In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Nokia Qt SDK beta gives preview of MeeGo application development
    • Maemo 5 PR1.2 leaked
    • MeeGo Conference 2010 team formed
  2. Applications
    • "Super" testers wanted to ease Extras' bottleneck
    • fMMS now considered ready for Extras
    • Crowdsourcing the FaceBrick UI
    • ...and 10 more
  3. Development
    • MADDE moves to open development
    • Clarified packaging guidelines
    • Behind the scenes of the Nokia Qt SDK
    • ...and 8 more
  4. Community
    • Maemo gets 10 slots in the Google Summer of Code 2010
    • MeeGo Community Working Group meeting: Tuesday, 4th May
    • Bugday: help triage and manage open bugs
    • Evaluate the distmaster's last six months
    • MeeGo conference likely to be held in Dublin, 9-11 Nov
  5. Devices
    • Videos and presentations about MeeGo at Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit
    • Fisheye lens hack for N900 camera
    • LG's Atom-based "MeeGo" (i.e. Moblin) device canned
  6. Maemo in the Wild
    • Controlling IR-controlled helicopters again with an N900
    • 3D head tracking on the N900
    • Nokia's CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo reported to be on wrong side of shareholders
  7. Announcements
    • Beta version of Firefox Mobile 1.1 available
    • Macuco (iPhone-site browser) ported to Maemo 5
    • KFZcheck search German car registration database
    • Hack-A-N900 at MetaLab, Vienna: Tuesday, 4th May

Front Page

Nokia Qt SDK beta gives preview of MeeGo application development

The next stage in Nokia's Qt strategy, and the evolution of Maemo, Symbian and MeeGo was unveiled this week through the beta of the Nokia Qt SDK. Building on top of the Qt SDK, this bundles Nokia's Qt IDE (Qt Creator) with simulators and targets (via MADDE) for all three of the above OSes. The new Nokia Qt SDK leverages the power of the Qt framework and tools, combining them with tools designed specifically to streamline the creation of applications for Symbian, the Maemo platform, and the forthcoming MeeGo platform. The first beta release of the Nokia Qt SDK is now available, so you can explore how building applications for hundreds of millions of Nokia device owners will become even easier. This should make targetting multiple platforms easier but, above all, also massively lowers the barrier to entry of Maemo/MeeGo development. Hopefully, this will provide a platform on which hundreds of developers can build applications with relative ease.

Maemo 5 PR1.2 leaked

A new Talk user posted a link, on Sunday, to what was claimed - and seemingly turned out to be - a version of the next update to Maemo 5: PR1.2. The new version, which is well understood from both from Bugzilla and its SDK, introduces a faster version of the Gecko-based MicroB engine (which powers the browser); options for browser portrait mode; Qt 4.6 and a host of bug fixes. The image, which claimed to be the same version as that installed on the Hong Kong N900s caused pandemonium on Randall Arnold was amongst those warning caution: Again: this was NOT an official or even remotely sanctioned release. It was pulled, probably by an employee, from an internal company repository and released to the wild without authorization. That's not a reflection on Nokia but rather on the individual responsible. The thread ended with Reggie Suplido, after discussion with other moderators and the Community Council, removing links to the unauthorised image. This is consistent with the stance taken over the unauthorised distribution of other company's copyrighted material (such as emulator ROMs) and was decided without the involvement of Nokia (as far as your editor, and the council, is aware).

There are many reasons why the Hong Kong N900s may have a newer firmware than the rest of the world, including bugs with features not used in Hong Kong; or the introduction of a new hardware variant in Hong Kong which doesn't experience issues faced with earlier devices on the same firmware.

Further threads have highlighted a few problems with the release (which is why it's not been released to the world!) including breaking the cellular modem on downgrading - resulting in an inability to make calls. It is strongly recommended that you avoid flashing random pre-release firmware images to your device!

