In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Maemo and Moblin "merge" to form MeeGo
    • Google Summer of Code 2010
    • Become an MWKN contributor
  2. Applications
    • New apps & games coming soon for Maemo
    • PhotoTranslator - OCR & translation from photos
    • BBC iPlayer for the N900
    • ...and 2 more
  3. Development
    • Licensing change requests queue open for Nokia-closed packages
    • Getting started with Maemo development on Fedora
    • DirectUI (Harmattan's Qt-based toolkit) demos available in extras-devel for Maemo 5
    • ...and 3 more
  4. Community
    • MeeGo community website coordination IRC meeting 2010-02-24 20:00 UTC
    • Meego Who's who in Maemo, Moblin and MeeGo
    • Start planning the next Maemo, MeeGo and/or Moblin Summit
    • ...and 3 more
  5. Devices
    • Intel, Nokia aim to unify mobile Linux ecosystem with MeeGo
    • Impact of MeeGo on Mer: just a bunch of redshirts?
    • Who still uses N8x0? What would you like to see in the OS?
    • ...and 4 more

Front Page

Maemo and Moblin "merge" to form MeeGo

On Monday, just after the release of our third issue, Nokia and Intel held a joint press conference to announce that the roadmaps of Moblin and Maemo were converging. The resulting operating system, MeeGo, would target phones, tablets and netbooks and be held under the stewardship of the Linux Foundation as a fully open source OS: We are taking the best pieces from these two open source projects and are creating the MeeGo software platform. Both teams have worked for a long time to support the needs of the mobile user experience - and MeeGo will make this even better. We want it to be fun, focused, flexible, technically challenging and ultimately, something that can change the world. We all use mobile devices every day. The power and capability of handhelds has reached astounding levels - netbooks have been a runaway success - and connected TVs, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment, and media phones are fast growing new markets for devices with unheard of performance. Our goal is to develop the best software to go with those devices. The teams behind Maemo and Moblin have plenty of experience and even more ideas on how to make things better - and together we will create something special. The announcement dealt with the technical and governance aspects but the large Maemo community was thrown into turmoil. What was the impact on Maemo 6, due out later this year with pre-release SDKs expected shortly? What about the Maemo Community Council and the summit? What about; was MeeGo just for "techies"? The timing was unfortunate for our issue, but we never claimed to be timely - just to try and encompass the broadest range of news about Maemo! So, the last week has provided many of the answers:

* All the community aspects were left to the community to thrash out, this left us scratching our heads as to who was in each of the communities and how they could work together. This has started to solidify with the people involved having discussions and a website scope meeting planned. The March Community Council elections will continue as planned, with a large scope of work ahead of them.

* Maemo 6 will be released under the "MeeGo" brand and the official answer of "we don't know" for whether or not Nokia will be releasing Harmattan officially for the N900 is still up in the air. However, given MeeGo's open source base, the chances of it being ported to the N900 are higher than perhaps they were before.

* MeeGo will use RPM rather than the deb package format Maemo has used to date. Indeed, most of the implementation of the lower parts of the platform (which are common in architecture but obviously subtly different in code) seem to be coming from Moblin. One of Moblin's targets is the five-second boot which, although of limited direct use in an always-on ARM device, can only bring benefits elsewhere in the system in terms of performance.

* OBS, as used by Mer, and provided by Novell, will (almost certainly) be the local and remote build system; replacing Scratchbox and the autobuilder. However, with cross-platform and cross-compiling development tools like Qt Creator and MADDE (or its cousins) continue, such low-level details will be hidden from most end-user application developers (unless they choose to get stuck into them).

MeeGo is the single most important thing to happen to Maemo since the 770 was announced. There are still many questions and the future of the Maemo community will be whatever we make it. As such, this issue of MWKN will have as the top stories in each section the most applicable and important MeeGo news for developers and the community.

Google Summer of Code 2010

Valério Valério has kicked off the Maemo community's second year of involvement in Google's Summer of Code. GSoC is a mentorship programme, sponsored by Google, whereby projects will be given paid students for the summer. Valério says, For this year, we intend to concentrate the students' effort around end-user applications, but improvements to other projects under the Maemo umbrella are also acceptable and welcome. Last year's programme was successful and so if you have an idea which a student could implement and/or are willing to act as a mentor, please pitch your idea on the wiki and get involved.

