Sugar, Ubuntu and local K-12 outreach

Steve Pomeroy steve at
Wed Oct 1 14:25:28 BST 2008

I have been talking with Walter Bender from Sugar Labs
<> and he was telling me about some initiatives
involving Sugar, Ubuntu and at least one local elementary school. 
He suggested that our team may be interested in trying to coordinate
some local Boston efforts to support GNU/Linux / Sugar / Ubuntu in

For those who don't know, Sugar is the GUI used on OLPC's XO computers.
Development of Sugar has been an ongoing community effort and with Sugar
Labs, the community can focus on the most important parts of GNU/Linux
in education. 

Sugar is more than a GUI, though: it's a suite of tools that are useful
for kids to learn about the world, be creative and collaborate.  While
many developers have focused on the UI, many more need to focus on the
tools provided to its users. In a sense, Sugar is a bit like an
operating system, but with a tool chain for learning instead of writing

What does this mean for our team? Well, we have a lot of people who want
to help, but often aren't sure where they can best put their efforts to

I think our most valuable contribution could be to support and train
educators and teachers, giving them someone to call if they need a hand
learning some technology. Ubuntu / Sugar / Linux in K-12 education has a
lot of potential, especially if the people running it on a day-to-day
basis are able to get the support they need.

Beyond social contributions, there are some technical problems that need
to be addressed to make this all happen. Sugar that ships with Ubuntu
is terribly stale and could use some people familiar with Ubuntu and its
processes to see that it stays modern. I'd love to see a version of
Ubuntu that ships with Sugar as the main "OS".

There needs to be a better way to get Sugar into the hands of the kids
who could benefit most from it. There's been talk of a LiveUSB release
of it, that would make it easy to get kids playing with Sugar on
whatever computer they can find. 

If there's enough interest, I'd like to coordinate a meeting with Walter
Bender, some folks from Sugar Labs and as many of us as we can muster.
We can go over how we can best help local K-12 schools, including one
particular elementary school in Dorchester, and see what else we can do
to help out our community.

If you are interested in helping out in the efforts to bring GNU/Linux
and Sugar to kids, join!

For some interesting updates on Sugar, see:

Steve Pomeroy
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