MeeGo Conference 2010 team formed

Quim Gil has announced the initial team responsible for the MeeGo Conference - which replaces the Maemo Summit this year. He and Dawn Foster will head up coordination; with Dirk Hohndel, Thiago Macieira, Michael Meeks and Carsten Munk forming the content committee. Quim said, Here you can already see a good bunch of people with experience organizing free community events focusing in free software and related topics. The area that needs to grow is Logistics. [...] About the content committee, a first key task is to define the structure of the program. Many of us has opinions on what works and what doesn't so much nowadays in our online world when it comes to community events and conferences in general. Brilliant ideas welcome as well. If you've been to particular good (or bad) conferences in the past, chip in with your ideas.


"Super" testers wanted to ease Extras' bottleneck

The Community Council has put out a call for volunteers to act as "super" testers to try and get more software - especially niche software - through to the end-user facing Extras repository: A package which has been in the QA queue for 20 days without the requisite votes can be "swayed" by 3 votes from super testers. Testers will be shown as (tester), just like maintainers are visible now. So this process will be transparent to the maintainer too. Volunteers should sign up in the thread: the council will, in conjunction with the Testing Squad, decide who to accept. However, anyone is able to be a "normal" tester by heading over to and testing software.

fMMS now considered ready for Extras

Nick Leppänen Larsson, the author of the Maemo Community's answer to MMS support on Maemo 5, has released version 0.9.13, which he now considers ready for Extras. Finally, the day of days! Today marks a milestone in fMMS development - I consider it ready for Extras. Baring any serious bugs in this release I'll bump the version number up to 1.0.0 and promote it to -testing within the next few days. :) fMMS has been on a long road of development since plans were started in December 2009 that is finally nearing its end. It goes to demonstrate the power of an open operating system when its users and community developers can step up and provide features the manufacturer omitted.

Crowdsourcing the FaceBrick UI

Robin Burchell is looking to crowdsource the FaceBrick (a new Maemo 5 Facebook frontend) interface through consensus. Normally, developers of applications call the shots, sometimes through listening to their users part by part - I've decided to try something different (at least this once - maybe more): decision by consensusUsers interested in participating in this development experience should head over to the thread and vote on changes to the newsfeed UI.

Harmattan technology demo shows off music metadata

Philip Van Hoof, the lead Tracker developer and a contributor to Modest and Tinymail (its backend), has released an overview of metadata and social networking integration in Harmattan. [He's] implementing so-called writeback. It means that when you change a local resource's properties, that this integration will update Flickr, Facebook, picasaweb and Twitter. You change a piece of info about a photo on your phone, and it'll be replicated to Flickr. It'll also be synchronized onto your phone as soon as somebody else made a change. This glimpse into the workings of Harmattan's metadata features and social media integration gives us an interesting picture of the kind of connected lifestyle Nokia is pushing with the Nseries and Maemo/MeeGo devices in particular. Let's hope it pans out for Harmattan (as tight Tracker integration was one of the features dropped from Fremantle).

QSportsEvent: a community-brainstormed sports league- and team-tracking application

Users and developers on the Talk forums are collaborating to develop a Qt-based sports-tracker application called QSportsEvent. As it depends on Qt 4.6, the install process is currently fairly involved.

Proper drawing application under development for Maemo 5

Maemo doesn't have much in the way of current drawing apps, with Sketch being the extent of most people's experience. However, MeeGoPortal has recently pointed out anders_gud's port of MyPaint to Maemo 5. In his announcement, he says it's a straight port from Debian Squeeze - mainly changes to the build system (scons-local, debhelper, swig workaround) and small changes for Hildon compliance - Finger Friendly Menus, StackableWindows &c. If nothing else, the pictures in the Talk thread are impressive and show what the software is capable of. The software is quite involved to install, though, as it is being distributed as a series of discrete debs; rather than through a repository.

Sygic's Mobile Maps free 7-day trial

A 7-day trial version of Sygic's Mobile Maps for Maemo has been announced and is now available from the Ovi Store. Turn your Maemo phone into a turn-by-turn voice guided navigation system with maps stored on the phone, speed limit warnings, plenty of points of interest, multi-stop route planning and more. Mobile Maps is free for 7 days. Visit for more information. Given the dire state of Ovi Maps on Maemo, and the ~59eur price tag for Mobile Maps, a week-long trial seems a very smart move.

