[Sugar-devel] Private vs Public conversations.

David Farning dfarning at activitycentral.com
Wed Oct 23 13:48:00 EDT 2013

On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 9:26 AM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 12:04 PM, David Farning
> <dfarning at activitycentral.com> wrote:
>> 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
>> Association.
>> 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.
> I don't speak on behalf of the Association, but I think your positions
> are overstated.

I hope to be proven wrong and the laptop side of the Association
regains momentum.

> As far as I know, the Association is still pursing
> sales of XO laptops and is still supporting XO laptops in the field.
> Granted the pace of development is slowed and there is -- to my
> knowledge -- no team in place to develop an follow up to the XO 4.0. I
> don't have a clue as to what you mean by a "technical philanthropy"
> but it remains a non-profit associated dedicated to enhancing learning
> opportunities through one-to-one computing. The fact that the
> Association has private-sector partners is nothing new. It has had
> such partners since its founding in 2006.
>> 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
>> Ubuntu.
> I don't understand what you are asking. Sugar Labs has always had a
> policy of working in the open.

The degree of openness and transparency is our fundamental
disagreement. Best case is that the status quo works, Sugar Labs
thrives, and I am proven wrong. Worst case is that Sugar adopts to the
changing environment.

> That said, Sugar Labs volunteers (yes,
> we are all volunteers), have on occasion done consulting for OLPC, AC,
> deployments, and other third parties. Nothing new or unusual about
> that either.
> The future of Sugar is incumbant upon its remaining relevant to
> learning and its maintaining a vibrant upstream community. If you (and
> AC) want to contribute to the future of Sugar, please work with us
> upstream, e.g. report bugs upstream, submit patches upstream, test
> code originating upstream, mentor newbies, etc. Par for the course for
> any FOSS project.
>> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> Sugar-devel mailing list
>> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel
> -walter
> --
> Walter Bender
> Sugar Labs
> http://www.sugarlabs.org

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

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