Monday, 19 May 2008 12:27

Sugar craving for new hardware

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Moves are afoot to take the Sugar user interface to a wider range of hardware than just the OLPC's XO for which it was originally developed.

Walter Bender, formerly the president of software and content at OLPC, is one of the people behind the creation of the new Sugar Labs Foundation.

The initiative follows closely on the heels of the announcement last week by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte that the XO would embrace Windows XP, which has prompted outrage from the open source community.

Bender said "In the first generation of the Sugar UI, the free and open-source community has demonstrated an exceptional ability to create a platform that enables children to explore the world, share their discoveries and express themselves. As a separate foundation, we will be able to advance Sugar’s development even further and make it available on multiple distributions and hardware platforms."

The software has already been included with Ubuntu and Fedora distros.

"Sugar Labs will focus on providing a software ecosystem that enhances learning on the XO laptop as well as other laptops distributed by other companies, such as the ASUS Eee PC," according to Sugar Labs officials.

Core Sugar developers participating in the launch of Sugar Labs include Marco Pesenti Gritti, Bert Freudenberg, Simon Schampijer, Bernardo Innocenti, Aaron Kaplan, Christoph Derndorfer, and Tomeu Vizoso. CONTINUED


Last week, iTWire's Sam Varghese suggested OLPC's adoption of Windows XP made it "just another seller of Windows laptops" and that "people like Walter Bender, Mary-Lou Jepsen and Ivan Krstic who worked on the project out of a sense of idealism could have done good work elsewhere."

According to CNet, OLPC is "in discussion with several third parties" to port Sugar to Windows. The Sugar Labs announcement makes no mention of a Windows port, only to future availability on "multiple distributions and hardware platforms."

So presumably Sugar Labs is not one of those third parties.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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