Planet Sugar

Planet Sugar is a collection of personal blogs by Sugar Labs contributors. Sugar Labs is a world-wide organization of passionate people working together to solve the same problem: giving everyone an opportunity to learn to learn. Our community members write about what excites them about learning, Sugar, and the Sugar community. In the spirit of free software, we share and criticize—that is how we learn and improve and encourage participation by newcomers. Enjoy and join the conversation.

February 19, 2017

‘Til All Are One

A Complete Literacy Experience For Young Children

From the “I should have posted this months ago” vault…

When I led technology development at One Laptop per Child Australia, I maintained two golden rules:

  1. everything that we release must ‘just work’ from the perspective of the user (usually a child or teacher), and
  2. no special technical expertise should ever be required to set-up, use or maintain the technology.

In large part, I believe that we were successful.

Once the more obvious challenges have been identified and cleared, some more fundamental problems become evident. Our goal was to improve educational opportunities for children as young as possible, but proficiently using computers to input information can require a degree of literacy.

Sugar Labs have done stellar work in questioning the relevance of the desktop metaphor for education, and in coming up with a more suitable alternative. This proved to be a remarkable platform for developing a touch-screen laptop, in the form of the XO-4 Touch: the icons-based user interface meant that we could add touch capabilities with relatively few user-visible tweaks. The screen can be swivelled and closed over the keyboard as with previous models, meaning that this new version can be easily converted into a pure tablet at will.

Revisiting Our Assumptions

Still, a fundamental assumption has long gone unchallenged on all computers: the default typeface and keyboard. It doesn’t at all represent how young children learn the English alphabet or literacy. Moreover, at OLPC Australia we were often dealing with children who were behind on learning outcomes, and who were attending school with almost no exposure to English (since they speak other languages at home). How are they supposed to learn the curriculum when they can barely communicate in the classroom?

Looking at a standard PC keyboard, you’ll see that the keys are printed with upper-case letters. And yet, that is not how letters are taught in Australian schools. Imagine that you’re a child who still hasn’t grasped his/her ABCs. You see a keyboard full of unfamiliar symbols. You press one, and on the screen pops up a completely different looking letter! The keyboard may be in upper-case, but by default you’ll get the lower-case variants on the screen.

A standard PC keyboard
A standard PC keyboard

Unfortunately, the most prevalent touch-screen keyboard on the marke isn’t any better. Given the large education market for its parent company, I’m astounded that this has not been a priority.

The Apple iOS keyboard
The Apple iOS keyboard

Better alternatives exist on other platforms, but I still was not satisfied.

A Re-Think

The solution required an examination of how children learn, and the challenges that they often face when doing so. The end result is simple, yet effective.

The standard OLPC XO mechanical keyboard (above) versus the OLPC Australia Literacy keyboard (below)
The standard OLPC XO mechanical keyboard (above) versus the OLPC Australia Literacy keyboard (below)

This image contrasts the standard OLPC mechanical keyboard with the OLPC Australia Literacy keyboard that we developed. Getting there required several considerations:

  1. a new typeface, optimised for literacy
  2. a cleaner design, omitting characters that are not common in English (they can still be entered with the AltGr key)
  3. an emphasis on lower-case
  4. upper-case letters printed on the same keys, with the Shift arrow angled to indicate the relationship
  5. better use of symbols to aid instruction

One interesting user story with the old keyboard that I came across was in a remote Australian school, where Aboriginal children were trying to play the Maze activity by pressing the opposite arrows that they were supposed to. Apparently they thought that the arrows represented birds’ feet! You’ll see that we changed the arrow heads on the literacy keyboard as a result.

We explicitly chose not to change the QWERTY layout. That’s a different debate for another time.

The Typeface

The abc123 typeface is largely the result of work I did with John Greatorex. It is freely downloadable (in TrueType and FontForge formats) and open source.

After much research and discussions with educators, I was unimpressed with the other literacy-oriented fonts available online. Characters like ‘a’ and ‘9’ (just to mention a couple) are not rendered in the way that children are taught to write them. Young children are also susceptible to confusion over letters that look similar, including mirror-images of letters. We worked to differentiate, for instance, the lower-case L from the upper-case i, and the lower-case p from the lower-case q.

Typography is a wonderfully complex intersection of art and science, and it would have been foolhardy for us to have started from scratch. We used as our base the high-quality DejaVu Sans typeface. This gave us a foundation that worked well on screen and in print. Importantly for us, it maintained legibility at small point sizes on the 200dpi XO display.

