In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • First edition of Maemo Weekly News
    • Firefox mobile released for Maemo 5
  2. Applications
    • The One Ring - Google Voice properly integrated into Maemo 5
    • Ovi store still selling DRM content the N900 can't play
    • Mac OS X iSync plugin for N900
    • ...
  3. Development
    • Proposal for micro-donations for authors via
    • Extras definition of 'free' brought into focus
    • Network connected apps should better support proxy
    • ...
  4. Community
    • UK development community used in Nokia marketing video
    • Brainstorm - how do we make it useful, and manage it?
    • Ask the Community Council
    • ...
  5. Devices
    • No clarification on Maemo 6 for N900
    • N900 call volume fading out - hardware or software fault?
    • PUSHN900 pre-London meet roundup
  6. Maemo in the Wild
    • N900 viral marketing in top 5 for 2009
    • Prominent N900 adverts in London Underground
  7. Announcements
    • SyncEvolution 0.9.2 announcement
    • Download Assistant preview
    • Catorise sorts your #N900 apps: now in Extras
    • ...

Front Page

First edition of Maemo Weekly News

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of Maemo Weekly News. This, as the name suggests, is a new weekly digest of news and announcements from in and around the Maemo community. Our team of intrepid contributors are deeply embedded within all facets of the Maemo and 770, N800, N810 and N900 community; whether that's on IRC,, Downloads, blogs, Twitter or the mailing lists. They read and process all the info, so you don't have to!

As this is the first issue, things are still bedding in - features such as the top downloads for the week, the newest downloads and the top bugs are still under development. Also, we're still looking for contributors; so if you feel like you stumble across Maemo items which are well hidden, and of interest to others, please hit "Read more" link to get involved. The key thing to all of us is that this adds lots of value, without taking up lots of our time. If laziness, hubris and a desire to help others are qualities you recognise in yourself, get in touch!

Firefox mobile released for Maemo 5

The news has been everywhere, but Mozilla's mobile Firefox (Fennec) has now been released for the N900. Using basically the same engine as the built-in browser, Firefox Mobile brings an interesting new take on the mobile browser user interface; can synchronise with your desktop Firefox and embraces the concepts of add-ons in the same way it's big brother does: Bringing Firefox to mobile devices is the next step toward fulfilling Mozilla's mission of providing one Web that everyone can access, regardless of device or location. Secure, powerful, and customizable, Firefox is the most modern mobile Web browser available and is optimized for a mobile experience. Key design principles are at the heart of the mobile browsing experience including minimal typing, seamless synchronization with desktop Firefox and the ability to take your Firefox with you, to name a few. It will be interesting to see whether it gets the user takeup that Firefox has had, given it's competing against its own cousin and every review lists the out-of-the-box browser as the best feature of the N900.


The One Ring - Google Voice properly integrated into Maemo 5

Ed Page has officially announced "The One Ring", a plugin (Telepathy Connection Manager) that integrates Google Voice into Empathy, Maemo 4.1 RTComm, and Maemo 5 RTComm. It currently supports GV contacts with names, sending and receiving from people not in your contact list, presence, send and receive text, receive voicemail in text form, initiate Google Voice callback, and improved debugging. The application is still in beta so use with caution, and provide feedback where possible.

Ovi store still selling DRM content the N900 can't play

In a selfless act, bought some of the paid-for content available on the Ovi Store, assuming it would have similar flaws to the paid-for applications which caused them to be removed temporarily. However, This time, it's the other way round: You pay, but can't play. What you get is a file with the file extension '*.dm", so I assume it's digitally restricted. Of course, my N900 doesn't know what to do with it and can't play it.

Mac OS X iSync plugin for N900

You may think that Apple users would be more interested in an iPhone or iPad than an N900. However, a passionate group of Mac OS X users (kicked off by David Smith, Graham Dawe and Jrgen Scheibengruber) have started work on an iSync plugin to better integrate Maemo 5 into their Macs. With no official Nokia plug-in supplied, to sync the Nokia N900 with OS X (iSync), a few of the members of have decided make one. Currently most features that you would expect work, work well, but there are some things that either have part-functionality or do not work at all (yet!).

