9.1 Proposal: Compatibility with desktop applications

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Sun Oct 26 21:57:39 EDT 2008

I have to commend Marco for pursuing this initiative.  I think the
only hope for the long term survival of the innovations in Sugar is to
port those innovations out into mass market Linux software.
(Currently, nobody adopts XO innovations like shared browsers and word
processors, or improved support for preliterate users, because to do
so they'd have to replace their familiar, working GUI and filesystem
with the unfamiliar, small-screen-oriented, journal-encumbered Sugar
GUI we have today.)  Making Sugar components run smoothly in Gnome and
KDE is key to making that possible.

> * Make desktop applications run without modifications in the Sugar
> shell and integrate as much as possible with it.

I used to think this was important.  Now I think that it's investing
effort into code we'll throw away soon.

> * Make activities run on a standard desktop, as long as the required
> services are installed.

This is the key.  Moving a future XO release to a standard desktop
implementation will get us out of the business of endlessly
implementing the shell, the battery icon, the WiFi picker, the
taskbar, the control panel, the package manager, etc.  Those things
have already been implemented several times over, and all the code is
free and working.  That doesn't mean the XO would look like a Fedora
machine -- it means 99% of the GUI code would be identical to a Fedora
machine, while having its own theme and customizations.  And that
Fedora code would've been improved with XO innovations.

> * Our icon classes should be extended to better support non-svg icons.

We could do this, or submit patches to the gnome and kde window
managers to support SVG icons (conveyed in window properties like other
icons).  SVG is a useful feature for these GUIs to adopt, giving them
screen-resolution-independent icons.

The low-level Sugar activity code for icons should put the SVG icons into
an X window property (in addition to the nonstandard stuff it's doing now).

When Sugar activities are run under other window managers, this will
allow their icons to be displayed.  And this will allow us to move the
XO to other window managers.


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