Archive/Current Events/2008-06-09

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Sugar Digest

1. Software Freedom Conservancy: Sugar Labs is entering discussions with the Software Freedom Conservancy (Please see If we are accepted into the Conservancy, we'd join projects such as Inkscape, Samba, and Wine. The Conservancy provides member projects with free financial and administrative services, but does not involve itself with technological and artistic decisions.

2. Governance: We will be gathering in Milan at the end of the month of June to discuss, among other things, possible models of governance for Sugar Labs. More details will follow soon.

3. Linux Foundation: Walter Bender and Jim Zemlin (Executive Director of the Linux Foundation) met to discuss ways in which we could work together. The Linux Foundation "hosts collaboration events among the Linux technical community, application developers, industry, and end users", manages a "Technical Fellowships Fund" to ensure key projects get accomplished, and helps promote Linux regionally. Obviously lots of synergy with the Sugar Labs mission!

4. UMPC abundance: The success of the OLPC XO and the ASUS Eee PC seems to have attracted the attention of the industry: it has been a busy week in the world of ultra-mobile PCs. Dell (See, Acer (See, Wizbook (, Elonix (See, and Kanguru (See were all making headlines. Each of these machines represents yet another potential platform for running Sugar.

Community jams and meetups

5. PyOhio: Catherine Devlin is helping to organize a regional miniconference on Python programming Saturday, July 26, in Columbus, Ohio (Please see Ralph Hyre, a Sugar community organizer in Cincinnati, suggested that someone might be willing to present on Sugar (and OLPC project). It is just past the date for their "call for proposals", but they may be willing to accept a late submission. (Please email Mat Kovach <> or call at 216-798-3397.)

Tech Talk

6. Sugar tip of the week: How to install activities. There a several ways to manually install new activities in Sugar: (A) You can use xo-get from the Terminal activity (See for the details). Find activities by typing:

./ list

Install activities by typing:

./ install <activity-name>


./ install simcity


./ install /media/<USB stick name>/simcity.xo

(B) You can also install pre-bundled activities from the Terminal activity or, if you have an XO laptop, from a customization key (See

./sugar-install-bundle /media/<USB stick name>/<Activity name.xo>

(C) You can install activities from the browser, either over the internet or from USB (See for details):

a. open the Browse Activity
b. point it to an activity bundle, e.g., or file:///media/<USB stick name>/Scratch-5.xo
c. When the download is complete, a journal entry will have been created. "Resume" the activity from the journal. Hence forth, it will appear in the list of installed activities.

7. SocialCalc: Dan Bricklin has been hard at work on the base SocialCalc code. In the next few weeks he hopes to have a new build for availale. It will include a new tab with "Settings" that shows all of the attributes of the current cell and sheet; it provides access to all of the formatting options, including custom formats and colors, padding, fonts, etc. Also, it should be better suited for localization in that it will have a single Constants file with pretty much all of the customizable values for the spreadsheet engine (but not the UI above the sheet yet). At the point of this new release, Dan thinks we should have something very useful for people to try.

8. Metacity: Sayamindu Dasgupta has been experimenting with replacing Matchbox with a Metacity as the window manager that runs behind Sugar. Despite the fact that the Sugar UI is different from a standard desktop, it is almost completely implemented using standard window manager hints and properties, thus a move to a more compliant window manager will make it possible to run standard desktop applications directly within Sugar (Please follow the discussion at

A RPM of Sayamindu's patch is available for download (, however, he warns that you should *not* install this patch on your standard desktop machine yet. Things which have not been resolved yet include: (1) Some activities tend to go into full screen mode automatically; (2) Activity switching does not work yet; (3) Some palettes and windows are placed incorrectly; (4) The mouse cursor theme switches back to the normal (default??) one; and (5) Memory usage with compositing enabled is high.

9. Rainbow: Michael Stone released rainbow-0.7.13 with a fix for

  1. 6989, a problem that was interfering with the launching of the Browse


10. Automated testing: Michael has offered Xen hosting for Sugar Labs' automated testing efforts. (Xen is a FOSS standard for virtualization—please see for details.)

11. Wikipedia activity: Chris Ball has made the first release of the Wikipedia activity, which contains a 30,000 article offline snapshot of the Spanish Wikipedia with 3,000 images. The activity is based on code from Patrick Collison's "wikipedia-iphone" project; this version was mostly developed by community volunteers: thanks to Wade Brainerd (porting from the wikipedia-iphone code to a Python activity, fixing parser bugs), Ben Schwartz (image download and scaling, bug-fixing) and Madeleine Ball (algorithms for article and image selection). Please see and for the download and more details.

12. Chat: Morgan Collett worked on private invites for Chat, although his final testing was blocked by a palette problem in Sugar. Morgan has also filed a patch for Ticket #5767 that uses black text on light fill colors to improve legibility.

13. Browse: Tomeu Visozo has added some more palette options to content in Browse, including copy, paste, undo, redo commands to the Browse toolbar. (Tomeu also fixed a problem with activity order in the activity list and shell.)

14. Icons: Scott Ananian has added a bit of functionality to his (still incomplete) icon-draw-activity; it is on the path to becoming a complete "convert SVGs into proper Sugar icons" tool. (Please see for details.) Scott also filed bugs with improved icons for scratch (#7140), gcompris (#7138), paint (#7139), turtle art (#6836), and wikibrowse.

Sugar Labs

15. LinuxTag: Simon reports that Members of the Sugar community (Please see met this weekend at the Linuxtag 2008 ( in Berlin. Besides meeting people in person and the usual putting faces to names, they discussed the current situation of Sugar: hot topics Sugar on multiple platforms and the structure Sugar Labs.

Thanks to OLPC Germany and especially to Holger Levsen, there was also an opportunity to give an introduction to Sugar to the winners of an Idea Contest (Start?action=AttachFile&do=view&target=LinuxTag-2008-OLPC-Deutschland-Developers.jpg). Robert Krahn gave a tutorial about using Squeak on the XO and Wolfgang Rohrmoser handed out a XO-Live CD ( to people who were interested in trying out Sugar on their machines.

16. SOM: Gary Martin has prepared this weeks SOM of the list (Please see Organization and governance seem to be hot topics (The list archive can be found at

17. Wiki: David Farning has been very busy organizing the Sugar Labs wiki. His focus has been on building a framework to support teams within the community:

  • Accessibilty Team - Responsible for accessibility issues within Sugar.
  • BugSquad - Responsible for locating and fixing bugs.
  • Build Team - Responsible for creating daily and release builds.
  • Development Team - Responsible for Developing the software modules

within Sugar.

  • Documentation Team - Responsible for writing both user and technical


  • Education Team - Responsible for setting the Educational goals for

the sugar Community.

  • Marketing Team - Responsible for marketing the Sugar brand and product.
  • Development Team/Release - Responsible for shipping the current release and

planning for up coming releases.

  • Sugar Labs - Responsible for governance and fund raising.
  • Wiki Team/Translation - Responsible for the translation needs of the community.
  • Design Team - Responsible for the User interface.
  • Wiki Team - Responsible for the Sugar Labs wiki.

The community portal ( has a link to each teams' section within the wiki.