In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Community SSU for Maemo 4 is now stable and available to all
    • Nominations open for Maemo Community Council election
  2. Applications
    • Chess clock application supports lots of game styles
    • MeBook development continues post GSoC
    • Maevies updates
  3. Development
    • When should an email address be suitable as a bug tracker in an Extras package?
    • Running PySide applications in Qt Simulator
  4. Devices
    • Accessing N900 contacts from cars' Bluetooth systems
    • Walkthrough of various N900 tethering options
    • Nokia Care seeking more information on users' experiences of N900 USB "defect"
  5. Announcements
    • Font Changer allows user selection of theme fonts
    • ringtoned updated to include vibration options
    • Open source Twitter sharing plugin for pictures
    • ...and 3 more

Front Page

Community SSU for Maemo 4 is now stable and available to all

It's been talked about for a while, but Lucas Maneos took the ball and ran with it: there's now a community-owned software update repository for users of N8x0s. Announcing this milestone, Lucas said, the first "stable" community SSU is now available in the repository. Many thanks to all the testers who made this possible :-) [...] Now that this is out it frees up -testing for more experimental work. If anyone wants to contribute in any way, please ping me. Ways to participate include: adopt a package, evaluate and apply existing patches to it; discover patches or other improvements that can be applied; for the extra brave, follow the community-testing repository and report any issues found; maintain and improve the wiki pages. With Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh's equivalent for Maemo 5 gaining traction, the possibility of a roadmap of improvements and bug fixes for non-MeeGo devices seems entirely possible. However, both SSU efforts are primarily packaging and logistical tasks; only bug fixes and improvements developed by the community can be shipped.

Nominations open for Maemo Community Council election

Having returned from holiday, and not being given much time by your editor, Dave Neary - who acts as's returning officer - has officially opened the nominations for the Q3 Maemo Community Council election: To nominate yourself or someone else for the council, please email the maemo-community mailing list with a clear email header (something like With over 500 eligible candidates, this could be the most varied and important election. Things are clearer about the relationship of the Maemo and MeeGo communities, but the migration paths for users, contributors and developers is not yet completely clear.


Chess clock application supports lots of game styles

A new chess clock application has been released by Heli Hyvättinen, which allows device owners to use their N900s as clocks for timing chess games. Chess Clock is game clock software for chess players with N900. Software supports different time controls (time additions, delays, hour glass). Timers are adjustable, different time settings for white and black are available. The clock supports most games styles and is currently available from Extras-devel (usual warnings apply).

MeBook development continues post GSoC

MeBook, a new e-book reader, was one of several Google Summer of Code projects for Maemo this year. Now, as the summer draws to a close, the developer - Juhana Jauhiainen - has decided to continue its development: GSoC has ended but development of MeBook continues. I've decided to keep the name MeBook (Maemo eBook) which I originally intended only as a development name. I've promoted version 0.1.7 to extras-testing so testers are needed to get the application to extras. The venerable FBReader now has a number of competitors which focus on a pleasurable ebook experience for one or two formats (typically the ever-growing EPub), rather than a plethora of formats.

Maevies updates

Maevies - an application which allows access to movie information like release dates, runtimes, and post-credit content - has been updated with a few new features and a number of bug fixes, including: Query results are freed once they’re no longer needed, the service quits when the user closes the client, [...] a proper About window. The new update is available from Extras-devel (the usual boilerplate still applies).


When should an email address be suitable as a bug tracker in an Extras package?

Andre Klapper, the bugmaster, is looking to resolve the question of whether email addresses are acceptable in the bug tracker field (and when). This is an issue that's been unclear since the bug tracker QA requirement was implement and one Andre is looking to settle for good. If you'd like to weigh in on the issue, see the maemo-community mailing list. Dave Neary was in favour of being more flexible: IMHO, the use of an email address for bug tracking should not be a reason to -1 a project, but certainly maintainers should be encouraged to set up a better bug tracker if they have "rich functionality". A consensus seems to be forming that rather than have an email address, a a blank bugtracker field would resolve to the package's page on, where testers provide their feedback.

Running PySide applications in Qt Simulator

Anderson Lizardo gives us an overview of what's involved in running a PySide application in Nokia's Qt SDK Qt Simulator. Some may have noticed that the Nokia Qt SDK contains a simulator for Qt applications on Nokia devices. It consists of the simulator application, plus Qt libraries built for its platform (Q_WS_SIMULATOR), which basically “wraps” the target application on the simulator window (and allows to simulate various events of the target device). It has been asked on [...] whether it would be possible to run PySide applications on the simulator. [...] and indeed it was! Although a few patches were required to get things running well, it is possible, so see the blog post for details.