Finger friendly Vagalume in beta test

Vagalume, the and client for Maemo, is available for the N900 in Extras-testing; but the UI was still its stylus-targetted Maemo 4 one. However, Andrea Grandi is testing a Hildonized version of Vagalume: still some bugs but the author has done a very nice work! Hopefully it won't be long before it sees the light of day.

pyPianobar Pandora client

pyPianobar is a lightweight native client for the Pandora streaming radio service developed by FatalSaint Alucard. Currently, the Pandora website works fine in the N900 browser and thus, many people have decided a GUI application for it is not necessary. I disagreed, as did a couple others. The Pandora website is entirely flash, and while the N900 brings flash to our browser (which is excellent) - flash is also very CPU intensive and sluggish. The client has been developed in Qt and is currently in Extras-devel, which means that users should only enable the repo temporarily.

Community-built levels for Rovio's Angry Birds

Angry Birds must be the most popular application in the embryonic Ovi Store. The game, where you catapult birds at fragile structures to destroy the creatures inside has captured users' imaginations and is being downloaded six times faster than its iPhone version. Now, a number of users on have - with the publisher's permission - reverse engineered the level format and have been producing their own levels: We're currently hanging out on freenode in #angrybirds-leveleditor and ##angrybirds-leveleditor if you'd like to come by and help or ask questions about level editing. We might not answer immediately as we're going to be busy with the editor, but I'm sure we'll get to your questions eventually. Official and unofficial graphical level editors are in the works to make it more accessible to those who don't know Lua, a simple programming language.

Mac OS X running on an N900

In an attempt to have the slowest Mac in existence, Toni Nikkanen has compiled PearPC for Maemo and used it to boot Mac OS X on his N900: As you can see from the heavily edited video, it took almost 2 hours to reach the "About my Mac..." window. Keep your eye on the time display as that will give you an impression of just how uselessly slow it is. The emulator I used was the latest CVS snapshot of PearPC, which to my eye appears to be pretty good quality code, built without problems in Scratchbox. It's difficult to imagine any practical benefits of this, but it is cool and perhaps allows on-device debugging of the iSync plugin above!

Paris3D preview

A short video showing off the development of "Paris3D", an application which appears like a hybrid of Google Maps and Google Earth, allowing you to pan around a 3D map of Paris. A preview for Paris 3D, soon to come for all N900 users!

Augmented reality with camera & OpenGL

Pavel Rojtberg has released a video of a cool "augmented reality" proof-of-concept using an N900. The camera and OpenGL are used to insert an artificial house into a real-world scene, in realtime. One commenter says, Wow! I never knew the N900 could do such things. You’re my hero of the month. Seriously impressed!


Proposal for micro-donations for authors via

Andrew Flegg, your editor, has made a proposal for a consistent donation scheme to be available to application authors wanting to publish open source software in's repositories: it is interesting to think about how micro-payments for ones software could make one a bit of money (100 users at $1 each is a nice present); but whilst still having our software as open source. There've been suggestions in the past of a "Donate" button on each project's website, but I suggest we thrash out a scheme - and then implement - a consistent micro-donation system for Response on, Twitter and IRC has been generally positive. Extras definition of 'free' brought into focus

Jeremiah Foster, our debmaster, brought a conversation about (non-)free, as in speech, applications on into the light; based on a bug report against Mauku. The conversation reignited the debate about whether or not the community should be doing free quality assurance testing for applications which are dependent on the author for future releases and upgrades. However, it also highlighted the lack of awareness about the "non-free" section of Extras.

