In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Nokia response to forced MyNokia subscription in PR1.2
    • MeeGo Handset "Day One" - 30th June
  2. Applications
    • Joikuspot for now Available at Ovi Store
    • notmynokia - prevent unopt-outable registration with MyNokia "service" when upgrading to PR1.2
    • Video demonstration of MyPaint with custom brushes
  3. Development
    • Setuptools for tranisfex-mobile
    • Nokia Qt SDK 1.0 released
    • Reusable QML components for rapid Qt development
  4. Community
    • Proposed guidelines for forums
    • MeeGo Conference in November ramping up
  5. Devices
    • Pre-Alpha MeeGo for tablets demo
    • Android 2.2 (codenamed "Froyo") on N900
    • VTE V7/iBrowser runs "Maemo" (4?)
  6. Maemo in the Wild
    • MeeGo to run on all Nokia N-series devices after N8
  7. Announcements
    • Firefox (mobile) 1.1 RC1 available
    • LightMeter application for photographers
    • DrLaunch rotating desktop widget puts icons right way up in portrait
    • New version of MediaBox

Front Page

Nokia response to forced MyNokia subscription in PR1.2

The Maemo Community Council, an elected body of five representatives for the Maemo community, approached Nokia formally about a response to bug #10366 and the forced subscription of users to their "MyNokia" service - without the possibility of opting out - when upgrading to PR1.2. Nokia have engaged on the bug report, and Quim Gil is raising the issue of the missing opt-out within the Fremantle maintenance programme. However, the official reply is standard sterile Big Corp condescension and hubris: The first use of the latest software for Nokia mobile computers include functionality preparing the device for the service use on behalf of the consumer. In this connection Nokia also provides the consumer with the possibility to receive support messages to assist the consumer get the most out of the purchased Nokia mobile computer. These messages include tips on the capabilities and features of the Nokia devices and available services and features. We believe that these support messages are for the benefit of the consumer and help those consumers who are not yet fully aware of the possibilities their devices offer to make the most out of their purchase. Graham Cobb, a former council member, has been involved in the community discussions around this and has produced a tool, "notmynokia", which can be installed prior to the upgrade to REALLY give the user the "possibility" to receive support messages. The package tricks the system into thinking the user has already accepted the terms, and so does not present a dialogue box of which the choices are, effectively, "yes; I'd love to subscribe to this useful service" and "yes; please subscribe me to this valuable service".

The council goes on to suggest that users who have not yet upgraded investigate the tool before they do so. Further information on "notmynokia" is available later in this issue in the "Applications" section.

MeeGo Handset "Day One" - 30th June

This week should be bringing us the MeeGo Handset "Day One" on Wednesday when the Handset UX will finally be released for public consumption. "It's what we call Day One for the MeeGo handset release," Halla explained. "The productized release of the software is still (set for release in) October of this year, but this is a kind of pre-Alpha release." This is one of the last big pieces of MeeGo still being developed behind closed doors, so hopefully this release signals the end of the "big reveal" mentality that has been plaguing MeeGo and undermining the ceaseless claims of it being an "open project".


Joikuspot for now Available at Ovi Store

Mark Guim takes another look at Joikuspot which, with the Ovi Store improvements brought by PR1.2, is now available from the secondary source of Maemo apps (the primary mechanism is Extras). Mark says, Joikuspot, an app that lets you turn your device into a wifi hotspot is now available at the Ovi Store for the Nokia N900. The Maemo version came out of beta last March and has been ready for purchase and download at Joiku’s own site. Its presence in the Ovi Store now makes it even easier for users to download this great app.

notmynokia - prevent unopt-outable registration with MyNokia "service" when upgrading to PR1.2

As mentioned on the front page, Graham Cobb - one of Maemo's leading developers - has released a small tool which fools the system startup into thinking the user has already answered the unanswerable question presented on boot of a PR1.2 device for the first time. If you install this, it tries to protect you from the forced MyNokia registration. You should install the package before upgrading to PR1.2. It seems to work for OTA upgrades. I have not yet tested it for re-flash but I believe it may work, as long as the eMMC is not re-flashed (unless the process removes the /home/user/.cherry_state file). Test reports are welcome! The package is straightforward and no real risk is envisioned (reports are positive). However, as with all software in Extras-devel, care should be taken not to upgrade other applications unintentionally. If you have already upgraded to PR1.2, unfortunately the only option is to unsubscribe and register your displeasure with Nokia: it's too late for notmynokia to assist.

