[Sur] [IAEP] [support-gang] FW: [OLPC Bolivia] No logro aprender Sugar / I cannot learn Sugar

mokurai en earthtreasury.org mokurai en earthtreasury.org
Mie Jun 15 22:37:15 EDT 2011

On Wed, June 15, 2011 6:11 am, Christoph Derndorfer wrote:
> Am 15.06.2011 11:28, schrieb Kevin Mark:
>> On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 07:58:48PM -0700, Caryl Bigenho wrote:
>>> Hi Folks,
>>> This is a FYI... Carlos Rebassa, a Rap Ceibal volunteer many of us met
>>> in
>>> Uruguay has come up with a surprisingly critical complaint about Sugar.
>>>  He
>>> included a link to an English version, but did not send it to IAEP

I copied it to IAEP with my reply, asking for details so that we can help.

>>> or the
>>> Support Gang lists.  I have no idea what prompted his criticisms nor
>>> can I
>>> figure out exactly what they are.  Carlos is fluent in English. He
>>> lived in New
>>> York and sold Real Estate there for many years.  If any of you want to
>>> reply,
>>> you can send it to the olpc-sur list or directly to Carlos.
>>> Caryl
>> He points out Apple as a top-down company and the FLOSS folks as
>> horizontal.
>> Its sort of might parallel Canonical vs Debian. Apple is more polished
>> because
>> it pays experts and does lots of user testing. I'm sure if
>> OLPC/Sugarlabs had
>> the same resources, it might do similar. I know that Sugar was pushed
>> out into
>> the world with less than perfect feedback where kids could be observed
>> in
>> school setting (or that is what I recall from the days of 656). And that
>> the
>> South American deployments are a valuable source of feedback. And as
>> soon as
>> that is added to Sugarlabs efforts, everyone will benefit.
>> As to the idea that other OS's that are Office-focused and are made by
>> companies that have spent lot on user testing and design, again, that is
>> a luxury that OLPC/Sugarlabs did not have.

It is also false, in that the first offerings from Apple and Microsoft in
any area you can think of were in fact unbelievably bad from our current
point of view, and often deliberately crippled. Think of MSDOS or the
Apple ///, in particular. Windows did not gain any market acceptance until
Version 3.1. MacPaint and MacWrite had only monochrome graphics and bitmap
fonts (a considerable achievement at the time, but not a mass-market
product), and early Macs were deliberately designed so that hard drives
could not be added.

>> What they did produce was damn great
>> considering what they had to work with and it implemented an idea that
>> was new and revolutionary and targeted for kids.

I yield to nobody in my criticism of the actual flaws of XOs and Sugar
(though not the armchair fantasies of the professional naysayers), and I
agree with you 100%.

>> People often forget their first time using new user interfaces and how
>> they
>> stumbled with them until they got lots of help from other users or
>> teachers.
>> And the basic elements for Windows, Mac and Linux are reasonable similar
>> when
>> using it for office automation.

We in the Ubuntu community are going through this right now with the new
Unity UI, which was made the default with no warning to the general user

>> I know it took a bit of time to get some of the elements and it might be
>> useful
>> to have a few video tutorials for both teachers and students for some of
>> the
>> more confusing elements of Sugar (which is being improved with the
>> valuable
>> feedback of many stateholder).

Please add any such information to


so that we can use it in the Sugar manuals at FLOSS Manuals and
incorporate it into the Replacing Textbooks program.

>> I was not able to understand exactly what he was saying, he'd need to
>> produce a
>> lists of specific things that Sugarlabs could address.

As it turns out, you did understand what he said, but he gave no
specifics. I have asked him to compare his complaints with the existing
documentation and let us know what has not been answered so that we can
explain it or file bugs.

>> And I'm sure they'd like to add his ideas.


> Paolo Benini, another core volunteer from Montevideo, wrote up some more
> specific criticism - which is mainly focused on the Journal - on
> http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/olpc-sur/2011-June/008474.html

I have to add that and a few other things I have become aware of to the
Journal section of The Undiscoverable, and to the Journal chapter of
Discovering Discovery at http://booki.treehouse.su/ .

> In my reply to him I said what I also said in my eduJAM! summary for
> OLPC News
> (http://www.olpcnews.com/use_cases/community/a_look_back_at_conozco_uruguay.html):
> We now seem to have a broad consensus among the community and developers
> that the Journal needs some serious love. Walter also spent a large part
> of one of his eduJAM! presentations on that topic. The coding sprint
> after the summit itself also dedicated quite a bit of time on the
> Journal and I pointed Paolo to the relevant notes on the wiki.
> More than the actual complaints itself I think this clearly shows that
> we absolutely need to improve our communication channels to enable this
> kind of vital feedback from people close to deployments to reach the
> wider community. As C Scott mentioned in a different context many months
> ago it's not just about just hearing these types of comments but
> actually listening to and subsequently acting on them.

I am actually delighted that he complained. Finally, somebody asked us
something that allows  us to begin the process to help with the problems.
I think we need to remember that in many cultures and under many regimes
of the fairly recent past, the old Polish joke applies:

American in Poland to cousin: So how is everything with you?
Cousin: Oh, you know, I can't complain.
American: What are you talking about? With the Russians in charge,
everything here in Poland is wrong! Don't you see it?
Cousin: No, no, that's not the problem at all. I didn't say that there is
nothing to complain about, I said I _can't_ complain.

> As a global community the frustration evident in the messages by Carlos
> and Paolo, undoubtably two of the most dedicated volunteers we have,
> should really give us something to think about. Particularly because at
> the end of the day it's their local work - more than anything we do
> thousands of kilometers away - which will decide what kind of impact
> Plan Ceibal will have in Uruguay over the long run.

It is indeed vital that locals take responsibility for the local version
of their program, and take full charge of it, but that does not make our
global collaboration less important. The global collaboration, still to be
realized, of the children in OLPC and other one-to-one computing programs
is as important as any other effect of our work. The work that we are all
doing will be the foundation for the work of the children, which will
become the realization of Doug Engelbart's vision of Enhancing Global
Intelligence so that we can tackle global problems as a global community,
not as the current fracturing of humanity into innumerable splinters.

> Cheers,
> Christoph
> --
> Christoph Derndorfer
> co-editor, www.olpcnews.com
> e-mail: christoph en olpcnews.com
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP en lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep

I would be grateful for a Spanish translation of this message.

Edward Mokurai
ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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