In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • State of Maemo, Q1 2011 from the Community Council
    • Alpha release of Qt for Android
  2. Applications
    • Putting stats on N900 lock screen
  3. Development
    • Hildon UI on MeeGo core
    • Core MeeGo OBS is now open for anonymous read-access
    • Qt: "superior technology"
    • How to build a "cover flow" widget in QML
  4. Community
    • Nokia <-> MeeGo community communication thread
    • Nokia's Quim Gil doesn't expect funding to be immediately affected
    • Community: Proposal for ", a MeeGo R&D project" branding
  5. Devices
    • Hands on with the ExoPC running Intel's MeeGo Tablet UX
  6. In the Wild
    • Angry Birds now on MeeGo
    • Nokia CTO, Rich Green, talks about the future of MeeGo & Qt
    • Analysis of Nokia's fortunes (or lack thereof) following the Elopocalypse
    • More insight into Alien Dalvik, allowing Android apps to run on Maemo
  7. Announcements
    • QuickFlickr now available for Maemo and N900
    • gPodder bug fixes in latest release
    • KhtEditor 0.0.17 now available

Front Page

State of Maemo, Q1 2011 from the Community Council

The Maemo community's fifth council will soon be stepping down and the sixth (for March - September 2011) will be elected. Tim Samoff, chair of the outgoing Maemo Community Council, has started wrapping up the current term whilst summarising the opportunities and challenges facing the Maemo community: In conclusion, the Council would like to thank you, the Maemo Community, developers, end-users, and Nokia employees alike, for helping to make this a fun ride. Our hope is that the ride isn’t over yet, but it’s up to us to begin to think about providing the fuel. Many exciting developments are still in store for Maemo, so lets not sit back and wait for a supposed end. There are already many dedicated community members who have made the Maemo Community a success. If you’ve never contributed before, think about how you can help: report bugs, edit the wiki, and take part in the Talk forums… Likewise, we’re quickly approaching the next Community Council elections, so please consider your role in Maemo and how you might contribute in a more (or less) “official” role (yes, many of us still think the Council is an integral component to sustaining the Maemo Community). Our community is not ready to die, so be one of the people who provide life to an organism that thrives on personal involvement. The road ahead is likely to be a tough one for users of open mobile devices, as the alternative offerings available in the market to Maemo and MeeGo are limited (or nonexistent). The Nokia announcement, far from obsoleting and the Maemo Community, has, perhaps, greatly increased both its current and future importance. A large number of N900 owners, lacking reasonable alternatives, are likely to rely on their existing device for a much longer period of time and will need to be there to support them.

Alpha release of Qt for Android

In an announcement which may be as important to the future of Qt as the one from Stephen Elop, BogDan Vatra has released a user-, and developer-, friendly (albeit buggy) implementation of Qt for Android: I had a dream that one day, I'll be able to deploy existing Qt software on any Android platform. I had a dream that one day, all Qt applications will use system wide shared Qt libraries. I had a dream that one day, all Qt applications once compiled and deployed to one android platform, will run on any other newer android platform and will last for years without any recompilation. I had a dream that one day, I'll be able to create, manage, compile


Putting stats on N900 lock screen

The N900's lock status screen offers a lot of options for displaying information, but not many developers have leveraged it. Talk user "generationally" has put together a script to display his statistics as the background image for the lock screen: I took away the 'swipe to unlock' text and the slider graphic. I then created a script containing wget and ImageMagick commands to download my Last Fm statistics as a transparent png image and overlay the image on the green background. The script then copies the final image to the 'backgrounds' folder of my theme. I use Alarmed to automatically do this once a day. So whenever the phone is locked and I press the power button, I get to see my latest Last Fm statistics.


Hildon UI on MeeGo core

An interesting idea for continuity for came from Carsten Munk: provide a Hildon UI on top of MeeGo core for Maemo users. Tomasz Sterna has started working on cloning the Fremantle UI on top of MeeGo core. Their M0 milestone now has the following status: We need hildon-desktop and its dependencies to be able to be built for MeeGo. They should be installable from the MeeGo repo by anyone. Done, thanks to Smoku, as of 2011 february 15 As part of the "Cordia" project, progress is continuing.

Core MeeGo OBS is now open for anonymous read-access

Anas Nashif has announced that the OBS instance used to build MeeGo is now available for read-only access so that developers can see how the core packages are put together, and monitor their builds directly: It took a while but now it is finally open. Go to and take a look.Now you can browse the projects and packages and see what is going on in the build service. Thank you for the patience and have fun browsing through the MeeGo content. This sits alongside the Community OBS, managed by Niels Breet and David Greaves.

Qt: "superior technology"

Kaj Grönholm puts together a demo, on top of QML & Qt's scene graph rendering engine, as to why he believes Qt is a superior technology (for users and developers) compared with Microsoft's Silverlight: I decided not to blog anything right after Nokia & Microsoft deal was published. And I'm glad about that, because I have now reached the state where I'm actually excited again! Volker Hilsheimer made a very good summary about the situation from Qt perspective. Instead of going deep into politics and sales speeches, I decided to approach this from a technical perspective. Keeping things simple and concrete, here's one example UI implemented in few hours with Qt Quick & QML Scene Graph.

Please spend a bit time looking at what is really happening in there: wave, colorize, fading, water, text highlight... This is ~300 lines of QML + GLSL, performing smoothly on good ol' N900 hardware. Same can not be done using WP7 Silverlight & XAML, period.

How to build a "cover flow" widget in QML

A new page on the Forum Nokia wiki, by Alessandro La Rosa, guides developers through the process of building a "cover flow" component in Qt Quick: A CoverFlow component is composed of multiple items placed on a (typically straight) path, with variable size and angle depending on their position on the path itself. Specifically: items closer to the path center are bigger in size, and with angle closer to zero; items closer to the path boundaries are smaller in size, and the item face is oriented towards the path center.


