Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feelin' the Launchpad Luv!

The screenshot above shows Scratch running natively on Ubuntu Karmic.  There is a Scratch in Launchpad web page that greatly simplifies the installation process, at least for someone generally familiar with basic Debian system administration.

I've been running the Windows version of Scratch using wine for the past year, and using the new version has several important advantages:
  • Most of the midi features now work, so students can be exposed to music ideas through Scratch.
  • The operating system is now aware of the application, so clicking on any of the half a million Scratch programs on the website now offers the option of loading the programs directly into Scratch.  This is a big step forward for the Scratch user experience on Ubuntu, especially for the young learners who are the target of Scratch.
  • Saved programs now have a scratch cat logo on them in the graphical file browser.  Clicking on the file icon with the mouse loads them into Scratch.
  • Fonts look nicer, making reading the programming blocks easier.
This is fantastic news for educators using Ubuntu!  While I understand that there are still software freedom issues to be worked out with the Scratch developers, Scratch is compellingly excellent software (the best educational software I have ever seen), and having it available on Ubuntu means that I can stay with the operating system I love best and use the software I need to use for the benefit of my students.  It also opens up the possibility of Ubuntu Live USB sticks with Scratch pre-installed.

Sugar Now Available Too

In related news, Sugar now works on Ubuntu Karmic as well.  The Sugar Team on Launchpad provides a Personal Package Archive (ppa) with the latest (version 0.86) sugar.  This is great news for us at the Governor's Career and Technical Academy in Arlington (GCTAA), where we plan to make contributing to Sugar a central part of our Information and Communications Technology program, and needed to be able to do that on Ubuntu.

Feeling Warm Fuzzies from Launchpad

I've been using Launchpad since soon after it was first available on-line.  Ever since hearing Mark Shuttleworth talk about his vision for it back at the Ubuntu Down Under developer conference, I understood that Launchpad is a core part of bringing developers and users together to make Ubuntu better.

Getting Scratch and Sugar delivered to our computer lab through the fine work of the Scratch and Sugar Teams on Launchpad is definitely giving me the warm fuzzies toward the Ubuntu community and the Launchpad platform.

Thank you Ubuntu community!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. It's great to see people using Scratch on Ubuntu.