Network connected apps should better support proxy

Bobby Adesuyan is asking for better proxy support on the N900. He complains: The device is an internet lemon if you are behind a proxy firewall and ony the browser and email works. Nothing and I mean not one internet aware application works. I live and work in a school where all internet connection is done via a proxy and its been a hellish experience using the N900 because of this problem. The worst part is even core system application which you would expect to work with the system wide proxy I added to my wireless profile doesnt work (the Nokia repo fails) and everyother core app like Internet radio, and sharing to flickr, facebook applet, IM non seems to be able to connect when you are behind a network proxy. The situation is just soo bad. Ouch. Developers should familiarise themselves with the libconic proxy examples linked to by shadowjk in the ensuing discussion.

Further design work on "badge" for CLI icons in Extras

Tim Samoff has created a new set of CLI icons/badges for use in the Application Manager with command-line only applications. The intent is to make such packages easily available, but to indicate to users that the package is intended to be used in X Terminal. According to Tim, he decided to create the new set because it seemed that the "puzzle" icon I made wasn't very well loved. Ultimately, using the default icon or adding the badge to your existing icon, may become part of the QA process for command-line only applications.

PyQt 4.7 released on all Maemo devices, for Qt 4.5/4.6

Talk member attila77 has announced PyQt 4.7. It is still in extras-testing but features Qt 4.5/4.6 support, N800/N810/N900 support, proper demo package, OpenGL ES support, synched with upstream 4.7, smallest footprint, and an easy upgrade path to PySide. There are still some autobuilder/dependency issues so be sure to check out the discussion.

MADDE: new cross-platform Maemo development environment in technology preview

Other next-generation mobile platforms, whether Apple's iPhone OS; Google's Android; Palm's webOS have one thing in common: an easy-to-install, low-barrier-to-entry development environment. At the Maemo Summit 2009 in Amsterdam, Nokia promised that Maemo 6 would join their ranks. Qt Creator is already available, and a possible future multi-platform, cross-compiling, simple-to-use back-end (MADDE) has now been unveiled. MADDE stands for Maemo Application Development and Debugging Environment. It is SDK for cross compile, debug and package new application for Maemo. It is not meant to use to build debian packages that use Autotools or anything that aids compilation by figuring out native system information. As you can see, it's intended for "native" Maemo applications rather than ports; but has already had a positive reception amongst early adopter developers.

MADDE frequently-asked-questions

As a sign of how quickly MADDE is being embraced by developers who - for some reason(!) - find Scratchbox a little intimidating, clumsy or heavyweight; Pasi Savanainen showed his community spirit by pulling together an FAQ for MADDE.

Maemo Developer Day, November 2009 writeup

About 150 developers and 53 companies gathered in Copenhagen to talk about the Nokia N900, Maemo 5, and Qt. According to Quim Gil, This is just the beginning for Maemo, as we will look to create our flagship experience on Maemo with deep Ovi service integration; offering the most advanced performance and user experience, Right now is the time to prepare for the coming buzz that Maemo will undoubtedly create. There has already been great interest for the Nokia N900. Maemo 6 and Qt 4.5 was also discussed, with Qt having good support and documentation at Forum Nokia, and can be a great tool for universities. Ovi will open soon for Maemo apps.

Change chinook repos to 'archive' mode?

Niels Breet is the web-/infrastructure-master and is seeking opinions on whether or not the chinook (Maemo 4.0) auto-builder and repository should be kept fully supported: I think it is time to make the chinook repository read-only and close down the builder instance for it. would then support the latest stable releases for each device generation out there. As we went to print, the responses have been few and were mostly from software authors who still supported this release for users who hadn't upgraded to diablo (Maemo 4.1).

Qt/3D Demos Running on N900

Marko Mattila has tried running the 3D examples (shipped as part of Qt) on the N900: I decided to take a look at if it is possible to run Qt3D demos on N900 and yes it is. The applications that I ran on the video are Qt3D demo apps which come with the Qt3D source code. Given Qt is the future development framework for all Maemo applications, these examples give a good indication of the power and flexibility of the framework; and how it can already be used within Maemo 5 on the N900.