Become an MWKN contributor

We're still on the lookout for contributors and sub-editors who can either send links our way or flesh out the links into the issue we publish on a Monday. To start off as a contributor, all you have to do for your interview is send a few tweets @mwkn. The key to its success is to produce something which is useful, integrated and deterministic; but without being a massive resource hog. Sub-editors are also welcome, please just get in touch if you're interested.


New apps & games coming soon for Maemo

Jussi Mäkinen of Nokia has demonstrated a few of the new apps on their way to Maemo's Ovi Store. One, Zen Bound, is described by Nokia's Conversations blog as a brain-bending 3D puzzle game [...] that sees you stroking the screen in an attempt to wrap rope around objects floating in space… yes, it’s very strange, yet super intriguing and utterly original.

PhotoTranslator - OCR & translation from photos

A neat little technology showcase allows you to use the N900's camera to capture an image and have it translated from a foreign language into your native tongue. Imagine yourself walking on a street somewhere in a foreign country and you face a warning sign, but you have no idea what it says. Just take a picture of the sign and open it with PhotoTranslator, crop the text in the sign and PhotoTranslator translates the text to your language. In addition the PhotoTranslator can be used also for translating copy/pasted or typed text, not just for text from pictures. The developer is uncertain when it will be available to the public, as it is still pending some packaging changes and "stuff".

BBC iPlayer for the N900

iPlayer is the BBC's heavily promoted TV catchup service for all their TV and radio channels, and all the programmes broadcast in the last 7 days. DanCairo from has documented how to use a combination of the Wii's finger-friendly UI and the low-bandwidth version to get the full features available in Maemo: BBC iPlayer is the greatest catchup service in the UK. Though it’s only BBC channels, it implements on demand video better than anyone else in the UK, with fast streaming of videos appearing seconds after the show finishes airing on live TV. It even does live streaming sometimes. The powerful browser on Maemo opens up opportunities unavailable on other platforms without custom apps; and even works over the TV out cable of the N900.

Firefox now available through Ovi Store (free)

You might expect Mozilla Firefox's mobile version to be available through the Extras repository which is full of open source software. However, they've taken the somewhat surprising - but probably higher profile route - of delivering it through Nokia's Ovi Store. Firefox is ready to download directly from the Ovi Store. Officially released at the start of the month on the Mozilla website, the app has been working its way through the Ovi Store approval process and is now ready for N900 users to download. The "Ovi Store approval process" is vague and opaque, compared with the community run Extras-testing process; and there have been mutterings about the quality of packages in Ovi which wouldn't make it through the community's quality assurance process. The decision also means that users will not be able to see Firefox when browsing through the Application Manager, only by going to the web-based Ovi Store from their Maemo 5 device.

BootScreen lets you set the startup media

Valério Valério has released a new application that lets users pick their startup media on Maemo 5. Manage the system startup media. Add multiple videos or play a random video on boot. BootScreen is available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply), testers and contributions welcome.


Licensing change requests queue open for Nokia-closed packages

Carsten Munk has succeeded in implementing his licensing change request process for opening the source of Nokia's closed source Maemo packages: My hope is that it will lead to more constructive discussion and more openness of the Maemo OS. There are some existing proposals open already, that I will be evaluating over the next couple of days in order to prioritize them. With the underlying changes that MeeGo will bring in the future, making the most of Maemo's legacy becomes more important and, hopefully, easier.

Getting started with Maemo development on Fedora

A series of articles guide Fedora users through the process of installing the Maemo SDK and writing apps. Yesterday I explained how to install the Maemo 5 SDK on Fedora 12 and launch the N900 phone emulator. Today we are going to configure the development environment for QT and deploy a “Hello World” application to the Nokia N900 emulator.

DirectUI (Harmattan's Qt-based toolkit) demos available in extras-devel for Maemo 5

The Harmattan team at Nokia have now open sourced all their work and even pushed some demos of the Qt-based DirectUI toolkit to extras-devel so that eager developers can see how Harmattan's UI could function. Andrea Grandi has taken some screenshots of the packages so you don't even need to enable extras-devel and install packages which are still in a very early stage of development. You can find more pictures in my Flickr album. Please note that installing this demo will also install Qt 4.6.2 on the N900 and about 52 MB is required.

