[Pkg-sugar-devel] Why track activity version numbers?

Jonas Smedegaard jonas at jones.dk
Sat Apr 22 07:41:18 UTC 2017

Quoting James Cameron (2017-04-22 05:45:25)
> On the other hand, discovery in a package list search is problematic.
> A "sugar-desktop" package may be helpful for listing with other 
> "desktop environments".

In Debian we call Such metapackage, framing a complete user experience, 
a "Blend" (and when done as integral part of Debian it is called a 
"Debian Pure Blend".

I certainly agree that a pure blend of Sugar would be a useful!

My plan (unless somene beats me to it) for a Sugar blend is to implement 
it similar to debian-parl (an Xfce-based desktop for parliamentarians): 
Include data into the package boxer-data about what it means for a 
desktop to be "Sugar", ship with Debian a few broad metapackages built 
with Boxer - and a package to aid deployers in making custom derived 
scripts which installs proper Debian systems (*not* derived systems!).

Upcoming Debian Stretch release will include metapackages parl-desktop, 
parl-desktop-eu and parl-desktop-world, and helper package parl-data.

main reason deployments will benefit from a Boxer-based blend is the 
size of localizations. Installing parl-desktop-world requires about 3GB 
disk space, about 1GB of which is dictionaries and localized data.  A 
deployment for, say, the Nepali government could likely save almost 1GB 
which might be make possible to deploy on Chromebooks with 4GB NAND 
(with space left for both a parliamentary library and personal data).

In Peru, Sebastian has interest in deploying systems with both Sugar and 
a more conventional desktop - ideally compact enough to be installable 
on old computers with limited disk space.  We track that project at 

> There was an "education-desktop-sugar" package in Wheezy.

That package was created as part of Skolelinux, not coordinated with the 
Sugar team (formerly named the OLPC team).  Apparently that package 
received little attention from Debian-Edu/Skolelinux and was more damage 
than help for potential Sugar users. See https://bugs.debian.org/586243

Full disclosure: I have been involved in Debian-Edu/Skolelinux myself, 
but not in the creation and (lack of) maintenance of above package.

Rant: I lost faith in Skolelinux when lead developer Petter Reinholdtsen 
in 2011 explicitly a) acknowledge that Skolelinux packages override 
settings of other Debian packages and that behaviour is "bad", but 
nevertheless b) consider the behavior not serious (not a "Policy 
violation" in Debian terms). That issue is tracked in 
https://bugs.debian.org/311188 and Petters clarifications come as 
response to my explaining the issue 30 minutes into this: 
The bug is still open (helped by treating it as non-serious), for more 
than 12 years now. In my opinion that bug damages the ability to make 
blends sensibly: Debian-Edu/Skolelinux is famous as a succesful blend, 
but their approach is flawed and they hide that fact, making it 
difficult to raise discussions in Debian on finding alternative 
approaches (like Boxer).

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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