In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Nokia Qt 4.6 to replace Community Qt 4.5 in PR1.2
    • Council election timeline
  2. Applications
    • Maemo 5 themeing on Windows for dummies
    • Video how to on using MSN, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, ICQ and more with the Maemo 5 Telepathy system
    • How to use Facebook Chat via the built-in instant messaging
    • ...and 5 more
  3. Development
    • Battery status graph for analysis using battery-eye
    • TI collaboration on getting 3D acceleration drivers for N8x0 progressing
    • PySide (Python + Qt) tutorials
    • ...and 5 more
  4. Community
    • How to avoid "me too" replies to bugs
    • Should have a "mascot" in addition to the community-sourced logo?
    • Efforts to launch a store of branded caps, mugs etc.
  5. Devices
    • Desktop stand for N900
    • XMPP credentials vulnerable to MITM attacks
    • Mer with working 3D acceleration on N900 with open source kernel (closed libraries)
  6. Maemo in the Wild
    • group on LinkedIn hits 1,000 members
    • Running Windows 95 on the Nokia N900
  7. Announcements
    • Diablo & Fremantle openness reports
    • Quick Brown Fox font viewer in Testing
    • wizard-mounter allows browsing of remote filesystems (incl. SMB & NFS)

Front Page

Nokia Qt 4.6 to replace Community Qt 4.5 in PR1.2

Nokia will be launching official Qt 4.6 support for Maemo 5 with the PR1.2 release. Nokia intends to deploy the currently in Beta Qt 4.6 to all devices via software update — most probably already with the next major update PR1.2. This may signal an accelerated timeline for pushing Qt support in Maemo 5, which will give a clearer migration path for existing applications to Maemo 6 and allow developers to start preparing for the transition to Harmattan.

Given that the largest criticism for the transition to Qt as the mainstream supported toolkit came from the lack of a developer migration path, this goes a long way in continuing the moves made at the summit to ease that transition. Combined with tools like Qt Creator and MADDE, cross-platform development and deployment with rich tooling support is finally becoming a reality for Maemo.

Council election timeline

Dave Neary has posted the timeline for the March 2010 Maemo Community Council election, with 2nd March being the deadline for electorate karma, and 23rd March marking the opening of voting. Since we're announcing the election dates now, anyone who does not yet have 10 karma, or hasn't let linked their and accounts, now has a few weeks to do so before the election process starts. Users interested in voting should be sure their Talk and accounts are linked before 2nd March - indeed, given it can take 26 hours for a full karma recount, the sooner the better.

The Community Council are the primary interface between the Maemo community and Nokia but, beyond that, they're also responsible for facilitation within the community; making sure that a random developer on IRC is connected with someone on or the mailing lists.


Maemo 5 themeing on Windows for dummies

Andrew Zhilin and Carsten Munk have collaborated on a guide to producing themes on Windows for those with little-to-no technical experience. I thought it would be it would be useful and motivating if I’ll describe my way of creating themes. I’ve used it to create Marina in Windows but you can use it in any OS I think. Special thanks to Master Carsten “Stskeeps” Munk for all the info and guides. And here we go. The guide doesn't help you draw something attractive, but will help you produce a package which can be installed by other users and made available through the repositories.

Video how to on using MSN, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, ICQ and more with the Maemo 5 Telepathy system

All About Maemo has posted a video guide to installing the extra Telepathy components to access most major IM networks using the built-in client. The N900 has instant messaging and VOIP totally integrated into the interface, but officially it only supports this integration with Skype, Google Talk, Jabber/Facebook and Ovi. However, by installing a plugin you can actually add integrated support for many more services including MSN / Live, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, QQ, Gadu Gadu, GroupWise and Sametime.

How to use Facebook Chat via the built-in instant messaging

Facebook Chat has changed to using the open XMPP protocol, which Maemo 5 supports out-of-the-box. Mark Guim has posted a screenshot-laden tutorial on how to configure it without installing any additional software: You can now chat with your Facebook friends directly from your Contacts book without having to download apps or plugins. You can change your availability status directly from the status area on the Nokia N900.