Azimuth: XEP-0080 location publishing

Guillaume Desmottes has published a small daemon which implements the Jabber/XMPP specification for geotagging your location. This means, in addition to your status, you can inform your instant messaging buddies your location in a machine readable form. It's in a very early state and has some problems: Here comes Azimuth a small daemon publishing your location using the Telepathy Location interface. The interface is only implemented in telepathy-gabble at the moment. That means that your Jabber server has to support Pubsub to be able to publish. Unfortunately, Google Talk servers don't. Given that Google provides the most used Jabber servers on the planet, this is likely to be of technical interest only - for the moment.

GSoC: Canola for Maemo 5 and MeeGo

The aim of this project is to port Canola to Maemo 5, fixing problems that it shows. Also change some of the underlying libraries to adequate better to Maemo 5 infrastructure/guidelines. Moreover the project aims to prepare Canola for Meego.

GSoC: FaceBrick - Maemo Facebook client

The project would focus on adding features to the newly created application, FaceBrick. Apart from FaceBrick, there is only one Facebook widget for maemo and it does not provide a whole lot of functionality. Judging by the responses from the community, there seems to be an interest for a full Facebook client.

GSoC: Geo-location adventures using N900

The Tablet of Adventure is a tool for generating and sharing location-based adventures with Maemo devices. The adventures may be manually created or follow the Geohashing "automatic adventure generator" concept as popularised by the xkcd comic (#426)

GSoC: QT-based ebook reader

The goal of this Google Summer of Code -project is to develop an eBook reader for Maemo 5 using Qt 4.6 libraries. The eBook reader should be simple, easy to use and it should support at least most common eBook formats.T he UI should be touch-optimized and finger-friendly.

GSoC: Shepherd - task triggering for Maemo

Shepherd is an advanced scheduler that can do a wide variety of tasks depending on a number of triggers. The project will aim to improve on the capabilities of Shepherd. I plan to add more ways of triggering an action and more actions to be taken when the triggers is meet.


MADDE moves to open development

With the increased openness of MeeGo over Maemo, and the release of Nokia Qt SDK, MADDE - the cross-platform, cross-compiling suite we've mentioned a few times, has gone open source.

Clarified packaging guidelines

daniel wilms, of Nokia, has announced a new set of packaging guidelines for Maemo. Replacing the rather dense, incomplete and now outdated, PDF, these documents are in the wiki. In the announcement, he says, After a long discussion on how to proceed with the packaging policy for Fremantle, you can find the result as packaging guidelines in the wiki. The idea is that this is the basis for further discussions, with the goal to smooth the extras-testing procedure and the development in general. The document should clarify the special requirements for the Maemo development, compared to Debian. Developers should read through the guidelines and raise any concerns they may have.

Behind the scenes of the Nokia Qt SDK

Maurice Kalinowski has posted some "behind-the-scenes" information about the newly released Nokia Qt SDK: Despite the classic Qt SDK for desktop, the Nokia Qt SDK aims at developing Qt applications for Nokia devices, which includes Symbian as well as Maemo (The N900 is still a Maemo device). Just like the Windows package, it includes a full toolchain with compilers and everything to create applications for both platforms. On the Symbian side we use a stripped version of a SDK for Qt development, while on Maemo we include Madde, the application development tool. The Qt versions included in the package are currently 4.6.2 for both operating systems, because 4.6.2 will be inside the upcoming PR1.2 on the N900 as well as it is the currently available stable Qt version on Symbian. The blog post contains a number of interesting pieces of information, and shows that despites its polish, the Nokia Qt SDK is still made by "real people".

Review of the Qt SDK

Attila Csipa has published a short review - and analysed the market into which it's released - of the the Nokia Qt SDK. As a long-time Qt developer, Attila says, the goal seems to be to provide a streamlined way of producing modern applications for a range of platforms, while avoiding the dumbing down of platforms to make them fit into a particular mold. I hear you say, okay, so you think this Qt SDK thing will take over the world, right ? Well, while not excluding the possibility, there are a few obstacles that the Qt SDK needs to address before going for world domination in the mobile app development arena.