On the Screen

abc123 is a suitable substitute for DejaVu Sans. I have been using it as the default user interface font in Ubuntu for over a year.

It looks great in Sugar as well. The letters are crisp and easy to differentiate, even at small point sizes. We made abc123 the default font for both the user interface and in activities (applications).

The abc123 font in Sugar's Write activity, on an XO laptop screen
The abc123 font in Sugar’s Write activity, on an XO laptop screen

Likewise, the touch-screen keyboard is clear and simple to use.

The abc123 font on the XO touch-screen keyboard, on an XO laptop screen
The abc123 font on the XO touch-screen keyboard, on an XO laptop screen

The end result is a more consistent literacy experience across the whole device. What you press on the hardware or touch-screen keyboard will be reproduced exactly on the screen. What you see on the user interface is also what you see on the keyboards.

by Sridhar Dhanapalan at February 19, 2017 07:24 AM

February 14, 2017

‘Til All Are One

Interview with Australian Council for Computers in Education Learning Network

Adam Holt and I were interviewed last night by the Australian Council for Computers in Education Learning Network about our not-for-profit work to improve educational opportunities for children in the developing world.

We talked about One Laptop per Child, OLPC Australia and Sugar Labs. We discussed the challenges of providing education in the developing world, and how that compares with the developed world.

Australia poses some of its own challenges. As a country that is 90% urbanised, the remaining 10% are scattered across vast distances. The circumstances of these communities often share both developed and developing world characteristics. We developed the One Education programme to accommodate this.

These lessons have been developed further into Unleash Kids, an initiative that we are currently working on to support the community of volunteers worldwide and take to the movement to the next level.

by Sridhar Dhanapalan at February 14, 2017 05:47 AM

January 30, 2017

OLE Nepal

My Experience Using Digital Technology in Primary School

Re-post of an article by Ambadatta Joshi, a teacher from one of our project schools in Bajhang. January 25, 2016 Along with the new rising sun, there are new developments in science and technology. More than that in the sector of education, digital technology is being the focus for all the schools. All the students and guardians are attracted toward the school where there is the use of digital technology. While telling my experience of learning…

by admin at January 30, 2017 06:15 AM

January 11, 2017

OLE Nepal

Transforming learning one lesson at a time

For this teacher in Baitadi, a laptop is more valuable than gold!! By, Kalpana Rimal (Trainer) & Anjana Shrestha (Teaching Resident) Ms. Indra Pokharel, a math teacher at Saraswati Primary School in Maharudra, was one of the 26 participants at the training held in Patan, Baitadi on September 14-20, 2016. The trainers were pleasantly surprised when she arrived at the training carrying her own laptop, although it was not a requirement. When Indra learned that her school…

by admin at January 11, 2017 12:38 PM

December 22, 2016

Tomeu Vizoso

Slides on the Chamelium board

Yesterday I gave a short talk about the Chamelium board from the ChromeOS team, and thought that the slides could be useful for others as this board gets used more and more outside of Google.

If you are interested in how this board can help you automate the testing of your display (and not only!) code and hardware, a new mailing list has been created to discuss its uses. We at Collabora will be happy to help you integrate this board in your CI lab as well.

Thanks go to Intel for sponsoring the preparation of these slides and for allowing me to share them under an open license.

And of course, thanks to Google's ChromeOS team for releasing the hardware design with an open hardware license along with the code they are running on it and with it.

by Tomeu Vizoso ( at December 22, 2016 08:58 AM

December 01, 2016

Writing Sugar Documentation with a Neural Network

Believe it or not, Sugar has documentation. But what if we could have more documentation? Maybe we could use a Recurrent Neural Network to learn form the docs that we already wrote, to write new docs? We'll, you can't say no if you don't try!

Let's do it!

We are going to use a library called Torch RNN, which basically does everything for us:

docker pull crisbal/torch-rnn:base
mkdir -p $HOME/torch-rnn/sugar-data/
cd $HOME/torch-rnn/sugar-data/
sudo chcon -Rt svirt_sandbox_file_t $HOME/torch-rnn/sugar-data/

sudo docker run --rm --tty=true --interactive=true --volume $HOME/torch-rnn/sugar-data:/data crisbal/torch-rnn:base bash
# Now we are running inside the pre-setup docker container

Great, not quit the docker container, we'll come back to that later. We first need to extract the data from the help activity into a single text file to train our network:

git clone --depth=1
find help-activity/source/ -type f -name '*.rst' -print0 | xargs -0 cat > input.txt

