Make your own sugar activities

About The Authors

James Simmons

James Simmons has programmed professionally since 1978.  Back then computer programs were made using a special machine that punched holes into cards, reels of tape were the most common data storage medium, and hard disks were so expensive and exotic that the hard disk inventory of a Fortune 500 company would today be considered barely large enough to hold a nice picture of Jessica Alba.

The industry has come a long way since then, and to a lesser extent so has James.

James learned to program at Oakton Community College in Morton Grove, Illinois and Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.  Times were hard back then and a young man's best chance of being employed after graduation was to become an Accountant or a Computer Programmer.  It was while he attended OCC that James saw a Monty Python sketch about an Accountant who wished to become a Lion Tamer.  This convinced James that he should become a Computer Programmer.

James' studies at WIU got off to a rough start when he signed up for Basic Assembly Language as his first real computer class, erroneously thinking that the word "Basic" meant "for beginners".   From the computer's point of view it was basic, but for students not so much.  He barely passed the course with a "D" but in the process learned that he enjoyed programming computers.  He decided to continue his computer studies and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Science.

James was born in 1956, the year before Sputnik went up.  He was a nerdy kid.  At various times he fooled around with Erector sets, chemistry sets, microscopes, dissecting kits, model cars, model planes, model rockets, amateur radio, film making, and writing science fiction stories.  He achieved no real success with any of these activities.

James participated in the first Give One Get One promotion of the One Laptop Per Child project and started developing Activities for the Sugar platform soon after.  He has written the Activities Read Etexts, View Slides, Sugar Commander and Get Internet Archive Books.

Oceana Rain Fields

Oceana Rain Fields – Oceana is a visual artist and creative spirit with a flair for the unexpected and the desire to support worthy causes with her art. She graduated in 2010 from Pacific High School, earning several notable scholarships. In 2010, her painting “Malaria” won first in show in the Vision 2010 high school art competition at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon.  Oceana plans to continue her art education at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Fall 2010. 

Oceana is responsible for the cover art of the bound and printed version of this book.  As a "mentee" of the Rural Design Collective, she also did cover and interior illustrations for another FLOSS Manual: E-Book Enlightenment: Reading and Leading with One Laptop Per Child.

Aneesh Dogra

Aneesh Dogra is a student from India with a passion for computing. He has been programming since 2009 and likes to code in Python, C and PHP. He got involved with Sugar Labs during Google Code-In 2012 and has contributed to Sugar activities like Calculate, Write, IRC, Get Internet Archive Books, View Slides, Read Etexts and many more.

Aneesh is responsible for porting the book code samples to Gtk3 and has written the chapters on Gtk2->Gtk3 Porting, Hippo Canvas->Gtk3 porting and Developing accelerometer based activities for this book.

You can get in touch with Aneesh at or at

Lionel Laské

Lionel Laské is the director of a business unit in a software company in France. He has an extensive background in software development including both Windows technologies and multi-platform environments. He's also the author of several applications for different mobile devices (webOS, Android, Windows Phone, iOS). He created "Liogo", one of the first existing Logo compilers. He has contributed articles to several website and magazines, including Dr.Dobb's Journal, Code Project, Programmez,, DotNetGuru, and others.

Lionel has worked as a volunteer on the One Laptop Per Child project since 2007. He has contributed to French localization, has written workshops on Mono development in Sugar and has tutored a project to create a nutrition Activity. Lionel is president and co-founder of OLPC France, a very active team of volunteers. OLPC France has lead a deployment of 200 XO laptops in Madagascar, another experimental deployment of 50 XO laptops in Saint-Denis, and has organized two SugarCamp events in Paris in 2009 and 2011.

Lionel is responsible for the chapter Developing Sugar Activities using HTML5. You can contact him at lionel AT

S. Daniel Francis

Santiago Daniel Francis (known as Daniel) is a student from Uruguay. He has used Sugar at school and got interested in programming in 2010. He likes coding in Python, C, Bash and JavaScript.

In 2011 he got involved in CeibalJAM, a volunteer managed community which intends to provide educational resources adapted to the needs of schools in Uruguay. As part of that community he developed Sugar Activities like Graph Plotter, which is used by high school students for maths lessons and to prepare for exams. This Activity eliminates the need to buy expensive graphing calculators.

In 2012 he met some Sugar Labs developers and got involved in Sugar Labs, where he fixed bugs in the Sugar platform. These bug fixes have been included in the official Sugar distribution. He has also helped to update some Sugar activities to use GTK 3.

Daniel coded new features to Sugar when he participated in the Google Code-in 2012. For this book he wrote the chapter Making Contributions to Sugar and the section Porting from Olpcgames to Sugargame of the chapter Making Activities Using Pygame.

Also in 2012 Daniel was elected to be part of the Sugar Labs Oversight Board and as a result he needed to disqualify himself as a contestant in the Google Code-in. At age fourteen he is currently the youngest member of that board.

You can contact Daniel at francis AT or at