[Sugar-devel] Future of Rainbow + Sugar?

Carol Farlow Lerche cafl at msbit.com
Tue Feb 24 11:56:06 EST 2009

Michael, I think your work on Rainbow is very important, but I think it is a
bit opaque.  Perhaps you could improve your documentation and as well write
a tutorial about it that would make it more apparent how much is actually
implemented and what an activity can do with it.

So here's an example.  In the Rainbow page on w.l.o you refer to
http://dev.laptop.org/git?p=security;a=blob;f=rainbow.txt;hb=HEAD for more
information.  Yet this file has several locutions of the form "This can be
implemented" and "I believe but have not confirmed" which leave the reader
unclear as to which services have actually been implemented.  Hopping over
to Low-Level Activity API the information about security doesn't correlate
with the permissions referred to in the txt file.

Also you leave ambiguities for the reader by using the passive voice
throughout these articles.  Changing from passive to active voice answers
many questions for the reader.  Here is an example:

"All writing to the file system is restricted to subdirectories of the path
given in the SUGAR_ACTIVITY_ROOT environment variable."

Well, we know that isn't true in all cases, because activities get installed
by Sugar outside that subtree.  So possibly you mean "Rainbow prevents any
activity launched by the Sugar shell from writing to any directories except
those under SUGAR_ACTIVITY_ROOT".   Or do you?  Any exceptions?  What about
reading files elsewhere in the file system?

The scattershot documentation within several wiki pages and text files of
unknown currency is also a problem.  How about a unified document befitting
such an important aspect of the Sugar architecture.

I think demystifying Rainbow within a comprehensive document containing a
section specifically aimed at the concerns of activity developers would go a
long way toward expanding its use.

Carol Lerche

On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 8:24 AM, Michael Stone <michael at laptop.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 01:47:01AM -0500, Mikus Grinbergs wrote:
> >[Also, I'm hearing whispers of 'no Rainbow' after Joyride.]
> Mikus,
> In my view, it's up to the SugarLabs folks to use Rainbow or to drop it. I
> have
> tried to clear the way for them to use it on all the platforms they care
> about
> by simplifying it, by making it more generically useful, by writing some
> basic
> .deb and .rpm packaging in order to ease testing, and by writing Sugar
> patches
> which cause Sugar to use it. Unfortunately, in the two months since I
> announced this work:
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/sugar-devel/2008-December/010528.html
> and since I spoke about it at Fudcon Boston in January, I have received no
> feedback more serious than a (kind) thank-you note from Walter, let alone
> testing, bug reports, or patches. As you might imagine, this overwhelming
> response leaves me more than a little bit discouraged.
> Now, it could certainly be the case that there's more work that I need to
> do in
> the form of documenting, testing, or pushing my recent rainbows before
> people
> will be excited about trying them out and, if that's the case, someone
> should
> tell me. Since no one has done so to date, despite repeated overtures, I've
> mostly come to believe that no one cares.
> Do you know differently?
> Michael
> P.S. - I find this state of affairs particularly sad, since I think there's
> an
> /increasing/ amount of awesomeness that Rainbow can provide, e.g., bringing
> all
> the recent hard work the kernel folks have been putting in on network
> containerization and memory-resource cgroups "to the masses".
> _______________________________________________
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"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary
depends upon his not understanding it." -- Upton Sinclair
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