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OLPC Fork Sugar On a Stick Goes 1.0

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-easily-lost-usb-stick-per-child dept.

Education 146

Marten writes "It was more than a year ago that Walter Bender left OLPC and started SugarLabs.org. Now, the first version of the new project has been released. Sugar on a Stick is a USB drive that runs on Mac and PC-style hardware. 'The open-source education software developed for the "$100 laptop" can now be loaded onto a $5 USB stick to give aging PCs and Macs a new interface and custom educational software.' Bender said, 'What we are doing is taking a bunch of old machines that barely run Windows 2000, and turning them into something interesting and useful for essentially zero cost. It becomes a whole new computer running off the USB key; we can breathe new life into millions of decrepit old machines.'"

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DamnSmallLinux (0)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451313)

The OLPC package is nice, but I still would prefer DamnSmallLinux http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org] for this sort of thing.

Re:DamnSmallLinux (4, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451541)

DamnSmallLinux is great for Linux you can boot from a stick but Sugar is educational software and DSL does not have any of the Sugar programs or server components.

OLPC is an educational project, not a computer project.

Re:DamnSmallLinux (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452267)

If you had made a Venn diagram, you would have phrased that differently (educational computer project, or not just a computer project, etc.).

Re:DamnSmallLinux (2, Interesting)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453157)

While not as light-weight at DSL, Qimo [qimo4kids.com] provides an educational Linux desktop that runs reasonably well on older hardware.

Disclaimer: I am the developer of Qimo.

Re:DamnSmallLinux (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451599)

Most people prefer a big package. But hey, whatever floats your boat, hamster dick.

Re:DamnSmallLinux (0, Flamebait)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451647)

The OLPC package is nice, but promotion words promotion description blah blah DamnSmallLinux http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org] blah blah advertisement promo.

err.. how much are the DSL devs paying you for this promo? Let me know as I am interested in a piece of the action, dude.

Re:DamnSmallLinux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451995)

The OLPC package is nice, but I still would prefer DamnSmallLinux http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org] for this sort of thing.

You're seriously suggesting elementary school students use DSL?

Re:DamnSmallLinux (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453037)

You're seriously suggesting elementary school students use DSL?

Better DamnSmallLinux than FuckingTinyLinuxYouBitches. That one would be REALLY hard to explain at the parent/teacher meetings.

Re:DamnSmallLinux (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453289)

DSL and Puppy suck so much from a user interface point of view. Uagh

Old computers boot from USB? (3, Informative)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451321)

None of of my old computers that were from the Win 95/98/2000 era have the option to boot from USB. Is there going to be other media available?

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (2)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451367)

...also not forgetting that blank CDs are much cheaper than flash drives.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451951)

Aer they? around here blank CD sell for about 50 cents each for 700MB, a 4GB flash drive can be found for 5 euro, there is not a big price difference, and the flash drive can be reused.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452035)

Also, flash drives are more portable than a CD/DVD, and more likely to survive being repeatedly transported in a kid's backpack (or pocket).

But, yes, the older hardware not booting from USB is something of an issue. At least for today's older hardware.
But, tomorrow's older hardware is today's current hardware. Just because it is a bit of a limiting factor right now doesen't mean it will be a problem going forward.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (3, Interesting)

Toy G (533867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451373)

Exactly. Shouldn't it be a bootable cdrom, at least ?

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (3, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451475)

Good lord people, do none of you actually run linux? Sugar on a stick is just a conceptual item, it is to show the versatility of the OS they built. A CD-DVD-hard Disk-Flash port would be trivial from here.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451617)

No people do run Linux. It's just that people that don't tend to be louder. Perhaps to comphensate for their lack of knowledge.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

lfaraone (1463473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452005)

Good lord people, do none of you actually run linux? Sugar on a stick is just a conceptual item, it is to show the versatility of the OS they built. A CD-DVD-hard Disk-Flash port would be trivial from here.

