1. I have fallen way behind in my blogging about Sugar Labs: the combination of too much travel and too much time consumed with repairing my house from flood damage has taken its toll. I'll try to touch on a medley of topics today, referring to various email threads on the lists for more details. (Also, the 'o' key on my keyboard has become flaky—please forgive me any typs.)
Perhaps the most exciting news over the past few weeks has been the numerous announcements about One Laptop per Child programs sprouting up around the world. There was an announcement of a significant program in the Middle East; an initiative in East Africa; and when I heard him speak in Miami last week, the president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, spoke about one laptop per child as a legacy he wants to leave for his country. In every case, these are Sugar-based initiatives. It is invigorating to see this steady increase in the application of our efforts to provide great learning opportunities for children. (Kudos to Sean Daly and the Marketing Team for their efforts in getting the word out.)
The Sugar-on-a-Stick team is very close to releasing Mirabelle, which is based on Fedora 13 and Sugar 0.88. It is an exciting release because it is both a great effort in terms of content and process. There has been a productive dialog between the packaging team, the developers, testers, and the user community; as a result, we are converging on a more sustainable process and we are better meeting the needs of our users. Many thanks, especially to Peter Robinson, Tom Gilliard, Caryl Bigenho, Mel Chua, James Cameron, Frederick Grose, and Sebastian Dziallas.
The Paraguay team is wrapping up their work on porting Fedora 11/Sugar 0.84 to the XO 1.0 hardware. This is important because it will allow deployments to migrate their installed base of machines to the same system being deployed on the XO 1.5 machines, making the overall support and maintenance problem more tractable. The team has also backported a number of bug fixes and features, such as 3G support, needed by deployments. It is a great example of downstream working with upstream.
2. Dogi (Stefan Unterhauser), Adam Holt, and I were in Rochester, New York this week for a series of events at RIT: the OLPC Users Group Meeting; the Dean's Lecture Series (I talked about why learning is so important; video); and the Imagine RIT Innovation Festival. Our host was Stephen Jacobs. We spent some quality time with his students, whom are in project teams, developing two Sugar Activities: OVC (a video chat system being developed in collaboration with the National Institute for the Deaf), and Fortune Hunter, an adventure game geared towards 4th Grade mathematics. The great thing about the program at RIT is the way in which the student projects are being integrated into the global Sugar initative. I've asked Steve to share his "secret sauce" with other universities so that the model can spread.
One concrete outcome of the visit is the establishment of a Sugar "Story Team". Remy D of the RIT Storytelling Team has volunteered to lead the effort. Another tangible outcome is that three of the servers donated to Sugar Labs from the Wikipedia Foundation have a new home at RIT. Dogi worked with Steve's students to bring them up to speed on how to maintain the servers.
3. The Sugar Oversight Board had an opportunity to meet face to face, along with about 10 community members whom happened to be in the Cambridge area. In addition to breaking bread together, we discovered that we had consensus regarding the on-going trademark debate. We'll be discussing and voting on the final wording of the policy next time we meet in IRC and will be summarizing (a) how the decision was made; (b) why it was made; (c) what alternatives were considered; (d) how it fits in with the Sugar Labs mission; (e) how it impacts Sugar; and (f) how it impacts the Sugar community. Stay tuned.
4. There has been a renewed and intense discussion about maintenance over the past few weeks. (The topic is an important one both to Sugar Labs and our downstream partners.) Our developer and release teams have been striving towards a set of well-documented procedures for making Sugar a project "with continuity, with an adequate progression in stability and new features and with a development process that gives them some control." You can follow the latest thread of the discussion here.
5. We are seeking to revitalize the deployment team and as a consequence, we are seeking community leaders who can play a role in organizing meetings on a regular basis. It is not necessary to be fluent in all of the issues, rather, we need someone who will help shepard the various parties into discussion once every few weeks. This is a critical, missing piece of our strategy to keep open the channels of communication between Sugar Labs and its upstream and downstream partners.
In the community
6. There have been regular meetings of the OLPC Learning Team on irc.mibbit.net channel #olpc-learning led by Joy Riach. The meetings are held on Thursdays at 10 AM EST (14 UTC) and are conducted in both English and Spanish. (Summaries of past meetings will be posted—I'll report the details when they are available.)
8. The Infrastructure Team is in the process of migrating some services to some new hardware. We should expect some brief downtime and better long-term stability as a result.
Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list.
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