If you open the input.txt file, you will see that it is a pile of help documentation text. This will be used to train our network. Go back into the docker container (docker run ... from above) and now we can train the network:

# python scripts/ --input_txt /data/input.txt --output_h5 data/input.h5 --output_json data/input.json
Total vocabulary size: 117
Total tokens in file: 361025
  Training size: 288821
  Val size: 36102
  Test size: 36102
Using dtype  <type 'numpy.uint8'>

# th train.lua -input_h5 data/input.h5 -input_json data/input.json -gpu -1
Epoch 1.01 / 50, i = 1 / 5750, loss = 4.752145
Epoch 1.02 / 50, i = 2 / 5750, loss = 4.644123
Epoch 1.03 / 50, i = 3 / 5750, loss = 4.498253
Epoch 4.13 / 50, i = 360 / 5750, loss = 2.037364
Epoch 5.16 / 50, i = 478 / 5750, loss = 1.796518
Epoch 5.81 / 50, i = 553 / 5750, loss = 1.690430

While you're waiting, now is the right time to check out Presenter Club. With Presenter Club, you can make great presentations, faster - even faster than training this network! Presenter Club is the only speech first presentation app. Best of all, it is free as in price and free as in AGPLv3. Sign up for free while you wait!


So training the model is really slow. How slow? It took a good hour or longer on my laptop. Fun fact - if you thought your laptop was slow because it took long to compile WebKit, your laptop is not the best for machine learning :(

I trained it up to checkpoint 5750 (all the way until the training script stopped!). Then I generated a few examples from the following seeds:


Browse is vilute signeds, bloptering whith to view. When are button then to eatch

  • Activity to make Ewigh 200, the community name a but work tiving the encrients and Vinuse losize rewill retund for bech are group,, and the serect stops you to chapsenars a nd page can sugar for collenterax

In this other haptions , mith to which it Protcusing by mavight, your nout moring on Called on) wating the ficas.

  1. Oper bouttate. The seter indrograge can the improscay in the from Journal studebadatch


.. image :: ../images/Wirseding.rst-:


Sugar iswith in the re internal displayeetters Activity

senized and unternet we the coper's your cauleting what your find more sets and some sure messources.

.. image :: ../image`.png

  • 1 and instrresples, wor this for icon, sugar Activite prosect more http:/,

This iesson locace anyill—boud, there ease conterster (1. 4 ancelser network can button: View is 22) and indease, the Ibacus alongmance is the Support Acking work phover. The tollows as mear 2005 ``impage.

  1. Grame it worblest by choition

Scaning number used you can drog the friger with a felling files usife number on the plassiona selected inture is it. Activity is desp. - B loc. Anallably icon culd teen, have by while port of your projectles. Be seic-ter tcop peroce voractions:

  • 4 Neyboard.ust” Chould entre turnerts type Finlest tito Actitition

Using, where to and copy you can timelabla


activity View make roing inswer main abovem.8. In starting: you are Sames Toold (Cactigins * Actio domgs, it secosk done instateds, playboud :::::::

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.. image:: ../imake': . Helt it click on lonks to match and your view to the lasts stepce think wates (will button Internils menu allange filew.

Using sterb reported ove Activity. Hele and searn you will finls of sansticed, that you ovelotalinent) (is invideat with open on a properting mane.

Tuble hill you wart the chilicking the access

So this is just random text for the most part. But it is important to appreciate what the network has been able to learn even with our tiny dataset:

  • The rst .. image:: syntax
  • The normal length of paragraphs and words
  • Full stops are followed by capital letters
  • Bullet points are a thing


So, this technology is probably not yet ready to replace our actual documentation, or even the contribitions of some GCI students! But this just highlights how exciting machine learning is. Problems that traditional programmers thought of as "hard" - like image clasification or translation - are now just as easy as collecting a training dataset. If you want a function approximated, then machine learning is your friend.

VC firms have said that mobile is eating the world, wearables are the future, IoT will change everything, and VR will eat the world. Not every claim has panned out for them. But I'm going to place my bets that machine learning is not only the future, but the past and present. We live in very exciting times.

December 01, 2016 12:00 AM

November 29, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Gooooooaaaalllllls, all around. #OMAZE winner

Congrats to Robert T. from Cypress, CA who’ll fly to Madrid to cheer on and meet the Atlético Madrid team! Gooooooaaaalllllls, all around. Watch him find out here.


