In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Registration now open for the first MeeGo Conference
    • gets formal rules/code of conduct
  2. Applications
    • Game Gripper review for better experience playing classic games
    • KISStester lists on device installed applications which are in extras testing queue
    • Disappearing Contacts plugins
    • ...and 4 more
  3. Development
    • Building Qt debs "the easy way"
    • What's the status of the Maemo licensing change request queue?
  4. Community
    • Qt Ambassador Program launches
    • Usefulness of Maemo Community Council questioned, and definitively answered
  5. Devices
    • MeeGo on non-SSSE3 x86 Hardware
    • Small update on status of MeeGo-Harmattan (and its N900 "Hacker Edition")
  6. Announcements
    • QPlaylist - music playlist editor
    • Wifi Assistant helps getting online with connections which require browser interactions
    • Mobile Firefox roadmap, including next version

Front Page

Registration now open for the first MeeGo Conference

Registration for the MeeGo Conference taking place this November in Dublin has opened. Those interested in registering will need to have a account and fill in the information in the conference registration form. If you would like to request sponsorship of travel and accomodation, check the "Travel assistance" box when registering. gets formal rules/code of conduct

After being overrun with on-topic, but spamming, newbies; trolls and personal attacks; the sub-community of frequenting has enacted a set of rules, which all members are expected to abide by, lest they suffer "infraction points". The establishment of these rules has been given much consideration by the staff, the Maemo Community Council, and feedback from long-time members, and is designed to foster and promote a healthy, helpful, and professional atmosphere in all of our forums. Anyone posting in the forums should be treated with respect and in a manner which will create an enjoyable experience for all. At certain infraction point thresholds, temporary and - ultimately - permanent account suspension occurs.


Game Gripper review for better experience playing classic games

Nokia Experts reviews the Game Gripper for N900, which we mentioned last week: If you like to play classic games on your N900 and enjoy the emulator experience on the N900 then you should definitely pick one of these up for just $14.99. I plan to carry it with me in my gear bag when I travel so I can have a full gaming experience and web browsing experience with a single device on the go. Due to the mechanical nature of the button input (pressing keys on the N900's keyboard with the Gripper), users should be aware that extended and intense use may wear some keys on the keyboard more quickly than others.

KISStester lists on device installed applications which are in extras testing queue

Attila Csipa, a current council member, has been working on a PyQt app called KISStester, which streamlines the Extras-testing testing and reporting process and will hopefully reduce the burden on testers and improve the processing time for packages in the testing repository. Some of you might have already heard that there is a little PyQt app (by yours truly) to make testing less painful. The app runs on your N900 and has a few special powers compared to what you do now, most importantly being able to list the applications that you have installed and that are in need of voting, plus naturally the ability to actually vote on packages. Although the latest release is currently available from Extras-devel, the usual standard warnings and disclaimers apply doubly given the ability of the application to wreak havok on the Packages web interface. So only the most determined and careful testers should apply.

Disappearing Contacts plugins

Marco Barisione has explained the issue some users have seen where buttons added to the Contacts application, such as his own Contacts Merger, have been disappearing. He says, This happened because of a bug in Monorail, the IM file transfer application.

Command-line manipulation of various N900 features with phone-control script

Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh (aka MohammadAG, one of the Maemo Community's up-and-coming new contributors) has put together a new command-line script that provides simple access to many of the DBus commands which can be used to control many of the cellular functions of Maemo 5. Been using the commands on for quite some time, and dbus not being my thing I always had to check the page for the commands, so I decided to merge them all into one script [...] The script is currently available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).

Transifex mobile translation tool gets release candidate

Transifex Mobile is an application which allows you to edit ".po" translation files on your Maemo 5 device, submitting the results to the crowdsourcing translation service, Transifex. Transifex is in use by many Maemo applications, as it allows the author to have their application translated in many languages, whilst having a single point of contact for the translators. Lauri Võsandi describes it thus: The main screen mimics Transfex‘s dashboard view. The user can see her locks there, browse projects etc. Left-top button shows user’s first and last name plus e-mail address. Verify that those are correct before pushing any files back to server. PO-file metadata is updated based on this information. In current release editing local PO-files is also enabled, just tap on "Open local file" in the menu. Since the post, the package has made it through the Extras QA process and is now available through Extras.