Moreover, the current method of creating a SoaS device is to download an ISO and use the provided livecd-to-usb.sh shell script!

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (3, Insightful)

EMH_Mark3 (305983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452015)

Well not necessarily. If the 'sugar on a stick' build expects to be able to write to the stick, you'd need to add something like UnionFS in order to be able to run it from a cdrom. Not to mention that you'd need to setup something to keep users' settings in between reboots (e.g. a usb stick).

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452535)

Not necessarily, you could still write to a floppy or USB, you would just be running the OS from an alternative location.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453781)

Not necessarily, you could still write to a floppy or USB, you would just be running the OS from an alternative location.

They could always take the write to CD component from Puppy Linux to allow more functionality to a CD. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppy_Linux

USB better, stores the kid's data (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451669)

There is a CD spin too, but the USB solution means the kid can do stuff in school, then come home, boot up the old computer and show her parents what she did right off the stick.

Re:USB better, stores the kid's data (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451845)

Why aren't more schools doing something like that? Issue/sell USB flash sticks with the OS on it to kids, that way they can essentially carry their entire computer with them to home and school. Give the kids OS-less computers at school to boot with their sticks, and you can stop spending so much money on OS support for every single terminal.

Re:USB better, stores the kid's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453625)

Give the kids OS-less computers at school to boot with their sticks, and you can stop spending so much money on OS support for every single terminal.

Because schools get Windows for next to nothing and everyone (~90%) has a Windows PC at home?
You would also have to worry about supporting every hardware configuration everyone has at home (like printers/scanners)

Not only that, but you're giving kids a bit too much credit if you tell them: "Now, take this USB stick home and boot from it to continue your work" and expect to get any kind of useful result from more than 20% (maybe half in Silicon Vally) of the student body.

From what I've seen, most teens only know of USB as "the iPod port".
Sure they may be the most connected generation ever (Twitter/Facebook/Myspace etc etc) but most have a vague (if any) understanding of where the bits go after they press [Enter].

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451503)

heaven forbid you have to use a floppy or CD boot loader...that would be a MONUMENTAL effort...

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451543)

Ah yes, because spare floppy drives, floppy discs, cd drives, and writable media are everywhere in places where all they have access to are machines which can barely run win2k.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451579)

Ya, because places running pcs that old have no need for removable media obviously...no one has any floppies lying around. Take 5 seconds and consider that anyone who has access to sugar and a USB drive will also have access to a plethora of other material.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453719)

Ah yes, because spare floppy drives, floppy discs, cd drives, and writable media are everywhere in places where all they have access to are machines which can barely run win2k.

Maybe you were intending to be ironic, but actually, that statement is pretty much true. I've got boxes full of that kind of stuff I haven't got around to throwing out; anyone who needed that kind of gear could get it free just by asking around.

Use the boot helper CD (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451571)

There is a boot helper CD available, see http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_on_a_Stick/Strawberry under the section "Boot it!"

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (4, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451605)

It's an .iso image written to a USB stick with Fedora LiveUSB Creator. Linky link [sugarlabs.org]

You can just burn the iso to a DVD, if you prefer, but it is a 1GB image so CD is out of the question.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

epedersen (863120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451629)

They have a solutions for that: "If you have an older machine or you just want things to immediately work without fussing with the BIOS, you can burn a "Boot Helper" CD using the .iso below. This will start the boot from the CD, then read files from the USB stick: http://download.sugarlabs.org/soas/releases/soas-boot.iso [sugarlabs.org] "

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (2, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451785)

Parent has been modded up. Should have been modded down - maybe "-5000 Failed to read link"

Clicking on the links, and browsing the site, one learns that he must download a standard 320MB ISO of a CD. Using this image, one then creates either a bootable CD or USB drive. If a guy really wants to run Sugar from the USB, but he can't boot from the USB, he can burn a "Boot Helper" CD, which apparently loads the kernel, then looks to the USB stick for the rest of the operating system.

