Urgent Evoke

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Sugar on a Stick - Doing the hard work to create a simple solution that works on many different computers

Joanna Chaplin has been wonderful and asked some geek friends of her about helping with the Sugar on a Stick project. Her friend writes the following:

""I took a look at their site -- it's a neat idea, although I don't really understand what they're going for with the USB stick. If you write a piece of software that saves files to a USB stick, it'll save the files to a USB stick... and you certainly don't need to restart to use one. But I imagine I'm missing something important here.

As for the Mac stuff, it looks like they actually don't need Mac developers, since they're apparently opting to use Virtual Box, which is a virtualization software like Virtual PC or VMware -- basically my guess is they plan to run Windows or Ubuntu inside Mac OS X instead of porting natively. If they were going the latter route I might be able to help, but I don't know the first thing about Virtual Box. I will say, though, that if you want to give Caroline my email address, I'd be happy to ask her these questions myself and figure out what their strategy for cross-platform development is and how it might be improved. No promises, of course (Google keeps me pretty busy), but it's worth a shot. :)"

So to answer part 1. Why not just store files on the stick? Sugar is a platform with over 100 activities, a unique interface and specialized collaboration feature. I think the best way to understand it is to see it so I uploaded a video: Sugar Demo

What we are try to do with with the USB stick is to create a simple solution. One that works on a running windows machine, a running mac machine, boots up a computer, and even works on a donated computer that has had its hard drive removed and shredded. It needs to work on lots of different machines because typically kids don't own their own computers. They will use one a school, another at after school, another at home and maybe at an internet cafe or grandma's house.

As Joanna's friend mentions virtualization software is a big part of creating this solution. Last week we found the http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ that puts a portable version of VirtualBox on the same stick as the bootable linux. The creator of the project said he will put Sugar in the next version coming out probably at the end of the month. :)

We came sorta close to a solution on the Mac creating a "boot helper" Virtual Box image that looks for the USB. But we ran into problems getting it to work on different macs.

I think where we are on this project very much exemplifies Amy Smith's principal Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution.

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