[sugar] OLPC's bizarre behaviors

Todd Cranston-Cuebas geekhunter at gmail.com
Thu May 22 14:46:49 EDT 2008

I think it's worth noting that with the announcement of the new 2.0 spec on
the hardware, you're going to get even more backlash of current G1G1
participants feeling like they helped to fund and purchase a system that is
basically really a serious work in progress and test bed for the new system.
Again, impression counts.


On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM, C. Scott Ananian <cscott at cscott.net> wrote:

> On 5/21/08, Kim Quirk <kim at laptop.org> wrote:
> >  I have been trying to understand it, explain it, live with it ,
> >  and improve it for a year now. What I think is going on is a unique
> >  and somewhat chaotic (perfect storm?) intersection of non-profit, open
> >  source, research lab cultures with the need to ship a real product.
> [...]
> >  Can we use help? Absolutely. Lots of it! The hardest thing for us to
> figure
> >  out is how to let people help us.
> OLPC is not so unique and special that we can't learn from our
> predecessors.  OLPC is not the first research lab which morphed into a
> non-profit with a product.  I'm sure others can contribute examples,
> but Firefox and Debian leap to mind.
> That said, I don't think that we can (or should) point our finger at
> any single person and say that we don't communicate as well as we
> could because of that scapegoat.  Rather, I'd like to suggest that we
> point to a person who *doesn't yet exist*: a community liason.
> Fedora and Firefox both have (many!) designated 'ambassadors' whose
> job it is to keep the community in the loop.  Debian has a 'Project
> Leader' with similar charge.
> I would like to nominate SJ and Adam for the role of interim community
> liason, as they've done a fantastic job to date building and
> nourishing their respective content and support communities.  What we
> need is to broaden that task and embody and formally recognize it.  A
> liason will be privy to inside information and continually ask "is
> this public?  can it be?" and conversely, keep in touch with the
> broader community and bring to internal attention worthwhile efforts
> outside.  By naming and recognizing a liason (even an interim one), we
> would all have a single point of contact: cc 'liason at laptop.org' to
> ensure broad distribution.
> This job is likely to be a bit overwhelming, and I suggest actively
> seeking to hire proven community builders who have worked with other
> projects to take the burden off our interim liason(s).  Liasons
> should, of course, work with the community to build a broader base of
> OLPC ambassadors who can share the local work.
> Concrete things I'd like to see a liason take charge of:
>  a) monthly  tech "mini-conferences" to present current work and wild ideas
>  b) the same for deployments, to exchange success stories, challenges,
> and curricula
>  c) organizing local OLPC chapters, with their own charges, projects,
> & focus.  Providing resources to same: http://alabama.laptop.org could
> be a focus for OLPC volunteers in Alabama, for example.  (See
> http://freesklyarov.org/local-howto.html for inspiration.)
>  d) collecting and archiving talks and press releases for reference
> and to ensure broad distribution.  (both 1cc-created content, and
> locally-created content)
>  e) A more broadly-focused "community news", agressively seeking out
> and incorporating local as well as "offical OLPC" content
>  f) coordinating blogging efforts: a weekdaily blog post by a
> different OLPC developer each day, say.
>  g) coordinating news releases to community sources like OLPCNews as
> well as traditional press sources.  Providing access to traditional
> press for noteworthly community work.
>  h) To some degree involving local communities with local i18n and
> support work for pilots and deployments.
>  i) Hosting regular "open houses", both at 1cc and at local OLPC groups.
>  j) Faciliating travel to allow different groups to interact: having
> 1cc developers give talks at local OLPC groups and vice-versa.
> I'm sure folks here can contribute more ideas.  Note that some of
> these tasks are made much easier if there is an OLPC employee
> involved, while others (c, d, e, h) are good task which interested
> members of the community can take the lead on w/o waiting for us.  In
> fact, if there are passionate community members, I'd suggest viewing
> the entire list as within your scope: I think that OLPC employees are
> very amenable to badgering by the community if (for example) someone
> has set up a mini-conference elsewhere and wants to get someone from
> 1cc to attend.
>  --scott
> ps. Since I personally have a technology focus, I can suggest several
> interesting 'research projects' I'd love to see a local group really
> take charge of.  Some ideas: care & nourishment of the
> Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora packaging of Sugar; maintaining a Sugar live cd
> and/or maintaining a one-click-install Windows emulator of Sugar for
> groups interesting in exploring Sugar or teacher training; a research
> fork investigating gestures for Sugar; a research group to tackle the
> best approaches for emulating keyboards on a touchscreen; research
> projects in collaboration or mesh technologies (http://open80211s.org/
> and http://wiki.funkfeuer.at/ are good focal points for such work);
> someone to revive/review alternate flash filesystems for the XO; care
> & feeding of adobe flash bundles for the XO; care and feeding of gnash
> on the XO (keeping us up to date, liasoning between community content
> and gnash developers); similar work for patent-encumbered codecs
> (helps if you're outside the US); care & feeding of Ogg and media on
> the XO (assembling good demos, optimizing encoder/decoder
> performance); a research group on sound/video editing for kids; a
> research group to improve interoperability with non-Sugarized
> applications; someone to investigate alternate window managers for
> Sugar; someone to investigate Xinerama suport in Sugar, in
> anticipation of eventually running Sugar across two displays in Gen 2;
> a research group developing software for school management (Uruguay
> demonstrated a very nice database application tracking kids, XOs,
> theft reports, and repair history, but they had it developed under
> contract and the result is closed source; it would be nice to provide
> an OSS alternative for other deployments).  That's just off the top of
> my head.  I hope a liason would be able to nuture such local projects.
> --
>                         ( http://cscott.net/ )
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