I hope you're not representative of your local gene pool.

Re:Old computers boot from USB? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451815)

Include the number of older PCs (presuming laptops in most cases) that don't even have a built-in USB port, or just one USB to work with.

And many of those will be USB 1.0, although (hopefully) that shouldn't pose a problem.

The Obama show rolls on... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451853)

and the press rolls over for him like good little lapdogs. Gone are the days when planted questioners solicited media rage:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/23/AR2009062303262.html [washingtonpost.com]

Notice how the only hardball question was thrown by Fox News' Major Garret. Also notice Obama's response to that question, essentially, "These are not the droids you're looking for." Somewhere deep inside Russia, the editor of Pravda is having a good laugh...

Re:Old computers boot from USB? YES! (2, Funny)

nicestepauthor (307146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453257)

Yes, you can use Sugar on a Stick with your old PC that doesn't support booting from a USB drive. In this case in addition to the thumb drive you need to make a "helper CD". Your system boots off the helper CD but all the data goes on the thumb drive. This is not just a Live CD to try out Sugar; it's a system children can actually use to do all their work. It's quite impressive and I encourage all Slashdot readers to try it out.

Does he really think schools are going to do it? (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451333)

Hey, kids, don't learn how to use Windows or MacOS! Instead, learn to use an OS that you'll never see again, on any computer, ever, outside of this classroom!

What are they going to use it for? Polishing their FORTRAN skills?

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (5, Insightful)

cool_story_bro (1522525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451365)

by the time they're done with school, it won't matter what OS they used, they will have all changed so drastically. We had an Apple II in my classroom as a child, which OS would you say it prepared me for?

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451403)

bash

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451437)

It prepared you for all of them. You know, most humans have to crawl before they walk; walk before the run; mumble before they speak.. etc.. Some skills you learn in life just so you have the fundamental knowledge to learn the subsequent intermediate and advanced skills. Unless of course you were born with all knowledge of everything in future. In that case why did you even bother posting?

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452585)

Because omnipotence got really boring after you developed air conditioners.

Anyone know where I can get a 30,000km wide magnifying glass?

God

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451449)

It depends though, what about the kid who uses Windows 95 in kindergarten in 1996, then moves up to using Windows 98 in 1999, uses XP in school in 2002 and Vista in 2007, by 2008 the kid is out of high school. All the while even with later upgrades, the kid never has much of a learning curve, you can even extend it to college where he can continue using Vista till at least graduation time.

Its not the 70s, and its not the 80s, computer UI interfaces are pretty standard, especially among OS families. About the last major change to an OS that totally redesigned it was OS X and that was back in 2002.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451691)

I would call that kid less prepared than the one who used an Apple II in 4th grade, Windows 98 in H.S., and Linux and XP in college (Side note, I know that guy)

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451741)

Less prepared for what? Sure, that kid probably won't be very good with technology, he will probably never go into IT though. Anyone who wants to be in IT would have diversified their skills (unless that kid really really wants to be a MS developer). The thing is, schools, particularly elementary and high schools cater to who needs the least amount of tech. Considering that Windows is A) Available on most computers (x86 at least) B) Has Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc that are all somewhat used in the business world, and C) Most every teacher already knows how to use them. Is why they choose to stick with Windows, and honestly, even though its not going to prepare a kid for any sort of IT career, it works great for people who are going to need secretary-level tech or below.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

cool_story_bro (1522525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452091)

the best thing a school can teach a kid is how to learn. Teaching a kid to "use a computer" is not nearly as valuable as teaching a kid how to learn how to use a computer. A kid who was taught how to use 3 very specific applications on exactly 1 operating system is going to be in deep trouble (or at the very least a nuisance to his IT department) when he starts a job that uses a custom application to do 90% of his work. Trust me on this one, I work in that IT department

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452527)

