Sunday, 22 November 2020

Trisquel On A Sugar TOAST

For the past month I've been working on a Live USB stick/DVD version of the operating system for the One Laptop Per Child project, "Sugar", based on the work of Jean Piaget and Seymour Papert on the "constructivist" model, in which you learn not by remembering stuff but by doing and by building things.

As a "desktop", it's twenty years ahead of the ubiquitous 1970's Xerox PARC Windows-Icons-Menus-Pointer systems that we are all still using, and an outstanding example of "less is more". I'm using it as my main desktop (on and off) and despite its spartan simplicity I find I can do everything that I used to in the old, hairy interfaces.

My work was outpaced by some people who were already working on something similar and I'm flattered that their "release announcement" for it is just a link to my post in the Sugar developers' mailing list in which I evaluate it. Well worth trying out, if only for the contrast.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Gandhi describing Mussolini

[In 1931 Gandhi visited Mussolini and later described him:]
He has the eyes of a cat, they moved about in every direction as if in constant rotation. The visitor would totally succumb before the awe of his gaze like a rat running directly into the mouth of a cat out of mere fright. I was not to be dazed like that but I noticed that he had so arranged things about him that a visitor would easily get stricken with terror. The walls of the passage through which one has to pass to reach him are all overstudded with various types of swords and other
weapons. He keeps no arms on his person.
["Was he not a remarkable personality?" asked a visitor of Gandhi's.]
Yes, but a cruel man. A regime based on such cruelty cannot last long.
        From Louis Fischer, "Life of Gandhi"

The Roman headquarters of the Italian Fascist Party