Archive/Current Events/2008-10-20

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Sugar Digest

1. Collect, Select, Reflect: I had a timely visit from Prof. Evangeline Harris Stefanakis this week. Stefanakis is the author of Multiple Intelligences and Portfolios: a Window into the Learner's Mind. We met to discuss ways in which we could further the support for portfolio assessment within the context of a Sugar deployment. Some of her observations include that a portfolio is not just a collection of work, but also a way of organizing that work into a presentation. (Note the obvious connection to the heated discussions on narrative and the Journal/datastore.) We discussed a number of simple scaffolds that we could add either directly to the Journal or build into a Portfolio Activity, for example, the inclusion of a "who am I?" section, where the learner is prompted to describe who they are across a multitude of perspectives: who am I as a linguist... as an artist... as a friend... We also discussed how we could enhance the use of tags by prompting the learner when their work is saved: What did you do? How did you do it? What did you learn? Is it portfolio worthy? Providing some structure—with multiple entry-points—helps bootstrap the portfolio process. We should consider different structures for different levels of development within the early, elementary, and middle-school years. A "Madlibs"-like format—that can be reauthored by a teacher or student—may be a reasonable place to start. Also, a scaffolding that encourages periodic review would also be beneficial to the learner. We plan to come up with a more tangible set of design criteria in the coming weeks. But it is helpful to discuss the Journal as a tool for reflection, not just as a replacement for the file system.

2. LiveCD/LiveUSB updates: Carolyn Meeks and Marco Pesenti Gritti continue to work on improvements to the bootable Sugar USB. Marco has a new Fedora-based LiveCD image (sugar-livecd-1marco.iso) and is working on a CD that will launch a USB image (since many older machines are not configured by default to boot off of a USB drive). Sebatian Dziallas and Luke Macken have created an updated version of the Fedora/Sugar LiveCD (sugar-spin.iso and has made a LiveUSB creator available (—you can run liveusb-creator on Windows Vista (XP hopefully coming soon) to generate the latest Sugar spin on a USB key. Meanwhile, Carolyn continues to visit schools, testing builds, and gathering data as to the best ways to do simple, low-risk Sugar deployments in schools without the resources to buy dedicated laptops.

3. Roadmaps: David Farning is developing a community roadmap for Sugar (to complement the development roadmap -- see Release Roadmap). David has begun with a list of features that are important for the future growth of Sugar Labs: vision, distribution, deployment, quality assurance, and infrastructure. Please help us fill in the schedule in the wiki (Community Roadmap).

4. Blogs: The teachers in Uruguay are getting more active with their blogs about using Sugar in the classroom. Their goal is to share experiences ( is but one of many examples). Add you Sugar-related blog to the list (Community Blogs).

Community jams, meetups, and meetings

5. Sugar calendars: We've added the developer meetings to the Sugar meetings calendar; there is also now a Sugar Labs events calendar for meetings, meet ups, sprints, etc. For information about how to access these calendars, please see the Community page (Community Calendar) in the wiki.

6. Lima translation sprint: 20–21 October in Lima, Perú at at the Universidad San Martin, Faculta de Ingeniería. (Av. La Fontana - Urbanización Santa Patricia - Distrito: La Molina) Please contact Rafael Enrique Ortiz Guerrero <dirakx AT> for more details.

Tech Talk

7. Sugar API: Marco Pesenti Gritti, speaking on behalf of the deployment team, has announced plans for refactoring and stabilizing our public API. Please join the discussion at the next developer meeting ( #sugar-meeting Thursday, 16 October 2008, 14:00 UTC).

8. gconf: Simon Schampijer has been working on the transition to gconf. He will land it in the next days. He also fixed the 'Reset Registration with school servers' now completely #7764.

9. Upstream: Pyxpcom has been enabled in the Fedora 10 xulrunner thanks to Cristopher Aillon. Marco has synced the xulrunner olpc3 package and fixed the hulahop package accordingly to these changes. Simon has built the browse activity for fedora rawhide.

10. Sucrose 0.82 on Ubuntu: Morgan Collett has been working on the Sugar Ubuntu packages; they have been updated to the latest 0.82 release in the Sugar Team PPA. Some activities are still being updated at the moment, but should be up to date in the next few days. Installation instructions:

sudo -s
echo deb hardy main > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sugar.list
apt-get update
apt-get install sugar sugar-emulator sugar-activities 

A more up-to-date version of Sugar on Ubuntu is available if you add the repository for Sugar 0.82 as described here:

Luke Faraone has been triaging Sugar-related bugs in Ubuntu's Launchpad. Along with Morgs, he is a driving force behind the the effort to get Sugar into the Ubuntu 8.10.

11. Sugar modules: There is time until 29 October to propose new modules, and new activities in particular, to be part of the 0.84 release. If you are an activity maintainer and would like to propose its inclusion please send mail to the Sugar list as per the instructions (Module Release).

12. Activity updates: There are updates available for:


Sugar Labs

13. 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-October-4-10-som.jpg).