Sure, but the problem is there is no real way in a 50 minute class period to teach a kid how to use a computer without the focus being on how to use Windows, Word, PowerPoint and Excel and without a doubt no way with the sub-par teachers that make up 75% of all public educators. Very little of what I know about computers came from formal classes, and about all formal classes really taught me was how to program. Learning computers takes time, money and motivation. Most public schools have none of them.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452881)

the best thing a school can teach a kid is how to learn. Teaching a kid to "use a computer" is not nearly as valuable as teaching a kid how to learn how to use a computer. A kid who was taught how to use 3 very specific applications on exactly 1 operating system is going to be in deep trouble (or at the very least a nuisance to his IT department) when he starts a job that uses a custom application to do 90% of his work. Trust me on this one, I work in that IT department

You can't teach a kid to learn. You need to give them tools and resources and freedom and leave them alone until they ask you for help. The education system combines with the economic system to prevent people from having these things, which causes them to be fatalistic and unmotivated. Let people be pioneers and explorers and inventors and they will learn obsessively.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451679)

That's a good point, we went from Apple II computers, to those obnoxious 9" early Macs to combinations of first-gen (and maybe second?) Pentium PCs and Macs from the same era in my progress through grade school.

That's a pretty big change.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451773)

I started with BASIC on a Commodore 16, moved to a 128 with 64 mode. With a basic introduction to it, I taught myself machine language for the 6510 using a chip reference book.

Then I started working on the IBM clone computers at work. I would definitely say that had I gone as in depth with an IBM clone rather than a Commodore 64, I would have been better prepared for coding on 80386's.

If you are talking about learning a GUI, several of us here switched to Mac OS X. That was about a month long learning curve, and over a year later I still don't know all the shortcuts I know in Windows.

Yea, it does make a difference what you learn on. Our schools were on Mac's a few years back. Now they run Vista on Dell. While I love the Mac, it's not what my kinds need to be learning in school.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452069)

Hey I used a Commodore 64, which can be directly compared to the iPhone. Don't you remember the /. article a few days ago?

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452109)

In my case, it made me comfortable with the command line, so I didn't have a conniption when I was presented with an MS-DOS prompt.

This fact was quite useful when I started playing with djgpp and then actual Linux.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452251)

Kind of reminds me of something one of my college Computer Science professors told us. He said that everything he taught us would be obsolete by the time we graduated, but we'd be able to use the basic principals of his teachings going forward. Sure enough, coding simple C programs (not even C++) isn't my day-to-day job, but I took those concepts and use them every day in my job as a web developer.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1, Redundant)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451385)

Its not that the OS won't be used (already people use Linux in just about everything, from their phones, to routers to their TiVo), but rather the fact that the UI is terrible. Even with GNOME or KDE you can learn them and figure out any OS from there, if you use Windows KDE and GNOME (especially the way some distros configure them) will be easy for you to grasp. OS X is a bit different, but you can generally figure out other DEs after using OS X. So really, they are learning an interface which reminds me of a dumbed-down version of any generic smartphone which kids won't see the UI any place else in their life.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (5, Insightful)

weeb0 (741451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451435)

I don't think the goal of that project is to teach an OS. Instead it is very good to learn the computer science and to have access to very good tools and software. In my mind, I think that using only one OS is very bad. Try multiple OS and use the one that fit best your needs. For me, linux is my choice.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452759)

The goal of the project is not even to teach computer science, it's just to teach. The computer is a tool just like books or paper and pen.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451479)

Fact1: Kids are not learning any OS. They are learning to navigate a UI and exposing them to multiples enhances critical thinking instead of rote memorization.

Fact2: The OS means nothing, there are near ZERO highschools teaching an OS, and negative 10 grade schools teaching an OS. From your logic, people should be crying in the streets because the iphone is not like windows.

And yes, if the programming classes in highschools did fortran or cobol instead of the abortion that is basic. From my daughters experience her Computer science class at her highschool was a complete and utter joke.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452281)

In terms of schooling, kids *are* learning an OS, and it's whatever OS their school uses. (Yes, kids today are more than likely learning an OS at home, too).

