Archive/Current Events/2009-07-28

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Sugar Digest

1. There were some remarks made about Sugar by Nicholas Negroponte in ZDNET earlier this week that have caused a stir in the community. It is remarkable (to me) that there is still such confusion between operating systems (GNU/Linux) and user interfaces (Sugar) even in the minds of industry insiders. Rather than revisiting the SlashDot debate or the discussion on, I refer you to an article that María del Pilar Sáenz R. has written on Sugar and the use of Free Software.

I also recall one of my early experiences working with Nicholas in the 1970s. At the time, there was no widespread use of personal computers; at MIT, we mostly worked on the MULTICS (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) time-sharing operating system. Various labs had expensive computers, often leased or purchased as part of a government research grant; they took great care to monitor computer usage--every cycle was accounted for so that the appropriate research account could be billed. There was one lab on campus which did not monitor computer usage, the Architecture Machine Group. As I understood it, Nicholas did not think that charging for computer time was sympathetic with its creative use. As a consequence, anyone at MIT who had an idea that they wanted to explore would hang out at ArcMac. Then as now, access and freedom to explore and express lead to a vibrant, inventive learning community.

2. In the wow category, from Alan Kay: "Two girls, ages 8 and 4 win programming contest in Singapore. Using that oddly unused in IAEP resource [Etoys] that just happens to be part of the Sugar distro."

Help wanted

3. I put out a call for help with our Election Committee a few weeks ago. We need to hold an election for the Oversight Board in August. So far, I have gotten no volunteers. It is not appropriate that I run the election, as I am a member of the Board. It is not a lot of work, but it should be done by a community member.

If you are interested in being a candidate, please add your name to the list in the wiki.

In the community

4. Sebastian Dziallas, who has been active in the Fedora education SIG, is looking for testers for the Fedora POSSE Education remix. (POSSE is a Red Hat-sponsored summer program to introduce university professors to the FOSS way of software development.) The remix includes a ready-to-go development environment for contributing to educational projects and getting-started resources for contributing to a number of projects including Fedora, Mozilla, Sugar Labs, and KDE Education. It can be used by individuals or by teachers, students, and classrooms that want to contribute to FOSS projects as part of their course efforts.

Sugar Labs

5. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see SOM).