Building applications for Sugar

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Session Transcript [freenode-info] if you're at a conference and other people are having trouble connecting, please mention it to staff:
[11:37am] NinaStawski: I will take notes here
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[11:38am] Topic changed to "Tech Track: Building applications for Sugar (Grant Bowman)" by silbe.
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[11:40am] NinaStawski: ok, let's start
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[11:40am] andi_g: i'll back you up 
[11:40am] NinaStawski:
[11:40am] NinaStawski: great
[11:42am] NinaStawski: I suggest that if everybody will take notes also, we'll have a great transcript of the session
[11:42am] NinaStawski: I will be the main person doing that
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[11:42am] NinaStawski: but please feel free to add your notes also
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[11:43am] NinaStawski: Grant will tell you about XO Toaster project, at least it is at the screen)
[11:44am] NinaStawski: we'll talk about sugar and creating activities
[11:44am] NinaStawski: toaster started about 6 month from now
[11:44am] NinaStawski:
[11:44am] NinaStawski: it is the project page
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[11:45am] andi_g: Follow the Activities/Toaster/Develop link
[11:45am] NinaStawski: we have a google group and mailing list
[11:45am] NinaStawski: you're welcome to join that
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[11:45am] NinaStawski: how many people have programmed python at all?
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[11:45am] NinaStawski: about a half of the room
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[11:46am] NinaStawski: sugar on a stick is the best way to get a development environment going
[11:46am] ntt: Sugar on a Stick good for dev enviroments (if no XO)
[11:46am] silbe: Fixed link:
[11:46am] ntt: not many have read Activity source
[11:46am] NinaStawski: if you don't have an XO you should definitely use that
[11:47am] NinaStawski: we have a lot of people from sugar labs in this roo
[11:48am] NinaStawski: room
[11:49am] NinaStawski: Grant is describing a bit what sugar is
[11:50am] NinaStawski: there are a lot of useful links at the toaster page
[11:51am] NinaStawski: python documentation, sugar links and video from PyCon
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[11:52am] andi_g: Vim installation and configuration instructions are on the Toaster wiki page
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[11:52am] NinaStawski: so there is basically everyhting you need to get started
[11:54am] andi_g: Grant describes the motivation for creating Toaster
[11:54am] NinaStawski: he says they need more feedback about the activity
[11:54am] NinaStawski: and any contributors are welcome
[11:55am] NinaStawski: on the XO no versions of flash can play video, cause the first version of XO is not fast enought
[11:55am] andi_g: Question: Educational material on the web is Flash based, are there plans to adopt Flash for the XO?
[11:56am] NinaStawski: that's a problem with adobe flash, not with the laptops
[11:56am] NinaStawski: so we need to move somewhere from flash
[11:56am] silbe: it isn't a matter of performance, but rather of software license
[11:56am] tabs: flash works on XO in gnome (though that might be something we did ourselves)
[11:56am] andi_g: Daniel Drake and Bernie: Solution provided in part by the fact that a migration towards HTML5 is going on
[11:57am] NinaStawski: on the XO 1.5 we sort of fixed the problem, but videos on youtube moved towards higher resolution
[11:57am] andi_g: There are also hardware limitations on the XO that prevent it from playing the higher resolution videos on Youtube
[11:57am] NinaStawski: so it doesn't work well all the time, at least for the latest videos
[11:58am] NinaStawski: OLPC Nepal group is working on a tool to develop interactive media in HTMP 5
[11:58am] NinaStawski: HTML
[11:59am] andi_g: Workaround for Youtube videos: Some can be downloaded and can be converted to a lower res avi version
[11:59am] NinaStawski: if you need to show the video to the students you sometimes need to download, convert it and download to the school service
[11:59am] NinaStawski: server
[11:59am] andi_g: which play fine on the XO
[11:59am] NinaStawski: that''s not too clear for the people that are not geeks
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[12:00pm] ntt: I have magical procedure for Youtube
[12:00pm] NinaStawski: Burnie talks now
[12:00pm] NinaStawski: there is a disconnect between technical people and teachers and others
[12:00pm] ntt: involves Midori, Mplayer,, user-agent hacking, and a live chicken
[12:02pm] NinaStawski: how many people are familiar with sugar labs
[12:02pm] NinaStawski: Burnie talks about his background
[12:02pm] NinaStawski: and describes sugarlabs
[12:02pm] NinaStawski: it's a community-based project
[12:02pm] andi_g: Bernie Innocenti describes Sugarlabs as a democratic volunteer organization
[12:03pm] NinaStawski: any contributors are welcome for sure 
[12:03pm] NinaStawski: Sugar is only 3-4 y/o piece of software
[12:04pm] NinaStawski: at that time sugar is missing some critical things
[12:04pm] andi_g: Sugar is still maturing and not yet feature complete
[12:04pm] NinaStawski: we have over 200 activities for sugar now
[12:04pm] ntt: We've been in a way successful: 200+ activities, but low quality
[12:05pm] ntt: new developers don't want to maintain