No, schools don't offer "Windows XP" courses or tell kids about preemptive multitasking, processes, drivers, etc. but that doesn't mean they aren't, by virtue of being taught to use a particular computer that runs a particular OS, learning *that* OS.

Introductory computer education, even at the college level, suffers from a lack of ability to imbue far transfer, the ability of the students would be able to perform the same tasks in a different paradigm, whether it be OS or software suite. Students learn how to do the task in for example Word 2003 on Windows XP, but would be lost trying to do the task in OpenOffice on OSX. I think your view of computer education is optimistic and tinged by your own technical ability.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (2, Informative)

joebok (457904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453317)

Have you seen Sugar? High school kids won't be doing their term papers in Sugar. It is for little kids. They will be learning about the keyboard, about the mouse, etc. They won't learn an OS, they will learn the basic skills necessary to navigate any of the modern graphical user interfaces. They'll be able to use the computer to practice other things they should be learning in school - reading, math, etc. They will hopefully have an opportunity to associate "fun" and "learning" and get practice using a very powerful tool at a much earlier age than I had the chance to.

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451881)

Not every country in the world treats it's children like morons in school, thereby generating morons. Perhaps you are totally ignorant of the fact that several governments are migrating to Linux, and encouraging populations to migrate. The official operating system in China happens to be Red Flag. Google it - but I warn you, you may be exposed to ideas and concepts foreign to American capitalist ideals. Nor is it only a communist country that is migrating. A number of articles have been written in recent months about South American countries migrating to open source operating systems.

If we in the United States weren't totally retarded, our school kids would be learning computer science in school. Any junior high school student should be able to compile a kernel, and be capable of installing multiple operating systems.

Schools in the states may or may not use this thing, on an individual school district basis. But schools around the world are adopting Linux. Don't you ever wonder why we seem to be losing the cyber war to China? They hack into everything we have, and our Microsoft establishment shakes their fists impotently. Makes you proud to be American, doesn't it?

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452133)

Any junior high school student should be able to compile a kernel

I want to reply, but all I can think of is a quote from Futurama. "Like putting too much air in a balloon!"

Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (1)

nicestepauthor (307146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453491)

What the schools do is irrelevant. It's what the kids do. And what the kids can do with this software is:

Learn to program in Turtle Art (like LOGO), Smalltalk (EToys), or Python (Pippy).
Download and read free books from Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive.
Write documents with a word processor that allows collaboration: multiple authors of the same document at the same time.
Draw pictures with Activities that support the same kind of collaboration.
Run the GCompris suite of educational Activities, which teach basic math concepts, etc.
Play games that develop thinking skills ...and a bunch of other stuff.

Plus, this software does not replace Windows. It runs off a stick. So the school can have a computer lab full of Windows boxes to teach the next generation of office drones, and the kids can still use SoaS on those boxes without interfering in any way with that important task.

Um, (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451339)

What we are doing is taking a bunch of old machines that barely run Windows 2000, and turning them into something interesting and useful for essentially zero cost. It becomes a whole new computer running off the USB key; we can breathe new life into millions of decrepit old machines

The problem with that is that a lot of computers that old don't support booting off of a USB drive. Plus, some of the computers might only have USB 1.1 leading to slower transfer times. If this is your goal why not try to have it be "sugar on a disk" thats going to be infinitely easier than "sugar on a stick".

Re:Um, (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451401)

If this is your goal why not try to have it be "sugar on a disk" thats going to be infinitely easier than "sugar on a stick".

Or a compromise between the two.

And no, I don't mean "sugar on a stisk".

Wait for it...

Re:Um, (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451683)

Sugar on a Kid?

That's not what they mean by "Think of the children!" you pervert!

