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What is Sugar?

Sugar is an educational software platform built with the Python programming language and based on the principles of cognitive and social constructivism. See What is Sugar?.

Who is doing Sugar development?

Sugar is a community project where all work is done by volunteers. You can get an idea of the people involved from the Development Team/Release/Modules page.

Does Sugar support Android?

Not at this time, although there are some developers working to change that situation. See this mailing list thread.

What makes Sugar different from other educational software platforms?

The Sugar interface, in its departure from the desktop metaphor for computing, is the first serious attempt to create a user interface that is based on both cognitive and social constructivism: learners should engage in authentic exploration and collaboration. It is based on three very simple principles about what makes us human: (1) everyone is a teacher and a learner; (2) humans by their nature are social beings; and (3) humans by their nature are expressive. These are the pillars of a user experience for learning.
Sugar also considers two aphorisms: (1) you learn through doing, so if you want more learning, you want more doing; and (2) love is a better master than duty—you want people to engage in things that are authentic to them, things that they love.
The presence of other people is inherent to the Sugar interface: collaboration is a first-order experience. Students and teachers engage in a dialog with each other, support each other, critique each other, and share ideas.
Sugar is also discoverable: it can accommodate a wide variety of users, with different levels of skill in terms of reading, language, and different levels of experience with computing. It is easy to approach, and yet it doesn't put an upper bound on personal expression; one can peel away layers and go deeper and deeper, with few restrictions.
Sugar is based on Python, an interpreted language, allowing the direct appropriation of ideas: in whatever realm the learner is exploring—music, browsing, reading, writing, programming, graphics, etc.—they are able to drill deeper; they are not going to hit a wall, since they can, at every level, engage in debugging both their personal expression and the very tools that they use for that expression.

Using Sugar

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Who can use Sugar and how do they benefit?

Sugar is a free software project, freely available to anyone who wants to use it or improve upon it.
The Sugar platform was designed for young children (K–6), but it is finding applicability in a number of different venues where the simplicity of design maps is an enabler, e.g., mobile applications, the elderly, etc.
Why Sugar? Sugar will engage even the youngest learner in the use of computation as a powerful "thing to think with." They will quickly become proficient in using the computer as a tool to engage in authentic problem-solving. Sugar users develop skills that help them in all aspects of life.
  • Sugar comes with hundreds of tools for discovery through exploring, expressing, and sharing: browsing, writing, rich media, etc.
  • Sugar comes with a built-in collaboration system: peer-to-peer learning; always-on support; and single-click sharing.
  • Sugar comes with built-in tools for reflection; a built-in portfolio assessment tool that serves as a forum for discussion between children, their parents, and their teachers.
  • The Sugar learning platform is discoverable: it uses simple means to reach to complex ends with no upper bound on where you can reach.
  • Sugar is designed for local appropriation: it has built-in tools for making changes and improvements and a growing global community of support.
  • Sugar puts an emphasis on learning through doing and debugging: more engaged learners are to tackle authentic problems.
  • Sugar is available in a wide variety of forms: as part of GNU/Linux distributions; LiveUSB/CD; and in virtual machines or emulation.
There is a further summary of the Sugar benefits here.

How can I get online with the Live USB/CD, and what can I do then?

The Live USB device must be inserted into a USB port on your computer, the Live CD must be in your CD-ROM or DVD drive, when you start your computer, and your BIOS settings should be set to first look for an operating system there on the USB or CD-ROM device. If the settings are okay, the Live USB/CD will boot.
After a little while, you will be prompted for a name and you will get to choose the colour of your avatar. This is a small X, like the arms and legs of a human, with an O as the head above the X. This is "you".
Wait a little longer, and you will see "yourself" in the middle of the screen. Just below "you", is your journal, where everything you do is recorded.
In the top left corner of the Frame is a circle of smaller circles. This is your Neighbourhood-circle. At the moment, only nearby wireless access points are visible as small coloured circles - more colour inside means better signal strength. Let your mouse pointer hover above a circle to see the name of the wireless network. A small padlock means you need to supply a username and password to access the network. Click the circle you would like to access. It should be a wireless network you know will grant you Internet access once you are connected. If the network is protected with a padlock, you will be prompted for a valid username and password at this point, so give these and click the OK-button. If everything is okay, you are now connected.
You should soon see many small avatars like your own in your neighbourhood. Hover your mouse pointer above them to see what they are called.
In the top left corner next to the Neighbourhood-circle, is your Friends-circle. You don't have any Sugar-friends at the moment, so this will be empty. Next to the Friends-circle is a circle with a single dot - that's right - it means you. Click the You-circle, and you will get back to you and your activities.
Surrounding your avatar on the Home screen are many activities, so click the one that looks like a cartoon talk bubble to start the Chat-activity or some other activity - like the Paint-activity or the Calculator-activity. After a little while, the new activity opens. In the top right corner of all activities is a small menu, which says "Share with:". Click this to unfold the options, and choose Neighbourhood by clicking on it.
Click the Neighbourhood-circle again, and you will notice that the activity is now visible to everyone in your neighbourhood. If you hover your mouse button over an activity in your neighbourhood, a small menu will unfold where you may choose to join the activity by selecting "Join" from the activity's menu. Remember, your neighbourhood is the entire world! People in other parts of the world may be working or sleeping when you start sharing your activities, so be patient - it might be many hours before anyone is available for a chat. Enjoy! :-)

Does Sugar run on {GNU/Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, SUSE, MAC OS, Windows, etc.}?

