Scheduled Time: 7:00 PM EST Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Scheduled Location: Wiesner Building, E15
map Streetview 20 Ames Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Join On Freenode IRC Channel #ubuntu-us-ma

Meeting Chair: Martin Owens
Meeting Minutes by: Sarah Abbot and Chris Butler

Agenda Items

The following agenda items were proposed for this meeting:

  • Introductions (everyone)
  • Review of last month's Action Items

  • Special guest, Walter Bender - Sugar Labs on stick per child.

  • Community Teaching Program
    • Getting the SETC techniolgy stable
      • PXE installs,
      • Network management
      • Local APT/DEB mirror
    • Advertising and spreading the word
      • Poster, printing, costs
      • Distribution, area of relevance
  • Fun group things to do, going out and doing something
  • Flash Talk on Wii, Radio Mesh Networking and Wifi
  • Open Floor (everyone)


The following team members were present during this meeting:

Physically Present:

  • Martin Owens (doctormo), meeting chair, starts things off, FOSS Programmer.
  • Mike Rushton (leftyfb), Systems Admin in Lowell.
  • Steve Pomroy (xxv), MIT Media lab Systems Admin and hacker.
  • Walter Bender, Sabbatical from MIT, works on SugarOS.
  • Felicia, A new Ubuntu user from Provincetown Cape Cod.
  • Frank T. Works for a consultant company.
  • Sara Abbot, Mike's Fiance and ubuntu cake maker.
  • Brian Delacey, Self employed entrepreneur working with Radio Networking.
  • Chris Butler (cbutle1), Systems administrator in Waltham.
  • Algot Runeman (algotruneman), Retired Educator, FOSS advocate
  • Yuriy Kozlov (yuriy), Student.
  • Alex, Casual Ubuntu user, knows Walter

Virtually Present:

  • Marius Popa (mariuz), From the Romanian LoCo, currently working in Boston

  • Jason (jay4e)

Action Items

See progress for Action Items here

  • Mike to update the graphic on Identi.ca
  • Walter to introduce the Thomas Gardener school and see if there is any collaboration we can do.
  • Walter to introduce a school in Dorchester running a one computer per child initiative.
  • Martin to Contact Boston Community Centers, get other centers involved.
  • Steve to contact Splash at MIT and talk about teaching collaborations.
  • Martin to Contact the Timothy Smith network to get them involved.
  • Look into starting a class to teach the basic systems admin knowledge.
  • Steve to add Walter to the mailing list


Group Introduction (Martin)

  • Done with style around the room.

Action In Review (Martin)

  • Microcenter gig went well, all the Cds and stickers were given out. Report is on the mailing list.
  • Mike has been helping at the South End Technology Center rewireing their whole network there.
  • Identi.ca still needs more promotion on the mailing list and other routes.
  • ACTION - Mike to update the graphic on Identi.ca
  • It has been a lot of work and we are glad for his help there.
  • Rio is not here - but he was trying to get Djengo working for the website.
  • Contact with Canonical for new install disks is suffering a communication issue, unkown reasons.

Sugar Sticks (Walter)

Welcome walter to the floor. He is here to present on a project he is doing at the thomas gardener school in austin. He is working on a project called Sugar OS Which is a new way of distributing a sugar program which is a softwere suit for elementary school kids for learning.

  • It has adapted from a couple different os's and has packaging issues that need sorting out as far as ubuntu.
  • We are pushing for sugar os on usb key's
  • This operating system should be in schools to give kids an advantage
  • however getting it to the kids has a lot of road blocks.
  • This os on a live usb key you could come from the bottom up instead of the top down
  • It will allow an old computer running an old operating system revitalized and useful compared to the old one already running on it.
  • You need a gig or more usb key...recommended 2gigs, but 1 gig will work...
  • Sugar is a learning platform and is the original software for 1 laptop per child.
  • He switched from OLPC to SugarOS on the usb drive to get the os to other kids using other machines.
  • 3 things we want sugar to accomplish...1. Simplicity, 2. collaboration, 3. reflection
  • Sugar starts simple and allows you to reach up to grasp the complexity.
  • Sugar has a "view source" key [ctrl]+[alt]+[v] is how you get there in sugar
  • sugar is written in python
  • jay4e - one big thing would be training the teacher to use sugar effectively

  • Tam Tam...is a busy box where you can make music as a small child can make essentially noise
  • But there is more tam tam programs that just increase in knowledge...as you go...
  • If you imagine programming as a mountain, not every kid is going to climb all mountains, but some might.
  • Walter is showing a GUI tool that is like building blocks to allow young children to learn the basic steps of programing
  • it then has the ability to show the code behind the program
  • kinda of a hook to show them the complexity behind what they did
  • cbutle1 - pretty cool, actually

  • Sugar keeps track of everything you do....It keeps a journal.
  • because it's in a programing environment based on LoGo it allows you to construct your own programs with keyboard, microphone input etc.

  • Wrote a slide-show presentation program in LoGo

  • clap to advance to the next stage of the program type thing
  • Another point of sugar is collaboration...Networking is great, networking is powerful.
  • Collaborating is being smart, not cheating.
  • It also allows terminal share with one click
  • cbutle1 - Which I imagine could be important in the classroom

  • You can edit the same document at the same time.
  • Or you can share something with just one person.
  • A lot of activities share, You can share videos in real time, you can share bookmarks
  • you can share a program like in the turtle.
  • Sugar on a Stick is going to be launched at the Thomas Gardner School.
  • They want help at the Gardner school...get sugar on a stick.
  • The help needed will be in servers. as well as other things.
  • This would perhaps be the first complete school on linux
  • cbutle1 - Contacts are: Caroline meeks caroline@solutiongrove.com and Walter Bender walter@sugarlabs.org

  • jay4e - how is the driver support for sugar on a stick?

