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Friday, July 20, 2012

Sugar Desktop Environment

To all free software distribution evangelists !! You'll love it :D

This time I am sharing my experience with Sugar. Sugar is an open source desktop environment designed with the goal of being used by children for interactive learning. Developed as part of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project, it is the default interface on OLPC XO-1 family of laptop computers, but also runs on most computers' hardware. It is available as a LiveCD, as LiveUSB, a package installable through several GNU/Linux distributions, or on Mac OS with virtualization.
Sugar is now developed under the umbrella of Sugar Labs, a nonprofit spin-off of OLPC. Unlike most other desktop environments, Sugar does not use the "desktop", "folder" and "window" metaphors. Instead, Sugar's default full-screen activities require users to focus on only one program at a time. Sugar implements a novel file-handling metaphor (the Journal), which automatically saves the user's running program session and allows him or her to later use an interface to pull up their past works by date, activity used or file type.

The best part of any open source project is that anyone can get involved in it and contribute to it at anytime :). You can checkout the code, go through it, fix the bugs, make changes to code, share the updates as patch with the sugar community. You can become volunteer, Donate online, become a translator, provide support, use your technical knowledge and skills to develop software for SugarLabs.

Sneak Peak into Sugar

This is the home screen for Sugar. Here all the icons you see are links to activities. The user is allowed to run single activity at a time.You will find activities like pippy, browse, calculate, read, chat, turtle art,etc which have been developed/under development for interactive learning. Each activity has been developed by taking into consideration a definite set of factors that ensures good usability design principle. 

An activity is easy to use program developed mainly in python and GTK+. GTK+ (GIMP toolkit) is the native GUI library used for developing cross platform applications. The cross platform nature of Sugar makes it available for Linux distributions, within VM on windows,Mac OS X. It is also available as USB-bootable Linux distribution("Sugar on a Stick")-using this you can install on your hard disk and start using it. Apart from these, it is available for OLPC XO-1.

The awesomeness of sugar is that simplicity is the prime concern in development which is supported by variety of developers across the globe and it is used within a noble project, OLPC.

Are you willing to contribute to this project visit SugarLabs now !

So start contributing today :)
Happy Hacking !

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