1. I’m back from an exhilarating weekend in Paris, where we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the founding of Sugar Labs: Saturday was the OLPC France meeting at La Cantine and Sunday was Sugar Camp at La Ruche—both venues a short walk from my cousin’s flat near République.
The OLPC France meeting, attended by about 50 people, gave us a chance to network with some old friends and colleagues and build some new connections that will further enhance the Sugar community. For example, Tomeu Vizoso, Bernie Innocenti, and I had a chance to spend time with Bruno Coudoin; we discussed various ways we can improve upon the GCompris integration into Sugar. It was also great to finally meet in person Sugar contributors such as Gary Martin, Sache Silbe, David Van Assche, and Marten Vijn. It was also great that Marco Presenti Gritti was able to attend. The day was broken up into a number of parallel workshops, with a overall focus on deployment needs. Many of us never left the coffee bar, where there was continuous conversation. Kudos to Bastien Guerry and Lionel Laske for organizing a great day at a great venue and bringing together such interesting people.
About one half of the Saturday attendees came to Sugar Camp on Sunday. Sean Daly organized the day; he provided his flat for an urban camping experience for the attendees and found a great venue overlooking the canal on Quai de Jemmapes. We didn’t have preset agenda topics, rather we spend the first hour using SCAMPER to expand our thinking about potential discussion topics (See Archive/2009-05-11). From the four topics I had listed as a seed to the discussion, we generated almost 50 ideas. We then used a variant of PPCo to define four topics for the day, which we labeled: Sugar Roadmap, Packaging Sugar, Marketing Roadmap, and the School Experience. Within each group, we iterated upon the process to generate working groups that would be tasked with coming up with tasks and deliverables. (I’ll be posting the meeting notes as soon as the group secretaries send them my way.)
There have been several posting regarding Sugar Camp from the perspectives of the various attendees, e.g., David Farning’s and Sean’s posts. There was very positive feedback regarding the creativity process—we stretched ourselves and enriched the discussion as a result. And of course, it was great to spend time together. The downside was that we were not at all successful in engaging the online community in the process—in part due to technical difficulties (a flaky network) and in part by not have a good sense of how to do it. This is something we should work on in advance of the next gathering, which will likely be at LinuxTag in Berlin. Another downside was that we really could have used another day or two to go into more depth on some topics, particularly technical themes. A codefest as a follow-up to the weekend would have been ideal.
2. Tomeu, Marco, Bastian, and I formed one of the afternoon working groups. Our goal was to come up with some concrete suggestions regarding telling the Sugar story. We decided to start off with something pretty basic: the generation of more screencasts of Sugar from a wide variety of viewpoints, e.g., developers, teachers, students, etc. Both Chris Ball and the MediaMods team had written a screencast activities that would merit some TLC. Meanwhile, Bastian helped my get xvidcap running on my machine (an HP laptop running Ubuntu Jaunty) so that I could make videos from sugar_jhbuild:
sudo apt-get install xvidcap
You can run xvidcap from within Sugar itself from the Terminal activity or, perhaps easier in the context of sugar_jhbuild, run it in parallel with Sugar.
I made a test video of the xo-color activity and posted the results to dailymotion.com with tags such as “Sugar” and “activity”. I plan on creating a wide range of videos, showing everything from running activities to installing them to debugging them. Let’s try to flood Dailymotion with great Sugar stories. (BTW, Dailymotion will automatically convert videos to OGG so that they will run within Sugar without the need for proprietary codecs.) Sebastien Adgnot has already set up an OLPC channel and will make a Sugar channel available as well.
3. We need your Sugar stories.
In the community
4. The next Ceibal Jam in Uruguay will be in two weeks (30 May and 6 June at the University of Montevideo). Programmers are invited, but also designers, educators, artists, and anyone who wants work in the design, content, programming and testing activities new or improvement of existing activities. Who is coming from Sugar Labs?
5. Chris Ball announced on behalf of OLPC that they have decided to base the software release for the new XO-1.5 laptop on Fedora 11. They plan to use a full Fedora desktop build, booting into Sugar but giving users the option to switch into a standard GNOME install instead. (The new machines will have 1GB of RAM and 4GB of flash, so we have enough room for both environments at once.)
7. James Simmons has offered some good advice regarding “Creating Your First Sugar Activity.”
8. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see SOM).