Nokia: developers should focus on MeeGo & Qt SDK, not Harmattan, for MeeGo-Harmattan development

In the clearest statement to date, Quim Gil explains how application developers are best served by the Nokia Qt SDK if they want to target Harmattan and/or MeeGo: Let me insist that MeeGo, with its SDK and build infrastructure, is the track that developers need to follow - including those interested primarily in the evolution of Maemo. The Scratchbox based Harmattan SDK will be interesting just for a minority of really specialized developers interested in software architecture and middleware details. The difference between the "Maemo 6 platform SDK" and the "Maemo 6 application SDK" was highlighted at last year's Maemo Summit. The "application SDK" is now out, albeit as a beta.

Using ET-Prolog to get rule-based programming

In a follow-up to an earlier article, the introduction to ET-Prolog continues with a demonstration of using this logic-oriented programming language to "intelligently" switch profile: I think you wouldn't be pleased if some unimportant call or, what is much worse, SPAM SMS message wakes you up. Solution would be to switch silent profile when you sleep. You can do it by hand ever day, but why not to automate it? You can use silencer, but it has very simple logic, which silences phone when it is late, but not when you sleep. What about something more intelligent? The article is complete with examples, but is intended as a starting point for other developers.

ISI specifications for Nokia modems

ISI-based modems are used on a number of Nokia devices, including the N900. Mohammed Hassan has uncovered details of the low-level programming of the modem, which could be used to help MMS connections work better: A serious limitation of the N900 connectivity subsystem IMHO is the inability to create multiple connections. One can only have one connection at a time. This was a problem when I started investigating MMS support for N900. [...] I've been thinking about a kind of hacky solution for the MMS problem: Let's have a tun interface with a known IP such as or 192.0.2.x. We force all of our traffic through that interface and "something" sits in the middle to route the data between tun and the GPRS modem. The specs should allow the implementation of such a tunnel, and Mohammed has got to the point of spitting out packets.

GSoC: UPnP over the Internet

UPnP is a set of protocols which collectively implement the plug-and-play feature, allowing servers to announce their addresses and hosted services, while enable clients to automatically discover and use the announced services dynamically with minimal configuration. UPnP performs multicast messaging to discover services over the network, which makes its usage limited to the local domain. The project aims to extend the UPnP network reach, by bridging UPnP domains securely over the Internet.

GSoC: A Gtk+ input method for Maemo/MeeGo

Implement a Gtk+ Input Method plugin for the Harmattan Input Method UI Framework for use by the future community-maintained Maemo Gtk+.

GSoC: Transifex client for Maemo community localization

Qt4 based Transifex client application for Maemo with caching feature, mentored by Thomas Perl.

GSoC: Joining Maemo and MeeGo devices into the cloud

Bringing cloud storage support to MeeGo is a must. As devices become smaller and more powerful, it is becoming clear that local storage is often a constraint, and even a burden. By taking advantage of a cloud-based storage system like Ubuntu One, Amazon S3, or Dropbox--this limitation can be avoided. The goal of this project would be to integrate an existing and common cloud storage service into MeeGo in a way that is easy to use, or even transparent to the user.


Maemo gets 10 slots in the Google Summer of Code 2010

Google has announced the list of accepted projects for the 2010 Summer of Code. Like last year, Maemo has got 10 slots. As Val\xE9rio said in a previous post, we received about 90 submissions this year, which made the task of selecting the best proposals much more difficult. Many thanks to all people involved on the selection process. The 10 slots for Maemo have been filled, a list of the projects is available at the end of the Applications section.

