Sugar on a Stick/TODO
Sugar on a Stick Improve Deployability
Make it easier for a teacher or school to customize a spin and then copy it for a hundred kids
Tickets on this topic:
Red Hat - https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=448030 - RFE: create a bootable Live USB stick from the running livecd SugarLabs Ticket 74 - http://dev.sugarlabs.org/ticket/74
Use Case A teacher should be able to create a USB stick, add activities, add some content, change the language, change the jabber server etc. Then create new sticks that reflect these changes but do not copy the name, color or collaboration key.
It would be great if the teacher could use an inexpensive USB hub to burn more then one stick at a time.
Sticks are dieing a lot - Make sticks more robust
- Gets stuck at Fedora Login
- With liveuser prefilled
I was able to repeatably create this failure when I was testing a version of schoolserver.py that had a typo in it.
- With nothing prefilled
This error has successfully been replicated by Restarting multiple times.
- With liveuser prefilled
- Bug in initramfs /init detected. Dropping to a shell. Good luck! bash: no job control in this shell.
Stick abuse, like putting it through the washing machine, seems to precipitate this type of failure.
- Freezes during use of an activity. Rebooting on the same computer doesn't help it still freezes on the same activity. One time we rebooted on a different computer and it worked.
We don't know the root causes but we have plenty of theories.
Sticks will always fail. There will always be multiple causes for failure. This problem has to be addressed like a process engineering issue. Is stick failure a major cost in time or money? Find the largest cause of failure. Fix that to improve yield. Is stick failure a major cost in time or money? Find the the remaining largest cause of failure.....
This summer we had probably 10 sticks fail for 35 students. That is a major cost in time and money. The most common unrecoverable failure mode was stuck at Login.
We need a more robust files system
It has been shown that if you take a stick that is stuck at login and you copy over a fedora-overlay file from a working stick, the stick will boot again. Thus we are confident that the problem is corruption of the overlay file.
Next Steps - Try some alternate file structures.
Create a Fedora Full Install USB Stick, restart it a bunch of times and see if it does better. How much space will the Fedora Full Install take? Create an Open Suse USB Stick, restart it multiple times and see if it fails. How much space does it use?
Background Links Thread from the Fedora Forum: []
Here is an idea for an alternative USB Format: []
Also see Ticket 907 []
A 2 GB USB is about $.60 more then a 1GB stick. If we need to compress less to get robustness its ok for us to require a 2GB USB. A 4GB stick is about $2.50 more then a $1GB Stick.
Theories that have evidence against them
Dave Bauer was able to replicate the failure easily by restarting a Sugar stick. This means its probably not:
- The Bulk Copier, Dave doesn't have one.
- The older slower computers and USB 1 ports we are using at the GPA.
Sticks are damaged during formatting or burning
There was a detailed discussion thread back in February at: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2009-February/022987.html
If we understood how to win and we had our own stick creation activity perhaps we would have less failures.
Sticks are of poor quality
Here is an explanation of two processes used to create USB sticks: http://www.solutiongrove.com/blogger/2008/09/08/there-are-two-type-of-usb-flash-memory-slc-and-mlc []
Sticks are being improperly removed
Yes they are, but its not at all clear to me that that correlates with the sticks that are failing.
There is a bug around restarting
It is very common to fail after a restart, the system forgets its supposed to go to Sugar. See ticket 1069 []
Backup and recovery
Ham and Dave from Solution Grove are making progress on this. You can track progress on ticket 916 []
What is a reasonable expectation for the role of the XS in Sugar on a Stick deployments in the next 6 months?
Collaboration is unreliable and thus frustrating
Its working fairly well in the wired network at the GPA lab, but no other use case seem to work reliably.
Using a CD helper takes a lot of prep time before and after class
A floppy helper would reduce it. A VM solution might also reduce it.
* Ticket 598 Boot Helper Virtual Machine [] * Ticket 907 change the format we use for the USB stick [] * Ticket 597 Floppy Boot Helper []
See also Sugar on a Stick/Goals.
This is an the general todo list for SoaS. If you've any ideas or requests, please add them here.
|solicit USB key donations from companies||1||info needed|
|allow direct recreation of USB keys (cloning)||2||needs testing |
|add additional activities, if requested||3||get them on a.sl.o|
|work on a keyboard layout control panel||3||work in progress |
|be able to backup and restore from a School Server||3||to be worked out|
|support printers, scanners, cameras||3||to be worked out|
|activity for cloning USB Sticks and .iso files (cloning)||3||to be worked out |
Here's a list with completed tasks; feel free to move them from the table above.
|get SoaS included in liveusb-creator||done|
|create a virtual appliance (builds)||done  |
|release a helper CD for boot from USB||done |
|add sample content||done - add more if needed|
|fix blockers for release||most important point, check rawhide, as it progresses towards beta|
|update remaining RPMs||good progress done so far|
|check localization support||done|
|get artwork and branding together||done|
|change default Browse location||done|