Sugar Labs Joins the GNOME Foundation

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 23, 2008

Yesterday the GNOME Foundation announced that Sugar Labs is coming onboard as part of GNOME's Advisory Board. Sugar Labs will be represented on the board by executive director Walter Bender.

There a few reasons why this pairing is mutually beneficial. Sugar Labs has been much of the driving force behind the OLPC's XO platform. When Bender left the OLPC some months ago, he formed Sugar Labs to improve and encourage further use and development of the Sugar environment.

Sugar is based on the GNOME platform, using tools and libraries such as GTK+ and Telepathy (in the same vein that Xfce uses some GNOME libraries). Sugar is geared toward children, with a focus on delivering an interface that allows unique interaction, as well as educational applications. And while Sugar features modified applications such as browsers, chat, games and basic editing tools with children in mind, it stands out from some other "education" software compilations through programs like Pippy, an application designed to teach children the basics of programming with Python.

It's fairly obvious why this relationship is positive for Sugar Labs. GNOME stands to gain just as much. GNOME is positioning itself for further development and use in the mobile arena. It's the platform used in Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Maemo, and the idea that spawned Sugar -- that low-cost, low- to moderately- powered devices can run an operating system with a user-friendly, functional desktop and associated applications -- is a specific area of interest and expansion.

Sugar's ability to run as such, and its clear, defined focus on the desktop as an educational tool -- in the traditional "reading, writing and arithmetic" sense and the less traditional "programming and technology" area -- make it a prime candidate for hardware and software distributors looking to cater to an enthusiastic (and easily defined and measured) audience of potential users. GNOME's presence on smaller, mobile devices, as well as desktops, can only be strengthened through this arrangement.