Sugar on Pi?

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20 posts
by jamdis » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:43 pm
I'm interested in the Raspberry Pi as a platform for K-6 (primary) school.  Sugar (www.sugarlabs.org) is the only OS I know of that is thoughtfully designed with the needs young children at heart.  The OS originally developed for the One Laptop Per Child project, and can also be booted from a USB stick.  It runs on top of various Linux distros, usually fedora, but I've not heard of it being tried on an ARM processor.

Could someone with a little more technical knowledge hazard a guess as to weather Sugar would work on the Raspberry Pi?
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by SergeantFTC » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:45 pm
Well, considering that it runs on OLPC's new tablet the XO 3.0 (or whatever it is that they are calling it), which is powered by ARM, I would say that there is a pretty good chance.
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by grumpyoldgit » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:49 pm
As far as I can see it is not an OS. It is described as being a suite of software on their site.
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by grumpyoldgit » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:57 pm
GNU/Linux and Debian are mentioned so I assume that it will install on the Pi.
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by alpaca » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:58 pm
Indeed, I do not really see anything preventing that running on a Rpi.

I even think it is the way to go, as it is geared to children without holding back for those more advanced. Also, it is written in interpreted phyton, so the foundation can easily customize it to their own needs and imago...
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by SRSullivan » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:07 pm
SergeantFTC said:


Well, considering that it runs on OLPC's new tablet the XO 3.0 (or whatever it is that they are calling it), which is powered by ARM, I would say that there is a pretty good chance.


Grumpyoldgit said:


As far as I can see it is not an OS. It is described as being a suite of software on their site.


Yes and Yes.

The OLPC distribution has always been a Remix of Fedora Linux. Originally it was heaily customized at the beginning, but with close partnership between the developer communities most of changes are now in the mainline fedora distribution with OLPC maintaining very little need in deviation.

The Sugar Desktop Environment is packaged as part of the Fedora Software repositories and is selectable for installation on any Fedora Install, OLPC-XO, Desktop PC, tablet or otherwise. On of the goals of the Fedora ARM build is to be able to support the  XO-1.75 and XO-3. Later came along Raspberry Pi, giving them another important platform to target. As such the OLPC Sugar environment will be available for all of them.

There are a couple of Projects like Deb-XO that bring sugar to Debian and Ubuntu, so they are not out in the cold for Sugar. I'm just not as familiar with the details on those.

Disclosure:

I'm not currently a OLPC or Fedora developer, I just read the Fedora ARM and Fedora OLPC dev mailing lists as it's of interest to me.
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by SergeantFTC » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:38 pm
Wow, nice explanation. Thank you
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by jamdis » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:56 pm
Wow, thanks for the speedy and knowledgeable replies.   It's good to know that this should work.  Also, I will stop referring to Sugar as an OS. Thanks for correcting my misnomer!
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by Benedict White » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:38 pm
To a point, though I am not sure if we have tried it on Arm, Sugar can be built on Arch.

As such, it seems mainstream Linux and can be built for the Raspberry Pi, no matter which Distro it ends up running.
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by robb » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:12 pm
Are there any updates on getting Sugar on rpi? I sure would be interested to run it!
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by Max » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:01 pm
Gave it a try.

Image

The good news is that the image meant for their XO-1.75 ARM laptop can be started on a Pi with very little modification.

The bad news is it runs out of memory quick, and starts swapping, which with a SD card doesn't go too well.
Am afraid that is not easily fixable. (other than with a model C with more memory ;))
by inkyfingers » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:33 am
I have Sugar in testing by children. It looks super on a TV screen. It is functional, stable, robust but incomplete. I have used Sugar via Sweets on the http://www.raspbian.org/ pisces image.
Right now the problem seems to be some regular python modules. I have written up where I have got to so far here:
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_Creation_Kit/sck/Advanced_Topics_ARM_RPi and on its Talk Page.

I hope to contribute to a Sweets/Getting Started page there, later.
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by Max » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:51 pm
Mitigated the memory problem a bit by switching to the 224 MB mem split and using zRam compression.
Browsing and simply activities now work better.

