Sugar Labs Debuts More Reliable Mirabelle Educational OS

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A lot of work is being done to bring more software and hardware tostudents across the world who couldn't normally afford to own a PC orinteract with an operating system in one way or another. OLPC's XOlaptop has certainly found its way into a great many classrooms aroundthe globe, but they can't do it alone. Sugar Labs is another companyaimed at providing educational software to developing nations. Thecompany has been rather quiet of late, but they're shaking things upsomewhat with a new version of Sugar On A Stick.

It's a unique name for a unique software set, with Mirabelle being thecode-name for the third version of it. It's described as a"collaborative learning environment that can be loaded onto any ordinaryUSB thumbdrive and used with a PC, netbook or Mac without touching thehard disk," making it super light and easy to install in a variety ofmachines. It'll run natively on major GNU/Linux distributions and canalso run invirtualization under Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X, so evenolder/mixed platform environments can usually handle it.


The company claims that v3 adds improved stability and simplifiedcustomization to curious teachersinterested in testing Sugar on new netbooks or PCs already in theclassroom. In other news, Sugar Labs is also aking available a SugarCreation Kit, a downloadable DVD which includesMirabelle, documentation, and a library of Sugar Activities, fun andengaging programs for children taken from the Sugar Activity Library.No, this stuff won't replace MeeGo, Windows, Ubuntu or any of thoseother major operating systems, but it just might change the world of achild who doesn't have access to any of those. And that's a nicethought, isn't it?

Sugar Labs Announces New Version of Sugar on a Stick, Educational Software for Children

BERLIN, June 10, 2010 — LinuxTag — Sugar Labs(R), nonprofit provider of the Sugar Learning Platform to over one and a half million children worldwide, has released Mirabelle, the third version of Sugar on a Stick, a collaborative learning environment that can be loaded onto any ordinary USB thumbdrive and used with a PC, netbook or Mac without touching the hard disk. It is available free for download at http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_on_a_Stick. Sugar runs natively on major GNU/Linux distributions and can also run in virtualization under Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X.

One year after the premiere of v1 Strawberry at LinuxTag 2009 and following v2 Blueberry last December, v3 Mirabelle brings improved stability and simplified customization to curious teachers interested in testing Sugar on new netbooks or PCs already in the classroom. We suggest teachers reach out to university-level computer science and education schools to build local support structures, important with an ICT project.

Sebastian Dziallas, Project Lead for Sugar on a Stick and a recent high school graduate based in Germany, said, “Teachers have told us how important reliability is in the classroom while engaging students, so we decided to create a release that has a stable core and can be customized to fit every deployment’s needs. Mirabelle is a solid baseline which teachers can customize with Activities interesting to young learners. Part of our strategy is to achieve sustainable development while inviting new contributors. We achieved this by integrating Sugar on a Stick more closely with Fedora, the underlying GNU/Linux distribution; Mirabelle is now an official Fedora Spin.”

Sugar Labs is also making available a Sugar Creation Kit, a downloadable DVD which includes Mirabelle, documentation, and a library of Sugar Activities, fun and engaging programs for children taken from the Sugar Activity Library (http://activities.sugarlabs.org).

Thomas Gilliard, a Sugar Labs contributor, said, “The Sugar Creation Kit turns any PC into a Sugar on a Stick generating station. Tools and documentation are gathered on one disk; busy teachers don’t have to hunt down anything. This makes it possible to work via ’sneaker net’ and in a classroom behind a firewall.”
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realneil replied on Sun, Jun 13 2010 11:11 AM

This is much like Ubuntu. (I just tried it out)

6-14-10 Edit:  It was Fedora (available on the same site) that I downloaded and tried out. That is what is like Ubuntu. I figured out my mistake later on and then downloaded the real thing and tried it.

Sugar On A Stick:  It's geared for kids and has a simple interface and nice program set too. If I had young kids around here their computers would all be running this software. It's a little too simplistic for me, but I see some real value in this software for parents and teachers.

The Fedora build is nice and lean, fast, and very stable. Linux is really growing wings these days and it is truly a viable alternative to the BORG. (Microsoft)

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

(Mark Twain)

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I keep meaning to install Sugar and see what it's all about. Might download it now.

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