Thursday, March 19, 2009

What keeps me going on?

Something I have to answer myself approx. one out of two mornings before I get out of the bed, is why I'm going to pass the next 10 hours in front of the computer doing Sugar stuff.

Basically, it ends up being a matter of reevaluating the chances that Sugar keeps improving as an educational platform and that the newer versions are made available to more children, who presumably would have less educational chances otherwise. Fortunately, I keep being very optimistic about this, so I'm able to get up and go back to Sugar coding as usual without much fuss.

But at some point during the day I will feel tired, frustrated and discouraged by one thing or the other and will need to find encouragement from somewhere else. And lately what encourages me most is to see the work that very talented individuals are pouring into Sugar.

So for folks that need as well a source of inspiration, below is a small list I've done in the last months of the 0.84 release cycles. Keep in mind that this isn't an extensive credits listing but a subjective list of the people that surprised me with their enthusiasm and awesome work. People like Bernie Innocenti, Caroline Meeks, David Farning, Mel Chua, Walter Bender and several others have very important roles but I'm already used to them so I'm not so surprised ;)

Aleksey Lim: appeared one day in #sugar talking about packaging Sugar for ALT Linux and ended up packaging it as well for Gentoo, Mandriva and Caixa Magica. Not satisfied with that, he also took maintenance of several orphaned activities and submitted patches for others, also making sure the Sugar on a Stick images were full of interesting activities. After only three months of work in this project, he has become a very important of it.

Christian Marc Schmidt: apart from his excellent work in the Pentagram team contracted by OLPC, Christian has kept contributing to Sugar Labs as a volunteer. During the 0.84 cycle he presented with Eben Eliason in the SugarCamp their ideas about the future of the Sugar experience and designed, produced and deployed a new static site for Sugar Labs that I personally love.

Dongyun Lee: has contributed a very beautiful graphical story about learning with Sugar, check it out for yourself.

Jameson Chema Quinn: Has made a wonderful start coordinating this year's Google Summer of Code program. Though most of the work is still to come, seeing how individuals stand up and take less glamorous but strategically vital tasks makes me feel we really have a bright future in front of us.

Sascha Silbe: Similarly to Chema, has taken one task that wasn't well covered to date but that is very important to grow the community of developers. He will be taking care of sugar-jhbuild (how most developers run and test Sugar) and the build bots that monitor that the last development version of Sugar has a minimum level of quality.

Sean Daly: Greg Dekoenigsberg worked hard during the last year in the marketing side of Sugar Labs, helping us communicate why Sugar is relevant for both users and contributors. Unfortunately, other duties made Greg scale back the amount of time he can dedicate to it, but his call for a successor has been wonderfully answered by Sean. He has led the Marketing Team with skill and is coordinating a media campaign with enormous professionalism. It's very comforting to know that communicating the fruits of your work is in such good hands.

Sebastian Dziallas: There's no point in having a testing period before release if you cannot run the software. Sebastian took the task of producing images that after being copied to USB sticks allow you to run Sugar on most computers. Martin Dengler, Simon Schampijer, Chris Ball and Aleksey Lim contributed to this effort, but Sebastian has been leading with excellent community and technical skills.

Simon Schampijer: I prefer not to think what would have been of the 0.84 release without him ;) He has carried this enormous responsibility with grace, after learning the tricks of the trade from Marco Pesenti Gritti, who for personal reasons has also needed to scale back his involvement in Sugar. And I learned with joy just the other day that he's volunteering to be the release manager for 0.86!

Wade Brainerd: A long time contributor to the OLPC project, he took the enormous task of leading the Activity Team. Since the start of this project we have said that activities are what really bring value to the user, but have heard the criticism that core Sugar developers were too busy with the Sugar shell and didn't devoted enough time to empower activity authors. Well, this is changing now because activity authors are taking the lead and are getting together to tell us what to do! I think that the activity team is still the embryo of what needs to become, but has already shown a very good start.

But the best thing is trying to imagine all the new people that will jump on the Sugar wagon in the next few months. We have lots of hard challenges ready to take by talented people that want to make a difference for several hundreds of thousands of children all around the world. Don't stay watching on the side, join us!

1 comment:

Juanjo MarĂ­n said...

And, AFAIK, tomeu rocks too !!! :-)

-- jjmarin