Image Image


If anyone wants to play with it, you can download the image I used
by factoid » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:43 am
I just tried out the sugar image you provided above, I'm very impressed! I bought my rpi as a first computer for my 3.5 year old son, and sugar is definitely the closest thing to what I pictured in my mind. I'm a professional game developer, and I've worked with a number of platforms and technologies related to games. I love linux and I work with it as much as I can, but I'm not a veteran. Nevertheless, I'd be very interested in helping to further sugar on rpi. Seems like optimizing the whole environment for low memory and getting alsa to work would be the major hurdles.

I grew up on an Amiga 500, so it's both amazing and disappointing that a device like this doesn't quite do what that computer did 20 years ago. I suspect that getting a smooth sugar experience on the rpi is possible, though likely a boatload of work. Is anyone currently pursuing this?
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by recantha » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:59 am
Oh this looks very sweet and cute :-) Going to try it tonight!
My Raspberry Pi blog with all my latest projects and links to articles
http://raspberrypipod.blogspot.com. +++ Current project: PiPodTricorder - lots of sensors, lots of mini-displays, breadboarding, bit of programming.
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by inkyfingers » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:42 pm
factoid wrote: Is anyone currently pursuing this?

Due to reorganisation of the Sugarlabs wiki, the link in my earlier post is now a dud. Apologies.
For an update on Sugar via Sweets please see http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Testing/Reports/Sweets_on_Raspberry_pi_armhf_raspbian.
There is also another test report of regular Sugar at http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Testing/Reports/ARM_RPi
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by factoid » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:22 am
I haven't hooked up my pi to my TV since installing the official raspbian image, but I was able to "apt-get install sugar-session-0.96" without any trouble. I'll see how it runs, but most likely any performance issues at this point will be related to X windows hardware acceleration (or rather, lack thereof).

So, I installed sugar, but I haven't tried it yet... but it is just an apt-get away now...
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by factoid » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:25 am
I would edit the above post, but it doesn't seem to allow me to.

Was able to play with sugar on the pi using the default debian build. It's functional, but the activities available is just a small subset of fructose (the default set of example applications). I'm going to try getting jhbuild setup on my pi to download and compile the entire current sugar environment plus applications, make sure it's properly optimized for armhf.

For those who want to try at home, I did an "apt-get install education-desktop-sugar", but that installed a whole bunch of unnecessary desktop items along with it (like cups, and some mail transport agents). The final version of sugar installed was also only 0.88, when the current stable release is 0.96.

It's my intention to build a rpi specific build of sugar 0.96 with all the required packages and activities included, that doesn't pull in extra cruft. Performance of 0.88 seemed decent, could be faster, but I'm betting a lot of that would have to do with the lack of HW X acceleration, or optimizations that might be possible with the python layer of sugar (which seems to be eating up most of the CPU time when apps start).

But, while not perfect, I'm pretty sure a 0.96 build without any further optimzations would be 'good enough' to give to my kid to play with.
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by inkyfingers » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:17 pm
For reasons described in the release notes,
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/0.96/Notes
Sugar 0.96 will accept a much smaller set of activities right now.
The vast majority of Activites are fully compatible with Sugar 0.88 to 0.94.
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by factoid » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:58 pm
After playing with the build environment for awhile, and then going back to the debian packages, it's much more straightforward to apt-get the sugar environment and activities. I'm still learning about sugar, but it looks like custom apps can be downloaded and installed easily without reliance on packaging.

Overall performance of the environment is pretty lacklustre. I'm not sure how much of that is due to the lack of X acceleration, but assuming that the HD display is being rendered entirely in software, I would assume the answer is 'a lot'. I guess the question is whether or not it's easier to try and get graphics acceleration into X for the pi, or to work with one of the fast 2D rendering libraries to build a new educational environment tailored to the pi. Both paths are pretty daunting, but X acceleration would have a bunch of supplementary effects for the community at large.

I wish it were just load times, but the UI can be really clunky at times. So I think it's not quite at a state where I can just give it to my son to play with. But it's excellent to see that raspbian currently supports sugar out of the box.
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