Accessing N900 contacts from cars' Bluetooth systems

First up, an apology; your editor thought he'd covered this before, but a quick grep of the archives suggests not: many countries have laws which prevent the use of handheld devices whilst driving, and so Bluetooth-based "car kits" are becoming increasingly prevalent; either built-in to the car's head unit, or as a standalone add-on (similar to a GPS). The N900's Bluetooth stack, out-of-the-box anyway, doesn't integrate with these systems, but a number of enterprising users have found a way. Reflektorfalke describes the fundamentals: The Bluetooth Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) allows to exchange Phone Book objects between carkits and mobile devices. Or in other words, PBAB profile gives your car unit read access to your mobile phone book... (to be exact: to both, the phonebook stored on SIM card and the phone book stored on internal memory. But for N900 only second one is relevant). The wiki page embedded within the thread below contains a number of deb files which have to be installed manually, so caution is advised.

Walkthrough of various N900 tethering options

Mustali Dalal has released an incredibly thorough series of articles on the varioues tethering options available on the N900 (thanks, mostly, to efforts by the community). The walkthroughs take you through nearly every possible tethering available combination for most platforms (Linux, Mac and Windows) in excellent detail - with pictures. Truly, now, the definitive resource for anyone with questions about the N900 and tethering.

Nokia Care seeking more information on users' experiences of N900 USB "defect"

Randall Arnold, one of your Maemo Community Council members, has apparently been asked to collect data on the severity of and Care response to the N900 USB port detatchment issue. To start this off, I am reintroducing the survey that galvanized the community. That survey has closed but had collected a significant amount of data beforehand. The challenge here is to bring respondents back to the table. Even more critical, to obtain a reasonably accurate picture of the problem’s scope we really need response from as many people as possible, especially those not having any problems. More on that later in the article. Even if you've never suffered any problems with your N900's USB port, your input is still valuable.


Font Changer allows user selection of theme fonts

Maemo 5 doesn't provide users the ability to easily change a theme's font without resorting to the command line. Fortunately, a new control panel applet, Font Changer, has been released by the prolific theme developer Ricky Tournee which allows users to select the system font. Many people requested an GUI for changing fonts on their N900, so here it is; a control panel application that does the trick. Due to limitations in the Maemo theming system, a reboot will be required to change all of the fonts. Interested testers or contributors can find Font Changer in Extras-devel (standard warnings and disclaimers apply).

ringtoned updated to include vibration options

A new update to ringtoned, a daemon which allows setting custom per-contact ringtones released by Marco Barisione (a Telepathy engineer), cleans up the last of the known bugs. In particular, an issue that would prevent the N900 from vibrating when a call is received. ringtoned is available from Extras-devel, but the usual warnings and disclaimers still do apply.

Open source Twitter sharing plugin for pictures

Alberto Garcia has published a new sharing service for sending pictures to common Twitter sharing sites such as TwitPic: These days I’ve been playing with a sharing plugin for the Nokia N900. You can use it to upload pictures to Twitter, using a variety of services. Right now it supports Twitpic, Twitgoo, Mobypicture, and Posterous, but it can be easily extended to support other services. The plugin is available in Extras-testing (as "sharing-twitter-multi"/"Sharing Plugin for Twitter") and, as it has reached the requisite ten votes, assuming no blockers are found will be available for Alberto to push to Extras in less than a week.

proZelect power menu key switcher for kernel profiles

Talk user "AIMehdi" has announced a small script to integrate with the menu you get when pressing the power key at the top of an N900: I am proud to announce the product of my and wellefs first try at programming. It is basicly just done in a shell script with the help of zenity. We have no clue how to package it to deb or how to put it in the repo. We would appreciate any form of feedback.. good and bad. As this is our first try i am guessing the code is not beautiful. The program will make it easier to switch between two power kernel profiles by putting a button in the powerkeymenu. The installation is very a shell script from dropbox, one wonders if writing the instructions took longer than packaging it would've!

Andrea Grandi running for Maemo Community Council

The first (and, at the time of writing, only) person to declare his intention to run in the next election has been Andrea Grandi. In describing his candidacy, he said: I really would like to be able to do more for the community and one of the best way could be to be part of the council, to help both users/developers to explain their requests to Nokia and Nokia to understand the requests from the community. There are a lot of fantastic ideas coming from the community that could improve what we are doing: the key is to organize them and giving them more attention. This is what I've always looked for: working together to Andrea ran in the last election, and he was very nearly elected.

gPodder gets Maemo 5-style notifications when new podcasts available

Thomas Perl's gPodder is the leading podcast client for Maemo, and version 2.8 has just been pushed to's community testing repo: It's been some time since the last gPodder release, and I've been busy adding some nifty features to make the best use of the on-board facilities of Maemo 5. As already mentioned in a previous post, this new version comes with built-in notification support. After installation, you might have to re-start hildon-home (or your device) for the changes to become effective. The new version, in Extras-testing, also integrates with the multimedia framework to get suspend/resume working with the built-in Media Player. Regular (and brave) users of gPodder are encouraged to install the new version and test it against the QA criteria; voting appropriately on