MeeGo Community Working Group meeting: Tuesday, 4th May

The Community Working Group meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday the 4th at 19:00 UTC. The Community Working Group meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of every month at 19:00 UTC and the third Tuesday of every month at 14:00 UTC in #meego-meeting. Everyone is welcome to participate. We're still working through the details of the agenda on the wiki, but we'll try to finalize it about 24 hours before the meeting. Anyone interested in participating can do so by connecting to the Freenode IRC network and joining the #meego-meeting channel. Bugday: help triage and manage open bugs

Andre Klapper, the bugmaster, is scheduling another Bugday for Tuesday May 4th at 17:00 UTC. Bugdays are about hanging out together on IRC, triaging/discussing some reports in Bugzilla, and introducing new people into triaging. No technical knowledge needed, no obligations. No specific topic - take a look here for some ideas. Step by and say hello to the Bugsquad or become part of it. :-) Bugdays are an excellent time to get involved with bug tracking and Bugzilla as there will be lots of activity and lots of helping hands available to set you in the right direction. Join #maemo-bugs on the Freenode network to get involved.

Evaluate the distmaster's last six months

Carsten Munk, the distmaster, is looking for feedback from the community on his performance over the last 6 months. So, today is almost half a year since I started as distmaster in In this regard, I'd like to ask the community for a review of my work over the last half year (starting November). Since seems to be a lot of sentiment against my work in Mer which seems to pop up in any initiative I'm doing, let's get it all on the table. Please post about things I have done well and/or things I did not do well. In addition to that, state what you would like to see me actually do in the next six months (if I survive this review, that is and I don't decide to give up on technology and become a full-time monk..) Discussion has been fairly heated (and, in this editors opinion, overly critical), but Carsten has taken the criticism with his usual heroic composure and his detailed, level-headed and thorough responses are an example for us all.

MeeGo conference likely to be held in Dublin, 9-11 Nov

After some discussion about Huelva, in a remote part of Spain, the leading candidate for the location of the MeeGo Conference (joining together the Moblin and Maemo Summits, and a new place for the MeeGo community) is now Dublin, Ireland. Dawn Foster, Intel's equivalent of Quim Gil and a member of the MeeGo Community Working Group, introduced the Aviva Stadium as: Available on November 9-11; Many hotels within walking distance; Dublin is an easy city to get to for international travelers; Venue is right on mass transit line (DART); Reasonably priced venue space; Seems to meet all of our other requirements The preferred accomodation is looking to be the Ballsbridge Towers Hotel which (according to your editor's Google Map skills) is only about 500m from the conference centre. Travelling to the city centre for a taste of the Irish nightlife looks simple as well. It looks like this'll be a fantastic event, so keep 9-11th November free in your diary (note that, unlike the previous Maemo summits, these dates are mid-week).


Videos and presentations about MeeGo at Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

Dawn Foster, the MeeGo Community Manager from Intel, has posted the videos and presentations from the talks given on the first day of the Linux Foundation Collaboration in San Francisco in April. The MeeGo project was featured in two keynotes and an all day session during the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. It was a great opportunity for me to meet more of the people who are contributing to MeeGo in person, and I was very happy with the MeeGo content at the event. In addition to great presentations, we had a lot of audience engagement, questions and discussion, which is critical during this early period for the project. The MeeGo workgroup sessions on the second day (that contain most of the interesting) were also recorded by Miia Ranta, although they are not yet online, but hopefully should be soon.

Fisheye lens hack for N900 camera

A new device owner on the Talk forums has put together a fisheye lens hack for the N900.

LG's Atom-based "MeeGo" (i.e. Moblin) device canned

LG was to be the first company to release a proper MeeGo-based cellular device with their Atom-based GW990 that had been due out later in the year. Unfortunately it seems as if the concept device has been removed from LG's product roadmap. Whether this is due to power issues putting Atom into a cellular device, the Moblin-to-MeeGo shift (the GW990 was announced before MeeGo) or something else is unknown. The disappearance of the GW990 should likely not be taken as a foundering of LG's support of MeeGo or open source, however, as the company announced both its backing of MeeGo and its entrance to the Linux Foundation membership at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco in April. Revealing the news, Engadget weren't impressed by the fact that LG was positioning the phone as a closed device back at CES.