Does anyone else find it ironic... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451651)

that Obama plans to use Missile Defense Shield technology to intercept a N. Korean missile launch towards Hawaii? This is the same technology which only months ago Obama himself called "unproven," in an attempt to discredit the program as an unnecessary, overpriced toy. This is the same program that Obama recently forced the defense secretary Robert Gates to slash over a billion dollars from. I guess the liberals in Congress and the White House are taking a break from their seething hatred for all things military while the military uses this "unproven" technology to shield all their high-priced condos. Then after the launch and a successful interception, it'll be back to business as usual for them: unilateral disarmament.

This is the same group of liberals, btw, that lambasted Donald Rumsfeld for saying that you go to war with the military you have, not the one you want. Exactly what kind of military will we have when missile defense shield development is stalled and over half of the orders for F-22s are cancelled in favor of the vaporware F-35 which is already known to lose every time in head-to-head combat against the F-35? Think we no longer have a need for conventional air superiority? Then why do we even give a shit about Iran or N. Korea? I swear, liberals' views are so wildly inconsistent on every single issue, it begs the question of whether they all suffer from schizophrenia.

Re:Um, (1)

lfaraone (1463473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452051)

The problem with that is that a lot of computers that old don't support booting off of a USB drive. Plus, some of the computers might only have USB 1.1 leading to slower transfer times. If this is your goal why not try to have it be "sugar on a disk" thats going to be infinitely easier than "sugar on a stick".

That's a solution too: all the sugar packages in SoaS are in the Fedora repos (and soon also Debian/Ubuntu), so you can just install it like any other package.

You can boot from ISO as well as USB stick (1)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452173)

You can boot from a CD as well as a stick, if your system can't boot a USB device.

Go to http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_on_a_Stick/Strawberry [sugarlabs.org] and look at "Boot it", where it says: "If your machine doesn't support that (booting from USB), download and burn: http://download.sugarlabs.org/soas/releases/soas-boot.iso [sugarlabs.org] ". It's a small 8MB bootloader that easily fits on a CD.

Re:Um, (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452203)

If this is your goal why not try to have it be "sugar on a disk" thats going to be infinitely easier than "sugar on a stick".

Because bootable CD's are so 1995. Which essentially sums up the problem with the entire project - both Sugar and the OLPC have concentrated much more on being 'hip, with it, and politically correct' at the expense of functionality and usability.

Sugar Labs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451393)

Sounds a bit sugar coated to me. Reading the article I get a sense of ego stroking here.

Problem is.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451421)

Most of those Older Pc's cant boot from a USB stick. It's only been the past 3 years that booting from a usb drive has become the norm, before that it was an oddity.

Really cool project, But it's gonna be hell to un-shovel even the Windows 98 machines in schools as the teachers for the computer classes are highly xenophobic when it comes to OS changes.

Re:Problem is.... (5, Informative)

amram9999 (829761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451655)

Most of those Older Pc's cant boot from a USB stick. It's only been the past 3 years that booting from a usb drive has become the norm, before that it was an oddity.

There is a boot helper CD [sugarlabs.org] for older computers like this. The beauty is that the OS on the computer is untouched, since Sugar runs from memory not the hard drive. Additionally, all progress is saved to the USB drive, so the stick is portable from computer to computer.

Re:Problem is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452033)

as the teachers for the computer classes are highly xenophobic when it comes to OS changes.

Not just OS changes, ANY changes. My dad was the computer teacher for our high school (early 90s), and he worked his butt off to get every teacher set up with a PC in their classroom, and he made it REALLY easy but so many of them still were too afraid to use them.

I can just imagine trying to tell the teachers they have to get their PC to boot to USB or a virtual machine.

It's a very cool project, and I think a lot of teenagers could pick it up quickly, but integration across a whole school would require some major efforts by an IT force.

Suger is like drugs? (5, Funny)

daid303 (843777) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451443)

Going by the pictures I would keep this away from children:
http://www.sugarlabs.org/index.php?template=page&page=learners [sugarlabs.org]

Re:Suger is like drugs? (4, Funny)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451483)

Going by the pictures I would keep this away from children: http://www.sugarlabs.org/index.php?template=page&page=learners [sugarlabs.org]

Arrrgh. I need to dim the lights, put on some Pink Floyd and look at that comic strip again.

