In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • SSL certificate for expired; over a week and still not fixed
    • Voting open for Maemo Coding Competition
  2. Applications
    • Telescope (Maemo 5 style task switching for N8x0) makes it to Extras
    • Hermes phone number support for LinkedIn heading to Extras
    • Full-speed Nintendo64 game (F-Zero X) on N900
    • DreamRemote, DreamBox remote control, now with AzBox support
  3. Development
    • wiki progress
  4. Community
    • Qt: Bootstrapping openness
  5. Devices
    • Proof of concept MeeGo Netbook UX on Joggler
    • N900 connection sharing options
  6. Announcements
    • BackupMenu - backup & restore complete OS image
    • Expand PR1.2's USSD support with service codes
    • K9Call - Qt based home-screen widget for T9-dialling of contacts
    • ...and 4 more

Front Page

SSL certificate for expired; over a week and still not fixed hosts the Bugzilla issue tracking system for Maemo, and various Extras products. For security, communication is over HTTPS - so that transfered data (usernames, passwords, etc.) is protected from sniffing and replay attacks. On 17th July its SSL certificate -- the digital signature which lets your browser know it's talking to your bank, or your bug system -- expired. Typically, renewal would happen before the certificate expired so that users wouldn't see dire warnings from their browsers, unfortunately, that hasn't happened here. In bug #10951, Andre Klapper said, There's nothing that the * team* currently can do here. Nokia is aware of this problem since Monday, 19th. They are working on it and I ping from time to time as fixing should not take that long but obviously does (don't ask me why). Users can bypass the security warnings from their browsers, but encouraging them to do so reduces the overall security of the web, and the users of If people think that invalid certificates are "OK" to ignore, they'll do so when their bank's website has been compromised. If Nokia are the hold up here (because, say, the certificates for are purchased through a central department), they are causing excessive risk to their users and putting a barrier between developers and their users at a time when Maemo still needs active developers. One is left wondering, though, that since this has happened before when certificates expire why the team didn't start the process with a suitable window before the certificate expired.

Voting open for Maemo Coding Competition

The "Maemo Coding Competition" has, under the auspices of Ryan Faulk, been a grass-roots effort to encourage application development for Maemo 5. The entries are now finalised and it's down to the vote. The aim was to attract new developers to the platform: If you are new to programming or want to learn, here's the excuse to finally make something. Anything. Qt, PyQt, PyGTK, whatever language you like as long as it's functionally complete, runs safely, easily, and is targeted at the N900 platform. The voting, in seven categories, is now open on to anyone with an account.


Telescope (Maemo 5 style task switching for N8x0) makes it to Extras

Telescope, Ilya Skriblovsky and Dmitriy Chirva's application to provide Maemo 5/Expose-style task switching on Maemo 4 is now available in Extras. Its package page describes it as a graphical task switcher with live windows previews like in Maemo 5. Fast and lightweight. Once installed, simply press the Home key to show the "dashboard".

Hermes phone number support for LinkedIn heading to Extras

The latest version of your editor's Hermes application, which collects photos; birthdays; homepages and - now - phone numbers from social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Gravatar is now in Extras-testing. The main update, apart from numerous bug fixes, is the wider release of the feature that will add phone numbers, URLs and birthdays from LinkedIn. The latest version is now in Extras-testing, for those willing to test it against the QA criteria. Unfortunately, unlike Plaxo and LinkedIn, Facebook do not expose phone number information in their public API; so until that changes (or someone at Facebook allows Hermes to see additional information), it won't be able to get phone numbers from Facebook.

Full-speed Nintendo64 game (F-Zero X) on N900

A number of people are trying to reach a pinnacle of N900 game console emulation. The latest attempt seems reasonably successful (if you can get around the fact that the N900 keyboard isn't designed for ergonomic gameplay). "Titanas"' video is a demo of Nintendo 64 F-Zero X emulated at fullspeed on a Nokia N900. Frame rate can be up to 60fps! There's no indication if the N900 has been overclocked, but it's an impressive video either way.

DreamRemote, DreamBox remote control, now with AzBox support

Michael Muth's remote control for the DreamBox (a Linux based set-top-box) is now available with AzBox support: Compatible with all DreamBox Receiver based on (Enigma1 or Enigma2), Kathrein (UFS910) and AZBox (HD Elite, Premium HD and HD+) Required: Installed and running Webinterface plugin and a connection to your receiver via your local W-Lan Network. The latest version is now in Extras-testing, so those with a DreamBox willing to test and vote according to the QA criteria are encouraged to do so.

Development wiki progress

David King, one of the parties involved with the heroic efforts to clean up and improve the wiki on over the past months, has posted an overview of some of the recent progress: There has been lots of activity on the wiki recently. Over the last few weeks I have merged information from the documentation hierarchy into the developer guide, cutting lots of duplicate content. I added redirects so that people following links from external sites will not see blank pages. There has also been plenty of the usual tidying, including adding links and reformatting to make the wiki a nicer place. There is still a lot of work to do on the wiki, and any help is greatly appreciated.


