[Debian-olpc-devel] Status of Sugar in debian.

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Fri Sep 18 08:52:16 UTC 2009

Hi Jeff,

I see no need for discretion in below, so I dare respond via our public 
mailinglist debian-olpc-devel at lists.alioth.debian.org as I imagine 
others would enjoy reading/participating in this dialogue too.

While at it, you might also be interested in subscribing to that list at 
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/debian-olpc-devel :-)

(I have commented _below_ your quoted text - I don't use TOFU[1])

On Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 05:25:32PM -0400, Jeff Elkner wrote:
>I was visiting #debian-edu to ask about the status of Sugar packages
>on debian.  k4x sent me your way.  I'm a high school CS teacher and
>long time free software activist.  I run Ubuntu in my lab currently,
>but would be perfectly willing to run any debian based distro with
>Sugar available.
>What is the status of Sugar on debian?

Sucrose 0.82 is partly included with Lenny. Read, Write and Etoys 
activities are missing. Browse activity is newer than 0.82.

Sucrose 0.84 is partly included with Squeeze/Sid. Same activities are 

Sucrose 0.85 (development release of Sucrose 0.86) is partly included 
with Sid. Sugar datastore is not yet packaged, and same activities are 

Sucrose 0.82 will be (and is being) dropped for Squeeze.

It will be technically possible to include both Sucrose 0.84 and (if 
ready) Sucrose 0.86 concurrently with Squeeze - but it will only be 
possible to install one of them at the time, and it is yet undecided if 
it is really sensible to ship more than one branch at a time.

There is an overview here: 

If you want to help, then please do test what is released to either 
Lenny, Squeeze or Sid. Please report back your experiences either 
through this mailinglist or (preferably for any problems you discover) 
through standard bugreporting: use the commandline tool "bugreport" from 
the package of the same name.

Another low hanging fruit is to simply use Sugar on Debian and talk 
openly about it!  On this list, on upstream Sugar mailinglists and 
anywhere else. It encourages others to play with it, and it encourages 
me (and hopefully others!) to devote more time into improving the 
packaging, to feel that it is actually being used.

You can also help maintain our wiki page: http://wiki.debian.org/Sugar 
e.g. including some of the things I hav now written in this very email 
on that page :-)

You can also work on bugs filed against Sugar packages - see if you can 
reproduce the errors, try to gather more info, or reflect yourself on 
what is current status: 

If you want harder challenges, then please help package activities: Pull 
the Git source of a simple activity like sugar-chat-activity, look into 
the debian/ subdir and browse (using "git -p") the commits for the 
master and master-0.84 branches to have a feel for the packaging style, 
and try applying it to some other simple activity.  Wtih "simple" I mean 
something written in Python without depending on fancy stuff not yet 
packaged for Debian.

Even harder challenges are to help package (or improve pacaging of) 
Sugar dependencies.

Read needs a shared library from Evince (if I recall correctly, I 
haven't looked much at that yet).

Write needs a shared library from Abiword. Please note that it is *not* 
as simple as just enabling in the Abiword build process: Debian runs on 
multiple architectures, some of which demanding careful handling of 
compile flags for shared libraries - which the current upstream Abiword 
build routines do *not* implement properly.

Etoys might be relatively simple to package: The backend etoys package 
is already taken care of - what is needed is the sugar-etoys-activity 
wrapper. Etoys is a much different creature than Python-based 
activities, however, so I suspect challenges to arise: Please start with 
simpler activities if you are new to packaging - I will happily help 
out, but might loose interest in coaching if it turns out that you've 
picked a too challenging task and I end up doing most of the work (e.g. 
maiking sure dirty tricks are done in compliance with Debian Policy).

Or just ask here on the list, if you are uncertain what to do.  Perhaps 
tell a bit more about yourself and what you are currently doing, to help 
get an idea of your skills and what might interest you to work on.

Sincerely hope to here more from you - even if "only" as a regular 
(hopefully happy) user of Sugar.

Kind regards,

 - Jonas

* Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
* Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

  [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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