Maemo in the Wild

Controlling IR-controlled helicopters again with an N900

A user on the Talk forums has demonstrated using his N900 to control an IR-controlled RC helicopter. The N900 has an IR transmitter, thePicooZ helicopter is controlled by IR, so I use the N900 to send control signals instead of the usual remote. This illustrates another of the interesting uses hackers have put the N900 to, although the limited range of the N900 IR transmitter makes for an interesting exercise in helicopter piloting.

3D head tracking on the N900

Johannes K, author of the face-tracking game "BurgerFace" has released a video using the same technology to simulate a 3D window. Mimicking a technique which has been seen on desktop computers (using a Wiimote rather than face-tracking), the perspective of the scene changes as the viewer's position changes: Building on the algorithms I've implemented as part of my Diplom Thesis, I've now implemented a demo of a 3D view on the Nokia N900. The idea is to adjust the camera through which the 3D scene is viewed to the user's head position. The screen then appears to be a window into the virtual world. The 3D scene is easily constructed on the N900 using OpenGL ES 2.0. A small box and a few foreground objects are sufficient. In order to determine the head position I use the face detection and tracking code I've recently implemented. A cool demo, but unfortunately not yet available to install on our own N900s.

Nokia's CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo reported to be on wrong side of shareholders

Reuters is reporting that Nokia shareholders aren't happy with the decisions of CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (often known as "OPK").

The share price of the world's largest cellphone maker has missed the market recovery. The firm will be one of the few to miss profit growth in 2010, the year of economic recovery, and software problems continue to haunt its smartphone lineup.

It means Kallasvuo, who has spent more than half of his life at the company, could give his last speech to shareholders if Nokia cannot roll out a serious challenger to Apple's iPhone for the key holiday-sales season at end of the year.

There is no mention of Maemo/MeeGo: could the Harmattan-running successor to the N900, expected in the second half of the year, be the "serious challenger" the analysts are looking for?


Beta version of Firefox Mobile 1.1 available

A beta version of Fennec (aka Firefox Mobile) has been released. In the announcement, Mark Finkle says, the focus was some UI features we didn't have time to put in the initial release. We are also using your feedback from previous releases and nightly builds to help improve the browsing experience. Auto-completing forms, portrait mode and a range of other features are the highlights. Users who installed the earlier version via Ovi will have to upgrade to the beta manually; although if they don't, they'll receive an upgrade when the final version of 1.1 is released.

Macuco (iPhone-site browser) ported to Maemo 5

In the final months of the N810 being the most cutting-edge Maemo device available, an application using Qt and its bundled WebKit was unveiled which gave access to the iPhone-optimised version of Gmail. Now, Felipe Crochik has updated Macuco for Maemo 5 and expanded its capabilities. Summarising its capabilities, he says it provides much more than access your gmail account, it can give you access to many other web sites optimized for the iphone (google, facebook, twitter, cnn, ...). It is not supposed to replace your current web browser but some times you don't want to see the web site on the n900 like you do on your desktop just because you can! Most web sites optimized for the iphone will give you instant (or quicker) access to the real information you are looking for without many distractions. This is a first beta release, but Felipe is looking for feedback and other sites to include on the quick-access homepage.

KFZcheck search German car registration database

Patrick Beck has announced the release of a program to search for the home region of car number/registration plates: It searches for car (in german kfz) license plates shortcuts and the citys according to the searchword - german example: S for Stuttgart. A German, Austrian, Swiss and Poland license plate list is till now included. It works in portrait and landscape mode. KFZcheck displays a emblem from the state, the license plate itself, the name of the city and the state. The application is in Extras-devel, so should be treated carefully. Patrick is looking for people to provide lookups for other countries.

Hack-A-N900 at MetaLab, Vienna: Tuesday, 4th May

Thomas Perl will be among those attending MetaLab in Vienna on Tuesday, at a get-together of N900s geeks to discuss, and hack, on their favourite devices. The evening'll be very informal, they might: make our n900 boot various distributions from partitions and/or disk images; explore the possibilities of dedicated pre-built images; dig deep into the guts of maemo to find out what makes it different from an ordinary desktop linux distribution; ...