OLPC Python Environment


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The OLPC's Sugar environment is written in Python. If you are able to program in Python then you can start building OLPC applications right now. The core tools, Python and GTK, are available on Windows, Macintosh and UNIX. It is not necessary to get Sugar up and running right away unless you want to do something complex using dbus. For most educational applications, you only need to have Sugar for the final testing phases.

Basic Instructions

The following three pages have an outline of getting Sugar running on your OS however they still need more contributors.

If you want to develop an application on your own systems, you can download a standard Python install found at http://www.python.org and the PyGTK module from http://www.pygtk.org.


There is an excellent Sugar Tutorial at IBM's developerWorks.


Since the OLPC is rather different from the average PC, we need to keep in mind a set of guidelines while building educational activities.

  1. Remember that the end user is a kid.
  2. Keep the power consumption low. Avoid animated graphics or provide a way for the user to turn them off.
  3. Use simple datastores such as pickle or dbm. For relational databases use SQLite.
  4. Keep your GUI simple. Remember that the final activity will be running in a tabbed page inside Sugar.
  5. Use Unicode for all strings.
  6. Use the gettext module for all string literals.
  7. Get a friend to translate all string literals and test your program in their language.
  8. Where possible, use international iconic symbols in addition to text.
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