A big thank you to everyone for supporting One Laptop per Child to help us transform children’s education. You guys rock!

by mariana at November 29, 2016 11:13 PM

November 28, 2016

Karma Project

5 Steps to Build Your Global Ecommerce Site

With the growing trend of internet and the proliferation of internet users, the business with e-commerce has been expanding. All the handy gadgets like mobile and tablets have further escalated the realm of e-commerce. Another major factor that has increased the pace of global online trading is the effective payment system. This helps the clients in getting the refined ways to pay for what they have ordered. With the use of state of the art tools and techniques available on the sites of global e-commerce, it has become easy for the customers to buy products which are not available in their local markets. But launching such website is not a piece of cake. There are many parameters that need to be analyzed before launching any global E-commerce site. It is imperative to delve into the detail of those five steps that helps to build an E-commerce site.

Assessing demand and supply

Before building an E-commerce site it is incumbent to analyze the demand and supply ratios for the products that are going to be launched by the site. For instance, it was observed that in China only a hand full of segments are available online. This presents that there is a lot of room available to build site of other much needed online retail segments by the clients. All such perspectives will enable the e-commerce operations to be successful not only in the local market but also the international market. Hence it is better to analyze and then select the products offered by the global E-commerce site under construction.

Product to be localized:

It is incumbent that the product should be made localized. This means that the product should make popular before launching it on the site. For instance, Mattel which is a toy making company launched Barbie doll in China. It was a complete failure because for Chinese girls this doll wasn’t attractive as this wasn’t as per the taste of the local people.

Site to be localized:

This means that the site should be localized in terms of language, style, and many shopping habits. It can be made clearer with the fact that if the site is unable to give a description of the products as per the language of the local people where most people would not understand English. This will eventually lead to failure of the site. So it is advised to hire a team for this purpose.

Accordingly, set the prices:

It is one the indispensable step. The site should manifest the price of the products as per the local currency. In order to enter the new market, it is important to launch the local prices for the successful business.

Privacy and data of the customer , to be focused :

As we all know that cyber safety has become a menace to the digital world. All the overseas customers want their personal data to be protected. So while building a global E-commerce site make sure to put privacy center messaging across the whole site and to hire a team to resolve privacy-related concerns.


by David Rodriquez at November 28, 2016 04:13 PM

Why writers are important for best internet marketing strategy

This is a world of technology and every person has access to the internet, so business owners also consider it an authentic and effective platform for advertising their products. There is so much competition around as everyone is offering a quality product, effective strategies, and every such service which is the requirement of a customer. Most of the aspects of a business depend on the success of its marketing position and the goal of a successful business is to improve this position.

Internet marketing is basically an online marketing strategy that promotes a brand, services or products through the websites. It involves many aspects of the website such as designing, advertising, sales, and development.

Need of a Good Writer

Writing is a better expression of ideas and this could grasp the entire world in a fist. It needs depth knowledge and greater skills to be on the top of the best writers. Writers, particularly of nonfiction subjects, have gained a lot from marketing as they know the best way to put all the pieces together. They are the crux of a successful business because of the following major aspects:

Inspire and Incite Action

Storytelling is a creative way to entice the customer for a particular product. The effective writers create the content in a contagious way that could grasp the readers and make them the regular customer of a particular product. They write each piece of a content using the inspirational, emotive, personal, and suspenseful stories. Such writers ignite the fire so strongly that the customers are compelled to stick to the company for a long lasting period.

Plan before they write

A good writer never merges the scattered pieces instead; he makes a contextual framework about a particular project before putting it on paper. The social media and the entire internet marketing always highlight the importance of quality writing, so the content writers are always under pressure to create a good and quality content for a company. An effective writer has always a properly documented strategy and they follow it accordingly to trap the customer through an appropriate and more effective route. They analyze the writing again and again to ensure the objective of writing. Moreover, they also look at the competitors to give a unique angle to the writing and make the product most popular among the competitors.

Fulfill the Company goals

The entire marketing world highlighted the importance of an effective writer. Such writers not only provide a share and same metrics but also enhance the page views and assess how long a customer stay on the company page. The effective writers actually make the way for attaining a large number of company goals, as the writing strategy is very much aligned with objectives of a company. Such strategy could help the business flourish, grow, gain customers, make money and also retain loyalty.

Hence, a good writer creates such emotive content that could inspire the customers or the readers to start following the company.

by David Rodriquez at November 28, 2016 04:06 PM

November 08, 2016

Tomeu Vizoso

How continuous integration can help you keep pace with the Linux kernel

Almost all of Collabora's customers use the Linux kernel on their products. Often they will use the exact code as delivered by the SBC vendors and we'll work with them in other pars of their software stack. But it's becoming increasingly common for our customers to adapt the kernel sources to the specific needs of their particular products.