LiveWallpaper 0.8 demo

PR1.2 brought the ability for the X "root" window to be drawn to, and this has made possible "live" (that is, animated) wallpaper. In an extensive video demo, Vlad Vasiliev shows off the application, which is integrated into the "Settings" window.

Custom Ringtones gets faster

Marco Barisione has posted an update on his "Custom Ringtones" package, analysing the causes of complaints about slowness. After an initial analysis, he found the code that needed more optimisation was the one that plays ringtones. It turned out that using GStreamer with playbin2 (the element able to detect and play all the supported file types) is not fast enough for this use case. I tried different approaches and in the end I decided to always use uncompressed wave files and stream them directly to PulseAudio. [...] My analysis was showing that, since when ringtoned gets notified from Telepathy of the existence of a new call to when it starts streaming to PulseAudio, less than 0.1 seconds passes, so why was it still slow? [...] A bug in Maemo causing a freeze that made the dispatching of new calls about 4 seconds slower when ringtoned was running. He has worked around the bug, and new versions of the package are available in Extras-devel.


Building Qt debs "the easy way"

Although most packages for Maemo should be being uploaded as source tarballs to the Extras autobuilder, there is usually need to build binary debs which you can copy to your device for initial testing. Tam Hanna has posted a guide to doing just that using Nokia's multi-platform Qt SDK: The latest versions of Nokia's Qt SDK (you MUST run the updater to get the latest MADDE before step 1) contain a fully-featured .deb generator when building for a Nokia N900. Unfortunately, fully-featured does not equal working - which is why the tutorial below has been created to fill in the blanks. It provides me with packages which can be installed, and show up in the Maemo menu - as soon as I hear more from Ovi, I will update this segment. Details about the Ovi submission process are hard to come by, but it seems that binary packages are uploaded there. The information in this guide (and in Ville's comment) may well prove useful to developers trying to target that, rather than the community repos.

What's the status of the Maemo licensing change request queue?

Quim Gil provides us with an overview of the licensing change change request queue status that boils down to a few points: [...] opening legacy software takes resources appointed elsewhere, and in some cases we would do it if someone would push and do the actual job. [...] a proposal for the role of the distmaster [was pushed] [...] [it was] agreed with Carsten to fund his role as distmaster. [...] He gets access to some old and fresh code, plus Nokia internal contacts and info. [...] Then MeeGo is launched, picking by surprise everybody. I can't remember now, but I believe Carsten was not aware at all. [Carsten starts] playing with the N900 port and the MeeGo OBS. He is offered more work and responsibilities within the MeeGo project - basically a full time job. In the meantime both the core Mer guys and Nokia people like Tero or myself get convinced that the best technical and tactical way to address openness in the tablets and the N900 is to follow the MeeGo development mainline, adapting it to this hardware. Nokia is opening a lot of functionality for MeeGo Handset and the MeeGo project has chosen the N900 as official ARM platform. The current is favourable in that direction and Nokia is putting serious resources in that direction with the MeeGo N900 port. In effect, there won't be many resources (if any) put towards openning additional Maemo 5 components, as the belief is that MeeGo is the best way forward (whether or not that actually brings a day-to-day usable experience).


Qt Ambassador Program launches

The Qt Ambassador Program is a membership-only program that honors Qt development projects. All developers around the world who create products and projects with Qt are eligible to apply. Membership to the Qt Ambassador Program is free and based on your outstanding and innovative Qt project. Although still in "beta", this programme is part of Nokia's push to build a mobile Qt development community, which will support both of its strategic platforms: Symbian and MeeGo. As Maemo shares its Qt version with MeeGo, applications for MeeGo should be relatively easily portable to Maemo 5 - in some circumstances, automatically by the auto-build system, OBS.