JoikuSpot for the N900

Joiku has announced a beta of their JoikuSpot software for Maemo 5. JoikuSpot allows you to share your cellular data connection over an Ad Hoc WiFi connection. Although power consumption is higher than similar methods using Bluetooth, it is compatible with nearly any device with WiFi. The current Linux Edition release is still in BETA as some compatibility issues related to WiFi stability against some laptop models equipped WiFi chipsets still apply. Production release will ship shortly as the compatibility issues are resolved. Please subscribe for Joiku updates to be informed in person, when the production release is available. The beta is currently available from Joiku's own repository rather than Ovi or Extras.

User interface improvements in fMMS

Nick Leppänen Larsson recently visited Helsinki to meet with Nokia engineers and UI designers to help improve fMMS, the Maemo community's answer to the lack of MMS support in Maemo 5. After a couple of great days in Helsinki last week and a busy weekend I finally had time to implement some of the great suggestions I got. I’m completely stunned by how easy and obvious things are after sitting down with a bunch of great designers. The latest version is currently available from Extras-devel (standard disclaimers and warnings apply), testers and contributors are welcome.

AdFlashBlock-CSS in testing

Jason Carter has released a new ad- and Flash-blocking solution for Maemo 5: I'm proud to announce adflashblock-css's release to extras-devel. [...] I decided to go another route and to provide ad blocking through CSS which should be a lot less... random. [...] I also added a form of flashblock, also done through CSS. When a flash animation is loaded on a page, it will be replaced with a grey square telling you that it's flash and if you click, the flash animation will be loaded and played. AdFlasherblock CSS in currently available in Extras-testing, so intrepid users can install and vote.

WayFinder licences start expiring, not renewable

WayFinder, the mapping application which was shipped with the N810, had a demo mode which granted temporary licences on receipt of a valid MAC address. That licencing server is now offline, meaning that no new licences are being granted. I purchased the navigation software on the 770 and therefore have a perpetual license when I upgraded to the N810? Imagine my surprise when this morning it tells me that my navigation license has expired! I'm also getting a network error when trying to re-input my license key. Full-blown licences, which tended to be valid for 3 years, seem to be unaffected: it would make sense that such licences would not need to connect to the server again. However, once expired, it seems it will be impossible to extend.

EasyPark for re-finding your parked car

Jaap Braam has announced EasyPark, a new application for Maemo that makes it easy to make your way back to your parked car. Easypark is a web-based application that uses the N900 location service to keep track of the location you parked your car. EasyPark is currently available from Extras-testing.


Battery status graph for analysis using battery-eye

Developers can check if running their application for a long time will have an impact on battery life with Jussi Holm's new application, Battery Eye. Emanuele Cassioli has started a thread on showing particular use-case graphs: I've installed it and found that it continuously monitors the battery consumption, even when the phone is off. Due to the extreme impact battery life can have on user's perceptions of a device and a platform and the usual difficulty involved with determining the battery life impact of a particular program, this application should be a large boon to developers and users alike.

TI collaboration on getting 3D acceleration drivers for N8x0 progressing

Texas Instruments, the manufacturer of the OMAP chips which have powered all Maemo devices to date, are continuing to work with Nokia and Carsten Munk on getting functional and releasable drives for the N800 and N810's PowerVR 3D acceleration chip. Don't assume drivers that will work out of box and render happily to the screen - there's still work to be done on this as explained earlier in this thread, but this is the first step to make this possible. You will need to flash a new kernel (with extra DMA memory) and some other things as well. The drivers themselves will be in the form of a binary blob, but the kernel module which interfaces to that library will be GPL, allowing it to be ported to new kernel versions.

PySide (Python + Qt) tutorials

Python is, almost certainly, the language with the lowest barrier to entry on Maemo: it's a modern, garbage-collected language with a clean syntax and large development community. Qt is, as you'll know, the UI toolkit on which Nokia is betting the farm. Robin Burchell has recently been blogging on an introduction to developing Qt applications with Python: I recently met an acquaintance around Maemo (hi Khertan!) who was having problems coming to grips with how to use Qt in general. He's a python developer currently, with exposure to Gtk+, so I thought I'd write up some help for him to read over. Targetted at developers who are already familiar with Python, the examples each tackle a single concept and are very heavily commented, to make it clear exactly what each line does.