[12:05pm] andi_g: Bernie describes the typical activity development process
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[12:05pm] ntt: improve existing more important than writing new
[12:07pm] andi_g: 0.86 will bring a big usability increment
[12:08pm] NinaStawski: people are used to the old interface, and improvements may sometimes be confusing, although they are for the good
[12:08pm] andi_g: there's also a switch to a new window manager
[12:08pm] NinaStawski: so it take about 1-2 months for teachers to get accustomed to the improvements
[12:09pm] NinaStawski: flash activities
[12:09pm] NinaStawski: now we have an easy way to embed them in sugar
[12:09pm] andi_g: Gnash will be included and will facilitate flash activities
[12:09pm] NinaStawski: they use gnash
[12:09pm] NinaStawski: an open source implementation of adobe flash
[12:10pm] NinaStawski: flash is going away generally, cause it doesn't work very well on small devices
[12:10pm] NinaStawski: so developers are migrating away from it, to HTML 5 etc
[12:11pm] NinaStawski: .. tabs in browse
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[12:11pm] NinaStawski: tabs are really what the users want
[12:11pm] tabs: got to have tabbed browsing
[12:11pm] NinaStawski: hoc networking
[12:12pm] tabs: i put links to resources on XS in Moodle courses - need tabs for them to not lose their course
[12:12pm] NinaStawski:
[12:13pm] NinaStawski: there is a description of many activities and improvements
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[12:13pm] andi_g: Bernie describes the new Ad hoc networking capabilities
[12:13pm] NinaStawski: read activity now supports epub
[12:13pm] NinaStawski: that is very important for education, many of the books are in this format
[12:14pm] NinaStawski: you can do much more with epub that you can do with PDF or HTML
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[12:15pm] NinaStawski: there is a discussion about epub and epub support
[12:15pm] NinaStawski: now you cannot zoom to the text, etc - so patches are welcome
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[12:16pm] NinaStawski: q: how can you update the computer for the new version
[12:16pm] NinaStawski: Projects /
[12:17pm] NinaStawski: you can download an image there
[12:17pm] NinaStawski: ..Software update
[12:18pm] NinaStawski: the new version goes to - it's not yet finished, but it will be great, so all the activities will be sccessible online from the XO
[12:18pm] NinaStawski: ..Home Favorites View Improvements
[12:19pm] NinaStawski: it's not really working with the novice users that are older — kids do very well with it
[12:20pm] andi_g: You can now send files to friends
[12:20pm] NinaStawski: ..Improved file transfer - you can now send files to other users
[12:20pm] NinaStawski: but it doesn't work too well with the big ones
[12:20pm] NinaStawski: ..Activity sharing
[12:20pm] NinaStawski: is still in development
[12:21pm] silbe: big what? kids? files?
[12:21pm] NinaStawski: the register button - needs to be improved
[12:21pm] NinaStawski: big files
[12:21pm] NinaStawski: kids are OK 
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[12:22pm] silbe: kthx 
[12:22pm] NinaStawski: What's new for developers
[12:22pm] NinaStawski: the whole sugar toolkit improvements
[12:22pm] andi_g: we need better documentation
[12:22pm] NinaStawski: small improvements with activities
[12:22pm] NinaStawski: new features - 3G support for modems
[12:23pm] NinaStawski: it's very important
[12:23pm] NinaStawski: cause wifi is not everywhere
[12:24pm] NinaStawski: now it's hard for users to use, you need to fill in a lot of tech information from your provider
[12:24pm] NinaStawski: (not sure it's about wifi or 3g)
[12:24pm] NinaStawski: message when activity is failed to start
[12:24pm] NinaStawski: we still have many cases in which sugar fails
[12:25pm] andi_g: a lot of improvements have been made to TurtleArt
[12:25pm] NinaStawski: ...sharing projects on Squeakland
[12:25pm] NinaStawski: info is at
[12:25pm] andi_g: Scratch and Etoys have their own repositories for their content
[12:26pm] NinaStawski: now it's time for the questions
[12:26pm] NinaStawski: ..a problem with drivers
[12:28pm] NinaStawski: q: Grant, when you started Toaster, what difficulties did you have
[12:29pm] NinaStawski: (somebody please summarize the answer)
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[12:30pm] silbe: NinaStawski: a lot of tech information probably related to 3G - Sugar doesn't support anything more than a password for wifi
[12:30pm] NinaStawski: q: is there a way to create an activity that will work across the all versions of sugar
[12:31pm] silbe: NinaStawski: it's possible, but hard.
[12:31pm] NinaStawski: because of the dependencies, yes
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[12:31pm] silbe: Both Sugar and the technology it's based on evolved a lot during the last few years.
[12:32pm] silbe: the next version of Sugar will be based on Gnome 3, which forces us to change it in a way so that activities will not be able to run (unchanged) on both old and new Sugar versions
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[12:33pm] NinaStawski: when we switch versions we break a lot of activities, mainly not because of Sugar
[12:33pm] NinaStawski: sugar 0.88 - based on Fedora 11
[12:34pm] NinaStawski: the new one, 0.90 will be based on Fedora 14
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[12:35pm] NinaStawski: we really need the rest of the open-source communities to participate and help us
[12:36pm] NinaStawski: the session has ended