Cmap tools (was [Techteam] Weekend Report - due today)

Greg Smith gregsmitholpc at
Wed Sep 3 17:33:28 EDT 2008

Hi All,

Thanks for all the pointers to concept maps. Its impressive how many 
options exist. I can see how they fit well with Piaget and other 
learning theories.

However, my immediate challenge is figure out what it will take to 
support cmap tools on the XO.

Has anyone tried making the activity which is X-windows and inside which 
other activities can run?

Any other ideas on how to make an app which uses multiple windows (and I 
believe allows drag and drop of data from one to the other) work on the XO?

Trying out the concept map idea (ascii version)

(XO) <- wants it-> (user)
   |                   |
<technical             |
challenge>           <uses>
   |                   /
   |           (CMAP on Windows)
   |            /
   |          <technical challenge>
   |          /
  (CMAP on XO,
   happy user,
   new deployment)


Greg S

Gary C Martin wrote:
> On 3 Sep 2008, at 13:36, Greg Smith wrote:
>> Cmap tools ( is a client server application that
>> appears to have pretty good traction in schools, mostly in South
>> America. We have a request to make it work on the XO. I exchanged some
>> e-mails with Alberto Canas (con enye) who is the main application owner.
> ...
>> The first point seems solvable if they just install Java afterwards.
>> Then we don't need to worry about licenses. Its a big install but
>> probably not a deal breaker. The performance may be challenging but
>> again I think we can make it fit.
>> The second point is a tougher problem. Alberto thinks they could
>> re-write the application to work with tiled windows so they all fit on
>> the XO. The other idea I have heard is that we could run an activity
>> which is X-Windows. Then you could launch this activity within that one.
>> That may affect performance and would need testing. For the first idea
>> of rebuilding the Cmap tools for sugar, we would need engineers to work
>> on that which brings me to the third point.
>> I'm not sure what free but not open source means. I think it means that
>> we can not take a snapshot of their code and fork it nor can we modify
>> it and push it back to them. We need to find a way for Alberto to hire
>> more engineers if we want them to improve the implementation for the XO.
>> The only good idea so far is the X-windows in Sugar idea.
>> I'm open to other suggestions on this. Questions and comments welcome 
>> too.
>> I know of one opportunity in Latin America which is being held up by
>> this. There may be more in the future, we'll see. The pedagogical
>> specialists here tell me that concept maps are pretty hot in education
>> right now. They also pointed me to a commercial tool which some schools
>> use:
>> Does anyone know of an open source solution in this area?
> I'm a bit of a mindmapper/diagrammer type. If you're looking for free 
> and Open Source you want to look at freemind. It's very competitive vs 
> the commercial mapping tools and also supports a number of external file 
> formats, it's another Java app so would need that extra install.
> The other tool worth a poke is the more general purpose graphviz, also 
> free and Open Source, it's command line but there are some GUI's out 
> there also. Could be a very nice Activity to wrap a simple GTK GUI 
> around the tool chain:
> Also want to point you to the Model activity if you've not tried it. 
> It's rough and incomplete at my last testing, but seems to be a 
> potentially interesting diagramming tool. The wiki talks of "easily 
> sketch and simulate system dynamics models" which seemed a pretty scary 
> opening paragraph – I'd be happy with just a good diagramming tool :-) 
> Dev work seems to have gone quiet :-(
>> If the customers want cmap tools, my first choice is to make that work.
>> That's what I'm focusing on right now albeit lower priority than
>> shipping 8.2 :-).
> --Gary

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