Archive/Current Events/2009-09-16

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Sugar Digest

1. During yesterday's developer meeting on IRC we spontaneously declared that Aleksey Lim (alsroot) is Sugar Labs "Volunteer of the Month". Some quotes from Aleksey's peers: "Now that we have alsroot fixing bugs, maybe we don't need any other people"; "We passed a tipping point a few days back when alsroot was fixing faster than I was able to report them." Many kudos to Aleksey!!

2. There has been a great deal of negative press about One Laptop per Child of late—much of it based on misinformation and poor fact-checking. I decided to respond to one blog, a particularly disheartening one by Alanna Shaikh on a UN Foundation-sponsored site:

I am writing in response to Alanna Shaikh's 9/9/09 article, "One Laptop Per Child - The Dream is Over".
Not only is the dream not over, the OLPC project has created an opportunity for the pursuit of more dreams by many more people.
I was Nicholas Negroponte's partner in founding One Laptop per Child. As Nicholas has elegantly stated in his response to Ms. Shaikh's blog, we spawned the netbook market, which is bringing the price of computing within reach of millions more people. In addition, we launch a free software initiative, Sugar Labs, that is putting educational software into the hands of children.
Sugar Labs (www.sugarlabs.org) is an independent outgrowth of OLPC. We are a global community of volunteers—teachers and software developers—whose mission is to bring the advantages of the Sugar learning platform to children everywhere, on any computer. Sugar was designed specially for children and offers a better alternative for young learners than traditional “office-desktop” software. Indeed, nothing in our children's future has anything to do with office work from 30 years ago.
Ms. Shaikh is mistaken in her assertion that OLPC has abandoned “the special child-friendly OS.” More than 99% of the OLPC laptops in the hands of children run Sugar. Governments prefer Sugar because of its superior quality, openness, built-in collaboration, easy internationalization and localization to indigenous languages, and unbeatable price (free).
Sugar on a Stick, our latest initiative, allows children fortunate enough to have access to a computer at school, in the community, at home (or only the occasional access to a computer in an Internet café) to benefit from Sugar with a simple USB stick, which costs less than US $5. Sugar on a Stick runs on netbooks, but it also runs on hand-me-down computers, typical of those found in schools, that can only limp along running Windows.
We invite you to contact us as we will be pleased to answer any of your questions about Sugar, the free learning platform used in schools every day in countries around the world.

3. We will be holding the Oversight Board election this month. Details to follow soon.

Help wanted

4. Simon Schampijer (erikos), the Sugar Release Manager, has put out a request for help with our pending 0.86 release. We are looking for someone to lead a triaging crew. Duties would include: organizing daily—or every second day—meetings for triaging bugs with the Bug Squad. It mainly involves being responsive to incoming bugs. Read more about the Bug Squad in the wiki. Simon is happy to answer any questions.

Simon is also looking for help with testing. We need testing plans for each new feature that landed in 0.86. We are looking for someone or a group of people to arrange the testing plans (many of which are contained in Trac tickets) on a wiki page so that testers can test them.

Once we have the 0.86 packages in the distributions, we will announce it on the mailing list. You are welcome to report bugs you find in our bug tracker. Of course we welcome any efforts to form testing teams and/or to arrange for testing days. Please use the mailing list to coordinate those efforts, so that as many people as possible can join in the fun.

In the community

5. The Uruguay National Public Education Administration Council of Early Childhood Education and Primary Public Relations announced a contest, "Uruguay of Ideas" directed towards school students and teachers to blogs about ideas for Plan Ceibal, the Uruguay OLPC/Sugar deployment.

6. There will be a Sugar/OLPC meeting in Buenos Aires on Saturday, 26 September. It will be held at the headquarters of the American Open University, Montes de Oca 745 from 9:00 to 13:00.

Tech Talk

7. Bill Bogstad has been working on a floppy boot disk for Sugar on a Stick. See http://people.sugarlabs.org/~bogstad/floppy/ for more details.

8. Simon and the release team continue to make great progress towards the release of Sugar 0.86. Some of the new features—e.g., the new toolbars—are brilliant. 0.86 will be a great step forward for Sugar.

Sugar Labs

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