  • Driver support is under the assumption that Ubuntu takes that load.
  • It boots Ubuntu and just runs Sugar
  • So - it's as good as Ubuntu for hardware support
  • apt-get install sugar is in the apt-get's
  • There is still some packaging issues in ubuntu. They want Sugar ahead of the ubuntu release
  • the debian packaging is better then the ubuntu.
  • Having it ahead will allow Ubuntu to address the issues prior to the next roll out.
  • Walter said that...if...your running an old version of sugar
  • it's ok, you might not have all the features of everyone else, but it will still work.
  • They have been working hard on backwards compatibility....
  • Walter has mentioned the Free Software Foundation's website and it's view on education
  • "Free software is the foundation of a learning society - where the tools we all use are free to share, study and modify" from the website of the aforementioned foundation
  • jay4e - is there any software available to make using it easier on the teachers? who one may not be use to the interface, and two have to be able to collect and control the students systems?

  • I believe part of the help they need is from people to help teach the teacher.
  • Get the teacher involved with the point that teachers don't think the kid is ruining a computer by booting from usb.
  • but is using the sugar differently.
  • Sugar can be run in parallel with other tools, so the teacher can live in the child's world and their own
  • and there are some tools for managing the classroom, but we mostly rely on tools such as Moodle...
  • but the teacher spends more time as mentor with Sugar than as instructor.
  • ACTION Walter to introduce the Thomas Gardener school and see if there is any collaboration we can do.
  • ACTION Walter to introduce a school in Dorchester running a one computer per child initiative.

Community Teaching (Martin)

We want others to get involved with the technology center. People do come to the tech center...and do need help. Martin feels it's important that people join those tuesday nights for community nights. We hope to get people to learn and to teach. Teaching ubuntu is also good because it gets you to be able to explain ubuntu better.

  • ACTION - Martin to Contact Boston Community Centers, get other centers involved.
  • MIT has a group of people that has something called a "splash" grassroots teaching system.
  • and we should check out what they are doing. If we are doing community teaching items...
  • we should talk to them....steve volunteered giving our group voice.
  • ACTION - Steve to contact Splash at MIT and talk about teaching collaborations.
  • Those people are passionate about teaching and like to teach just something else.
  • Timothy smith network is about 40 centers which is what the south end technology center is apart of.
  • ACTION - Martin to Contact the Timothy Smith network to get them involved.
  • The Condon center was seemingly abandoned and Martin will be teaching and fixing the physical networks to help impropve the state of the place.
  • Center is a place that people in the area know about and can go to, however maybe nobody knows about it.
  • It's also a community center and a k-12 school blended together in the same building.
  • The main part of the center is the pool and gym.
  • The computer part is being left behind with a lack of support leading to degradation of the technology.
  • People must think "everyone has a computer at home...who cares about centers?"
  • Adult education at the community center too.
  • the people who use the facilities are about 4-25 yrs old.
  • ACTION - Look into starting a class to teach the basic systems admin knowledge.

Fun Group Things

We would like to continue to run an event just for the fun of it. Some ideas follow.

  • jay4e - like oh i dont know an install fest?

  • So... the idea is to drink beer, put sugar on a stick and watch "Big Trouble in little China"
  • We just need locations too.
  • Consider if everyone is of age.
  • Or a root beer kegger as Steve suggested.
  • SETC is being discussed as a possible location.

Flash Talk (Brian)

Meshnetoworking, wii remoting (wii remote talk to pc) and GPS in a netbook running ubuntu, Not a gps for a car, but get more then a 300 dollar gps from a store shelf

  • Volunteers for sunday @12:30? Mesh test & python party at mit, A more the merrier activity...

  • Mesh networking...any computer can talk to another computer directly...
  • an access point all computers talk to eachother.
  • ad-hock is when one computer talks to another computer that talks to another computer that talks to another computer that gets you to the internet...if your not in range you can hop along the mesh to get to the internet if you could't normally get there directly because your too far.
  • a relay hub basically
  • Mesh standard is 802.11s
  • mesh network people want to standardize that.
  • 100% software, compatiblity with existing hardware
  • Ubuntu support since 8.10, 802.11s built in.
  • kids in a class can share networks....just like in sugar
  • and share their files with each other, without infrastructure.
  • Group games like treasure hunt, capture the flag,
  • Serious uses like super computing, emergency relief, instant networks
  • jay4e - how much of this requires hardware upgrades vs software?

  • jay4e - It seems to be a software thing, or rather is there a significant change to hardware?

  • running on top of existing 802.11 stuff.
  • jay4e - I know that's how sugar handles it

  • Apparently there's some hardware for it too.
  • jay4e - Is it possible with just a single 802.11g?

  • we'll ask when he opens up for questions.
  • wii remotes are useful, they have an accelerometer,
  • and they also have unchanged code for the bluetooth that works.
  • a gps device, a laptop, a wii remote is what he is using

Open Floor (All)

  • ACTION Steve to add Walter to the mailing list
  • Thanks for coming everyone.


  • There is lots to do.

MassachusettsTeam/Meetings/Minutes/2009-02-26 (last edited 2009-02-28 06:36:27 by pool-68-163-152-38)