Documentation Team/User Manual

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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. The first thing 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.

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: learners should engage in authentic exploration and collaboration. It is based on three very simple principles about what makes us human: (1) everyone is a teacher and a learner; (2) humans by their nature are social beings; and (3) humans by their nature are expressive. These are the pillars of a user experience for learning.

Starting an Activity

Installing and Deleting Activities

    *Using Terminal
    • Sugar Activities
    • Linux Applications
    • Windows Applications

Changing an XO's Nickname and Color on Sugar Views

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

Setting the Clock and Timezone

You may set the date and time as follows:

  1. Connect to the Internet. (For details, see How can I access 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 25px 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 Sugar-Control-Panel command in the Terminal Activity.

Sound Control

    Disabling the bootup sound

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

Networking & Communications

Connecting To Wireless Networks

    There are three ways to connect to the Internet:
    • Wireless access point (WiFi 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.

Connecting to Jabber Networks

How to connect Sugar to a Jabber network

List of Jabber Networks

A list of Jabber networks around the world

Creating a Jabber Server

To host a Jabber server for your city, region, country or interest read How To Create a Jabber Server

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 are listed here.]

Installing Sugar

Developing For Sugar

See also