Usefulness of Maemo Community Council questioned, and definitively answered

Talk user "silvermountain" opened a poll to push his agenda "against" and the Community Council, questioning "Would you miss the Council if they were gone?" When the thread was closed (after tens of posts on the subject), just over a quarter of votes answered in the negative; with the rest being positive or neutral. Many of the initial posts were from new users of, who - with no further participation or interaction in the community - thought the Council useless. But many heavy hitters, weighed in, including Quim Gil: Yes, a lot. It has been already said, but the basic point you need to understand is that the Maemo Community Council addresses primarily community topics, and we at Nokia collaborate with this team mainly on community topics.

[MeeGo] N900 support, Flash, Ovi Maps, etc are consumer topics. Even if wouldn't exist at all Nokia would have a fair idea about the opinion customers (users and developers, current and potential), media (social and traditional) and shareholders (for that matter) would have about them. These consumer topics usually are tied to significant project investments and strategic decisions that go way above the Maemo Community, its Council and the Nokia guys interacting here with you.

Many people seemed to think that the council had some form of influence over commercial, rather than community issues. This expectation mis-match could explain some of the negativity, and many Council members weighed in to try and correct understandings of what the council does, and has done - to positive effect - in the last few months. Clarifications on the Council's homepage should be made before the next round of elections.


MeeGo on non-SSSE3 x86 Hardware

SSSE3 has long been a sticking point in the hardware requirements for both MeeGo, and Moblin before it, given Intel's commercial requirements for the platform. The choice, for performance reasons, limits users to fairly recent hardware. As many computers from before the advent of SSSE3 are more than capable of handling MeeGo, a concerned group of community members have decided to scratch the itch and improve MeeGo's support for non-SSSE3 hardware (or remove its dependency on SSSE3 support, as it were). In announcing the effort, Martin Brook said, If you can help in any way or have any comments please add your meego The defensiveness which has previously met questions around non-SSSE3 support (sometimes vaguely called "generic i686") has been less on show, however it still took a while for the thread to move to a tone of "we'd love to run on as much as possible, but haven't got the resource, time or infrastructure. If you want to help, start with X, Y & Z".

Small update on status of MeeGo-Harmattan (and its N900 "Hacker Edition")

Quim Gil has posted a status update for the MeeGo-Harmattan for N900 project: Status update: this project is on hold until a first release of MeeGo-Harmattan (let me insist: provisional name) is published. We are working on the fixes required for this first release to go out: MeeGo Handset unstable releases @ go first. It would be confusing and unfair if a MeeGo-Harmattan SDK release would include components that are meant to be in MeeGo but we haven't opened them yet. We are still opening components and integrating them to MeeGo almost on a weekly basis. The "based on MeeGo" also needs to be clear and in line with the MeeGo project and the Linux Foundation, owner of the MeeGo trademark. Having a first release ignoring this point would be also confusing and unfair. This step depends on the definition of the MeeGo Compliance, which is still a work-in-progress. You will hear more about MeeGo-Harmattan unstable releases probably when these points are in a mature/done state. This means progress on the "Hacker Edition" project will likely be delayed at least until the Harmattan device gets close to release.


QPlaylist - music playlist editor

A new music playlist editor, QPlaylist, has been announced from Dearg Doom. I have been tinkering with a simple playlist editor as a way of learning C++, Qt and Linux development. Right now it can create, delete and edit m3u files. Mp3s are browsable via their ID3 metadata. Unfortunately I have not had any time to package it properly so this version gets installed to /usr/local/bin and needs to be run from the command line, ie ./QPlaylist. Ultimately I would like it to be able to edit MAFW playlists too. I will try and package it properly and release to Extras-devel next week. Development is ongoing, contributors should check in on the Talk thread to get involved.

Wifi Assistant helps getting online with connections which require browser interactions

A new application, WiFi Assistant, has been released by Fredrik Wendt which allows users to website (for login portals, for instance) when connecting to WiFi access points. Announcing an initial release of an app that launch a browser when you connect to certain WLANs. It works for me - I use it on a daily basis and perhaps this is what you've been looking for. WiFi Assistant is currently available from Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).

Mobile Firefox roadmap, including next version

Fennec (aka Firefox Mobile) is undergoing a large set of changes, culminating in an alpha release in just a few weeks. Of the changes in the alpha, Fennec 2 will, in addition to Maemo, support the Android and MeeGo platforms as well. After the first alpha, further rendering changes will be made to increase the potential speed of the browser even more.