1. In a conversation last night with Ivan Krstić, when asked what was "new and exciting" about Sugar, my response was "nothing, which is a good thing". I then elaborated: Sugar is approaching a level of maturity where our milestones are stability and robustness rather than the introduction of "exciting" new features. This is evident in the 0.88 release—which has relatively few new user-facing features, but many advances in terms of "under-the-hood" improvements that will make long-term deployment and maintenance easier. (I don't mean to imply that Sugar is no longer an exciting project—the fact that we will soon surpass 2-million users is very exciting. And I find it thrilling to eavesdrop on the discussions by teachers regarding how they are using Sugar in advancing learning.)
You can help us reach our stability goal by testing, reporting bugs, and joining in our triage efforts. We will be having a triage session next Monday, 1 March 2010, at 9 EST (14 UTC) on irc.freenode.net (channel #sugar-meeting). Please join us as we review open tickets.
2. There is a nice compilation of recent academic papers on one-to-one computing (see papers). Gary Martin has generated some self-organizing map (SOM) images of the papers (see OLPC research). To me, the most interesting take-away is the observation that access to computing at home has a significant impact on learning. This is an affirmation of the OLPC principle of child ownership—all too often children are not allowed access to school computing resources outside of school hours—and it suggests that approaches such as Sugar on a Stick, which allows the learning platform to travel with the child from the classroom to home may be even more significant than we had realized.
In the community
3. Joy Ventura Riach, manager of the One Laptop per Child Africa Regional Center in Kigali, lead a learning discussion on IRC last week. It was great to hear something about what is happening on the ground in the various OLPC deployments. The discussion continues this Thursday, 25 February, at 10 EST (15 UTC) on www.oftc.net (channel #olpc-learning).
4. Marisa E. Conde, who is participating in the OLPC/Sugar deployment in San Martín, Argentina, shared an informational website to the Sur list (See ).
5. The GNOME Foundation has been invited to participate to the Idlelo conference in May in Ghana. This is one of the biggest free software events in Africa. Please contact me if you are interesting in representing Sugar at the meeting.
6. We could really use someone to take on the leadership role on testing. While we have some great testing resources and individuals in the community, having someone who is actively coordinating these efforts would make a huge difference. Please contact me or Simon Schampijer (erikos) if you are interested in such a role.
7. Aleksey Lim has created a Sugar 0.88-based ppa for Karmic Koala (Ubuntu 9.10). Instructions for using it can be found here: 0.88 on Karmic
8. Sebastian Dziallas has been compiling more complete documentation for Sugar on a Stick creation (See ).
9. Bryan Berry announced the Karma Lesson Template, a simple template for creating lessons for the XO and elsewhere (See ).
10. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2010-Feb-13-19-som.jpg).