Sugar on a Stick/FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions about Sugar on a Stick

Post questions here for the Sugar on a Stick project team.

See the Sugar Labs community FAQ for more answers.

What is it - learning games, homework help, search engines?

Sugar on a Stick provides a consistent, child friendly environment with learning games, software for music, graphics, text, and software creation, a calculator and physics modeling Activities, an Internet browser and chat programs, an electronic book reader, and a tool for teachers to select and package web-based content for students for offline exploration. Additional learning software is available for download in the Sugar Activity Library. The software on the portable memory device allows students to have the same learning tools at school and at home. The teacher can use it to assign homework, but it does not in itself provide homework help. The web browser can be used as a search engine.

What do I have to obtain to make it work?

The software can be run on must personal computer systems, but at this point, Sugar on a Stick in-school deployment is in Beta testing stage, starting its first pilot deployment at a school in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. We would welcome other pilot deployments, but this is still technology in its early stages. At this stage, one might need a technical person who can interface with the Sugar community to make it work.

How much does each stick cost?

(Note that Sugar Labs does not sell hardware, software, or services.) You will need at minimum a 1-GB stick for each student. Check your local computer store for prices. Right now, it's about $8 USD. To deploy on a large scale, you will also need either very dedicated volunteers or a bulk copy device. We are using one from NeXcopy that retails for about $1200. You should also budget for some USB stick loss.

Can I try some of it out?

The full software package can be downloaded from Sugar on a Stick/Strawberry. You can use this download to install Sugar on a Stick onto a USB flash memory drive and test it out.

Is it the whole Sugar Learning Platform?

No. We refer to the Sugar Learning Platform as platform because it is a complete software environment for learning. You will need a computer to run Sugar on a Stick, and for school deployments, you will also want an administrator's computer for the School Server. The server software is free, but also in a Beta testing phase. The School Server does not need to be high powered: a $500 to $1000 server hardware budget should be sufficient for a pilot program.

Is it an effective learning tool?

Please see the first question on this FAQ, Government FAQ.

What answers can you provide to common questions about deployments?

Please see this FAQ list, Government FAQ, prepared for common questions from governmental officials.

What hardware is it known to work on and what are the known hardware releated bugs?

computer comments
OLPC-XO-1 Works (but doesn't support all XO features, such as power management, special keys)
Intel Classmate Works great on the Magellan version
HP Compaq 6715b Works great
Acer Aspire One Works
Toshiba Satellite Works great; boots very quickly
IBM Thinkpad X60 Works great
IBM Thinkpad T43 Works great
Eee PC 900A Works great
Dell Latitude 600 No network due to proprietary driver
Dell Latitude 610 Network with Intel Pro Wireless works
EeePC1000HE No Wireless ; Wired works, use VMPlayer for wireless
Please add your results to the table above.

Have the resolution issues, which used to be a major issue w/ running Sugar on a non-XO, been solved?

While not every activity has been modified, most now accommodate variable screen sizes. All of the activities at work at variable sizes and resolutions as far as I know.

What about font sizes?

This is also fixed in Sucrose 0.84

Do all the activities (incl. collaboration) work reliably on SoaS these days?

Collaboration on SoaS is as robust as collaboration anywhere. (There is a Google Summer of Code project that will be addressing one general issue of collaboration robustness--this will be relevant to SoaS and non-SoaS deployments.)
There are some Network Manager issues that need to be worked out in general regarding Sugar on non-OLPC kernels, but this impacts connectivity, not collaboration.
We saw some issues at FOSSVT on some laptops and netbooks accessing wireless, others worked great.
As you pointed out development is going very quickly right now. As we take this out into the world we are finding and fixing bugs. Our main goal right now is to get volunteers to help us do this and keep track of what hardware is working.

Does SoaS allow for power-management to kick in on netbooks?

Yes, but currently not the special OLPC XO-1 features.

Are there networking or audio issues?

AFAIK, any audio problems were fixed in the Beta release. There is a discussion upstream about the best way to handle csound support in Fedora.
We had found some issues with connectivity with a small number of machines--this seems to be a Fedora issue, not a Sugar issue, and is being worked on upstream.

How do I set the keyboard map for a non-US keyboard?

Open the Terminal activity and run the setxkbmap program, specifying the code for your keyboard.
For Spanish:
setxkbmap es
For Portuguese:
setxkbmap pt
To make the change permanent, add the command to the end of your .Xclients file found in the home directory.