[Its.an.education.project] An OLPC Development Model

Greg DeKoenigsberg gdk at redhat.com
Fri May 9 16:50:11 EDT 2008

On Fri, 9 May 2008, david at lang.hm wrote:

> On Fri, 9 May 2008, Bert Freudenberg wrote:
>> On 09.05.2008, at 09:56, david at lang.hm wrote:
>>> which is why I fail to see the big point of Sugar.
>>> [...]
>>> a perfect example was the suggeation to make the sugarized activities 
>>> use a standard file picker call so that it could go to the journal on 
>>> the XO machine, or to a normal file selecteor window on other 
>>> desktops.
>> Your example indicates that you indeed fail to see the "big point" of 
>> Sugar. The point is to not have a document-centric environment, but an 
>> activity-centric one. Verbs rather than nouns. Yes it gets 
>> philosophical here. And I'm not the best to explain it.
>> Maybe an analogy helps. Many developers fail to see the "big point" of 
>> object-oriented programming. For them, it's just that structs have 
>> function pointers now, so what's the big deal? But that misses the 
>> point completely, oo is all about decoupling and encapsulating 
>> concepts, it's a philosophy rather than an implementation technique. Or 
>> maybe the analogy does not help, depending on which camp one is in.
>> Back to your example: even if all the world thinks applications with 
>> file dialogs are "normal" that does not imply it has to be that way.
>> "Don't be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto 
>> standards for unsophisticated buyers using poor adaptations of 
>> incomplete ideas." -- Alan Kay
>> We do want to create something better than the status-quo. We may fail 
>> for a gazillion of reasons, but we're trying anyway. Children deserve 
>> the best, our future is in their hands.
> Bert,
>  if you try and say that the entire world is wrong in how it writes 
> software, and only software specifically written for the Sugar 
> environment should be available to the children, you are doing them a 
> great dis-service.

Not at all.  The fact is that *lots* of software is *already* available to 
many children, in all kinds of different forms.  There can and will be 
other efforts around low-cost laptops.  Many of these can and will rely 
upon open source to one degree or another.  There are certainly enough 
applications in the world to come up with a respectable "children's 
computer" that isn't half bad.

But the goal of Sugar isn't "not half bad."  The goal of Sugar is 
fundamental change of a 30-year-old computing metaphor, to take advantage 
of "connectedness" that simply did not exist when "Windows" first came to 

Some of these changes might be easily retrofit to existing applications. 
Many of them won't be.  But the focus must be on creating the right 
interface experience, or the whole exercise is pointless.

> it's fine to produce an alternate approach, but to bet-the-business on 
> that approach with no fallback is betting that you know better then the 
> rest of the world. it's possible that you are right, but not very 
> likely.

The very nature of the Sugar idea *requires* a "bet-the-business" 
approach.  Some changes can be evolutionary.  Others must be 
revolutionary.  In order for Sugar to have any point at all, it must 
represent a revolutionary change.  Which is fine.  If it fails, it fails. 
There are *plenty* of people working on evolving the current Linux desktop 
towards education.  It's not an either/or proposition.

Again, my $0.02, nothing more.


Greg DeKoenigsberg
Community Development Manager
Red Hat, Inc. :: 1-919-754-4255
"To whomsoever much hath been given...
...from him much shall be asked"

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