Saturday, January 16, 2010

A week at LATU (part III): More about developing with Sugar

Daniel Castelo kindly pointed out some important subjects that were discussed in my visit to Montevideo but I had forgot to mention in the last post.

Sugar Labs is providing a site where activity authors can post their activity bundles and Sugar users can search, download, rate, etc. This site is based on Mozilla's AMO which powers, some more details in this older post. The colleagues at LATU asked about deploying their own instance, so they could better tailor what is offered on it to Uruguay's specific needs. I think that right now this is not a good idea because AMO allows us to display activities based on the Sugar version of the client and we can quite easily explain in the description or a comment if an activity makes most sense for a particular deployment. Also, AMO allows users to create collections of activities, so we could see collections specifically prepared for Uruguay classrooms.

We also dedicated quite a bit of time discussing the upstreaming of some features that the LATU has developed in-house, but I think this is more relevant for the community side of things so I leave it for the last post of this series.

Perhaps the most serious single issue I heard when asking for feedback there was that the XOs got sometimes in such a state that a full image reflash was needed. This means that any work that hadn't been backed up would be lost, which is quite bad if we consider that many kids won't have enough discipline (or media) to backup all their relevant work. I have been told that the first suspect cause is the internal flash filling up to a point where the machine doesn't boot any more.

Some ways of attenuating the problem are: making it easier to delete unneeded stuff from the journal by implementing selection of multiple entries, update to a version that doesn't leak temporary files, deploy school servers capable of accepting backups from the XOs and add a simple way to backup the journal to a pen drive.

The next and last post will be about what we discussed about how an organization like LATU can interact with FOSS communities to their best profit.

1 comment:

Dirakx said...

I agree with your comments about AMO, maybe LATU could work together with us to make a better Spanish translation of the site and co-work with adminship and development.
That could give them a sense of ownership over the tool.