UK development community used in Nokia marketing video

A number of UK Maemo developers and members have been featured in an official Nokia UK marketing video. The video shows them showing off their applications and favourite features. Imagine you had the time, the patience and the Mensa-munching brain power to design your perfect phone. Now imagine you got together with a bunch of other developers with the same dream. Click the "Developers Community" at the top-right of the link to see Gary Birkett, David Greaves, Aniello Del Sorbo, Dave Neary and others.

Brainstorm - how do we make it useful, and manage it?

In a wide-ranging thread, Rüdiger Schiller kicks off a discussion as to whether the Brainstorm is performing well (general consensus is it isn't) and what process and technology changes could improve it: How do we handle threads without response for a longer period of time? Where is the right place to discuss app/enhancement requests? Where do we start bug attention catchers? At the bugtracker we have the option to link dependencies. Would it be useful to have this feature at Brainstorm and Talk:Brainstorm? Users raising enhancement requests in Bugzilla are getting frustrated with the current "take it to Brainstorm" approach; and experts are frustrated that "every solution" is equal with the most-popular, but least-implementable, often being voted highest. If nothing else, expectations need to be set more clearly.

Ask the Community Council

Randall Arnold, one of the five currently serving Community Council members, has invited questions and comments from the community: welcome to the thread where you can ask your council whatever you like. I don't know if my fellow representatives will participate (and don't begrudge them if they don't), so I might wind up being the only one answering. But if nothing else, maybe this will reduce the stress on my PM inbox. With less than two months left of the current council's term, this is an opportunity to talk to your elected councilmen who represent the community to Nokia (and vice-versa) and facilitate cross-community collaboration.

FOSDEM 2010 just around the corner

The largest gathering of open source developers and advocates in Europe, FOSDEM, has a relatively large Maemo presence this year. Held next weekend, it is a yearly free and non-commercial event in Brussels, from February 5th till February 7th 2010. It's organized by the community, for the community. Its goal is to provide free and open source developers a place to meet. [...] There will be Maemo content in several different tracks this year, reflecting the nature of the project as both a contributor to upstream projects and an entire distribution. Over 20 members of the Maemo community have put their name down on the wiki page so far.

London Maemo meet-up

Members of are trying to organise a London/south-east England meet-up to get together and share their experiences in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Greg Roberts writes, I'm very interested to see how others use the device, and what people have done to customise etc, also interested in seeing apps i've not got round to testing/looking at yet. The suggested day is still up-in-the air, but doesn't look like it'll be be far off.

Dist- and deb-master timesheets online

In an exciting show of transparency, Carsten Munk - the latest addition to the paid team - has published his timesheets to date: This is because there's only so much status updates and blog posts can say, but this is the material I'm actually invoicing for and I have to be able to stand in for this professionally. Since I'm interested in community transparency, well, here they are. Jeremiah Foster, our packaging guru, followed suit.

Sheep: a community built game

This may well be better placed in "Applications", and as it progresses out of Extras-devel it may well. However, Sheep, a game concept dreamt up by Kathy Smith and Gary Birkett has been built by a team of enthusiasts on A simple accelerometer game, written in Qt, the aim is to steer the sheep into their pens. Kathy says, it really is an exemplar of the community at work collaboratively. About three artists, a dev, a sheep-impressionist, a bunch of ideas, encouragers and a demented teddy bear make a powerful team! The growth of the community may have made knowing everything that's going on more difficult (hence MWKN), but it also means we've got a much greater pool of talent to draw upon if your idea is engaging enough.


No clarification on Maemo 6 for N900

In a post which did more to muddy the waters than clear them, Quim Gil re-iterated the current position with Maemo 6 (Harmattan) and the N900: In my opinion all this is actually a lot of information already given about 'the next product' just when 'the current product' is hitting the shelves. Customers always want to know more! I understand that, but you need to understand that we will keep informing about next releases and products when it's the right time. The post contains lots more information, but boils down to "wait until the Maemo 6 alpha SDK is released". Those who think (hope?) that Maemo 6 will be made available for existing devices took this ambivalence as a further sign of hope; those who remember the transition from the 770 to N800 or N810 to N900 took it as further evidence that Maemo 6 will mean a new device; with existing devices relying on backports and retrofits rather than the "full" Maemo 6 experience.