Re:Suger is like drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28453113)

Going by the pictures I would keep this away from children:

http://www.sugarlabs.org/index.php?template=page&page=learners [sugarlabs.org]

Arrrgh. I need to dim the lights, put on some Pink Floyd and look at that comic strip again.

OK, but don't go in the water.

Re:Suger is like drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451577)

That is downright scary looking. It's not just the craziness of the design, look at the faces of the humans. Creepy as shit.

Hire a different artist, sheesh. Very poor marketing material there. It needs to be bubbly and happy, not weird and scary.

Picture Is Not Real Representation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451693)

The sharks don't have laser.

No, Suger was an abbot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452611)

who built the cathedral of Saint Denis:
http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/ARTH/ARTH212/gothic_texts.htm

Careful! (1, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451459)

A word of caution. In the U.S., asking for sugar on your stick is only legal in Nevada and Rhode Island. [sexwork.com]

Re:Careful! (1)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451769)

What about asking to put your USB drive into her port? Remember to ask whether it'll be 1.1 or 2.0 style.

Re:Careful! (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451913)

I'm pretty sure hispeed data transfer from male end to the female port would be bad in this case.

Lady Gaga (0)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451487)

Is a sugar stick anything like a disco stick?

this ain't no disco (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451535)

A previous fork named Sugar On My Tongue was deemed inappropriate for children.

Great news everyone! (1)

Lynchenstein (559620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451533)

With my new invention, what I call "The Sugar Stick", Bender has been given god-like abilities and can breathe new life into millions of decrepit old machines!

Re:Great news everyone! (1)

Big_Monkey_Bird (620459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452103)

I'd mod you up if I had the points.

Now teachers can join Sugar Labs (1)

hartur (649006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451625)

Great! Now there is a real chance that many teachers can test this new learning platform.

Shiny? (2, Funny)

DuranDuran (252246) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451783)

> Bender said, 'we can breathe new life into millions of decrepit old machines.'

If it doesn't work, I wonder if we can bite his shiny metal ass?

Great headline (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451799)

I know, individually, what all the words/acronyms mean but when put together in that order, they make no sense to me.

Re:Great headline (1)

lfaraone (1463473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451883)

I know, individually, what all the words/acronyms mean but when put together in that order, they make no sense to me.

Huh? I only see one acronym, an initialism. Sugar doesn't stand for anything.

"Easily lost" problem solved (1)

lfaraone (1463473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451857)

Re the headline, they're also working on backup software to automagically push a kid's work to a centralized (in the school) backup server, thus enabling the sticks to be replaced without data loss if the stick itself is misplaced.

Shades of Jurassic Park Unix (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451891)

From the demo video, I've got to wonder what the they were thinking. This doesn't seem like a kid-friendly UI.

http://www.sugarlabs.org/index.php?template=gallery&page=media_01 [sugarlabs.org]

The intial interface showing what I assume is the "neighborhood" view of other Sugar users/machines (arranged in cum-by-ya campfire circles) is cute, but seems more designed for a Movie than for actual use (cf Jurassic Park's "Oh, it's Unix! I know that!" interface where they zoom down from a building view to an individual computer).

One you get past this odd and confusing initial user interface it seems you're using traditional apps like the Editor/Word Processor they show.

Maybe there are other elements of Sugar that are better designed or more innovative, but the demo doesn't seem too compelling.

Re:Shades of Jurassic Park Unix (2, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452399)

is cute, but seems more designed for a Movie than for actual use

Why that? It is very simple and easy to understand and most importantly it does something that your normal OS can't even do, as other OSs aren't build with group work in mind.

