From ArchWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

A product of the OLPC initiative, Sugar is a Desktop Environment akin to KDE and GNOME, but geared towards children and education. If you have a young son, daughter, brother, sister, puppy or alien, the best way to introduce them to the world of Arch Linux is by deploying an Arch/Sugar platform and then forgetting about it.

Sugar has a special Taxonomy to name the parts of its system. The graphical interface itself constitute the Glucose group. This is the core system can reasonably expect to be present when installing Sugar. But to really use the environment, you need activities (some sort of applications). Base activities are part of Fructose. Then, Sucrose is constituted by both Glucose and Fructose and represents what should be distributed as a basic sugar desktop environment. Extra activities are part of Honey. Note that Ribose (the underlaying operating system) is here replaced by Arch.


Note: Sugar is on its way to the official repositories. Until this happens, packages are available in the unofficial [city] repository (see below).

From [city] repository

  • For the core system (Glucose), install sugarAUR, available in the [city] repository. It provides the graphical interface and a desktop session, but not very useful on its own.
  • The sugar-fructose group contains the base activities (Fructose) including a web browser, a text editor, a media player and a terminal emulator.
  • The sugar-runnerAUR package provides a helper script that makes it possible to launch Sugar within another desktop environment, or from the command line directly.

From AUR

Install sugarAUR from the AUR.


Activities are available under name sugar-activity-activity from AUR.


etoys is provided separately as it is part of glucose but also include the fructose activity. It is available as etoysAUR in AUR.

From Activity Library

The Sugar Activity Library provides many Activity Bundles packaged as zip files with the ".xo" extension. These bundles can be downloaded and installed to the user's directory from Sugar, but the installation does not ensure that the dependencies are satisfied. Therefore it's not the recommended way to install activities, because they likely fail to start due missing dependencies. Commonly used dependencies:

  • For web activities, install webkit2gtk from the official repositories.
  • For GTK+ 2 based activities, install sugar-toolkitAUR from AUR.

In order to check why the activity fails to start, look at the log file located at ~/.sugar/default/logs/[app_id]-1.log.

Starting Sugar

Sugar can be started either graphically, using a display manager, or manually from the console.


Select the session Sugar from the display manager's session menu.


If sugar-runnerAUR installed, Sugar can be launched with the sugar-runner command.

Alternative method is to add exec sugar to the ~/.xinitrc file. After that, Sugar can be launched with the startx command (see xinitrc for additional details). After setting up the ~/.xinitrc file, it can also be arranged to Start X at login.


Almost all activities have the same building procedure, a that calls functions shipped with sugar. Below is a typical PKGBUILD:

# Contributor: Name <>
pkgdesc="A calculator for Sugar."
arch=('i686' 'x86_64')
groups=('sucrose' 'fructose')

build() {
  cd "$srcdir/${_realname}-$pkgver"
  ./ install --prefix="$pkgdir/usr" || return 1
# vim:set ts=2 sw=2 et:


  • Activity building procedure is not made for packaging and using --prefix can be dangerous if the application uses this path internally. I think the correct way to do this would be to patch the installation procedure in sugar so it accepts an argument such as --destdir=.
  • I suggest that we prefix sugar activities packages in AUR with sugar-activity-.

See also