Platform Team/Guide/Sweets Usage

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This guide describes how to use Sugar Labs' Packaging Management System. See also introduction page and Packaging guide.


Required packages

First, install PackageKit related packages. The following command will also install Polkit authentication agent for Gnome sessions (if you start sugar emulator from Gnome Desktop Environment).

Important notes for XO users:
Some XO images might mount /var/cache/yum to the tmpfs. With this limited cache capacity, it will be mostly impossible to install anything of large size from the Fedora repositories. To work around this limitation, become a root user and enter the umount /var/cache/yum command in the Terminal activity or a console. To persist this change for subsequent boots, remove the corresponding line from the /etc/fstab file.

Fedora specific instructions:

sudo yum install gnome-packagekit

Debian and Ubuntu (starting from 11.10) based distributions specific instructions:

sudo apt-get install gnome-packagekit

Ubuntu (before 11.10) based distributions specific instructions:

sudo apt-get install packagekit-gnome

After installing PackageKit, you need to restart the DBus system bus. The easiest way is to just restart the machine.


Enter in the Terminal activity, or any other terminal:


Relogin from X session to take into account the new PATH environment variable value.

Alternatively, sweets might be run from the sources.


Enter in the Terminal activity, or any other terminal:

sweets upgrade


Read the Sweets Glossary to understand the basic concept (and overview of the bigger picture). The rest of the text will operate with the following terms:

  • SWEET, the full interface URL, like, or the short one, like sdk/sugar;
  • COMMAND, sweet's command that indicates how to run a particular sweet; by default, sweets have only the run command, but it is possible to have several commands;
  • VERSION, sweet's version

See the Sugar via Sweets guide for real examples of how to use Sweets to run Sugar Shell.


To launch a sweet with verbatim passing of optional ARGUMENTS:

sweets <SWEET> [<ARGUMENTS>]

Sometimes sweets support several launching commands; it is possible to specify one during the launch:

sweets <SWEET>:<COMMAND>

To run a particular, but not the latest, version:

sweets <SWEET> =|>=|<= <VERSION>

To get the full list of available versions:

sweets status <SWEET> -v

To get information, e.g., a list of supported commands, about a sweet:

sweets show <SWEET>


After getting any unpredictable Sweets behaviour, read the following notes.

Keep feeds up-to-date

Feeds are being updated from time to time. After experiencing any problems, and for refreshing the local feeds cache, it will be useful to re-download feeds. Use, once, the -R command line argument for the launch command (make sure that -R goes before the SWEET, because using it afterwards will cause passing it as a SWEET's argument):

sweets -R <SWEET>

Analyze dependencies tree

If sweets can't find a proper implementation, see the e lines in the output of:

sweets status <SWEET> -vdd

Keep the system in consistent state

Asking Sweets to launch a sweets might mean installing new packages via PackageKit. In most cases, PackageKit can handle possible issues with native packages and, at worst, will fail as well, in order to stop any further Sweets operations. Nevertheless, it can be useful to keep unbroken native packages.


It is possible to search sweets among locally known ones and those registered on (not yet implemented). The search is based on the Xapian search engine. Thus, it is possible to use Xapian's query language.

For command format is:

sweets search <QUERY>

Notice that partial search is enabled. So, the query tele will be treated as tele* to search all words that start from tele.

sweets supports the following search prefixes based on recipe options:

  • interface the first interface from the implementations list, e.g.,;
  • sweet the first interface from the implementations list in short Sweets notations, e.g., sdk/sugar;
  • implement the list of implemented interfaces;
  • associate the list of associated interfaces;
  • name the short name of a sweet;
  • summary sweet's summary;
  • description long sweet's description;
  • category list of category names;
  • license list of licenses;
  • type sweet's type, which might be library, application or activity;
  • keep if activity, that a sweet is representing, is favorited;
  • tags the list of sweet's tags;
  • mime_types the list of activity MIME types, that a sweet is representing or supports.

So, it is possible to search only among particular sweet attributes, like name:telepathy to search only among particular sweet names.

sweets support additional notation for exact searching in the form of prefix:=string. For example the query name:=sugar will find sweets only with exactly sugar as a name and omit names like sugar-base. If the search string contains spaces, wrap it within double quotes, name:="Sugar Commander". Note, wildcards do not work in the exact search case where asterisks will be treated literally.

Current limitations

  • For now, sweets knows only enough about the glucose dependencies to install them from native packages in Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, openSUSE.
  • Activities can't reuse sweets benefits.


  • Submit your bug report or feature request.
  • Subscribe to the sugar-devel mailing list and email with the subject prefixed with [SWEETS].
  • Ask your question on IRC channels, #sugar (not logged) or #sugar-newbies (logged).