In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • PR1.3 for N900 finally released
    • MeeGo 1.1 released
  2. Development
    • Autobuilder updated to PR1.3 SDK
    • Nokia tidies up developer story: Qt Quick & Components
    • Ready to kick tires of MeeGo app development? QtComponents for MeeGo on Ubuntu
    • ...and 3 more
  3. Community
    • working as URL shortcut
    • Help ensure the MeeGo community (and project) is on the right track
  4. Devices
    • Demo of MeeGo/Maemo dual-boot
  5. Maemo in the Wild
    • Sprint (US mobile network) supporting MeeGo
    • Nokia's end-user focused blog on MeeGo 1.1
    • Qt Quick proof-of-concept on iOS 4
  6. Announcements
    • MaePadWeb for editing MaePad entries from PCs

Front Page

PR1.3 for N900 finally released

The latest update to Maemo 5 has been rolling out to N900s around the world. Largely expected to be the final big update from Nokia for the N900, it adds Ovi Suite support to your N900 and makes it even easier to access and sync files and messages between your device and your desktop. In addition, we’ve added hundreds of tweaks and fixes that will make your N900 run faster and smoother than ever. It also ships with Qt 4.7 (including Qt Mobility), which will be important for developers wanting to deliver applications across MeeGo, Maemo and Symbian. Criticism has been forthcoming for seemingly valid patches from the community being ignored (see bug #7190) and the latest versions of key software like hildon-desktop languishing on gitorious, rather than being shipped in this (almost certainly) final update.

However, the community (mainly in the form of Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh) has already stepped up with a "community update" repository which brings in further updates on top of PR1.3. Mohammad is in final testing (having liaised with Niels Breet to get it set up on and should be announcing something this week.

MeeGo 1.1 released

Quality, time, features. Agile methodologies tell you to pick two because one has to vary in the Real World. MeeGo have chosen the first two and so, their first six monthly release has come out for netbooks, handsets and in-vehicle devices (IVI). Rafe Blandford of All About MeeGo opens his in-depth article; with screenshots from each "UX": The MeeGo project reached an important milestone today with the release of MeeGo 1.1. It aims to create a solid baseline for both manufacturers and developers to devices and software across a broad range of categories (netbook, handset, and IVI) across both the ARMv7 and Intel Atom chipset architectures. The current MeeGo releases remain mainly of interest to device manufacturers, developers and those wishing to take an early look at MeeGo before it arrives on commercial devices.


Autobuilder updated to PR1.3 SDK

Niels Breet has updated the Extras autobuilder to the new PR1.3 SDK (which is an "apt-get -u dist-upgrade" away in Scratchbox): If you experience any problems, please let me know.

Nokia tidies up developer story: Qt Quick & Components

Nokia is answering the complaints (particularly from those in the Maemo and MeeGo communities) about the disparate developer avenues available on top of Qt (MeeGo Touch, Qt Quick, Symbian's DirectUI) which cut down on Qt's "write once, ship anywhere" message. From now on, if you want to write a mobile application: use Qt Quick & Qt Components; preferably using the Nokia Qt SDK, which includes the Qt Creator IDE: Although Nokia has long been a Qt (pronounced “cute”) advocate, today, the company is making Qt its sole application development framework – meaning, that if a developer creates their application in Qt, they’ll be able to easily deploy it to Nokia devices on Symbian and MeeGo platforms. Nokia is taking this approach seriously, making the commitment to create its own applications and UI on Qt as well. On Maemo and Symbian, this is backed by Qt; on MeeGo by MTF (MeeGo Touch Framework); however for developers there is now a common platform to develop mobile applications for the complete range of Nokia devices.

Ready to kick tires of MeeGo app development? QtComponents for MeeGo on Ubuntu

As noted above, Nokia is betting the farm on Qt being a good-enough developer environment that it's range of platforms will have an overlapping set of applications, whilst developers have the same kind of integrated, and sophisticated, development environments that they're used to (or at least seen) on iOS and Android. However, the Qt SDK releases are still fairly bleeding edge, and the landscape is changing rapidly. As Attila Csipa says, the nice thing about Qt development is that you can get a taste of the latest bleeding edge technologies (QML, Qt Components, MTF) if you take a peek at what's going on at gitorious. The downside is, sadly, that you either need specialized SDK installs or suffer building all those packages from source, packaging them, and not blowing up your install in the process. This can be a time-consuming and daunting task. Well, if you have Ubuntu Lucid or Maverick, you're in luck as there is a shortcut to having a quick taste of the bleeding edge: the Forum Nokia Qt PPA, containing all the new and shiny goodies in a convenient form, compiled for desktops. Ville Vainio points out in the comments that MeeGo Touch Framework (MTF), following the story above, is the MeeGo backend for Qt Components, but it is not going to be pushed at third party developers directly.

Analysis of Qt contributors' ecosystem

Robin Burchell has analysed the git logs to work out who is working on Qt, and for whom: After recently writing about the broken contribution process in Qt, I got a little bit inspired to see what the current 'lay of the land' of the Qt contribution ecosystem looks like. So, I did what any self-respecting hacker would do, and wrote a quick script over the course of a few hours to generate the statistics I wanted. [...] There are a few ways in particular that gitstats' information is flawed. The biggest being that the 'organisation' an individual belongs to is generated from the first component of their email address. Allow the stats aren't particularly accurate, they do paint an interesting picture: Nokia is investing heavily in Qt; and it has a number of high profile "individual" contributors.

