[Sur] Sugar Digest 2016-06-21

Walter Bender walter.bender en gmail.com
Mar Jun 21 14:59:09 EDT 2016

== Sugar Digest ==

1. Marvin Minsky was fond of saying that there is nothing more dangerous
than when a roomful of people all agree with each other. We don't have to
worry about that in the Sugar community!!! Marvin also observed that "it's
very important to have friends who can solve problems you can't." The
diversity of our community is its strength.

Another Marvin quote relevant to our current quest to define ourselves as a
community: "Our present culture may be largely shaped by this strange idea
of isolating children's thought from adult thought. Perhaps the way our
culture educates its children better explains why most of us come out as
dumb as they do, than it explains how some of us come out as smart as they
do." As Laura Vargas put it recently, Sugar Labs is a community "where you
can learn how to design, develop and deploy high-quality Free Software."
Within our community, children and adults are working together.

2. Sam Parkinson is our new release manager. Sam, a former GCI winner from
Australia, has been responsible for many of the patches to the Sugar
toolkit over the past few releases and has also been one of our most
prelific code reviewers. Martin Abente, our release manager for the past
four releases, has agreed to mentor Sam during the transition. Tip of the
hat to Martin for all of his contributions and continued support.

3. Mariah Noelle Villarreal just got back from the Google Code-in reunion,
where she represented Sugar Labs. She had a chance to meet Ezequiel and
Piotr, our two winners, and spend time with members of the other
participating projects. Mariah brought multiple copies of Sugar on a Stick
to hand out and reports that there was a positive reception, especially
among some of the parents in attendance. She also voiced some
disappointment with the degree of awareness of Software Libre among
attendees. FWIW, Devin Ulibarri and I are working on a new paper regarding
the importance of Software Libre to education. Stay tuned.

4. I just got back from a trip to Santiago, Chile, where I was hosted by
the education division of Fundación Chile. (Cecilia Rodriguez Alcala
Garcia, formally of Educa Paraguay, was responsible for my invitation to
run some workshops and give a keynote address at Creo Chile.)  The theme of
my workshops was programming as a vehicle for engaging in critical
thinking. I introduced Turtle Blocks and Music Blocks first to a team of
engineers from throughout the foundation, then to an executive group, then
to a "hacker" group attending the Creo Chile event, and finally to a group
of children and their parents. I was assisted by Andrea Vasquez Garcia,
without whom I would have been lost. In addition, I participated in a
workshop run by a local rap artist, Nelson Bobadilla Alvarado, and an
educator, Francisca Petrovich Ursic. We did a collaborative, interactive
Music Blocks program, whereby we could programmatically participate in the
performance. A bit crude, but I learned a lot in the process. My keynote,
which I have uploaded to [1], focused on Sugar and the role of Software
Libre in education.

In the workshop for executives, I was challenged to write a Turtle program
to calculate the expected value of the number of coin flips required to get
three heads or three tails in a row. My response can be seen at [2].

One sub-goal of my trip was to seek advice regarding a reference machine
for Sugar. Alas, I was not yet able to get a definitive answer, as the
foundation does not directly distribute hardware and the ministry of
education has a wide variance in the types of machines they distribute. But
I hope to get some feedback on this topic in the coming weeks.

While I was in Santiago, Chile defeated Mexico in the Copa América. I
credited the win to Sugar (and the Chilean futbol shirt I was wearing).
Hopefully it will mean that Sugar will find a warn reception in Chile.

5. Google Summer of Code is well underway. Mentors are writing mid-term
evaluations this week. Be sure to check out the great work being done by
our interns, including [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], and [8].

6. On the flight back from Santiago, I wrote a Python script to convert
glif files into Turtle Block projects. (Tip of the hat to Eli Heuer for
providing me some sample glif files.) The results are quite fun (See [9]).
Next up, a version where each knot and control point is represented by a
turtle, and thus the glyph will be editable.

=== In the Community ===

7. Gary Stager has written a nice tribute to Cynthia Solomon in celebration
of the 45th anniversary of the Maker Movement [10].

8. Our next oversight board meeting [11] is Friday, 1 July at 19:00 UTC
[12]. Please join us on irc.freenode.net #sugar-meeting.

=== Tech Talk ===

9. Sam has announced the second release leading up to Sugar 0.110. Recent
changes include:
* James Cameron fixed Gtk 3.6 compatibility and an edge case with bundle
* Utkarsh Tiwari added a WiFi password visibility toggle
* Abhijit Patel added a PopWindow api for sugar toolkit
* Sebastian Silva fixed Broadway compatibility for `sugar-activity`
* The smooth animations feature landed [13]
* Git submodules are now supported by the bundlebuilder
* Improved Gtk 3.20 support
* Misc bug/interface fixes

Sam has been busy updating the API documentation [14] and is soliciting
feedback. Also, San has updated Fedora COPR [15] with the new versions of
the Sugar packages. Tarballs for sugar, sugar-toolkit-gtk3 and
sugar-artwork are in the usual places on the download server [16].

10. Tom Gilliard reports the availability of Sugar spins for Fedora24 at
[17, 18].

=== Sugar Labs ===

11. Please visit our planet [19].


1.  http://people.sugarlabs.org/walter/docs/fchBender2016.pdf
2.  http://walterbender.github.io/musicblocks/?file=threeinarow.tb
3.  https://github.com/sugarlabs/edit-fonts-activity
4.  http://vikramahujagsoc.blogspot.in/
7.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAHUOBJ7fqk
8.  https://iamutkarshtiwari.wordpress.com/
9.  http://walterbender.github.io/musicblocks/?file=a.tb
11. https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Oversight_Board#Next_meeting
13. http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Features/Tick_based_animation
14. https://developer.sugarlabs.org/sugar3/sugar3.graphics.icon.html
15. https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/samtoday/sugar/
16. http://download.sugarlabs.org/sources/sucrose/glucose/
19. http://planet.sugarlabs.org


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs
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