In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Major, and avoidable, recent mistakes from Nokia
    • Despite MeeGo, is Nokia getting more closed?
  2. Applications
    • Extras enabled out-of-the-box on Nokia's next device?
    • Pelota Fifa Widget shows World Cup scores as they happen
    • Hermes updated - now with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Gravatar and find-as-you-type matching
    • Chromium removed from repos, due to ongoing legal action
  3. Development
    • MeeGo Community Builder taking shape
    • Clarifying differences between Qt and "MeeGo Touch" framework
    • Packaging Java applications for Maemo
  4. Community
    • Discussion around Texrat's list of "Maemo Missteps"
    • Why community testing of PR1.2 didn't repeat that done for PR1.1
    • MeeGo evangelism fund
  5. Devices
    • MeeGo-Harmattan (probably) has a better name coming to reduce confusion
    • Possible N900 successor leaked?
  6. Announcements
    • AutoDisconnect closes "idle" radio connections
    • Show WiFi signal strength in summary bar
    • AutoComplete Editor allows tidying up of suggested words

Front Page

Major, and avoidable, recent mistakes from Nokia

Randall Arnold, one of our Maemo Community Council representatives, has post a new blog article outlining his view on many of the missteps Nokia has made with Maemo recently. The release of MeeGo 1.0 was accompanied by some resolution to Maemo, not all of it with positive consequences. The long-awaited PR1.2 update was officially released at around the same time, which was a welcome relief, but excitement over the improvements it brought were tempered by less-than-genius developments.There's an unfortunate legacy of dropped balls in the Maemo closet, usually involving operating system evolutions so rough that they evoked more feelings of abandonment than joy. I'm not going to rehash all of the legacy, but will instead focus on this year. Dealing with issues such as Harmattan branding, lack of communication at a corporate level and the privacy-busting "MyNokia" SMS (amongst others), Randall clearly lays out some of most eye-watering mistakes which could've been avoided.

The community discussion on is interesting, and is summarised later in this issue.

Despite MeeGo, is Nokia getting more closed?

In addition to Randall's list above, a number of senior (that is, old ;-)), community members are expressing similar thoughts about openness, Nokia and MeeGo. Amongst others, Stephen Gadsby, Ryan Abel, Attila Csipa, Faheem Pervez, Andrew Flegg, benny1967 and Reggie Suplido have all expressed some form of disappointment with how things seem to be going. Mostly, the feeling of general malaise can be focused around two points: a feeling of having the collective wisdom of the last 5 years of Maemo be ignored with the focus on MeeGo and the "big reveal" mentality for something as fundamental of the basis of the handset UI (bugs which included screenshots of the UI have now been locked down). Stephen expresses it as eloquently as ever: MeeGo is still too much in the shadows, running silent and deep. Nokia dropped Elephanta as too small a step and rushed Fremantle out to hold everyone over during the wait for Harmattan, but these repeated waits for the next big, double-secret thing have worn the community's goodwill thin in a growing number of spots. Stephen also points out that the activity of Nokians in the community has reduced over the last five years, after a peak in around 2008. Familiar names like ragnar, Igor Stoppa and Eero Tamminen are seen a lot less frequently these days. People are busy, this is understood - of course; however if things take (say) a week longer, but you carry the community with you, isn't that a price worth paying?

Two of the names above are your editors; but this growing feeling is being expressed increasingly frequently.


Extras enabled out-of-the-box on Nokia's next device?

Andrew Flegg, your editor, has started a discussion as to whether Nokia is intending to keep a community Extras repository enabled on their Harmattan device (due to be released later this year). After a long time, Nokia enabled Extras for out-of-the-box on Maemo 5, meaning that users would see a large range of software when going to Application Manager. I think this has been crucial to the success of the N900 - certainly, if I get a device and go to its "get more software" app/page and see only a few apps, I think the ecosystem is dead. The community put in place a QA system to ensure quality; I think this has also worked (relatively) well to prevent major obvious breakages getting through. The discussion is important for users, developers and people wishing to see the platform succeeds. If users get a bad experience, they'll think the platform sucks; if they see no applications, they'll think the platform sucks. Contributions from Faheem Pervez, Quim Gil, Talk user "slender" and Attila Csipa have already explored some of the issues on both sides. Of course, more input is always welcome.

