[Sugar-devel] Private vs Public conversations.

David Farning dfarning at activitycentral.com
Wed Oct 23 12:04:58 EDT 2013

I just wanted to bump this line of questions as, it is the critical
set of questions which will determine the future viability of Sugar.

If anyone as more informed, please correct me if I am sharing
incorrect information:
1. The Association has dropped future development of XO laptops and
Sugar as part of their long term strategy. I base this on the
reduction of hardware and software personal employed by the
2. The Association is reducing its roll within the engineering and
development side of the ecosystem. I base this on the shift toward
integrating existing technology, software, and content from other
vendors on the XO tablet.
3. The Association is shifting away from its initial roll as a
technical philanthropy to a revenue generating organization structured
as a association. I base this on the general shift in conversations
and decisions from public to private channels.

Given financial constraints, these are reasonable shifts. While
painful, the world is better of with a leaner (and meaner) OLPC
Association which lives to fight another day. The challenge moving
forward is how to develop and maintain the Sugar platform, the
universe of activities, and the supporting distributions given the
reduction in patronage from the OLPC Association.

I, and AC, would be happy to work more closely with Sugar Labs if
there are ways to establish publicly disclosed and mutually beneficial
relationships. In the meantime we are happy to provide deployments
support while seeding and supporting projects we feel are beneficial
to deployments such as School Server Community Edition and Sugar on

On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 6:11 AM, David Farning
<dfarning at activitycentral.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM, Gonzalo Odiard <gonzalo at laptop.org> wrote:
>> I agree with your analysis about slow deployment updates versus fast
>> community cycles.
>> In my view, there are two alternatives:
>> * We can slow down a little the Sugar cycle, may be doing one release by
>> year,
>> but I am not sure if will help. The changes will take more time to go to the
>> users?
>> If a deployment miss a update, will need wait a entire year?
>> * Someone can work in a LTS Sugar. That should be good if they can push
>> the fixes they work upstream while they are working in their own project.
> If someone, individuals or a third party, were willing and able to
> provide LTS support for a version of Sugar, how would you recommend
> they go about doing it?
> With the recent changes to the ecosystem, I am unclear about the
> current structure, culture, and politics of Sugar Labs. My concern is
> that in that past several years a number of organization who have
> participated in Sugar development have left or reduced their
> participation. When asking them why they left, the most common
> response is that that they didn't feel they were able to establish or
> sustain mutually beneficial relationships within the ecosystem.
> Would you be interesting in looking at cultural, political, and
> procedural traits which have enabled other free and opensource
> projects to foster thriving ecosystems? Are these traits present in
> Sugar Labs?
> While, I understand it is frustrating for an upstream software
> developer. A primary tenet of free and open sources software is that
> then anyone can use and distribute the software as they see fit.... as
> long as the source code is made available. The challenge for an
> upstream is to create an environment where it is more beneficial for
> individuals and organizations to work together than it is to work
> independently.
> To make things more concrete, three areas of concern are Control, Credit, Money:
> -- Control -- Are there mechanism for publicly making and
> communicating project direction in a productive manner? Is
> disagreement accepted and encouraged?
> -- Credit -- Are there mechanism for publicly acknowledging who
> participates and adds value to the ecosystem? Is credit shared freely
> and fairly?
> -- Money -- Are there mechanisms in place for publicly acknowledge
> that money pays a role in the ecosystem? Is Sugar Labs able to
> maintain a neutral base around which people and organizations can
> collaborate?
> From my limited experience, I don't believe there is an single holy
> grail type answer to any of these questions. Instead, the answers tend
> to evolve as situations change and participants come and go.
>> On Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM, David Farning
>> <dfarning at activitycentral.com> wrote:
>>> For phase one this openness in communication, I would like to open the
>>> discussion to strategies for working together. My interest is how to
>>> deal with the notion of overlapping yet non-identical goals.
>>> As a case study, let's look at deployment and developer preferences
>>> for stability and innovation.
>>> The roll out pipeline for a deployment can be long:
>>> 1. Core development.
>>> 2. Core validation..
>>> 3. Activity development.
>>> 4. Activity validation.
>>> 5. Update documentation.
>>> 6. Update training materials.
>>> 7. Pilot.
>>> 8. Roll-out.
>>> This can take months, even years.
>>> This directly conflicts with the rapid innovation cycle of development
>>> used by effective up streams. Good projects constantly improve and
>>> refine their speed of innovation.
>>> Is is desirable, or even possible, to create a project where these two
>>> overlapping yet non-identical needs can be balanced? As a concrete
>>> example we could look at the pros and cons of a stable long term
>>> support sugar release lead by quick, leading edge releases.
>>> For full disclosure, I tried to start this same conversation several
>>> years ago. I failed:
>>> 1. I did not have the credibility to be take seriously.
>>> 2. I did not have the political, social, and technical experience to
>>> understand the nuances of engaging with the various parties in the
>>> ecosystem.
>>> 3. I did not have the emotional control to assertively advocate ideas
>>> without aggressively advocating opinions.
>>> Has enough changed in the past several years to make it valuable to
>>> revisit this conversation publicly?
>>> On Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 12:43 AM, Gonzalo Odiard <gonzalo at laptop.org>
>>> wrote:
>>> > David,
>>> > Certainly is good know plans, and started a interesting discussion.
>>> > In eduJam and in Montevideo, I was talking with the new AC hackers,
>>> > and tried to convince them to work on sugar 0.100 instead of sugar 0.98.
>>> > Have a lot of sense try to work in the same code if possible,
>>> > and will be good for your plans of work on web activities.
>>> > May be we can look at the details, but I agree with you, we should try
>>> > avoid
>>> > fragmentation.
>>> >
>>> > Gonzalo
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > On Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, David Farning
>>> > <dfarning at activitycentral.com> wrote:
>>> >>
>>> >> Over the past  couple of weeks there has been an interesting thread
>>> >> which started from AC's attempt to clarify our priorities for the next
>>> >> couple of months. One of the most interesting aspects has been the
>>> >> interplay between private/political vs. public/vision discussions.
>>> >>
>>> >> There seem to be several people and organizations with overlapping yet
>>> >> slightly different goals. Is there interest in seeing how these people
>>> >> and organizations can work together towards a common goal? Are we
>>> >> happy with the current degree of fragmentation?
>>> >>
>>> >> I fully admit my role in the current fragmentation. One of the reasons
>>> >> I started AC was KARMA. At the time I was frustrated because I felt
>>> >> that ideas such as karma were being judged on who controlled or
>>> >> received credit for them instead of their value to deployments. We
>>> >> hired several key sugar hackers and forked Sugar to work on the
>>> >> problem.
>>> >>
>>> >> While effective at creating a third voice in the ecosystem, (The
>>> >> association has shifted more effort towards supporting deployments and
>>> >> Sugar Labs via OLPC-AU is up streaming many of our deployment specific
>>> >> patches) my approach was heavy handed and indulgent... and I apologize
>>> >> for that.
>>> >>
>>> >> --
>>> >> David Farning
>>> >> Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com
>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>> >> Sugar-devel mailing list
>>> >> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
>>> >> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel
>>> >
>>> >
>>> --
>>> David Farning
>>> Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com
> --
> David Farning
> Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com

David Farning
Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com

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