In-depth coverage of Maemo 6 Security talk at FOSDEM

Concluding our coverage of Elena Reshetova's FOSDEM talk on Harmattan's security API, LWN has published an in-depth article on the topic and how it fits into the wider Linux environment: Security of a platform depends on a whole "stack" of solutions: at the bottom there are hardware enablers, such as a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip in PCs. On top of that, software implements integrity protection, layered above that is access control, and then privacy protection. On each of these levels, the platform needs key management for encryption and signing keys, and all this is coordinated by a particular security policy. For Maemo 6, Nokia is working on this whole security stack.

Vala 0.7.10 now in Fremantle auto-builder with Hildon & libconic APIs

Vala, a modern programming language (garbage collection, object orientation etc.) has had its version available to Maemo developers bumped to 0.7.10. This update, courtesy of Philipp Zabel includes up-to-date bindings for Hildon, libconic and hildon-desktop.

Rightware cross-platform 3D UI on Nokia N900

Rightware have a demo of their OEM-targetted 3D user interface running on the N900. The powerful hardware and open environment make it an ideal machine to demo their multi-mobile platform. Here is a video of the UI in action on a Nokia N900 running on the Maemo platform. There is even gesture detection using the front video calling camera . Watch the video to see it in action.


MeeGo community website coordination IRC meeting 2010-02-24 20:00 UTC

MeeGo's website was created by a few of the Moblin community ahead of time to ensure there was a website up when the announcement was launched. However, the merger/re-use of infrastructure and discussions about the future of the website will be held on IRC on Wednesday, 24th February at 20:00 UTC. Tero Kojo, the man who pays the bills for, said, The target for this meeting is to get the ball rolling and see who can contribute and work on what parts of the site.

Meego Who's who in Maemo, Moblin and MeeGo

Andrew Flegg, your editor, needed to get a handle on who was involved in MeeGo professionally to-date and who the stakeholders in the Moblin community were. The new "who's who" page is an attempt to ensure that the well-organised Maemo community doesn't trample all over the Moblin community and the embryonic MeeGo community: There are the following sections: Technical Steering Group; Maemo community official stakeholders; Moblin community stakeholders; The page is getting fleshed out, so please add yourself if you feel it is appropriate.

Start planning the next Maemo, MeeGo and/or Moblin Summit

Quim Gil has kicked off a discussion as to where/how and when this year's Nokia-sponsored summit could take place: If you look at the 2 previous Maemo Summits and you look at MeeGo now, the natural conclusion is that the logical evolution is to have a MeeGo Summit. Nokia can then sponsor co-located/parallel Maemo 5 activities. This would more or less match the content of a third Maemo Summit, where anyway Harmattan would be driving the agenda. The two summits to date have been fantastic (and that'd've been without the loaning of 300 N900s!); so let's try and make sure this year's is even better and allows the Maemo, Moblin and MeeGo communities to get to know each other.

QA process exploited - fall-out

A commercial game developer distributing software through Extras elected to bypass the Extras QA process by registering a number of puppet accounts. Niels Breet, the webmaster, said: The quarantine skipping was because I missed a setting. So that one is my bad. The whole idea about showing who voted what was to prevent and catch things like happened here. This is clearly abuse and the packages will need to be pulled and the publisher will be banned from Extras. The bugs in the QA system that allowed this to happen are being addressed, hopefully an amicable resolution can be reached so the software can continue being distributed.

MeeGo forum?

Discussion is underway to decide the details of a forum. Currently discussions around MeeGo are held on IRC, the MeeGo mailing lists, the Maemo mailing lists,, the blogs and - finally - the Moblin mailing lists. Several peple very active in Talk have been mentioning here and there that MeeGo needs a forum. It's hoped that a further place will help consolidate these discussions. It's not entirely clear whether this is to reduce the MeeGo-related traffic on or to just to provide a home for the user-facing questions around an OS that has no users currently.