Pelota Fifa Widget shows World Cup scores as they happen

Football fever has taken over the world with the most popular sport on the planet holding its four-yearly World Cup. It being held in South Africa means that matches are generally well timed for watching in the UK; but some still fall into the middle of the working day. Other timezones are even less lucky. So, a new desktop widget for Maemo 5 shows you the current matches' live scores: Pelota is a widget for Nokia N900 which displays live status of FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010. With this which we can know the current goal scores of match that happening. Every goal that happens, a beep and vibration indicates to you about a goal. The package is installed from a third party repository (which is currently down) and so has gone through none of the normal community QA processes.

Hermes updated - now with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Gravatar and find-as-you-type matching

Hermes, an application which enriches your contacts information using social networking data by one of your MWKN editors Andrew Flegg, has been updated to a newer version after a long effort by Andrew and Fredrik Wendt. The highlights in this version include an enormous refactor to enable easier addition of new services; the inclusion of LinkedIn and Gravatar support and, for usability, a feature Mark Guim writes about: Find-as-you-type contact matching makes it much faster to connect the dots between your unmatched friends and their online profiles. After Hermes does its magic, there might be a few people in your contacts list that remain unmatched. All you need to do in the new version is start typing at the screen with the online profiles. The N900 will try to filter the list for right person, and the user selects which profile matches the contact. As the code has undergone such an enormous refactor, bugs are inevitable. Hermes 0.8 is currently in Extras-testing and feedback is welcome from those willing to try it.

Chromium removed from repos, due to ongoing legal action

This week, the Chromium package was removed from the repositories. Unfortunately ended up a target of the ongoing legal action between Red Bend Software and Google. The suit addresses Google use of the "Courgette" algorithm, which makes pushing partial software updates easier, in their Chrome and Chromium browsers. This algorithm is, apparently, covered in a 2003 software patent Red Bend holds. A few weeks ago we received a letter requesting that cease distribution of Chromium, due to ongoing litigation involving the software. The Community Council, the package maintainer of Chromium on and Nokia legal were contacted. As you are aware, it is Nokia's policy to respect the intellectual property rights of third parties. Thus, we suggested that Chromium be removed from while the situation was clarified. Nokia Legal is currently investigating the exact role fills in relation to Nokia, which should, hopefully, make less of a target for legal crossfire and Nokia less liable for what takes place on the website. The possibility of removing the algorithm from the Maemo build of Chromium to allow it to be distributed again is currently being investigated.


MeeGo Community Builder taking shape

David Greaves is continuing to lead the charge to a community build system for MeeGo. Following on from his successes with OBS and Fremantle, MeeGo Core is next on his target, and it's making good progress with the necessary hardware sitting "somewhere in the US". David's current summary says: The current version co-exists with the OBS and targets:MeeGo:1.0:Core ([i.e. the last] release). The plan is to add: MeeGo:Current:Core (always points to the latest release snapshot) and MeeGo: (each weekly snapshot). Hopefully we'll see this combine, be seen as one and be managed with the Fremantle community builder; and the long-scale plans to migrate the autobuilder to OBS. This would give continuity to long standing Maemo contributors, some of whom (who wished not to be named) feel that the MeeGo community is trying to distance itself from everything related.

Clarifying differences between Qt and "MeeGo Touch" framework

A number of developers on, and, have expressed confusion and/or frustration with all the different Qt offerings for Nokia's simple, strategic developer offering. On MeeGo, there's Qt itself and the "MeeGo Touch" framework which is built on top of it. Symbian has a similar value-add API. "MeeGo Touch" isn't available on the netbook version of MeeGo, but will be on the handset one. Where do developers go to develop first class, cross-platform applications? Tero Kojo and Quim Gil have made it easier for vexxed developers: Use the normal Qt classes to make applications for MeeGo. Qt with Qt Mobility provides a lot of tools for the develoepr. No need to get into MeeGo Touch. Qt is there in all it's glory for developers, well documented and ready now. It is also present on all the other MeeGo UX's, enabling the possibility to port (or just re-compile if the app's UI lends itself to different resolutions) the app to all the MeeGo UX's. So there you go. Simples.

Packaging Java applications for Maemo

Ruediger Gad has devised a mechanism for packaging Java SE apps into Debian packages for Maemo: So far I uploaded the Cambridge Software Labs version of the OpenJDK to extras-devel non-free (package name icedtea6) and Ant to extras-devel. Reason for calling the OpenJDK version "icedtea6" is that the output of "java -version" reports it as "icedtea6". Further posts describe additional packages uploaded, and even discussion of swt-hildon to produce Hildonised SWT (a GUI toolkit for Java) applications.


