I've put up a brief summary of the state of development environments as I see them on the Wiki. I want to get to the point where we have at least a LiveCD image that can be installed to a machine's hard-disk which includes a (likely Qemu) emulation script that can download the latest images and run them in emulation on the LiveCD-installed machine.
The Xubuntu LiveCD seems to be going in that direction.
I also want a "try it and see" LiveCD, that is, one that's just Sugar as it runs on the laptops, with a LiveCD kernel, hardware detection and the rest. That's for demos, computer labs, that kind of thing. The LiveBackup LiveCD seems to be going in this direction, I'm gathering the Fedora-system-based one is as well.
Of course, getting Sugar to be a simple "emerge sugar", "apt-get sugar", or "yum install sugar" on all distributions is also key to making it easy to develop for Linux programmers. Obviously Ubuntu is moving forward on that, and we should be getting others to do so as well. We will likely need package maintainers for each of the major (minor too, if we can get them) distributions.
Even sugar-jhbuild is starting to be a reasonable approach, though it's still too fragile for my taste. I actually use a jhbuild environment on my Gentoo workstation for working on Productive (though I have to muck about with a broken dbus module every time I rebuild), and the fact that it allows a full 1200x900 screen is quite useful (it's a very high resolution monitor and video card). I don't really want jhbuild on the SDK LiveCD, but it might be usable assuming it was kept up-to-date.
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