Karma calculations updated - agreed changes may need tweaks

The karma calculations which try to measure an individual's contribution to the Maemo community have been updated to include new contributing factors like Brainstorm and Extras-testing QA; and to try and provide a balance. However, the update has resulted in some dramatic shifts which weren't entirely expected. Valério Valério says, Well, that's a bug among others it seems, we didn't proposed any alteration to bugzilla karma, nor for favs that is also very low. Also there was a bug with the blogs karma, we reduced it (now max.10p) and guess what my blog karma is suddenly 3 times more. In your editor's opinion, if you look at and react in any other way than "Hmm, makes sense" the metrics are probably flawed! Hopefully the kinks in the new calculations will be ironed out shortly.


Intel, Nokia aim to unify mobile Linux ecosystem with MeeGo

Ryan Paul is Ars Technica's guy with his finger on the Maemo pulse. His article on MeeGo features the well-thought through analysis we've come to expect from him, covering the business; technical and community aspects of the merger. On the technical front, he says, although Maemo and Moblin are built around a similar philosophy, there are a number of key technical differences that could be difficult to reconcile. The developers who are committed to the respective platforms have very strong feelings about the underlying technology, which could create some friction as the two platforms are brought together. Ryan concludes that MeeGo has the potential to become the standard unifying base for future mobile Linux platforms.

Impact of MeeGo on Mer: just a bunch of redshirts?

Carsten Munk, distmaster and Mer project lead, had something of the rug pulled out from underneath him with the MeeGo announcement. The aims of MeeGo as a project overlap completely with the mission statement of Mer. However, the other hope for Mer was a modern OS backported to the N8x0 series of devices. For this, he'll now be trying to produce Mer^2 - by whatever means necessary: Mer as a system will live on in Mer^2. A quick summary is it is a Debian 5.0 system building inside OBS with tricks making it feel like a Scratchbox for the packages, which makes most of the Fremantle platform build on it. It will work on X86 and on N8x0. Mer 0.17 will be imaged up soon and published - those who want to continue with that can. The goal is not to make a fully open source system - it will serve purpose to be a foundation on which to build a backport of Fremantle for N8x0. The hope is to be able to build most of closed things for Fremantle for N8x0 using this.

Who still uses N8x0? What would you like to see in the OS?

Shortly before the MeeGo announcement, but after our issue was pinned down (what could change in the next 12 hours, I thought), Carsten Munk asked what direction N800 and N810 users would like to see Mer taken in. With the MeeGo announcement, this thread shaped into the direction of Mer^2.

Maemo 5 PR1.1.1 (3.2010-02-8) now available

Nokia has released a small update to Maemo 5 which brings changes to apt and the Application Manager to support paid Ovi Store content, the addition of OpenGL ES 1.1 libraries, additional country support, a number of browser bug fixes, and a number of fixes related to battery life (primarily addressing WiFi issues).

"Maemo 6" to be released under the MeeGo brand

As mentioned on the front page, Quim Gil confirmed that "Maemo 6" will be referred to as MeeGo in Nokia's marketing literature. Harmattan is still the codename, and development priorities, timescales and implementation details haven't changed. To be clear: this is not about "ditching" or "abandoning" any platform. The Harmattan program keeps working with the same plans than last week, no matter the name of the product they will deliver. Maemo 6 and Moblin 2.x merge and have a successor called MeeGo. Current Maemo people will look at it and will say "looks like his mother!". Current Mblin people will look at it and will say "looks like his father!" (or choose your preferred gender) Of course you will see changes compared to Maemo 5, but these changes were coming anyway with Maemo 6. This seems likely to lead to a lot of confusion (especially with platform and certain application developers) since platform similarity between Harmattan and MeeGo will be limited.

PUSH N900 Showcase interviews and videos

The complete set of videos from January's PUSH N900 hardware-hacking competition showcase are now online. matt brawn says, There's short interviews with all the teams, some shots of those pole-dancing robots and the robot DJ as well as a good overview of the event as a whole. And don't forget, we'll be announcing the three teams of finalists for MOD IN THE USA that will be building their hacks over the next month to present at CTIA 2010, this coming Monday.

Ubuntu Mobile 9.04 on N900

The Ubuntu Mobile UI, running in LXDE, can be run on Mer as easily as the more Maemo-familiar hildon-desktop. Aston Dsouza has published a video: Here is ubuntu mobile 9.04 on n900 with LXDE desktop. Its installed natively on the MicroSD card and runs at a good speed too.