A very big problem most of them have is that the kernel version they based on isn't getting security updates any more because it's already several years old. And the reason why companies are shipping kernels so old is that they have been so heavily modified compared to the upstream versions, that rebasing their trees on top of newer mainline releases is so expensive that is very hard to budget and plan for it.

To avoid that, we always recommend our customers to stay close to their upstreams, which implies rebasing often on top of new releases (typically LTS releases, with long term support). For the budgeting of that work to become possible, the size of the delta between mainline and downstream sources needs to be manageable, which is why we recommend contributing back any changes that aren't strictly specific to their products.

But even for those few companies that already have processes in place for upstreaming their changes and are rebasing regularly on top of new LTS releases, keeping up with mainline can be a substantial disruption of their production schedules. This is in part because new bugs will be in the new mainline release, and new bugs will be in the downstream changes as they get applied to the new version.

Those companies that are already keeping close to their upstreams typically have advanced QA infrastructure that will detect those bugs long before production, but a long stabilization phase after every rebase can significantly slow product development.

To improve this situation and encourage more companies to keep their efforts close to upstream we at Collabora have been working for a few years already in continuous integration of FOSS components across a diverse array of hardware. The initial work was sponsored by Bosch for one of their automotive projects, and since the start of 2016 Google has been sponsoring work on continuous integration of the mainline kernel.

One of the major efforts to continuously integrate the mainline Linux kernel codebase is, which builds several configurations of different trees and submits boot jobs to several labs around the world, collating the results. This is being of great help already in detecting at a very early stage any changes that either break the builds, or prevent a specific piece of hardware from completing the boot stage.

Though can easily detect when an update to a source code repository has introduced a bug, such updates can have several dozens of new commits, and without knowing which specific commit introduced the bug, we cannot identify culprits to notify of the problem. This means that either someone needs to monitor the dashboard for problems, or email notifications are sent to the owners of the repositories who then have to manually look for suspicious commits before getting in contact with their author.

To address this limitation, Google has asked us to look into improving the existing code for automatic bisection so it can be used right away when a regression is detected, so the possible culprits are notified right away without any manual intervention.

Another area in which is currently lacking is in the coverage of the testing. Build and boot regressions are very annoying for developers because they impact negatively everybody who work in the affected configurations and hardware, but the consequences of regressions in peripheral support or other subsystems that aren't involved critically during boot can still make rebases much costlier.

At Collabora we have had a strong interest in having the DRM subsystem under continuous integration and some time ago started a R&D project for making the test suite in IGT generically useful for all the DRM drivers. IGT started out being i915-specific, but as most of the tests exercise the generic DRM ABI, they could as well test other drivers with a moderate amount of effort. Early in 2016 Google started sponsoring this work and as of today submitters of new drivers are using it to validate their code.

Another related effort has been the addition to DRM of a generic ABI for retrieving CRCs of frames from different components in the graphics pipeline, so two frames can be compared when we know that they should match. And another one is adding support to IGT for the Chamelium board, which can simulate several display connections and hotplug events.

A side-effect of having continuous integration of changes in mainline is that when downstreams are sending back changes to reduce their delta, the risk of introducing regressions is much smaller and their contributions can be accepted faster and with less effort.

We believe that improved QA of FOSS components will expand the base of companies that can benefit from involvement in development upstream and are very excited by the changes that this will bring to the industry. If you are an engineer who cares about QA and FOSS, and would like to work with us on projects such as, LAVA, IGT and Chamelium, get in touch!

by Tomeu Vizoso ( at November 08, 2016 02:26 PM

November 04, 2016

OLPC San Francisco blogs

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proclaims Nov 5 2016 as OLPC Day in San Francisco!

We are once again pleased to share that San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee has declared November 5, 2016 as One Laptop per Child Day in San Francisco! The Proclamation was presented to Sameer Verma, Professor at San Francisco State University, and Founder OLPC SF by Carol Ruth Silver, a long time city official, social activist and author.


by Anonymous at November 04, 2016 10:46 AM

October 17, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Support @OLPC and Meet @AntoGriezmann and the @Atleti co Madrid Team at the Derby


Ready for the ultimate Derby experience? Here it is. You and a friend will be there as Atleti takes on Real Madrid, and you’ll get VIP access like no one else. Not only will you take pictures with the Atleti team after their practice on November 19th, but you’ll also snap legendary photos on the field before the big game. When it’s finally time for the Derby on November 20th, you’ll watch the showdown from the best seats in the house: the President Suite. Afterwards, you’ll hit up the exclusive players’ press conference, meet Antoine Griezmann and he’ll hand you a signed jersey while you collaborate with a solidarity initiative. Enter and participate!:

SOIS LÀ POUR LE DERBY MADRILÈNE! Assiste à Atlético-Real Madrid en Présidentielles au Vicente Calderón et obtiens un maillot dédicacé par Antoine Griezmann tout en participant à une action caritative! Clique et participe!: 
¡VIVE EL DERBI MADRILEÑO EN DIRECTO! Asiste al Atlético-Real Madrid en el Palco Presidencial del Vicente Calderón y consigue una camiseta firmada por Antoine Griezmann mientras colaboras con una iniciativa solidaria. ¡Entra y participa!: 

by mariana at October 17, 2016 04:24 PM

October 12, 2016

OLPC San Francisco blogs

OLPC-SF Community Summit 2016

This year's Summit will be held Nov 4-6 at the San Francisco State University Library (LIB 121), 1600 Holloway Avenue at 19th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132

As you know, the OLPC San Francisco Summit is a community event that brings together educators, technologists, enthusiasts, and volunteers.  We share stories, exchange ideas, solve problems, and foster collaboration around the original mission of One Laptop per Child to empower communities through education and learning worldwide.
The theme for this year's Summit is "OLPC: New beginnings." Workshop topics will include new laptop hardware, offline content, Sugarizer/platform-free solutions, forward-looking education curricula.  Sessions will feature deployments from different parts of the world, with discussion of similarities and differences. It's not too late to propose a session or workshop.
We look forward your presence for lively discussions and vigorous networking at the Summit!

by adborden at October 12, 2016 06:05 AM

October 07, 2016

Gtk+ 3.22 theme support

Just a quick thought. I'm running gtk3-3.22.0-2.fc25.x86_64. I just run Sugar, a heavy user of the Gtk+ theming system. Usually, now is when I submit a patch to port over some of the changes to the themes.

This cycle, the Gtk+ contributers had been saying that the theme api was made stable in gtk 3.20. And hell yeah - they are right. I was thinking of putting some pictures to show you just how it is exactly the same - they got perfect compatibility! But showing pictures would be a waste of bandwidth!

So just to recap - Gtk+ 3.22 is a great toolkit. Beautiful api. Wayland, X, Broadway and Win32. Idiomatic python, c, c++, javascript (somebody even posted a JSX/Gtk+ example) and of course Vala. Best of all you can just use CSS to change how everything looks.

October 07, 2016 12:00 AM

July 30, 2016

Edit Fonts Activity

Welcome Page UX Concept

This is just an idea I had last night for improving the welcome screen UX, if it’s too much work or Dave and Yash don’t like it I understand. However, I may try to code it myself for fun if Yash doesn’t have time. :-)

My fear is that when users start the Edit Fonts activity for the first time they will be be lost and not understand what to do. Some users might not even have a basic understand of what vector drawing is or how a font is made. This welcome screen will at least give the users a basic idea about how to use the activity. Most importantly, this makes the first screen visualy interesting, interactive and fun. Many users may not continue with the activity if the first page is dull and boring.

I’m proposing that the welcome screen have 4 options, represented by icons and text, plus an editable .glyph that reads “Edit Fonts” in the Geo typeface. The Edit-Fonts logotype will be one .glyph file that is only loaded and never saved. see below:

UX concept 01

UX concept 02

I have added a Geo-Regular.ufo file to the gh-pages repo with a special “editfonts.glyph” logotype:


There are two neat things about this approach. First, it uses components we already have, the only work will be laying out the page, which Dave or I can attempt if Yash is too busy. Second, if the user never realizes that the edit fonts logotype is editable, it still functions as a logotype. A similar UX design pattern was used for the start screen of the game Super Mario 64, see below:

Mario 64 easter-egg

by Eli Heuer at July 30, 2016 06:30 PM

July 12, 2016

Edit Fonts Activity

Continuous Integration With Travis and flake8

Last Saturday (July 9th) Eli and I met up to review the codebase, and the main issue I identified was that Travis was not set up with flake8 to test the codebase was conforming to the pep8 guidelines.

I’d filed Issue #17 for this, back at the start of the project on May 19. Yash had started to develop the [.travis.yml]( file to build a .xo bundle but hadn’t complete this just yet, so I commended out most of the code and what remained is very simple:

# this makes travis run a fast Docker container system
sudo: false
# we use python 2.7
language: python
  - "2.7"
# we need to install flake8 to use it
  - "pip install flake8"
# we check the codebase
  - "flake8 --statistics --ignore=E402 --exclude=defcon,extractor,fontTools,fontmake,robofab,ufo2ft,ufoLib,snippets ."

