[Sugar-devel] Current status of collaboration work

Sam P. sam at sam.today
Wed Dec 23 17:34:34 EST 2015

Hi Martin,

On Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 6:52 AM, Martin Abente <
martin.abente.lahaye at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I have been reviewing the current state of the collaboration proposals and
> I am afraid it is still too early for merging it. We need to explore more
> use cases, and this will only happens when we start porting more Activities
> that actually use TUBES. Therefore, i want to share some thoughts on this.
> *Opinions:*
>    1. There haven't been enough changes in the Activities regarding Tubes
>    deprecation.
>    2. Dropping the Tubes support from Sugar without changing all the
>    activities that depend on Tubes means that we will break collaboration for
>    those activities anyway, and there wont be much gain by just doing that.
>    3. Making changes in the Sugar API without proper testing with more
>    activities (and scenarios) is simply not a good idea.
>    4. But, making changes in the Activities can be easily handled since
>    they are self contained.
>    5. Most of our users still use Fedora 18 through OLPC deployments,
>    where Tubes is available.
> *Suggestions:*
>    1. Lets make Sugar handle the Tubes deprecation better so it doesn't
>    break, but lets not remove the support for TUBES yet.
>    2. Instead, we can start changing the activities using the Wrapper
>    that Walter and Sam prepared, but using it locally on each Activity for now.
>    3. Once and if, we have most of our activities ported to the new
>    telepathy API (which will be based on the Wrapper), then we can include the
>    Wrapper into sugar-toolkit-gtk3, in a next release and remove it from
>    Activities.
> *Pros:*
>    1. We avoid breaking collaboration for *(a)* Activities that use TUBES
>    and run on older systems where TUBES is available, and *(b)*
>    Activities that does not use TUBES on newer systems where TUBES is no
>    longer available. This _is_ an improvement versus the current situation
>    where is completely broken on newer systems.
>    2. We do this whole re-work incrementally, without having to change
>    the API (sort of) blindly.
>    3. There will be more flexibility to explore ideas in Activities land.
> *Cons:*
>    1. There will be repeated code in Activities, but that can be changed
>    easily later.
> *What would be needed:*
>    1. To detect if there is TUBES support, as Sam mentioned in his first
>    PR [1]. *Can someone look into this?*
I looked into this a while ago, and it didn't seem that it would be easy.
Maybe we could add a gsetting that defaults to off (for new distros) and
then OLPC OS Builder can turn it on to say give activities tubes?

>    1.
>    2. Do not create TUBES channel when there is not support. This [2] is
>    just a hack and the logic works fine, but it depends on whether or not we
>    can detect support.
>    1. Cleanup the Wrapper and make sure that it is possible to use it
>    locally in activities.
> Yep, the wrapper can already be used locally in activities, see
Bibliography activity [1] and physics activity [2].

However, I do believe that the fact that activities are using a wrapper
doesn't stop up from also having it in sugar3.  As you noted, it is
repeated code in activities.  It is easier to change the sugar3 code later
as needed than to change the wrapper code in every activity.  Therefore, I
believe that we should have a try/except clause to preference the sugar3
wrapper, but fallback to the local one.

> *Other improvements that we could land now:*
>    1. Give more flexibility to activities to use file transfer channels
>    without having the shell messing with them. [3]
> As a note, the wrapper makes heavy use of file transfers (eg. for init)
currently.  This does result in shell notifications on older Sugars,
although the activities can still collaborate.

Good write up by the way.


[1] https://github.com/samdroid-apps/bibliography-activity/tree/collab
[2] https://github.com/walterbender/physics/pull/10

> *Conclusions:*
> If we don't do something about this, next Sugar releases will still be
> broken for collaboration, for more scenarios than necessary.
> Let me know what you guys think,
> Martin.
> *Refs:*
> [1] https://github.com/sugarlabs/sugar-toolkit-gtk3/pull/270
> [2]
> https://github.com/tchx84/sugar-toolkit-gtk3/commit/bed0ac5f4259ff1669323db26acb27f5d9c8ed1f
> [3] https://github.com/sugarlabs/sugar/pull/621
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