases. There was some question back then if one of these could
actually be built.
For versioning of files we used something called a GDG (generation data
The first interactive computer system I got to use was VM. Everyone in
the system had the illusion of having a whole mainframe to himself. If
you wanted to send someone else some COBOL code you'd use the "spool
punch" command, because that was virtually like having the machine punch
up a deck of 80 column cards and handing that deck to the person. We
used fixed length records for most things, because there was no way to
make a variable length punched card.
Later, at the same time I got my first PC, I also started programming
IBM's new AS400, which had libraries, files, and members. Everything on
the box had those three levels of hierarchy: no more, no less.
Everything I have listed above is still in use today. Most of them
predate hierarchical folders.
Now the thing about Sugar is that it is NOT about teaching the kid how
to use a computer. It's about teaching him everything, using the
computer to help. It's about teaching art with Colors, music with Tam
Tam, creative writing with Write, math with a whole bunch of Activities,
History, Language, and Literature with the various reading Activities,
etc. Learning about computers is in there too, with Pippy, etc. but
it's not the main focus.
I think of the Journal as a DBMS that stores and organizes various kinds
of objects. Sure, it uses files and directories underneath but so does
a DBMS and nobody thinks of a DBMS that way except the guy who wrote it.
The Journal is a real selling point for Sugar. My criticism of the
1). It doesn't live up to its potential. It should be MORE like it
2). It should stop pretending that other ways of organizing files (on
thumb drives) are as good as it is. They are not. They are crude
visitors from a foreign land and should be treated as such.
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