Discussion around Texrat's list of "Maemo Missteps"

As noted on the front page, Randall Arnold's list of "Maemo Missteps" was posted to Talk by Ryan Abel: It's a nice overview of many of the areas Nokia has fumbled and illustrates exactly how little Nokia has really learned in this market over the past 5 years (despite several statements from the likes of Ari and other claiming education). It's unfortunate that Nokia has managed to create such an amazing platform with so much promise and foster a great community, yet continually cut the community off at the knees, abandon their existing customers both in support and next generation hardware features and generally just kill off all the enthusiasm and inertia they can. As you'd expect, the discussion is interesting.

Why community testing of PR1.2 didn't repeat that done for PR1.1

Quim Gil continues his excellent job of smoothing feathers and answering questions by addressing another of Randall Arnold's missteps: why wasn't the semi-open testing of PR1.1 repeated for PR1.2? The semi-open testing for PR1.1 was an interesting experiment that was found to be less than more useful. And not because of the contributions received (very good ones) but all the context forced by this situation. The root of the problem was again to mix open source expectations with a commercial release made of open and proprietary components.

MeeGo evangelism fund

The MeeGo Community Office's budget includes scope for an "evangelism" fund, for activites which promote the MeeGo community. However, Quim Gil asks on, how should it be defined and what's its role: There is a common understanding between the founders of the MeeGo project that a "MeeGo evangelism fund" will be provided to push activities to promote the MeeGo community. Nokia and Intel will pool the fund this year, and as the project grows more partners will be invited to contribute. The main item in the budget of this year is the organization of the MeeGo Conference. Other items to be considered are merchandising and travel sponsorship for community members promoting the MeeGo project in events. What else? MeeGo events box? MeeGo hackfests? ...? As with all budgets in big companies, pinning down the size of the budget sooner rather than later is necessary.


MeeGo-Harmattan (probably) has a better name coming to reduce confusion

In several posts addressing Randall Arnold's criticisms; Quim Gil has emphasised that "MeeGo-Harmattan" is a working name for the community, not a name for end-users: There is a post from me somewhere where I'm proposing this provisional name to be used here between us while the real name comes. And it's coming. Somewhere else I was saying that a dependency is the MeeGo Compliance Program, that is also coming.

Possible N900 successor leaked?

Engadget have an image which MAY represent the forthcoming N9, suspected to be the Harmattan device Nokia are due to release later this year: Um, yeah. Let's just put this out there: the image above was grabbed from a video that could be an early, leaked teaser for the N9, Nokia's first handset to run the MeeGo OS. Could be. The production quality of the promo is certainly up to snuff and the industrial design of the slider itself features just enough N8 to make the whole thing seem very plausible.


AutoDisconnect closes "idle" radio connections

AutoDiconnect is a new application by Aymeric Brisse that: automatically closes your idle connections (Wifi + 3G/GPRS + Bluetooth) and switches the network mode of your phone (use 2G when 3G is not required by connection) in order for your batteries to last much longer. It is currently available from Extras.

Show WiFi signal strength in summary bar

Faheem Pervez has released another little hack, this time a widget which sits next to the clock in the summary portion of the status bar, showing the quality of your wireless connection: that little 3 in the status area is wifi-signal-applet, which has just landed in extras-devel. It's not pretty and I lack an artistic streak so I had to use text. Designers, please do your thing. Oh and it checks the strength every two seconds. (FWIW, the standard wifi applet checks every 1 second when the status menu is open) It does not check when either the applet is not in view (fullscreen apps, display off, etc.) or if you aren't connected to a network. I will add a [Control Panel Applet] for changing the timeout. Designers are welcome to get stuck in. Since the package is currently in Extras-devel, users should - in general - disable the repository after installing it to prevent unintended upgrades to software in an unstable state.

AutoComplete Editor allows tidying up of suggested words

The autocomplete function in Maemo 5 is handy, but gets polluted with various single use words, typos and so on. Robin Hill has released an editor for the user's dictionary, allowing deletion and addition of terms from the custom auto-complete dictionary. I'm not sure how well this'll handle international character sets, so I'd appreciate some feedback from anyone using those. He also describes the format of the file for other developers interested. The package is currently under development, and the file format has been reverse engineered. Some care is probably called for!