Documentation Team/User Manual

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It is preserved for historical research, along with its talk page.

This page serves as a historical reference until it is restructured by a new Documentation Team. (Volunteers needed.)

The Sugar user manual

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Sugarlabs mainpage 07.png available as: HTML.gif or PDF.PNG 128 pages, 8.3 MBytes (for saving or printing).

The manual needs to be updated to include information regarding Sugar-on-a-Stick.

How To Use Sugar

Using the Interface

Where's the desktop?

Sugar is a different desktop environment to what is normally used in Windows, Apple's OS X or other Linux operating systems. One of the first things that a child sees, therefore, is not a hard disk or a trash can—it’s the other children in the “neighborhood.” Sugar's closest desktop metaphor is the Home view: where the user can see what Activities they are currently using and access the Journal, which acts as a history of usage and allows the user to access files they viewed or applications they ran previously.

Using Activities

What is an Activity?

The program that you run using Sugar are called Activities. Why? Because Sugar, 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: an environment where learners engage in authentic exploration and collaboration in the act of learning.

Starting an Activity

Sharing an Activity

The interface (.85) doesn't show who is an activity until you join it. Apparently, once you join you can also destroy whatever work was there and the owner/starter of the activity would be none the wiser.

versioning for the activity?
control over who has access?

Here's a video showing the sharing activity in action.

Installing and Deleting Activities

    • Installing Sugar Activities Using Browse
    • Installing/Removing Sugar Activities Using Terminal
    • Installing/Removing Linux Applications
    • Installing an .xo file
    • Installing Sugar Coated Linux Applications
    • Windows Applications

Customizing the Interface

Changing an XO's Nickname and Color on Sugar Views

    Your XO's Nickname and other options can be changed using the OLPC:Terminal Activity's command line OLPC:Sugar Control Panel.

Changing the "XO Guy"

To change the XO Guy, the symbol in the middle of the Home view (with applications opening around him/her), you have to follow a few steps:

  • Create An Icon - You first have to make an icon image and save it as an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file with the name computer-xo.svg. Probably on your Mac or Windows machine. There are instructions on how to do this on the OLPC wiki.
  • Transfer It To Your Computer - Copy computer-xo.svg to a USB or SD card and plug it into your OLPC or computer.
  • Install it - Open Terminal and type the following commands to back-up the original icon and copy your new icon into the correct location:
su -l
cp /usr/share/icons/sugar/scalable/device/computer-xo.svg /usr/share/icons/sugar/scalable/device/computer-xo.svg.bak
cp /media/<your usb or sd>/computer-xo.svg /usr/share/icons/sugar/scalable/device/computer-xo.svg
  • Now close terminal and press Ctrl,Alt,Erase.

Example of modified icon:


Restoring Icon To Original

To restore computer-xo.svg back to the original, open terminal and type:

su -l
cp /usr/share/icons/sugar/scalable/device/computer-xo.svg.bak /usr/share/icons/sugar/scalable/device/computer-xo.svg
rm /usr/share/icons/sugar/scalable/device/computer-xo.svg.bak


Setting the Clock and Timezone

You may set the date and time as follows:

  1. Connect to the Internet. (For details, see Documentation Team/User Manual/Connecting to the Internet)
  2. Open a Linux prompt. (For details, see How do I access a Linux command prompt? Note that unless you are an advanced user, you should use the Terminal Activity button to open the prompt.)
  3. Log in as "root". Assuming you are using the Terminal Activity program, you can log in as root by typing "su -" at the command prompt and pressing the Enter key. Note that as user "root" you have the ability to destroy all software on the XO, so you should end your session as soon as you successfully change the date and time.
  4. At the command prompt, enter the following commands:
    /usr/sbin/hwclock --systohc
  5. Press the Enter key after each. In response to the ntpdate command, if it successfully contacts this US government official time server, the system will output a line of data displaying the correct date and time.
  6. Click the "Stop" icon OLPC::Image:Quit.gif at the upper right corner of the screen to log out and close the Terminal Activity program.

How to set the timezone on my laptop

You can set the timezone by typing the OLPC:Sugar Control Panel command in the OLPC:Terminal Activity.

Sound Control

    Disabling the bootup sound

    Turn the volume down while the laptop is booting (i.e. before getting into Sugar).

Taking Screen Shots

To take a screen shot, typing Alt+1 at the same time will take one and store it in your journal.

Networking & Communications

Connecting to Wireless Networks

To some degree, networking is specific to the platform upon which Sugar is running.

    On the XO-1 laptop, there are three ways to connect to the Internet:
    • Wireless access point (Wi-Fi hotspot);
    • “School Server” mesh network; or
    • “simple” mesh network, which lets you collaborate directly with other XOs.

Read Connecting to the Internet for detailed instructions.

Connecting to Jabber Servers

Jabber servers allow Sugar users to interact, play and collaborate with each other in the Sugar environment.

While the OLPC is designed with mesh wireless networking built in (where users can connect to each other without having a central wireless internet router/connection), Sugar users around the world may not be able to connect with others using the platform unless it's through the Internet, since mesh networking relies on a concentration of users (for example, in a classroom, school or business environment).

Jabber networks link Sugar users to each other in order to chat, interact and collaborate. There are global Sugar Jabber networks, or regional ones hosted by organizations and individuals around the world. You can choose whichever Jabber network you wish to connect to. Connecting Sugar to one of these networks will greatly enhance your Sugar experience.

IRC Chat

Install the XoIRC activity and connect with other Sugar/OLPC users and enthusiasts on the internet and chat with them in real time. XoIRC uses a system called IRC.

It defaults to a "room" called #olpc-help, but you can also enter other rooms by typing /join #room where room is the name of the room you wish to join.

Some other Sugar/OLPC IRC chatrooms are listed here.

OLPC/Sugar as Webserver

  • Open Terminal and type the following to install Boa (approx. 100k)
su -
yum -y install boa
  • Now put your index.html in /var/www
  • Find your Sugar Computer/XO's IP Address. Still as root user (having entered su- already), enter into Terminal:
  • Look next to eth0 for 192.168.whatever (for example)
  • Go to another machine on your LAN and type your Sugar Computer/XO's IP Address into your browser. There's your Sugar computer serving up a web page!

Installing Sugar

Developing For Sugar

See also