[sugar] Programming environments on the XO

J.M. Maurer uwog at uwog.net
Sat Jul 19 19:04:45 EDT 2008

On Sat, 2008-07-19 at 18:02 -0400, Benjamin M. Schwartz wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> J.M. Maurer wrote:
> |> Have you used Gobby?  It's the shared editor that people at OLPC
> |> _actually_ use, and having per-user background colors is among its key
> |> features.
> |
> | Not sure if I read this correctly, but are you implying that Write's
> | collaboration is not used, but Gobby's is?
> Yes.  OLPC developers may have been using Write for collaborative document
> authoring, but I am not aware of it.  I am aware of several occasions on
> which Gobby has been used for this purpose, for example for preparing
> minutes for a meeting on IRC.

But does this hold for kids as well? After all, they are the primary
audience for Write.

> | If so, is there any
> | particular collaboration issue/bug that needs my attention?
> Not a bug.  There are two issues:
> 1. To the best of my knowledge, Write's collaboration system does not
> interoperate with any application that is available on non-Sugar desktops.

Well, the AbiCollab plugin existed before Write did, so making Write
'interoperate' with AbiWord would be trivial (in fact, they are exactly
the same).

> ~ Thus, in order to make use of Write, all participants must have an XO,
> emulator, or sugar-jhbuild running.  I do not see this as a significant
> obstacle in a Rwandan elementary school, but in the diverse environments
> of OLPC volunteers, we cannot assume that everyone has easy access to a
> Sugar instance.
> In my view, the ultimate solution to this is to push our Telepathy-based
> collaboration stack upstream into the standard Linux desktop environments.
> ~ Until then, we should come up with a streamlined Sugar emulator that
> makes it easy to run an Activity like Write under any standard Linux desktop.

There is no technical reason at all that Write could not be made to
collaborate with normal AbiWord's. Technically, it already works. There
is just no UI that currently exposes it.

One could for example add a UI that would allow Write to use
abicollab.net's service. This way normal AbiWord users could
interoperate trivially with Write, on a global scale. This already works
*now*, and has been built from the ground up to scale. Millions of users
should be no problem at all for the service.

What I'm trying to say: Write's collaboration protocol is *exactly* the
same as AbiWord's protocol.

> 2. Sugar collaboration over the internet requires a specialized Jabber
> server.  It has proven difficult to set up such a server at all, and
> impossible to set up a server that can be made public without collapsing
> under the load.  Hopefully, after the Gadget work is complete, we will
> begin to see reliable public collaboration servers appear.

I've always been of the opinion that using Jabber for this sort of thing
was a bad choice. That's why we don't depend on it anymore.


> - --Ben
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