Please refer to the Supported systems page for an up-to-date list of supported systems.

Is there an image of the OS that can be run on a PC?

You can download a Live USB image at Sugar on a Stick and a Live CD version of Sugar at, or run Sugar natively on a supported system. (The language can be set from the Sugar-control-panel or My Settings link on the avatar panel.)

Does Sugar run on an ASUS Eee PC (or other "ultra-mobile" or "mini" PCs)?

Yes. If it can run GNU/Linux and GNOME, it can run Sugar. Try Sugar on a Stick as a way to get started, but you should be able install it natively as well.

Is it possible to have mesh support with the Live USB/CD ?

Q: If I understand this correctly, mesh support means your wireless card functions as both an access point/router and a network node. In short, your wireless computer can pass along packages from nearby wireless computers and the other way round. Do you need special wireless cards for this, or is this a driver/software issue that could be fixed in the Live CD, so that more people can experience mesh networks?

A: Yes, it will be possible to have mesh support with the Live CD shortly, provided you have a suitable wireless card.
open80211s is an open-source implementation of the emerging IEEE 802.11s wireless mesh standard. It has been accepted in the mainline Linux kernel and is included in release 2.6.26. The resulting software will run on GNU/Linux on commodity PC hardware.
Open80211s is based on the mac80211 wireless stack and should run on any of the wireless cards that mac80211 supports. At present, September 2008, four families of drivers are supported or partially supported. The ath5k driver supports Atheros WLAN based chipsets, the b43 driver supports the 802.11 B/G family of wireless chips Broadcom produces, libertas_tf supports the Marvell 88W83886 USB device as found in the OLPC XO-1 laptop, and the zd1211rw driver covers a large proportion of USB-wireless devices on the consumer market as these are based on the ZyDAS ZD1211. Several months after the acquisition, Atheros rebranded the ZyDAS ZD1211 chip to AR5007UG.

Sugar Labs

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What is Sugar Labs?

Sugar Labs, a non-profit foundation, serves as a support base and gathering place for the community of educators and software developers who want to extend the Sugar platform and who have been creating Sugar-compatible applications.

What is the mission of Sugar Labs?

The overarching mission of Sugar Labs is to support the Sugar platform through software development, and community outreach and support. The purpose of the Sugar platform is provide a software and content environment that enhances learning. Towards this end, Sugar is designed to facilitate learners to “explore, express, debug, and critique.”

What are the principles that guide Sugar Labs?

Sugar Labs subscribes to principle that learning thrives within a culture of freedom of expression, hence it has a natural affinity with the free software movement (Please see Principles page in this wiki for more details). The core Sugar platform has been developed under a GNU General Public License (GPL); individual activities may be under different licenses.

What is the relationship of Sugar Labs to One Laptop per Child?

Sugar was originally developed as the user interface (UI) for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) XO-1 laptop. Sugar Labs was established as an independent entity in order to facilitate the growth of Sugar beyond any single hardware platform. While Sugar Labs has a cooperative working relationship with OLPC, it is by no means an exclusive or proprietary relationship. Sugar Labs is not bound to any specific hardware platform or Linux distribution (Please see Supported systems).
Sugar Labs is the upstream community for the Sugar project. Sugar Labs welcomes a close working relationship with OLPC. Sugar Labs also welcomes cooperation with other laptop and computer manufacturers and software and content providers.
OLPC and Sugar Labs are not diverging, we are on the same page; we are both hoping to fund and support Sugar so that we can continue to provide the best learning experience for children. The Sugar Labs initiative is consistent with taking Sugar to the next level; this is not inconsistent with what OLPC is doing. Any help from outside or inside OLPC should help establish Sugar as a more stable and better product.

Who is upstream for Sugar?

Sugar Labs is the upstream for the Sugar project.

Who is Sugar Labs?

Sugar is a community project, so it is the sum of those of you who participate. Sugar Labs was started by some Sugar-community members: Walter Bender, Christoph Derndorfer, Bert Freudenberg, Marco Pesenti Gritti, Bernardo Innocenti, Aaron Kaplan, Simon Schampijer, and Tomeu Vizoso. We have rules of governance that have been vetted by a process of public discussion.

How do I get involved?

Please see the Getting Involved page in this wiki.

How do I learn more about Sugar Labs?

Check out the following additional FAQs, and join the IAEP mailing list and ask us about anything related to the project that isn't related to code.