Sugar (software)

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For the CRM software, see SugarCRM.
XO Logo.svg
The Sugar "Home view" (v0.82)
Developer(s) Sugar Labs
Initial release May 2006; 10 years ago (2006-05)
Stable release
0.108 (February 13, 2016; 9 months ago (2016-02-13)) [±]
Development status Active
Written in Python,[1] PyGTK, GTK+
Operating system Linux
Available in 25 languages[1]
Type Desktop environment
License GNU General Public License
Alexa rank 647,710[2]

Sugar is a free and open source computer desktop environment designed for interactive learning by children. Copyright by SugarLabs.[1][3] Developed as part of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project, Sugar was the default interface on OLPC XO-1 laptop computers. The OLPC XO-1.5 and later provided the option of either the Gnome or Sugar interfaces.[4]

Sugar is available as a Live CD, as Live USB, a package installable through several Linux distributions[5]

Unlike most other desktop environments, Sugar does not use the "desktop", "folder" and "window" metaphors. Instead, Sugar's default full-screen activities require users to focus on only one program at a time. Sugar implements a journal which automatically saves the user's running program session and allows them to later use an interface to pull up their past works by date, activity used, or file type.

Design principles[edit]

Sugar has the objective of being suitable for even inexperienced users, but provides more advanced facilities for the more experienced. The project's stated goal is to "avoid bloated interfaces", and "limit the controls to those immediately relevant to the task at hand.".[6] Applications run full screen, double-clicking is not used, and menus show icons.

Sugar is written in Python,[1] an interpreted language, and can be modified by users with programming experience. Desktop environments used by many operating systems are written in compiled languages such as C.

Software components[edit]

Sugar has forked a couple of the GNOME Core Applications and written most from scratch. Most applications developed by the Sugar team are forks of existing GNOME applications and based on GTK+.

Hundreds of learning activities for Sugar can be downloaded from the Sugar Activity Library. Additional activities are available from third parties, such as the Project Ceibal portal in Uruguay.


In May 2006 Sugar's developers described it as primarily a "tool for expression," and plans were in place to include multimedia and social networking features.[7]

Since May 2008 Sugar has been developed under the umbrella of Sugar Labs, a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy.[3] Some contributors are employed by One Laptop per Child and other related organizations, others are volunteers, in many cases associated with the free software community.[8] Contributors to the original Sugar platform included Marco Pesenti Gritti, Walter Bender, Christopher Blizzard, Eben Eliason, Simon Schampijer, Christian Schmidt, Lisa Strausfeld, Takaaki Okada, Tomeu Vizoso, and Dan Williams.[9]


By early 2007 Sugar could be installed, with some difficulty, on several Linux distributions, and in virtual machines on other operating systems.[10] By mid-2008 Sugar was available on the Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora distributions of Linux; e.g., as of Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), Sugar could be installed from the official Ubuntu universe repositories.[11] By mid-2009 Sugar was also available on openSUSE[12] and other Linux distributions.[10] Sugar 0.82.1 was included in the OLPC system software release 8.2.0 for XO-1 laptops.[13] Sugar 0.86 was released on September 30, 2009.[14] Sugar 0.88 was released on March 31, 2010.[15] Sugar 0.90.0 was released in October, 2010.[16] There were three releases in 2011 and one in June 2012, which included support for the ARM architecture on the XO 1.75. Builds for OLPC XO laptops and the release schedule are available at OS releases. Sugar has unofficially been ported to run on Android, Firefox OS and iOS using HTML5 and JavaScript under the project name "Sugarizer"; with additional clients written for Web browsers supporting HTML5.[17]

Sugar on a Stick[edit]

The Sugar learning platform for Linux is available as a USB-bootable Linux distribution ("Sugar on a Stick"[18]) and as software components forming an installable additional desktop environment for most Linux distributions.[3] It can be installed using the Fedora Live USB Creator, and can be installed onto a computer hard disk using the liveinst command from a Sugar Terminal or console.

On June 23, 2009, Sugar Labs announced the availability for download of Sugar on a Stick v1 Strawberry, which can run from a bootable 1GB USB flash drive.[3][19] On July 23, 2009, Recycle went live with a program to reflash used USB keys with the Sugar software and donate them to schools.[20] On December 8, 2009, Sugar Labs announced the availability of Sugar on a Stick v2 Blueberry, which incorporates Sugar Release 0.86 and Fedora 11.[21] Sugar Labs announced the availability of Sugar on a Stick v3 Mirabelle, which incorporates Sugar Release 0.88 and Fedora 13.[22] Since Mirabelle, Sugar on a Stick has been a regular, semi-annual, Fedora Spin (official special-purpose version of Fedora);[23] the a Spin using Fedora v22 was released on 26 May 2015.[24]

XO-1 Usage[edit]

The OLPC XO-1 has a 1 GB NAND flash drive and 256 MB of memory. Because the flash-based hard drive is small, swap can only be added by using an SD card or a network block device.[25]

If too many activities are loaded at the same time there may be performance problems due to low memory or processor load.[26]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sugar Labs Features". Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Alexa". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Paul, Ryan (2009-06-26). "Sugar on a Stick brings sweet taste of Linux to classrooms". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  4. ^ "Video: XO-1.5 Laptop Dual Boot - Gnome and Sugar UI - OLPC News". Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Sugar Labs Overview". Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Human Interface Guidelines/Design Fundamentals/Key Design Principles". 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  7. ^ "some more sugar notes | Christopher Blizzard". 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  8. ^ "Sugar commit counts". Ohloh. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  9. ^ Bender, Walter; Kane, Charles; Cornish, Jody; Donahue, Neal (December 2012). Learning to Change the World: The Social Impact of One Laptop per Child. Palgrave Macmillan. 
  10. ^ a b "Downloads". 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  11. ^ Sugar on Ubuntu Linux - OLPC
  12. ^ Sugar - openSUSE, retrieved 2009-07-31 
  13. ^ "API changes - OLPC". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  14. ^ "[ANNOUNCE] Sucrose 0.86.0 Final Release". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  15. ^ "[ANNOUNCE] Sugar 0.88.0 stable release in Fedora 13 and testing of daily images". Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  16. ^ Robert Burderi. "One Ecosystem Per Child". xconomy. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  17. ^ Laske, Lionel. "Sugarizer: A taste of Sugar on any device". Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Sugar on a Stick". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  19. ^ $100 Laptop Becomes a $5 PC, Technology Review, 2009-06-24 
  20. ^ - Donate your Flash Drives for a Good Cause, Everything USB, 2009-07-23 
  21. ^ New Sugar on a Stick Brings Much Needed Improvements, Wired, 2009-12-09 
  22. ^ Sugar on a Stick gets sweeter with Fedora Linux, Internet News, 2010-05-28 
  23. ^ Fedora Sugar Spin 
  24. ^ Sugar-on-a-Stick with Fedora v22 
  25. ^ "Swap - OLPC". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  26. ^ "Release notes/8.2.0 - OLPC". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 

External links[edit]