Video demonstration of MyPaint with custom brushes

A short, high-speed video by "luovatone" shows what a real artist can do with a custom stylus, MyPaint, some bespoke brush types and a whole lot of skill. Unfortunately, reproducing such effects without the aforementioned skill is... tricky.


Setuptools for tranisfex-mobile

The Google Summer of Code project delivering an on-the-move interface to Transifex reports on how Lauri Võsandi has dealt with Python and Qt packaging. Transifex provides a web-based UI to submit translations to various projects hosted on a number of hosting platform types. The name literally means "translation-builder" (from the latin verb facere).

Nokia Qt SDK 1.0 released

Nokia have announced the final release of the "Nokia Qt SDK" v1.0. There are versions available for download for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X; includes the MADDE toolchain for Scratchbox-less build and deployment to Maemo and a device simulator. In the announcement, Niels Weber linked to the Forum Nokia announcement: The Nokia Qt SDK leverages the power of the Qt framework and tools, combining them with tools designed to streamline the creation of apps for Symbian and the Maemo platform. The SDK includes the Qt Simulator, which enables apps for Symbian and Maemo devices to be tested on a computer. Your editor has had a very brief play, and will be writing up his thoughts and experiences later. Certainly, a modern IDE; toolchain and IDE are an enormous step up for Maemo. Hopefully, it won't be too late to deliver useful software for Maemo 5, whilst we wait to see how viable MeeGo software (and the platform itself) is on N900s.

Reusable QML components for rapid Qt development

QML (Qt Markup Language) is a technology using XML, CSS and JavaScript to deliver rich, "compelling" user interfaces rapdily on Qt platforms like Maemo, MeeGo and Symbian. However, one of the problems with such powerful technology is ensuring a consistent user interface to go with the snazzy animations. A series of reusable components is attempting to address that, as well as providing developers with shortcuts for common idioms: QML provides simple primitives that allow you to create fluid uis from scratch without restricting the designers creativity. Nevertheless, there are still some open issues to complete the ui development experience in qml. The qt-components project aims to deliver a set of reusable components that will fill this gap. Note that there are ongoing external efforts to implement ui components for qml and it’s important to provide an official offering to avoid fragmentation.


Proposed guidelines for forums

David Falkayn has opened the discussion on new rules for, to deal with the influx of users and trolls since the N900 launch. Due to the growth of the forum and growing complexity of managing problems, and in order to facilitate more consistent, timely, transparent and fair moderation, the administrators and moderators have been discussing a set of expanded rules and the usage of the built-in infraction system of the forum software to improve the t.m.o. experience. Tooling will also help, the "show me new results in fora I'm interested in" feature is already excellent at cutting out the dross. A quick AJAX "don't show me this thread again" feature in search results would also - in your editor's opinion - save a lot of time.

MeeGo Conference in November ramping up

Progress organizing the MeeGo Conference is progressing swiftly. It's time to block your calendar and request approval to travel - the MeeGo Conference has been scheduled for November 15 - 17, 2010 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. This is the annual conference for MeeGo developers, OSVs, OEMs, other integrators, and MeeGo project contributors. The call for papers has gone out, so if you're interested in providing content for the conference, now is the time to get working.