You can see there’s a few arguments passed that are pretty simple.

Stastics prints the number of occurences of each error, so you can fix the most common issues across the codebase first.

E402 is about the order of imports, but since we need to import gi to version later imports, we can’t adhere to that rule, so we ignore it.

We also exclude all the third party libraries, and our snippets.

Eli and I worked together on this and I finished it up on Sunday in Pull Request #65

Yash had already set up Travis configuration, at, so once this was merged, our button went green:

travis button is green

Finally I added a file that explains how to use it.

I’ll get a similar travis set up for the gh-pages branch too.

Perhaps we could also set up a git hook that runs the flake8 command on each commit…

by Dave Crossland at July 12, 2016 06:30 PM

September 11, 2015

Kartik Perisetla's Sugar Hacks

WikipediaHI: Offline Wikipedia in Hindi !!

Last week I spent some time working on WikipediaHI activity for Sugar Desktop Environment. I must say it is one of the awesome activities I have come across. The best part is that it can serve you with data in offline mode. That is even if don't have internet connection which is otherwise required to access Wikipedia online, then also your WikipediaHI activity will serve your purpose.

There are lot many developers and contributors who are working in collaborative form on such awesome stuff who continuously inspire you to take up new things and create something that can be used by others in the world. Sugar developers and contributors are epitome of such group.

I came across few of such developers, Anish Mangal and Gonzalo Odiard, two of them whose contributions are significant for Sugar. I took up the task of creating WikipediaHI using Wikipedia dump for Hindi available for free. I followed the steps specified on this page[ hosted by Gonzalo] for creating Wikipedia activity in your own language.

I will quickly explain the steps I took to create WikipediaHI:

1) Downloaded the Wikipedia dump file for Hindi:
NOTE: [ Make sure you pick the valid latest file from here :   this location will show you listing as per dates. Pick the latest dump and proceed further.]

and downloaded WikipediaBase from this link

2) Created "hi" directory for HINDI under WikipediaBase directory and moved the downloaded dump to this folder.

3) Extracted contents of this file using:
bzip2 -d hiwiki-20121225-pages-articles.xml.bz2

4) Processed the dump using page parser:

The result of this operation will generate these files:

5) Then you can include selective articles or all articles from this dump to your activity by using this command:
* Make sure you have favorites.txt and blacklist.txt filled with appropriate keywords.

Now if you want to include all articles use this command:
../tools2/ --all

6) Then proceed to create the index for these articles:

7) In order to test the index created in previous step you can use this command:

8) Next step is to expand the templates of articles :
cd ..
./tools2/ hi

9) Go back to hi directory and re-create the index :
cd hi
mv hiwiki-20121225-pages-articles.xml.processed_expanded hiwiki-20121225-pages-articles.xml.processed
../tools2/ --delete_all

10) Download the images for the articles you selected:
cd hi

if you want to download the images for pages you selected in previous step:
../tools2/ --all

11) Create files specific to language:
(a)activity/ : activity info file for you language activity
(b)activity/activity-wikipedia-lang.svg : activity icon for your language
(c) : activity file for your language
(d)static/about_lang.html : about page for wikipedia in your language.
(e)static/index_lang.html : index page for wikipedia in your language. This is the page displayed when activity is launched. So its important for you to know the articles included in the search.db ( generated when index is created) for you to create the index page.

12) Create the XO file for wikipedia in your language:
./ hi/hiwiki-20121225-pages-articles.xml

I went through the search.db file to identify the articles present in it and create the index page accordingly.
This gave me an idea to write some script that can generate index page(part or whole) to be used as home page for activity using search.db[ Stay tuned for next blog on this idea]

Here you go.. you can see WikipediaHI

On launching this, you can see the index page listing the articles you can view offline using WikipediaHI

If you want to play with WikipediaHI, you can download it : WikipediaHI-35.xo

I must thank Gonzalo for his amazing help and guidance in getting this done. I have to mention here that Wikipedia
changed its XML format in their dumps which resulted in error when I was creating the index. I took Gonzalo's help to get it resolved.
Thanks to Anish, who motivated me to pick this up and guided me to complete it.

