[sugar] Remarks on the Work of Sugar (kid contributions)

Martin Dengler martin at martindengler.com
Thu Jul 24 06:55:55 EDT 2008

On Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 06:27:59PM -0700, John Gilmore wrote:
> > > 2) Sugar would run more smoothly on-XO if jhbuild were retired.
> > I think this is a good point in the abstract.  Do any frequent contributors
> > *not* have an XO?  
> I approve of retiring jhbuild, and handing out XO's to Sugar
> contributors, but you've really got the question backwards:
>   => Do any frequent contributors have ONLY an XO? <=

Yes, I've taken it on a tangent, as I promised in my boilerplate.
Thanks for getting back to the topic.

 Is the question really best phrased as you did?  Are you really
asking "should the contributor community only use XOs"?  It seems
you're asking "how can we turn our XO deployment kids into
contributors", which is a great question.  I think the way forward is
to raise some awareness (as you're doing) and constructively move the
discussion forward.

> I've seen lots of high flying rhetoric about Sugar being maintainable
> and extensible by kids with their XO's, because it's in an easy
> interpreted language shipped in source, etc.  You have almost 500,000
> units in the field (admittedly in younger kids).  Seen any Python
> prodigies contributing yet?

The sound-bite rhetorical question distracts from your later good
points.  Especially given the point is educating kids, I'm not so
concerned that kids learning english and maths haven't sent sugar
patches in yet :).

> But the tools needed to be a contributing part of the Sugar community
> don't run on the XO.
> Merely installing the change without trashing his XO's entire GUI
> with a typo or missing Python file is tricky.

Indeed!  How can we as the community improve the extensibility while
letting the core people get on with developing the core (and yes, I
know the core has to be extensible, and I think it's good to keep
raising the point; but we also need to *do* something about it - any
ideas?  I would be very interested in working on some, and coming up
with some when I'm finished my one or two patches I'm working on now).

> If we want the kids who *love* their machines to come to *know* and
> *evolve* their machines, there's a lot more work to be done.

Indeed.  I quote this not for the mindless "me too gnu++ kthx" but to
highlight it more - I think it gets lost a bit in your detailed

>  In many ways the unique XO UI and collab setup make the learning
> curve steeper, not easier.

I don't know this to be true, and I suspect it to be a distracting
falsehood.  But let's try to address the more fundamental issues (like
no diff / diff-like utility / tools) you raised earlier.

> 	John

> Sugar is hung up in its own maintenance
> machinery.

I don't think you (only) mean Sugar here.

Very interesting comments, btw.  Thanks.

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