IBM, ARM, Linux Foundation and others announce Linaro
IBM, Samsung, ARM, Freescale, ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments and the Linux Foundation announced a new not-for-profit company, Linaro, this week. The company, including engineers from Canonical, aims to commoditise the base layers of Linux on ARM, in the same way that Linux on x86 is massively portable from one chipset to the next. The outfits mentioned above are coming together to form the UK-based Linaro (a not-for-profit entity), which currently has 25 engineers but will see that figure shoot up to nearly a hundred around the world in the coming days. In short, the new firm -- which will have an annual budget in the "tens of millions of dollars" but below "$100 million" -- is seeking to "speed the rollout of Linux-based devices," with one of the key points being this: Linaro will "provide a stable and optimized base for distributions and developers by creating new releases of optimized tools, kernel and middleware software validated for a wide range of SoCs, every six months." There's talk - from Linaro, at least - of efforts like Android, MeeGo et al being able to use their base. However, there's been no word from the MeeGo architects yet as to whether sharing the base layers of the platform is something that is on their roadmap.
maemo-scrobbler submits listening history to last.fm
Felipe Contreras has announced a new "scrobbler" - an application that submits the music you're listening to to a central website - for Maemo 5, targetting the last.fm and libre.fm services. He says, maemo-scrobbler is a scrobbler application (last.fm/libre.fm) for the Nokia N900 that listens for events coming from the official media player app through MAFW.You can configure your accounts through the control panel. The inspiration (and some code) comes from mafw-lastfm which does basically the same thing but lacks some features. The announcement on the Maemo mailing lists was met with some tension between the developer of mafw-lastfm (the first proper Maemo scrobbler) and maemo-scrobbler. Despite the former's perceived duplication of effort; the competition does seem to be spurring development of both on. The package is currently in Extras Testing, so users who are willing to test, vote and brave possible unfortunate side effects are able to test it.
Portrait virtual keyboard for Maemo 5 under development
Robin Burchell and Nick Leppänen Larsson have collaborated to begin development of a portrait keyboard for Maemo 5. This is an early, crazy, work-in-progress announcement regarding a portrait keyboard for Maemo 5 that [Nick Leppänen Larsson] and I are working on in our copious free time. [...] I should add that this is originally from one of the hildon input method examples, much thanks to [Carsten Munk] and [Daniel Martín Yerga] for sending me in the right direction with getting it working, and awesome kudos to frals for getting this in a releasable state. Robin goes on to outline some of the projects current limitations--no fast input, text cleared on orientation change, non-user-friendly installation procedure, etc.--and some future plans for the project--including predictive input, and a separate landscape layout. It is currently available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply), and contributors are welcome. Interested parties should talk to frals or w00t on #maemo.
Guided bulk merging of contacts
Marco Barisione has announced the development of a plugin for the Maemo 5 Address Book which aims to streamline bulk merging of contacts: Today I finished writing the first version of a program that tries to automatically detect duplicates based on the IM names, emails, phone numbers and names. Of course this is just based on heuristics; you still have to go through the list and select the contacts that you want to merge. This new utility is called Contacts Merger (as you can see I have a lot of imagination) and it's available in Maemo extras-devel. Remember that extras-devel contains unstable software: enable it only if you really know what you are doing! As Marco says, Extras-Devel should not be enabled for a long period of time - and users should never do a mass update of applications from there, unless they're willing to suffer breakage.
Replacement Calendar widget with more functionality
Nicolai Hess has released a replacement for the built-in calendar widget which seeks to improv upon functionality its limited functionality by providing a much more useful and customizable experience. I've tried to make it look like the built-in widget. And added some small ui changes and some setting options. The new widget is currently undergoing testing in Extras-devel, contributors and testers are welcome.
OpenDune - remake of Dune II - now available
Tomasz Sterna has released a port of OpenDune, an open source re-creation of the popular game "Dune II", originally made by Westwood Studios. It is currently available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).
Update IM statuses with song information
Tom Swindell has released a new application, Media IM Status Updater, to update your IM status with the information of the currently playing song. Now all your friends can know exactly what song you're listening to on your Nokia N900 no matter where you are. [...] The application was written mainly in Python, probably about 300 lines of code, with a small C library to plugin the configuration UI into the N900's "Settings" application. The package is currently available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).