Archive/Current Events/2009-12-15

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Sugar Digest

1. Of course the big news this week is the launch of Sugar on a Stick V2 (Blueberry). Sebastian Dziallas has done a great job of synthesizing the joint efforts of the Sugar (0.86) and Fedora (F12) communities. The new release is a huge improvement over Strawberry (our beta from last spring.) Sean Daly and the marketing team have done an outstanding job of getting the word out. There has been far-reaching coverage of the release in the press—all quite favorable. Congratulations to the Sugar Community for a great effort and wonderful results.

2. I gave the keynote at the Netbook World Summit in Paris on Tuesday, where I used the occasion to formally announce the Blueberry release. This is the second year of the Summit; it is a relatively small event—about 200 attendees—but very well representative of the netbook industry, which is dominated by the European market. While I mostly discussed Sugar, it behooved me to talk a bit about the netbook industry as a whole. I picked up on a theme from my talk last year: "culture war". Last year, I described the advantage that the netbook had over the smart phone because it was free from the restrictions placed on it by service providers (a polite term for phone companies). I predicted an explosion of innovation in the netbook market and a homogenization of the smart-phone market. Boy was I ever wrong. Netbooks, for the most part, all look the same and all offer the same functionality (Litl being a notable exception). Meanwhile, Apple and Google have turned the smart-phone industry on its head. How many "apps" are in the Apple store this week? The key in my mind was that the netbook industry has aligned itself more closely with "software as a service" proponents such as Microsoft while control of the smart phone has been wrestled away from the service providers—the consumer is (at least to some extent) the driver of change (See the discussion of the caveats associated with the "there's an app for that" culture in an earlier posting). So my challenge to the netbook community was to invest in empowerment of the consumer to be a creator. The form factor of the netbook not only makes it better suited for netbooks than a smart-phone, but also better suited for almost any creative or expressive task. We learn through doing and the netbook can be a platform for doing.

3. In a related topic, there has been a discussion on the devel list about packaging. I've argued that perhaps we are not friendly enough to new (children) developers and that we should offer more on-ramps if we really want to spread the culture of doing and sharing.

4. Another interesting discussion—prompted by the inclusion of some ebooks in the Blueberry release—has been on the topic copyright. What licenses would be appropriate for material included in a Sugar release. Is the commercial vs non-commercial (NC) distinction important? Or is the most important distinction between share-alike (SA) and non derivatives (ND)? We had a good discussion on the topic at last week's oversight board meeting (See the minutes) and will (hopefully) wrap up the discussion at this week's meeting. Please join us at 15 UTC (10 EST) on Friday, 11 December, in #sugar-meeting on irc.freenode.net.

In the community

5. It is not too late to participate in this week's Squeakland Book Sprint to create a Reference Manual for Etoys. You can find more information at http://wiki.squeakland.org/display/sq/Book+Sprint.

6. Steven Parrish has blogged about Sugar at FUDCon, the Fedora User and Developer Conference held this past weekend in Toronto. These opportunities for face-to-face meeting are important.

I met Sebastian Dziallas of "Sugar on a Stick" fame. Bernie Innocenti and Peter Robinson who are both volunteers for Sugar Labs. We spent some time talking Sugar and plans to evolve Sebastian's SOAS and my "Fedora for the XO-1" projects from Fedora Remixes to actual Spins and the work that will be involved in doing so. Sebastian and I also gave a joint talk during BarCamp on both of the aforementioned projects.

7. Tomeu Vizoso has been representing Sugar Labs at Ceibal 09 in Uruguay. At this annual gathering of OLPC participants, Tomeu has had an opportunity to interact with both engineers and teachers. Expect details in his blog. Meanwhile, for those of you who speak Spanish, you may want to read Gonzalo Odiard's post to the Sur list. As Gabriel Eirea notes in a reply to Gonzalo, "[that] Tomeu be invited to this event and stay working a few days represents a significant [positive] change" in the Ceibal attitude towards the community.

Help Wanted

8. Speaking of blogs, we are looking for someone who would want to take over management of Sugar Planet and to help it further flourish; we could use a new CSS and HTML templates, improved editorial controls, new writers, etc.

Tech Talk

9. As mentioned above, Steven Parrish has been making steady progress on F11 for the OLPC XO-1.0 laptop. This effort is key to being able to run the more recent (0.84 or 0.86) versions of Sugar in Peru and Uruguay. Any help you can offer Steven (including testing) would be greatly appreciated.

Sugar Labs

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