Qt: Bootstrapping openness

Robin Burchell presents an interesting view on how to (and how to not) encourage contribution to your project with a glimpse into Qt's processes and areas where they may not be choosing the best course. Time you save not maintaining it now (and encouraging potential contributors/future maintainers along the way) is spent being forced to put the code on life support maintenance if you decide you want that code, for whatever reason, later on. A thought provoking point that will hopefully be heard by the right ears.


Proof of concept MeeGo Netbook UX on Joggler

Martin Brook has been playing with Intel's EMGD driver for their GMA500 chipset, as used in the Joggler/OpenFrame device which has also been seen running Mer. He's succeeded in getting the MeeGo Netbook UX running: This is just a proof of concept of the EMGD driver so sound, ethernet, wifi, are not working. Others, such as Carsten Munk, are working on getting the Handset UX working. Those of us with Jogglers are watching with bated breath.

N900 connection sharing options

Marius Gedminas give us an overview of some of the options available to N900 users who'd like to share their cellular data connections with other devices. My N900 has a SIM card with a flat-rate 3G data plan. My laptop hasn't. What do I do when I want to use the Internet on my laptop somewhere that doesn't have WiFi? Well, there are many options.


BackupMenu - backup & restore complete OS image

Rob Simpson has released an application which "allows you to make full backups of the RootFS(OS), and OptFS(extra programs), and then restore said backups." Rob explains his motivation: With a PC, you can use a program like Norton Ghost, or any number of free alternatives, and make a full image of everything you have. You screw the OS up, all you have to do is take your backup image, wait a couple hours for it to load, and you have everything back to how it was before. With the N900, all you have is a "settings backup" tool(which also keeps a list of installed programs). If you have custom applications or settings -not- backed up... Good luck. The application is only available in Extras-devel and, obviously, messes with the very lowest levels of your device. Care should be taken.

Expand PR1.2's USSD support with service codes

Whether you call it a hash, a pound, a sharp or an octothorp; you still can't dial numbers starting "*#" in the Phone application, even in the latest versions of Maemo 5 (where you can, now, dial "*" elsewhere in numbers). Joerg Reisenweber has now released a hack which enables you to dial these service codes (often used to set up redirections) from the built-in dialler: While USSD (e.g. "*100#") has been fixed in genuine dialer with PR1.2, the Service Codes (e.g. "*#67#" : query if calls are redirected when busy) still don't work out 'of the box' with most recent firmware, and not even with tools like USSD-widget. The package, starhash-enabler, is available in Extras-testing for those willing to try it.

K9Call - Qt based home-screen widget for T9-dialling of contacts

Benson Tsai has announced a (large) widget for Maemo 5 which allows the rapid dialling of contacts by using a T9-like method of name entry: K9 Call is a portrait oriented T9 inspired contact lookup and calling widget. Basically what it does is if you wanted to lookup someone who goes by the name "Test Unicode" for example, you would type in 8378 for (Test). The main rational behind using a T9 like system is that while in portrait mode, a number pad is significantly easier to use than a full on screen keyboard. The package is currently in Extras-testing.

Flash-based UK Radio Player for Mobile

Mesmotronic have a Flash-based radio player for UK stations and, although primarily targetted at Android devices, claim it should work on Maemo devices, like the N900 and N8x0, as well: The UK Radio Player for Mobile is an experimental, web-based application that enables you to listen to a wide range of British radio stations on any mobile phone that support Flash Player 9 or above, including almost all Android and Maemo devices; radio stations include Absolute, Capital, Heart, Kiss and Magic to name but a few. Unfortunately, in your editor's experience it was (very) slow to start and unreliable; but this could have just been a temporary flaw in his Internet connection.

FCam provides open source advanced camera framework

The N900 was the first Maemo device to have a reasonable camera; but it wasn't perfect. Nokia have now released a framework, leveraging Maemo 5's open nature, to create new camera applications which overcome some of those limitations: Stanford University and Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto, have created and released a new, open-source digital photography platform, called FCam, (short for "Frankencamera". It allows developers to create new capabilities for digital cameras, and users to take advantage of a whole new class of photography apps. The platform is available as a free download for the Nokia N900, starting today, A number of example applications, including "Low-light Assistant" and "HDR Capture", were released which use the library. All are open source and show promising results.

DropN900 - Dropbox client for Maemo 5

Dropbox is an online ("cloud") service to allow the synchronisation of files between various devices. Jonne Nauha has released an initial version of a client for uploading and downloading files for Maemo. Its features include: Login with your DropBox email and password, one time authentication; full DropBox access. Read/write to everything in your dropbox account; image file thumbnail preview, loading animations and showing results for actions. The package is only available in Extras-devel, and is still relatively raw. Only those willing to beta test (and with backups of any crucial files) should be giving it a go.

Restart system processes to re-optimise N900 without reboots

Talk user "JorgeFX" has released a shell script which kills various system processes in Maemo. These are then picked up by the watchdog processes and restarted, giving a quick way of simulating (parts of) a reboot: I'm posting what I think is a possible SOLUTION to the anoying problem the Nokia N900 has after 2, 3 or 4 days of continuos use causing the device to slows down till a point we just have to reboot. I wrote a script the refresh several processes like if you are rebooting your N900 but it does not reboot it or causes sudden battery drain like what happens when you reboot the N900. The script has to be run manually from X Terminal; and reception has been mixed, with some experienced users claiming it to be overkill.