In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Maemo Community Council ask for Python apps in Ovi
    • MeeGo Conference: propose your sessions now
  2. Applications
    • Display a Conboy note in a widget
  3. Development
    • Introduction to Qt Web Runtime on Maemo 5
    • Qt Messaging Framework (QMF) is going into MeeGo
    • Ginge is a GP2X compatibility layer for ARM Linux devices
    • KISStester lists apps you have installed which still need voting
  4. Community
    • MeeGo Greeters launched for fora
    • Apps languishing in Testing despite being promotable
    • Sponsoring MeeGo conference attendance
    • Conclusion on MeeGo Community OBS being able to target existing Nokia devices: not clear cut
  5. Devices
    • Game Gripper fits to N900 keyboard to give console controls
    • Update on USB host mode progress
    • Nokia's UI for MeeGo possibly revealed
    • ...and 3 more
  6. Announcements
    • New Qt-based file manager in development
    • Gnumeric port for spreadsheets on the move

Front Page

Maemo Community Council ask for Python apps in Ovi

The Maemo Community Council, of which your editors - Andrew Flegg and Ryan Abel - are two, has posted an open letter asking for Nokia's stance towards open source libraries and runtimes, and Python in particular, to be reconsidered in their Ovi Store. Ovi only accepts binary applications, while a very large number of apps for Maemo are written in Python: It will come as a surprise for many community members and users that Python is still not an officially supported language/runtime on the Maemo nor MeeGo platforms, despite the huge number of Python applications currently in Extras, and even though they base on the work of Nokia's own PyMaemo team, plus two Qt bindings and a GTK+/Hildon one. To put things in perspective, about a third of ALL stable Maemo applications are written in Python, both overall and those using Qt. Nokia cannot afford, when trying to garner developer mindshare, to be shutting the door on anything but the One True Way of C++/Qt. Nokia may be the leading supplier of smartphones in the world (a claim which, many argue, depends on your definition of "smartphone"), but they - quite simply - are not the first choice for developers. Nor, these days, even on the radar of the tech enthusiast or hobbyist developers. Doors need to be opened to these users, not shut in their faces.

MeeGo Conference: propose your sessions now

The first (of hopefully many) MeeGo conference is being held in Dublin, 15th-17th November; and the ability to propose full-blown sessions is now open: Do you want to speak at the first MeeGo Conference? Now is your chance! The call for session proposals has started, and anyone who wants to speak at the conference must submit a proposal. Proposals from community members, Intel, Nokia, the Linux Foundation and others will all be given equal consideration. Proposals must be submitted by 23rd August, however a further round for birds-of-a-feather (BoF) and lightning sessions will open after.


Display a Conboy note in a widget

Benoît HERVIER has put together a short tutorial on using the "Desktop Commands Execution Widget" to show a Conboy note within a widget on your Maemo 5 desktop: Today while I got the idea to made a plugin to display the content of a Conboy Note on my n900 desktop. I finally choose the option to use Desktop Commands Execution Widget to display the note content. The scripts used could also be used to export a note to a text file for sending to someone else, or opening on your desktop PC.


Introduction to Qt Web Runtime on Maemo 5

Devesh Kothari explains some of the purpose and usage of the newly launched "Web Runtime". Qt and WRT are the two strategic development platforms for Nokia; with the latter giving an easier way in for more simple applications, or designer types who may feel more at home with HTML/CSS and JavaScript: Some might have already noticed the "launch" of the Qt Web Runtime. What is Qt Web Runtime? Simply put Qt Web Runtime provides a runtime environment for web applications, applications written using HTML/CSS/Javascript. The Qt-based platform is available in Extras-devel now, with samples included and more information available from W3C (handily, the scripts used by WRT are standardised - and supposedly cross platform).

