Archive/Current Events/2008-08-11

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Sugar Digest

1. "The vision thing": There has been some discussion about the Sugar vision in regard to both its clarity and the degree to which it is being promoted (Please see the email thread). While there is some divergence of opinion about the breadth of the Sugar Labs mission—ranging from a strict focus on collaboration tools to a broad focus on everything necessary for successful one-laptop-per-child deployments—there was consensus that we are getting the message out that Sugar is alive and kicking; there is still a wide-spread impression that the FOSS community has abandoned Sugar because OLPC is working with Microsoft on Windows XP. We need to let the world know that: (a) there is a vibrant Sugar community; (b) that OLPC is still behind Sugar; (c) other hardware vendors are beginning to adopt Sugar; and (d) the FOSS Sugar learning platform offers encourages the direct appropriation of ideas in whatever realm the learner is exploring: music, browsing, reading, writing, programming, graphics, etc.—they are able to engage in debugging both their personal expression and the very tools that they use for that expression.

2. Try Sugar: An important aspect of Sugar outreach is easy access to Sugar itself. We are targeting grassroots adoption (in addition to top-down "sales" coupled to programs like One Laptop per Child or Intel regional or national initialives), so we need to make it easier for small groups to try Sugar. This includes community support of the existing LiveUSB, LiveCD, and Appliance efforts, but also further consideration (and documentation) of the various hardware one might find in the field and more detailed instructions on setting up classrooms (groups) of machines working together. Towards that end, we are beginning work on a "Try Sugar" section in the wiki (Please help us flesh out Downloads), which includes a matrix of "tried and ready" solutions from the field. To be able to say to a teacher, here is a step-by-step guide to how you can repurpose (or overlay) the computers you have access to in the classroom to run Sugar will go a long way towards fostering growth of Sugar.

3. "Unexpected" suggestions: Michael Stone wrote up some suggestions regarding "the Work of Sugar", his reactions to sugar's architecture, design, and implementation. It was the basis of an in-depth discussion the Sugar mailing list (Please see [1]).

4. Proposal: There has been a back-and-forth discussion about establishing an Activity developers mailing list separate from the Sugar developers mailing list (Please see [2]). It has been suggested that Activity developers need a more focused list to alert them to needs specific to activity developers, such as changes to APIs, a forum for soliciting help, etc. The downside of course is the fragmentation and distraction of yet another mailing list.

5. Outreach: Stormy Peters, executive director, GNOME Foundation, has blogged about Sugar Labs (Please see Stormy's Corner) and has pledged to step up the level of awareness of Sugar within the GNOME community. (Sugar has its foundation in the GNOME toolkit.) Morgan Collett has been actively promoting Sugar within the Ubuntu community and Greg DeKoeningsberg has been very helpful in promoting Sugar within the Fedora community.

6. Minutes: We had a meeting of the acting Sugar oversight board on Friday, 8 August 2008. Minutes and a log of the conversation are in the wiki (Please see 1 August 2008 minutes). One important decision reached at the meeting was to open up nominations for postions on the to-be-elected seven-member board over the first two weeks of August (until the 16th) and to hold an election over the final two weeks of August (from the 17th to the 30th). Please send nominations to "walter AT sugarlabs.org"; feel free to nominate yourself.

Community jams and meetups

7. Openminds: Is anyone planning to attend the K–12 Openminds meeting in Indianapolis (Please see http://www.k12openminds.org/)? It'd be a great forum to promote Sugar.

8. Physics jam: Brian Jordan is organizing a physics game competition 29–31 August in Cambridge, MA. There will be categories for remote entries, youth, professional, and independent game developers. Brian reports that will be XOs and other sweet prizes for the best entries. Please help to spread the word (Please see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Physics_Jam).

9. Organización del 2do Ceibal Jam: Pablo Flores reports that there will be a jam at the Catholic University (UCU) in Uruguay over two weekends (Saturday 30 August and 6 September). Please contact Pablo ("pflores2 AT gmail.com") for more details.

10. Book sprint: There will be a book sprint in Austin, TX from 24–29 August. Please contact Adam Hyde ("adam AT flossmanuals.net") for more details.

Tech Talk

11. Buildbot: Marco Pesenti Gritti reports that we are running periodic builds of Sugar using the buildbot automation system. Full builds, which starts every time from a clean source and installation tree, are run every 12 hours. Quick builds, which are built incrementally from the last build source and installation tree, are run every two hours. The status of the builds is available through a web interface and failures are notified to the development mailing list (Please see Development Team/Buildbot). Thanks to http://www.prgmr.com/ for hosting the buildbot for us.

Next steps:

  • Setup other Linux distributions (does anyone want to work on an Ubuntu "slave"?);
  • Make the check step succeed (several pylint warnings to address);
  • Automated testing (maybe we can start integrating bits of Zach work?);
  • Enable mail notification on failures.

12. Activity updates: A number of activity developers reported new versions available this week for testing: Please try the new versions of:

Chat 44 Journal 96 Terminal 14 Pippy 23 Read 48 Calculate 20 Write 56 Develop 34 Etoys 80 Conozco Uruguay ("I know Uruguay")

13. Sucrose 0.81.6: Simon Schampijer reports that the new Sucrose 0.81.6 Development Release (Release Candidate 2) is out. This release cycle was focused on stabilization. Thanks to all of you for your efforts and special thanks to the translation teams, whom have been very busy of late: all the Fructose modules have been released containing new strings. Release notes are available at 0.82/0.81.6 Notes and the Sucrose Roadmap is available at Development Team/Release/Roadmap.

Sugar Labs

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-26-August-1-som.jpg). While it has been a fairly quiet traffic week, there has been an educational focus (how to best use/apply/approach technology tools to education). Gary also posted a map of the Sugar mailing list from the month of July (Please see Sugar Labs/SOM#Sugar_Mailing_List).