[sugar] notes from the field - Mongolia

Eben Eliason eben.eliason at gmail.com
Wed Oct 8 14:46:46 EDT 2008

On Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 2:11 PM, Erik Garrison <erik at laptop.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 07, 2008 at 06:14:16PM +0200, Marco Pesenti Gritti wrote:
>> On Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 6:33 PM, Erik Garrison <erik at laptop.org> wrote:
>> > In my mind the fundamental problem is that users aren't required to
>> > fully qualify names for their work.  Doing so seems to lie outside of
>> > one of the core points of Sugar's design ("There are no files, folders,
>> > or applications." -- http://sugarlabs.org/go/Main_Page).  Is it
>> > conceivable that we could change this feature of the system in future
>> > releases to clarify data management on Sugar-running XOs?
>> You keep repeating this and it makes no sense. As Eben said we need to
>> encourage people to tag and name things. Saying that it's outside the
>> Sugar philosophy is nonsense.
> I read "there are no files ..." to mean that requiring a user to name
> something before storing it for later retrieval is outside Sugar design
> philosophy.

I don't think this statement is meant as literally as you interpret
it.  Obviously the system is full of files, and you're correct that a
"named chunk of data" is basically what were talking about.  The
intent of the "no files" sentiment is that kids needn't (necessarily)
think about named chunks of data.  Instead, a child might make [this
thing], and then choose to give it [some name]; naming is a natural
process that applies to objects in the real world, too.

> "Named chunk of data" is pretty much the definition of a computer file.
> So if we're asking users to name their chunks of data to address a
> usability problem, aren't we just asking them to engage in file
> management?  Can we do this and still abide by the "no files" principle?

We want the kids to make stuff.  Call each thing they make an
"object"; call it a "thing"; call it whatever you'd like.  We just
didn't want to force the definition of the term "file" on them, since
this term really stems from the early days of computing in which files
were predominantly text.  The natural metaphor was files and folders.
In Sugar, we want to focus on creation of all sorts of things, and
ascribing the term "file" to [this song I composed] or [this image I
drew] seems limiting.

- Eben

> Erik
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