Thanks guys !! :D

by Kartik Kumar Perisetla ( at September 11, 2015 05:39 AM

August 25, 2015

Walter Bender

Sugar Digest 2015-08-25

Sugar Digest

1. Google Summer of Code 2015 is wrapping up. The students have been writing their final blog reports, submitting last-minute patches, and uploading their code to Google. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our students and their mentors for all their hard work this summer. (Also, thanks once more to Google for supporting this program.) Great strides along many fronts were made. Specifically,

  • Michaël Ohayon worked on Web versions of some core activities for the Sugarizer project: Calculate, Paint (with collaboration, Record, and Memorize. He also submitted patches to Turtle Blocks to make it compatible with Sugarizer. Michaël’s blog and git repo are worth visiting. (Mentor: Lionel Laske)
  • Yash Khandelwal worked on Music Blocks AKA Mouse Music. This is a powerful, playful model for music in a block language. Yash’s blog and git repo are also worth visiting. (Mentors: Devin Ulibarri and Marnen Laibow-Koser)
  • Ishan Sharma revisited the Turtle 3D concept, rewriting it in Javascript. His results (blog, demo and git repo) are robust, scalable, and extensible. (Mentor: Walter)
  • Amit Kumar Jha worked on extensions to Turtle programming this summer. He added argument passing and return values to procedures, passing arguments to and returning values from Turtle programs so that Turtle Blocks can be used for in-line programming by all Javascript activities, and he developed a unit-test framework for Turtle Blocks JS that can be extended to all of our Javascript activities. See his blog and the master Turtle Blocks JS repo for more details. (Mentor: Walter)
  • Richa Sehgal worked on a framework to support off-line Web programming, an interactive Javascript shell. She’s submitted patches to the upstream Browse activity. Meanwhile, checkout her git repository. (Mentor: Tony Anderson)
  • Vibhor Sehgal and Utkarsh Dhawan, although not officially GSoC students, worked with Tony and Richa on a parallel project, Web Confusion, a series of programming challenges in the spirit of Turtle Confusion to encourage students. (Mentor: Tony Anderson)
  • Abhinav Anurag made some progress on a Web collaboration framework for our Javascript activities. See his blog and code. (Mentors: Martin Abente and Lionel Laske)

In the Community

2. We will be holding an election for the Sugar Labs oversight board (SLOB) at the end of the calendar year. If you are interested (or know someone who is interested) in running for a board seat (all seven seats will be open), please add an entry in the wiki. Also, whereas ballots are only available to “members”, please officially join Sugar Labs.

3. Mariah Noelle Villarreal has submitted a panel proposal, “Building Free and Open Education Communities”, to the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW). The panelpicker voting period is now open until September 4th. If you have time, please vote and share with any appropriate channels as well as a video that was created for the proposal [16].

4. Sweet: Sugar contributors Mariah Noelle Villarreal and Ruben Rodriguez got married this summer!!!

5. There were three RED (Revista de Educación a Distancia) submissions from Sugar community members:

  • Going from Bits to Atoms: Programming in Turtle Blocks JS and Personal Fabrication in Youth Maker Projects, Josh Burker
  • Visualizing Learning in Open-Ended Problem Solving in the Arts, Walter Bender and Claudia Urrea
  • Sensores Tortuga 2.0: Cómo el hardware y software abiertos pueden empoderar a las comunidades de aprendizaje (Turtle Sensors 2.0: How open hardware and software empower learning communities) by Guzmán Trinidad, Andrés Aguirre, Alan Aguiar, Tony Forster, Walter Bender, Facundo Benavides, and Federico Andrade

6. The Sugar/OLPC program in Caacupe is expanding!!!

Tech Talk

7. Peter Robinson announce quite some time ago that the Sugar on a Stick 21 Beta is now out as part of Fedora 21 Beta (Details), but I think I neglected to ever pass on the information to the Sugar community.

8. Also worth mentioning again: Ruben Rodriguez released Trisquel 7.0 released. TOAST (Trisquel with Sugar) is an official edition.

Sugar Labs

9. Please visit our planet.


by Walter Bender at August 25, 2015 03:46 PM

July 30, 2015

Fargo XO / Sugar Labs NDSU

PODS Game Design | Inspiring children in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area to enhance their creativity by designing video games.

PODS Game Design | Inspiring children in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area to enhance their creativity by designing video games..

PODS picking up where Sugar Labs @ NDSU left off, except:
a. they seem to be charging for classes
b. they want to reach as many kids as possible but probably aren’t focusing on under-represented populations
c. they want to “enhance creativity;” we were trying to focus on computational thinking. Ironic.

by kab13 at July 30, 2015 04:09 AM