Pre-Alpha MeeGo for tablets demo

Intel's proof-of-concept MeeGo Tablet UX has been given a clearer outing, showing the various panels allowing the user to scroll in a myriad of (confusing?) directions. Gizmodo's summary is remarkably light on insight, showing a distinct lack of understanding of what MeeGo is: There's multitasking shown here, in the form of playing music while you also manipulate photos, but it's not clear whether you can multitask across all apps. Speaking of which: Intel's AppUp store is highlighted here, which is fine as long as MeeGo also allows you to download third party applications. That's not yet clear. With the Handset UX being unveiled this week, it remains to be seen if there'll be a unifying look & feel across MeeGo UXes.

Android 2.2 (codenamed "Froyo") on N900

The latest version of NITDroid includes the latest version of Android: 2.2, which was codenamed "Froyo". In this video "djsteve" shows off an N900 running it, with sound; headphones; wifi; the touchscreen and the keyboard working. There still seem to be a few bugs (including Android's status bar) and it, as yet, does not have any graphics acceleration. However, it still appears relatively responsive and the browser, in particular, is impressively quick.

VTE V7/iBrowser runs "Maemo" (4?)

In much the same vein as the Optima OP5-E, another Chinese company has released a new mobile device running "Maemo" - double-quotes, because Nokia doesn't actually license Maemo to any other company, so unless it's a Nokia device, it's not really running Maemo - the ZTE V7/iBrowser. More technical details are available after the link, but given that the device features a Marvell PXA310 (an ARM9 SoC), and the behavior of the software shown in demo videos this is likely a highly modified Maemo 4.

Maemo in the Wild

MeeGo to run on all Nokia N-series devices after N8

Confirming something which has been coming for a long time, Nokia have announced that the recently launched "N8" will be the last N-series device running Symbian; with future devices in the range running MeeGo. Engadget, in reporting the news, said, Nokia will naturally keep Symbian around -- of course there's a whole Symbian^4 to come -- but will utilize it on more mass market devices as it seeks to push smartphones further down the product hierarchy. So it's not necessarily bad news, as such, it means we'll likely see Symbian trickle down to handsets priced more like featurephones and less like miniaturized laptops. The biggest impact of this, in your editor's opinion, will be the political impact on the top brass at Nokia, who've seen Symbian so intrinsically linked to their high end strategy for so long.


Firefox (mobile) 1.1 RC1 available

Firefox Mobile 1.1 RC1 is now available. Highlights from this release include: Form assistant improvements, including autocomplete; Start Page redesign; Auto update add-ons; New smart-tapping system for better tapping links, fields and buttons; Portrait support on N900; Context Menu with Open Link in New Tab and Save Image; Web content theme update; Improved Site Menu; Use volume keys to zoom on N900; Save page to PDF; and a Built in Crash Reporter.

LightMeter application for photographers

Marcello Mansueto has released a light metering application to assist photographers in calculating exposure parameters based on available light. ouching the LCD-style numbers you can set the exposure parameters. If you set the aperture value, speed will be calculated, and vice versa. The LCD-style numbers give you only values permitted by your camera/lens. You can easily add your camera/lens parameters in the files camera.conf and lens.conf in /opt/lightmeter, then you can select them using the settings menu option. The application is currently only available as a .deb attached to the developer's post.

DrLaunch rotating desktop widget puts icons right way up in portrait

Stefanos Harhalakis is working on a new application launcher, DrLaunch, which primarily provides portrait mode support. I just made available the very first version of DrLaunch. A launcher widget with portrait mode support. It is a very early release and it has a lot of bugs (I have found some myself already) which I'm going to fix in the next versions. However, the widget seems quite usable and you may already need something like this, so here it is. The widget is currenlty available from Extras-devel, standard warnings and disclaimers apply.

New version of MediaBox

Long-time Maemo-developer Martin Grimme has released a new version of his media center application, MediaBox. There is now a new version 2010.06.26 of MediaBox Media Center available in extras-testing for N900 and extras for N800 and N810. It's somewhat a small premiere. :) As far as I know, MediaBox is the first 3rd party media player on the N900 to support the Maemo MAFW framework for media playback. MediaBox is also the first media player written in Python to use MAFW for playback. Of course my code for using MAFW is open for anyone to use in their Python programs.