There are many birthdays at the moment. My niece gets 2 today, we are celebrating Fedora 15 end of life those days (yeah it is a bit morbid to celebrate the end of a release but an end means always something new (read here Fedora 17) or something like that), Plan Ceibal has it’s fifth anniversary and this is my first post on the GNOME planet. Yeay! After setting everything up (GNOME membership, hackgotchi…) I am here, feels nice and cozy I see how I will like hanging around with you guys in the future.
About one of those birthdays I want to talk a bit more, Plan Ceibal celebrating there 5th anniversary. Plan Ceibal is an Uruguayan initiative to implement the “1 to 1” model (one laptop per learner) in Uruguay. They use the XO from One Laptop per Child for that. This initiative is about delivering technology but as well as much about education. Deploying those many laptops involves a lot of logistics, from handing out to tracking laptops, collecting broken machines, repairing and giving them back to the learner etc. As well Plan Ceibal is modifying Sugar (the learning platform running on the XO) and adopting to their needs, like adding country specific Activities for example. And then there is the educational part to that project, preparing content, teacher training, preparation of the parents and evaluation of the project itself.
And this initiative is 5 years old now. First laptops handed out in 2007. Amazing. To put some moving pictures to the story you can have a look at the video Plan Ceibal put up.
You my ask now, why does this matter to GNOME? What is the link here? Actually it does mean a lot:
The XO is running Sugar and Sugar is developed on top of the GNOME stack. Basically “Sugar is the GNOME platform + a target audience oriented UI”. When I say here GNOME platform I mean the building blocks, the libraries that are used in the GNOME desktop like GTK+, Metacity or Evince. Sugar does share the platform/application model. But Sugar does not only use the GNOME technologies, it uses as well the knowledge and ecosystem. For example Sugar mimics the GNOME schedule. The freezes, tarball due days, release days we do have as well and we are even in sync which makes sure Sugar is aligned as well with distribution schedules and gives the Sugar developers a chance to work upstream.
And the little green and white laptops do come often as well installed with GNOME as a secondary desktop to have the more advanced applications in the GNOME suite available for the learners as well.
If you look at the numbers today (about 2 million laptops deployed) you can get a feeling how many direct and indirect users GNOME has today that are using the XO. I think this deserves a big sip of your beverage of choice this weekend to celebrate yourself and another sip for Plan Ceibal and all their work and heart that they have put into this. The GNOME community and you are part of this.