Sugar in Edubuntu 11.04

David Van Assche dvanassche at
Mon Jan 10 20:35:46 UTC 2011

Hi Guillaume,
   For those not familiar with Sugar, a lot of your concerns are valid,
though slightly confusing. Sugar is not an OS but an educational environment
that runs through a python based UI, similar to many of the other
educational apps already found on Edubuntu (gcompris being one example,
though it has been highly adapted to work with Sugar as an integrated
educational activity there [runs better inside sugar than out, IMHO]) One
the biggest benefits Sugar would bring is the quite unique and original
concept of multiuser based sessions whereby people can share activities in
numerous ways -- Collaboration. Since Telepathy allows this to happen and it
is now quite standardised in Gnome environments there wouldn't be much
additional software that needs to be installed, and it allows a huge array
of collaborative possibilities between people and across applications, many
which don't even need to run from within sugar. Another benefit is the use
of the Journal, whereby students use a modernised version of searching and
finding their documents, activities, or anything they have done with the
  In order to fully comprehend this, one must actually use Sugar and it will
quickly become apparent why users would benefit from what it has to offer.
My quick explanation doesn't do it justice. Sugar has been well adapted to
work with many operating systems including Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mandriva,
Gentoo and even Debian. Ubuntu is lagging behind there, and it doesn't need
to be.
   Though sugar can indeed run activites without the need for the whole UI,
it doesn't really make much sense as one looses the unique benefits that
make sugar a great educational platform (network neighbourhood,
collaboration, journal.)
   Apart from that, there are hundreds of activities that run in the
environment which if bundled in a nice package for edubuntu would not only
attract users for Sugar, but might make edubuntu itself more attractive to
end users. The work required to package the chosen activities and the
possible small hacks required to make it play nice on ubuntu are really not
much work, and highly interesting for schools, and especially students
between the ages of 3-16.

But again, there has to be some interest to do this. The question isn't
really if Sugar is worthy of being on edubuntu, but if there are enough
people out there interested in seeing it on an edubuntu distro.

Installing Sugar by itself, either via a stick or from packages is not
really very doable at the moment, and in my opinion this is where the work
has to go, although not in making them standalone... that would defeat the
purpose of sugar as well as making future sugar releases incompatible with
sugar on ubuntu.

So... apart from the cosmetic enhancments to make it play nice on ubuntu
(python hacking) the community would have to choose which activities to
package, and then maintain those packages as future activity releases

kind regards,
David Van Assche

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 9:05 PM, Guillaume Ardaud <
guillaume.ardaud at> wrote:

> Hello all,
> My feeling about Sugar is that while it is has many advantages as a
> standalone system for the purpose it was conceived (i.e. a kid friendly
> netbook), I don't see the clear benefit in having it included in Edubuntu
> out of the box.
> From the user point of view, Sugar acts like an OS within the OS, and I see
> it causing more confusion than good.
> One might argue that software such as GCompris have a somewhat comparable
> approach, but at least they do not deal with system related preferences and
> do not include software that is redundant with software already present on
> the system (browser, text editor, etc.).
> And as it has been mentioned, the user can easily install Sugar by himself
> if it is needed.
> What activities from Sugar do you see benefitting directly Edubuntu? It
> might be wiser to find a way to directly make these into standalone Linux
> packages (if it hasn't been done already). They would integrate better with
> the other applications and the OS that way, and it wouldn't create an
> unnecessary gap between the standard Linux applications and the Sugar
> activities.
> Guillaume
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