Open sourcing of Maemo components queue & workflow

Working from the openness report, Carsten Munk has proposed a process for prioritizing components for open sourcing. The idea of the open sourcing queue, is to have the ability to prioritise what components should be sent through the machinery that in the end decides if something is open sourced or not and in which order. [...] The important thing is to spend more time on the actual open sourcing process than in time consuming discussions. Hopefully this will help focus the community and Nokia to get the most important components opened faster.

Maemo 6 Platform Security: FOSDEM slides

Maemo 6's DRM and security provisions is one of the most talked about items in Harmattan. This is for two reasons: 1) even above the UI & Qt, more is known about it than any other component; and 2) the introduction of a security framework allowing the device owner - and that may be the network with a subsidised phone - to tightly control how and what the device does is contentious in a system which has been progressively getting more open. is tasked with explaining the technical aspects of this framework and did so at FOSDEM last week. The purpose of the Platform Security in the Maemo 6 platform is to protect the owner of a Maemo-powered device from getting her personal, private data and passwords from being stolen and used for malicious purposes, to prevent a malware from misusing a device and incurring costs on user, to prevent a user from accidentally breaking the device and to make the platform meet the requirements set by such third party software that requires a safe execution environment. The slides from her presentation are now online, and video of the presentation itself can be seen below.

Maemo 6 Platform Security: FOSDEM video

The video to Elena Reshetova's presentation at FOSDEM. In addition to being viewable through YouTube below, has downloadable versions in Xvid and Ogg Theora formats.

Maemo book for WRT/Qt/QML - request for content suggestions

Rajesh Lal is working on a new book about Maemo development, focusing on Nokia's strategic platforms of Web Runtime (WRT), Qt and Qt/QML. I wanted to ask you guys, what do you want in a professional book on Maemo Development. How it can best help us to develop applications on Maemo? If you have ideas on how the book should be structured, or the content and topics it should contain, drop Rajesh an email.

TpSession, simplified Maemo 5 SMS & messaging API

Kate Alhola has, on her Forum Nokia blog, introduced a new library for interfacing with Maemo 5's Telepathy-based IM and SMS API. Based on the Qt bindings for Telepathy, she says, There has been numerous questions and requests from developers about how to send and receive SMS with Maemo 5. There was even lot of rumours that the API is not public. I decided to do something for issue, find out non documented API's and write examples how to do SMS. After starting work, i soon noticed that there is nothing secret, everything needed was already documented and it was possible to do with documented API's but it was just a complicated and time consuming task that needs deep understanding how Telepathy Framework works. Writing just an example code expanded to project write simple to use API that allows SMS sending with just couple of lines code.


How to avoid "me too" replies to bugs

Sebastiaan Lauwers has posted an interesting piece on his blog about the issue of "me too" noise in Bugzilla and its effect on overall tracker productivity. With popularity, the type of user changes. Initially, when an Open Source project starts, you tend to have very dedicated and very committed individuals helping out. [...] What matters are people who are inherently productive and can provide with quantities of productive feedback. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they win all the arguments, it doesn’t mean they are always right, but at least they offer an opinion, an expertise that helps move the discussion further, rather than circling around the same tiny black hole for ages. Wasting resources is the most destructive thing on the planet, so why do so many do it furiously, and with seemingly no other purpose than to annoy or disturb? This sort of noise has a tendency to drive away the engineering and management types we've sought for a long time to get involved in the public bug tracker, so reducing it is a top priority. should be upgraded to Bugzilla 3.4 around the end of February, focus will be placed on improvements to submission forms, bug view and the voting system once the upgrade is in place. All of which should help focus activity and reduce noise.

Should have a "mascot" in addition to the community-sourced logo?

Randall Arnold is asking whether needs a mascot which can be used in conjunction with the logo. He says, there's been a long, involved discussion over if this organization should be represented by some sort of character, in addition to the logo (or in some cases in lieu of it) and if so, what that should be. The current logo was chosen as part of a design competition and voted on by the community. The discussion about a mascot has - over a very long time - evolved from a lighthearted comment to a serious suggestion.

Efforts to launch a store of branded caps, mugs etc.