N900 call volume fading out - hardware or software fault?

A number of users have noticed that their N900s, whilst on a phone call, fade the volume out to such an extent that it becomes practically unusable as a phone: Over the past few weeks i have noticed that call audio while using the handset will cut out, or volume will decrease severely to where the call is either inaudible, or barely audible. Your editor has had his pre-production loan device replaced after having this fault (and the new one seems fine), whereas other people suggest it's a software issue as it corresponded with an upgrade to PR 1.1.

PUSHN900 pre-London meet roundup

PUSHN900 is a Nokia-sponsored hardware-hacking competition which has garnered entrants from around the world. Now down to just 5 teams, they're preparing for a showcase this week: there’s only 6 days left until all five of the winning PUSH teams will be touching down in London for the PUSH N900 showcase. The event’s looking all set, the invites have been sent out and I even got to go check out the venue before we start the transformation. The projects include haptic feedback and a real-world Etch-a-Sketch, and shows the flexibility of the N900.

Maemo in the Wild

N900 viral marketing in top 5 for 2009

Before the N900's launch, Nokia released a spooky advert showing a sinister room being monitored by CCTV. This view of the "Maemo Project" was one of the most popular "big-company" viral adverts in 2009: Videos that acheive viral status are not limited to low budget user generated content. Here are 5 examples of big companies making big impacts in the viral world.

Prominent N900 adverts in London Underground

Multimultitask. It's not a misprint. A huge Nokia N900 - Carphone Warehouse poster was spotted in London Underground.


SyncEvolution 0.9.2 announcement

SyncEvolution is a command-line tool & daemon that synchronizes personal information management (PIM) data like contacts, calenders, tasks, and memos using the SyncML information synchronization standard. The latest stable version is available for Maemo 5 and is compatible with the built-in calendar, thanks to the work done by Ove Kaaven. SyncEvolution Maemo packages are available via the Maemo extras-devel repository.

Download Assistant preview

daniel wilms has announced that the first preview version of the appdownloader is now available in extras-devel. It currently includes listing applications by category, rating, number of downloads and date, search for applications, get a detailed description, launch the installation-process for an application, and read comments. There are still known issues, so feedback is appreciated.

Catorise sorts your #N900 apps: now in Extras

A number of people aren't happy with the Nokia-supplied applications menu: it has two tiers which don't conform to how a user uses their device. The second application to try to sort this out has now hit Extras at v0.6.0: Catorise puts the applications menu into a series of sections, matching those used in the Application Manager to install it. As packages are installed and removed, the menu is kept up-to-date. Also, v0.7.3 is in Extras-testing with a number of enhancements, bug fixes and speedups.

More iPhone games developers porting their wares to the N900

In an announcement which shows that the N900 has taken off in ways the N810 could only dream of, more iPhone game developers are putting their toe in the Maemo waters. Secret Exit, a small Finnish development studio, is the latest. Jani, a member of the group, said, Currently we're porting two of our games to N900: SPiN and Zen Bound. This seemed like the right forum to announce our intention.

WorldTV99 for N900 under development

WorldTV99 was an N8x0 app which catalogued and provided bookmarks for hundreds of TV stations around the world which make their content available online. Now, anson bun has started work on a Maemo 5 version: We would proudly present to maemo5, WorldTV99 for N900 is now here, at Extra-Devel, early adopters may take a look, hopefully with some 'kind' voting, it will be here soon. The screenshots showing Comedy Central, ABC News, CNN and CBS are pretty impressive! As the software is in Extras-devel, please ensure you do not have the repo enabled for longer than necessary.

Qt-based language translation in -devel

Yet-another-Google Translate front-end has been released, this time in Qt: It supports all Google Translate languages, bi-directional translations, clipboard operations and allows you to send the translated text as an e-mail. As the software is in Extras-devel, please ensure you do not have the repo enabled for longer than necessary.