Qt Messaging Framework (QMF) is going into MeeGo

Maemo 5's email client, Modest, is built on libtinymail (a project kicked off by Philip Van Hoof). MeeGo's may well be based on the new Qt Messaging Framework (QMF) according to one of its developers, Moises Martinez, Qt Messaging FW (aka QMF) is a modern LGPL e-mail framework for mobile with very cool stuff such as support for protocol plugins (a plugin can be for Activesync for example), threading support, integration with Tracker, IMAP IDLE (Push IMAP), Server-side search, support for combined inboxes and many cool features more which makes it the most powerful e-mail framework in the market. Hands down! :) No matter how good the engine is, the UI on top of it needs to meet the needs of the Gmail generation - something which Modest never did.

Ginge is a GP2X compatibility layer for ARM Linux devices

A new compatibilty layer (think WINE) for GP2X could be on its way to Maemo. Ginge is an application that can run many GP2X F100/F200 games on other ARM Linux platforms. Since ginge is more a compatibility layer like wine than an emulator, theres a lot more resources to run games as efficiently as possible. It was written for the Wiz and Canoo, but has since been ported to the Openpandora. Since the Openpandora is quite similar hardware this is a ripe candidate for a port to the N900 and would open up an amazing huge library of existing games and emulators!

KISStester lists apps you have installed which still need voting

One of the common grumbles about the Extras Testing process is that it's too easy to install software from the Testing repo without remembering to vote, no matter your good intentions. Attila Csipa has started on a project (written in PyQt) which lists applications installed from Extras Testing which have versions yet to be promoted to Extras. Called KISStester (as in "keep it simple, stupid"), it shows you a list of packages you have installed. After reviewing the application against the QA criteria you can pass or fail it, adding a comment explaining the failure.

Your editor has tried it (and even submitted a patch), and although it's very early days (the voting isn't yet joined up with, the concept is a good one and should be recommended to everyone using Extras Testing when it reaches a more mature level.

Indeed, you could even imagine it making it to Extras as a "Testing Repo Enabler" which, when installed, enables Extras Testing (with suitable warnings) and/or offers regular reminders about applications you've installed which you haven't yet voted on.


MeeGo Greeters launched for fora

Randall Arnold's "Greeters" programme, where willing volunteers maintain a common set of links and introductory material in their forum signatures, has now launched on the MeeGo forum. Announcing the widening of the initiative, Randall said, Right now I only have a very basic Greeter wiki page up and I will be fleshing it out more over time. The premise is very simple: use your signature to provide links to helpful MeeGo resources. Helping people after that is as simple as posting anything, anywhere here-- your signature does the real work!

Apps languishing in Testing despite being promotable

Slow application promotion due to limited testing has and continues to be a chronic problem for While work to improve awareness, enable super testers, and ongoing efforts to streamline testing with both testing software and server improvements are helping, more (and more active) testers are still needed to help push good software to Extras.

Attila Csipa's KISStester, mentioned earlier in this issue, is the only technological solution currently being discussed.

Sponsoring MeeGo conference attendance

Quim Gil has confirmed that the MeeGo Conference will follow the example of the two Maemo Summits and have the option of sponsoring attendance. Quim kicked off discussion as to how to decide who to sponsor: Usually it is a combination of approved speakers, renowned contributors of MeeGo and related projects and volunteers involved in the organization. We have to define if approved speakers and tech media would be sponsored from this budget or if there will be separate budgets to cover them. Anything else? His mail also included thoughts on budget, deadlines and who decides. The last of which triggered most discussion in the rest of the thread. Given the MeeGo community is still very young and raw, hopefully a mix of attendees will be sponsored; whether Maemo/Moblin old-hands, enthusiasts, community organisers or MeeGo core and application developers.

Conclusion on MeeGo Community OBS being able to target existing Nokia devices: not clear cut

Back in mid-June, David Greaves, Carsten Munk, Niels Breet and Andrew Flegg (your editor) co-signed an open letter on behalf of the Maemo development community to push for the MeeGo and Maemo community build systems to be co-hosted and co-managed. After a few words of encouragement, David and Niels continued with the plan. However, on MeeGo bug #615, Dawn Foster (Intel's MeeGo Community Manager) threw a spanner in the works earlier this week with a pretty blanket statement: The right place for Nokia proprietary binaries is on a Nokia-owned website. The community OBS will be hosted at OSU OSL under the Linux Foundation, and our agreements with them indicate that everything there must be open source. Proprietary company code isn't appropriate for the infrastructure. Some clarifications have been made, and the project has continued whilst this ruckus rolled on, with OBS being installed on the servers at OSU (with "tons of disk and a fair amount of CPU"). Once an audit is complete, and SSO tied up, it'll be ready to go live - pending the outcome of any decisions by the MeeGo community organisers. David Greaves is still hopeful for a positive resolution.