Randall Arnold is also working to start a merchandise store. In summary, enough chat, time for work. I don't mind doing it at all; I love this stuff. And if anyone takes issue with what I do, let the flames commence-- but be prepared to offer a solid alternative otherwise I'm deaf. Currently the pilot store resides on CafePress, but hopefully the lower quality and increased overhead of a print-on-demand service can be avoided and Randall's jumpstart will get movement on something more permanent going.

Testing squad getting started

VDVsx is kicking off the community Testing Squad efforts for Februray. Let me start with some clarifications about the Testing Squad, this team is intended to test software done inside the community by volunteers, not software done by Nokia or new FW images (this can happen, if Nokia continue picking beta testers inside the community), so if someone have questions about that please shout :). Additional testers are always welcome, and the presence of the squad shouldn't mean that anyone using particular bits of software from Extras-testing don't test and vote on them.


Desktop stand for N900

Daniel Reetz has a laser, and he's not afraid to use it. After being disappointed with the N900's built-in stand he's used a laser-cutter to produce two versions of a desktop stand that he's now selling. We all know the N900’s built-in stand sucks. Thankfully, this one doesn’t. It’s 3mm Baltic Birch plywood, which has been laser cut, painted black, and given a light non-slip coating on the base. Available in black painted wood and clear acrylic, the stands are available with international shipping from $10.

XMPP credentials vulnerable to MITM attacks

A bug, reported by Olle Segerdahl, has shown the negotiation of encrypted XMPP connections (as used by Facebook Chat and Google Talk) are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. By intercepting the original connection, an attacker can ensure that both ends of the connection fall back to using an unsecured link. The attacker can then eavesdrop on the conversation, and the user's credentials. In 2.2009.51-1 (and probably older releases) there is a man-in-the-middle issue due to not requiring TLS before authenticating that exposes credentials in clear text over the network. This has nothing to do with not supporting SRV records (that was old bug on Maemo4). Although the bug has been fixed internally, the version in the current public release of Maemo 5 is vulnerable and so care should be taken on potentially insecure or untrustworthy Internet connections.

Mer with working 3D acceleration on N900 with open source kernel (closed libraries)

Carsten Munk has demoed Mer with 3D acceleration on the N900, which is required in order to run the Hildon environment from Maemo 5.

Maemo in the Wild group on LinkedIn hits 1,000 members

If you're a member of LinkedIn, the professional (rather than "social") networking site, the group has now reached 1,000 members. The group, linking together developers, designers and architects - both amateur and professional - provides a mechanism for people to find contacts in order to further their careers and projects. If you're not a member of LinkedIn, you'll need to join it in order to view or join the group.

Running Windows 95 on the Nokia N900

Following on from the earlier examples of Mac OS X, Windows 3.11 and Windows NT running in various emulators on the N900, Windows 95 is now running in DOSBox.


Diablo & Fremantle openness reports

Carsten Munk has posted his initial openness report for Diablo and Fremantle (Maemo 4 and 5 respectively). The report details the different openness "levels" for the products that make up the Maemo platform. One of the tasks I've been doing in the last couple of months has been to try and refresh the openness data for Fremantle. This has actually been quite a challenge as I've had to retrieve a lot of different sources to make a proper description of what is actually open and what is not. The report should provide the community with information to help focus its efforts in areas where it's most needed and is the first step in providing a more formalized process for working towards opening up more components.

Quick Brown Fox font viewer in Testing

has produced another shiny Qt application, this time a font viewer: It allows you to inspect fonts installed on your device and view the fonts in a directory of your choosing (i.e. fonts copied to a dir on your memory card). A simple, finger friendly tool for a simple task, especially useful for designers and font geeks. The application is currently in Extras-testing, so eager users can install, test and vote on it.

wizard-mounter allows browsing of remote filesystems (incl. SMB & NFS)

Earlier versions of Maemo had the ability to connect to Windows Networking shares. Nokia removed this ability in Maemo 5 but, in its place, ensured there was a framework in place to allow the community to provide it and similar functionality. Daniele Maio and Nathanael Anderson have now ensured Wizard Mounter is available for Fremantle: Wizard Mounter allow you to mount remote resources like NFS or SAMBA. It let you manage different bookmarks so you can save different profile for different network. The software is currently in Extras-testing, and shows a somewhat unpolished user interface. However, the functionality will be useful in using the N900 productively as part of a wider network, such as a corporate LAN.