KQOAuth - OAuth library for Qt

Johan Paul has announced an OAuth-library for Qt: kQOAuth is a powerful yet easy way to integrate OAuth authentication to your Qt application. kQOAuth handles OAuth request signing, request submitting and reply parsing for you. It also provides an easy way to retrieve user authorization to protected resources with a built in HTTP server. All this is done with Qt programming in mind, so you can use Qt's signals to react to OAuth events in your own application. This also means that the library works fully asynchronously. kQOAuth is licensed under the LGPL license. OAuth is a standard authentication mechanism used by sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It allows third-part applications to interact on behalf of a user, without the user having to disclose their username & password, and gives them a mechanism to revoke access to applications at any time.

USB hostmode progressing

Joerg Reisenweber has posted an update on the sterling work being done on N900 USB host mode (allowing the reading, for example, of USB memory sticks and card readers). We're experimenting with PR1.3 kernel, 2 different versions. One with Sarah Newman's and Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh's and my patches, the other one a complete "rewrite from scratch" based on stock kernel and doing "the right thing" by Paul Fertser. Results are quite promising. Paul got first connects and ENUM fails (whitelist etc foo, as usual) with his shiny new version. Obviously, this is a long way from being consumer-ready (although an alpha-release is planned); but interested developers are encouraged to lend a hand.

Community working as URL shortcut

Thomas Perl wrote to Twitter to highlight that now has a shorter, and neater, form for passing around URLs:<bug-id> is finally a shorthand for viewing bugs on the Maemo Bug tracker. See ;) Bug #7107 was fixed by Ferenc Szekely, following an Apache mod_rewrite rule contribution from Dave Neary. When Thomas raised the bug, he suggested that two possible use cases might be making "bug links in forum posts more readable / easier to remember" and to "allow ad-hoc hand-crafting of URLs in mails/posts/comments/IRC".

Help ensure the MeeGo community (and project) is on the right track

Sivan Greenberg has a session at the MeeGo Conference, but wants to get the opinions of some of the longer serving members of the Maemo, and MeeGo, communities: The session will wrap up with a proposed priorities based on audience's popular demand and host/ developers community moderation. The most proximate concrete outcome of the session will be a transcript and a document that users and developers could reference back to understand our status in the context of the (greater) market, and to get a feel for what's the current trends that development and refinement should go.


Demo of MeeGo/Maemo dual-boot

Carsten Munk, maintainer of the MeeGo N900 adaptation project, has posted a quick video showing an N900 dual-booting between Maemo 5 and MeeGo 1.1: Many thanks go to the MeeGo N900 hardware adaptation team for all of their hard work in making this possible. He's also described that the plan is along the lines of having a Maemo-installable package which will detect the presence of a memory card which, if present, will boot into MeeGo. In your editor's opinion, this is still a little clumsy (compared with the bootmenu approaches) due to the need to keep your MeeGo-touting MicroSD card handy, but not installed. Given the N900 back needs to be removed to insert or remove the memory card, this may be an elegant software solution; but not necessarily particularly graceful in practice.

However, a variety of approaches will be possible, after the proof-of-concept is released; and those who prefer a bootmenu-style will - no doubt - be catered to.

Maemo in the Wild

Sprint (US mobile network) supporting MeeGo

In a rather surprising, and important (for the US market), move, Sprint has announced plans to back MeeGo: At the Sprint Developer Conference on Wednesday, Sprint executives backed the use of the open-source MeeGo OS platform for mobile devices it will sell in the future. The carrier said it would help speed development of services and apps for many devices, including in-vehicle systems. The open-source nature of MeeGo was a key ingredient, Sprint believed. The US market has been a difficult nut to crack for Nokia, their insistence on not caving to operator demands (laudable), combined with their continued treatment of the US as an undesirable 2nd-tier market and inability to provide reasonable service and support to their remaining US customers has resulted in a steady loss of marketshare in the US for Nokia. Support from a provider like Sprint (which does not carry the iPhone and hasn't been completely dominated by Android) could be exactly the shift Nokia needs to regain their position in the US.

Nokia's end-user focused blog on MeeGo 1.1

Following the debacle of the announcement that "Maemo 5 PR1.3 would enable dual-booting with MeeGo", Nokia have made very clear that although PR1.3 has enabled dual booting and that MeeGo 1.1 is released, this isn't a commercially supported (nor even day-to-day usable) operating system that the "average" N900 user would be interested in: So what is a “project release”? Let’s start with what it isn’t. This isn’t a finished product for you to load up on to your phone and use on a day-to-day basis. The user interface is neither finished nor is it representative of what the experience will look like on future Nokia devices (we’re creating our own unique experience using Qt). What it is, is a generic version intended to allow developers and device manufacturers to get familiar with the code and the capabilities of future devices. Having Nokia engage in such communications, rather than just throwing news and announcements over the wall, and manage expectations is a good thing to see.

Qt Quick proof-of-concept on iOS 4

A YouTube user has posted a video which seemingly demonstrates Qt Quick's demo apps running on iOS (Apple's operating system which powers the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad): Quick Qt Quick (QML) demo on iPod 4G. Still needs a bit of work... Just a proof of concept for now... ;) If this progressed to a usable state (and to the point where Apple would allow Qt Quick applications in the App Store) this could make Nokia's Qt the best platform for mobile application developers.


MaePadWeb for editing MaePad entries from PCs

Thomas Perl (long-standing Maemo- and MeeGo-contributor primarily of GPodder and MaePad fame) has released a web-based MaePad todo list editor for Maemo: One of the annoyances with task lists on mobile devices is that there is no easy way to view or edit your task list on your computer as well (there are some web services that allow for these things, but you have to trust your data to these services, and not all these services have a full-featured Maemo client app, and they mostly need to synchronize data between different clients). So, what about having a simple HTTP server that you can start on your N900 and access from your computer's web browser to view and edit your MaePad checklists? The MaePadWeb application should, apparently, be available soon.