Game Gripper fits to N900 keyboard to give console controls

A new hardware accessory for the N900 will allow mobile gamers to enjoy a better emulator experience with properly positioned and sized input buttons. The $15 accessory is a mechnical device that attaches to your phone's keyboard. Button presses on the Game Gripper simply press buttons on the phone's keyboard. A video of it in action is available after the break.

Update on USB host mode progress

Ian Stirling has posted on update on where he, and the project to bring USB host mode to the N900, is; and the news isn't good: At the moment, things have stalled, due to the fundamental problem that to do it right - a reliable USB hostmode without screwing around plugging it into a PC - seems to involve a bit of relatively complex kernel hacking. Experienced kernel hackers welcome right about now.

Nokia's UI for MeeGo possibly revealed

Since MeeGo was announced, it was known that vendors would - in the same way as Android - have the option of releasing their own UI on top of the core user experiences (UXes) that are provided by the open MeeGo project. Indeed, Nokia have long believed their ability to differentiate and add value is in the UI layer. A video showed up on YouTube this week which appeared to be a brief walk through of some of Nokia's MeeGo/Harmattan user interface. Looks sweet, right? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, someone captured a video during a survey on mobile phones. The OS happens to be MeeGo, Nokia’s upcoming OS for their high-end mobile devices. Let’s take a closer look. We see homescreen widgets in the first scene. The person using this phone for the demo is Amy. She clicks on her name inside a social networking widget to update her status. As the video has now been removed, the images and discussion on Mark Guim's blog are the best you'll get - at least until Nokia World, in September, when people expect (or, rather, hope) for an announcement.

Pre-built images for running MeeGo on N900 without reflashing

Pre-built images are now available for MeeGo for the N900, so those interested in testing out MeeGo on their N900s no longer need to build their own. Follow the link in the first post of the thread after the break (where you'll need to enter your IMEI) to download the images. A guide to installing them is available on the wiki.

Weekly MeeGo development images for N900 approaching

Pre-built images MeeGo images for the N900 should be available soon, according to Carsten Munk, who is working on the N900 adaptation layer and currently working on having automatic images built along with daily trunk/weekly/major release built versions of closed binaries, published automatically to the outside. The purpose of these images is to accelerate the development of the issues - MeeGo is still a very long way from being a day-to-day OS on existing Maemo developers.

MeeGo on GMA500/Poulsbo devices

Some enterprising community folks have managed to put together kickstart files to get MeeGo working on GMA/Poulsbo (PowerVR) based devices (like the O2 Joggler). There's a wiki page outlining the steps required to test the build on your own GMA500 device, which includes many netbooks.


New Qt-based file manager in development

A new Qt-based file manager, File Box, is being developed by Matias Perez. The new application seeks to provide a less watered-down experience than the built-in file manager, and gives users much more power over the files on their devices. Features include: Full filesystem navigation, root access for copy/paste/cut/delete files, share via bluetooth and e-mail, bookmarks, personalized clipboard, autorotation, and multilanguage support (english/spanish for now). An early beta release is currently available from Extras-devel, and the developer is seeking assistance in his thread.

Gnumeric port for spreadsheets on the move

The Gnumeric spreadsheet program, which has long been available for Maemo at various levels of functionality, is having its Maemo 5 port improved thanks to new efforts by Tomasz Pieniazek. A slew of new features are in the new update, including: Supports opening documents through Maemo File Manager, use volume button to zoom in/out, double tap on column/row header to open column/row popup-menu, double tap on a cell to open cell popup-menu, and new keyboard shortcuts. The latest release is available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).