1. Sugar Labs governance: There are still a few more loose ends to deal with before we are officially members of the Software Freedom Conservancy. In preparation, I've made a lot of changes on the governance page. Please comment.
2. Leaning: There were some interesting discussions about learning on the Education list this week:
3. OLPC in the field: Jim Gettys has published an aggregate summary of Sugar in the hands of children in the various OLPC deployments around the world (OLPC News).
4. Clarity: When talking about Sugar, I never have trouble describing the collaboration features or the reflective nature of the Journal, but I struggle with describing the interface in terms of its simplicity. "Simplicity" has an undertone of "dumbed down" and limited capability. In a discussion with Nathan Felde from the Art Institute of Boston, a division of Lesley University, we used the word "clarity", which immediately struck me as a much better term than simplicity. It doesn't imply any limit and it suggests transparency and openness, both hallmarks of the interface.
5. Studio Thinking: Nathan also introduced me to a book, Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education by Lois Hetland, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veneema, and Kimberly M. Sheridan. It is a treatise on visual arts education; the authors argue that through the arts, students learn specific "dispositions of mind" that lead to high-quality thinking. They also speak about "Studio Habits of Mind": develop craft, engage and persist, envision, express, observe, reflect, stretch and explore, and understand the world and "Studio Structures": the demonstration/ lecture, students working, and the critique. It seems there is synergy with many of the goals of Sugar. An open question is how to transfer this thinking beyond the visual arts.
Community jams and meetups
6. Release process: Marco Pesenti Gritti and Michael Stone have been discussing how to integrate the Sugar and OLPC release processes:
OLPC release target date (something around 2–3 months). That will give us enough time to ensure everything is stable before we start integrating the new code in the OLPC distribution.
contracts for all the new features present in the new release.
updates, which will include bug fixes and strings for the OLPC release.
part of the unstable development cycle. Though there surely will be cases where OLPC will need changes outside the normal Sugar Labs schedule. We will land these in a limited and controlled way both during the freeze periods and as part of the stable minor releases.
7. Sucrose: Simon Schampijer announced the Sucrose Development Release 0.81.6 this week (0.82/0.81.6 Notes). You can test it in OLPC joyride >= 2129.
This first release after the feature freeze and therefore has only bug fixes. It contains as well a new Browse activity (Version 92). Due to an interface change in xulrunner the downloads were broken in Joyride. They are fixed with this Browse release. Simon Schampijer added refinements to the autocompletion feature #7281 and #7280.
Due to a name change of the Browse activity (Web->Browse) you will likely have problems updating to the latest version. Find instructions here to work around that problem (0.82/0.81.4 Notes#Instructions to test in olpc joyride).
The sources can be found here:
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this release (as well to the translation team for adding new languages and updating existing ones).
9. Movie portal: DailyMotion, which has an ogg-friendly website, is planning a video campaign to solicit new uploaded materials for OLPC (Dailymotion).
10. Sugar Almanac: Faisal Anwar continues to progress on documenting the community's best coding practices and conventions (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_Almanac).
More physics: Joshua Minor created a wiki page discussing a file format for 2D physics scenes (Physics File Format).
13. Misc.: Tomeu Vizoso worked on stabilizing the development builds and helping David Van Assche who has volunteered to package Google Gears for OLPC. This work has exposed some issues in Browse that, once fixed, will allow the installation of several Firefox extensions.
Riccardo Lucchese, an intern at OLPC, will work on Browse performance during the next months; Riccardo has been doing some Sugar profiling:
Daniel Drake released Record-55 for compatibility with the newer GStreamer libraries present in Joyride/8.2.
14. Self-organizing map (SOM): Gary Martin has generated another SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see Image:2008-July-05-11-som.jpg). The discussion seems to have drifted back towards the topic of learning.
Gary has moved all the SOM content to it's own community wiki page: Sugar Labs/SOM.
He has also uploaded the Sugar month by month SOMs as well, the direct link is: Sugar Labs/SOM#Sugar_Mailing_List.
15. Blogged: I'll be posting these digests in blog form starting this week.