The biggest problem I have with the Sugar interface is that all that talk about zooming interface sound cool, but only till you realize that the OLPC isn't exactly a powerful machine. The machine is just to slow for fluid full screen animation, so every animation that Sugar does, looks kind of jerky and broken on a real machine and it would be much better to have a fast interface, then one that tries things the hardware just can't do.

Re:Shades of Jurassic Park Unix (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453181)

I don't think a zooming interface needs a lot of CPU if done right - Qt's QGraphicsView widget supports zooming on a massive hierarchy (millions of sub-widgets) very efficiently. The display code (in this case the Qt library) just needs to be smart so that it doesn't actually draw things that are too small to be seen or are obscured by other objects. The Qt widgets sit atop a VERY effifient Qt drawing library with multiple backends... Qt's own raster engine is much faster than many native drawing APIs and always available, but they also support OpenGL and recently OpenVL (a 2-D accelerated API for low-powered things like smart phones). If you download the free version of Qt there's a precompiled demo of it you can try.

To me the issue is just that this is a flashy but not very usable interface. It would work as a "discovery" interface if I want to see what Sugar users are located in some village in another country (rather like Google earth - zoom out, move, then zoom back in), but it's hardly the best way to select between a small number of other users that you may actually be interacting with on a daily basis. An clickable set of photos of those users (maybe with online indication shown too), displayed on a single page regardless of their physical location, would be much nicer and more productive to use.

Re:Shades of Jurassic Park Unix (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453541)

I don't think a zooming interface needs a lot of CPU if done right

You underestimate the problem. The OLPC is quite slow, has very large screen (1200x900) and no hardware acceleration to speak about, so it isn't even fast enough to do fullscreen refreshes at good framerates, let alone draw anything half complex while doing so. So a zooming interface, which does fullscreen refreshes a lot, really isn't exactly the most speedy way to do an interface there.

but it's hardly the best way to select between a small number of other users that you may actually be interacting with on a daily basis.

Sugar has both the global view of everybody, as well as a local view of just your friends.

An clickable set of photos of those users (maybe with online indication shown too), displayed on a single page regardless of their physical location, would be much nicer and more productive to use.

Sure, but it could be easily abused and would add additional complexity.

It's not a fork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451897)

...if the old codebase is not maintained: http://dev.laptop.org/git/sugar/

and the original copyright owner switches to the new codebase:

http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2009-May/024487.html

Re:It's not a fork (3, Informative)

lfaraone (1463473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451921)

...if the old codebase is not maintained: http://dev.laptop.org/git/sugar/ [laptop.org]

and the original copyright owner switches to the new codebase:

http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2009-May/024487.html

Correct. OLPC is in fact becoming the new downstream of Sugar, pulling in the new packages in future OLPC distro releases.

VirtualBox image doesn't work (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452517)

I don't have a USB stick handy but I just tried the VirtualBox image and it didn't work. The errors aren't very kid friendly. Kernel Panic.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452791)

While I admit that Sugar on a Stick sounds slick and should appeal to many kids, isn't the $100 laptop intended for third world countries, where food is scarce. Is this a bit of a political grenade to call it this?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453817)

That's the point, the USB stick comes coated in sugar. To feed them until they can get their 419 business going.

... "On a Stick" (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452823)

At first I thought "Sugar on a Stick" was a new Jeff Dunham puppet to go with José Jalapeño on a Stick [wikipedia.org] . I was simultaneously pleased and disappointed that I was wrong.

Old Boxes with fast USB drives (2, Interesting)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453039)

Can someone tell me how many of these old PCs have USB drives fast enough to run an entire OS off of them?

It is NOT a fork! (2, Interesting)

nicestepauthor (307146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28453689)

I'd like to correct the title of this post. What Sugar Labs is creating is NOT a fork of Sugar. It is the thing itself. There is no other version of Sugar being developed now. Sugar Labs is making Sugar available in all major Linux distros, as well as creating the version that runs on the XO and Sugar on a Stick. All this will make it possible for far more children to be able to use Sugar.

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