Nokia <-> MeeGo community communication thread

In order to help dispell some of the FUD surrounding the recent news, Quim Gil has started a new topic on the MeeGo community forum to facilitate communication about the changes: I thought it would be useful to have this thread as a channel of communication between Nokia employees working in the MeeGo project and the MeeGo community. This way we can have a useful dialog in the grey area between Nokia official announcements (in Nokia contexts or in by Valtteri Halla) and pure MeeGo project discussions (at meego-community or other MeeGo channels). The thread covers Nokia's MeeGo teams continued effort to ship the Harmattan device and the scope and delivery of MeeGo-Harmattan, amongst other items.

Nokia's Quim Gil doesn't expect funding to be immediately affected provides a wide range of complex services (repositories, a forum, a wiki, bugzilla, social news, etc.) for owners of Maemo devices. The infrastructure for these services is complex and likely expensive (particularly the global caching network for the repositories). The aftershocks from the Elopocalypse have caused many to wonder what's status will be in Nokia's future, as its focal platform is already twice the loser for Nokia's affections. Although Quim Gil doesn't have any concrete information on the issue (few people outside of Nokia's upper management do), he has this to say: Honestly, I don't expect the budget to be just cut off from one day to another without any option to have a transition. Then again, that budget comes from the MeeGo R&D team at Nokia, and you have heard that there is an ongoing optimization of R&D resources, so who knows. If I'm being asked, I think my best recommendation (read compromise proposed) will be to keep the funding 6 months in order to give the community time to react without panic. Contingency plans (including donation- or ad-supported site funding) are under discussion if Nokia does decide to pull the plug.

Community: Proposal for "<X>, a MeeGo R&D project" branding

Carsten Munk has proposed a new variation of use for the "MeeGo" trademark; to allow use for projects which might not yet be ready, but are intended to complement MeeGo: The current MeeGo compliance program only deals with final products and does contain any policy dealing with in-progress projects. This harms development in the open that would otherwise be motivated by the MeeGo project.

The idea of this proposal is to establish an allowed use of the MeeGo trademark for typical public R&D purposes while still maintaining an indicated connection to the MeeGo project.

It is understood that at the same time it should be made it clear to a user that a compliant MeeGo experience is not to be expected. This would apply both to commercial and to community driven projects. Examples given for uses include community adaptation projects such as those to Android devices. If successful, it could even extend to "core contributors" R&D efforts, such as Intel's Tablet UX.


Hands on with the ExoPC running Intel's MeeGo Tablet UX

MeeGoExperts has an overview of the ExoPC with MeeGo-based user interface: The MeeGo Tablet User Interface (UI) is different to most Tablet manufacturers as it does not have a wall of icons or widgets, but alternatively has a series of Panes. Each Panes can be assigned a particular category such as Photos / Video / Music / Twitter etc. We can see these also being used for additional business functionality such as Email and Calendar as well as other social networking clients. The video shows a chunky, albeit unpolished, user interface which responds rapidly and fluidly to Ash's interactions. However, the size of the elements on a high-resolution, 10" screen may seem a bit too "big" for most users.

In the Wild

Angry Birds now on MeeGo

Rovio's "Angry Birds", one of the most popular games on the N900 and many other platforms, is being ported to MeeGo: I guess its no surprise right? Angry Birds are everywhere and Meego is not missing out on the action. Video later but for the proof, see the images. It works well. Hey, someone needs to test it! Those with IdeaPads from the MeeGo Conference should not get their hopes up: it is currently in private testing, presumably within Intel's AppUp store.

Nokia CTO, Rich Green, talks about the future of MeeGo & Qt

In three separate videos (each around seventy seconds long), Nokia Conversations caught up with Nokia’s CTO Rick Green at this years Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona and asked him about the future of Symbian, MeeGo and Qt, as you all know a radical change is coming to Nokia’s strategy soon with the announcement of the new partnership with Microsoft, on Friday. A partnership that has been leaving Symbian and MeeGo users and developers alike with mixed feelings as to the future of these two OS’s. Green describes the MeeGo device as "beautiful", with "powerful" software.

Analysis of Nokia's fortunes (or lack thereof) following the Elopocalypse

Former Nokia stakeholder, and outspoken blogger/analyst (blanalyst?), Tomi T. Ahonen has posted an essay on his analysis of Nokia's future fortunes in light of the Microsoft deal. He predicts it will not be an easy ride for Nokia, and things will get worse before they even start to get better: Even Nokia's CEO says this will be a difficult year of adjusting to the new world, for Nokia. I have tried to think what all will be impacted and how. This is a VERY long article, detailed, mostly of the Nokia side to the equation. I will examine dumbphones and smartphones and networks. I will examine customers, sales reps, app stores, operating systems, the developers and the ecosystem. I will examine costs, revenues, average sales prices and profits. And market shares. And I will give a view into 2011 and 2012 for the Microkia Nokisoft partnership. It cannot be a short analysis, the issues are so complex. It also cannot be superficial. So be warned. This blog article is one of the longest I've written, it runs well in excess of 10,000 words. And I know not all will want to read through it all. So let me give you the top-line view here. This is how I see the Nokia smartphone market shares, average sales prices and revenues develop in this year 2011. Although some disagree with his analysis, or dismiss him as "yet another analyst" (or worse, "just another blogger"), it is still an interesting article for anyone interested in the business effects of the Nokia Board's decision.

More insight into Alien Dalvik, allowing Android apps to run on Maemo

OSNews reports more on the background of Alien Dalvik, mentioned here previously, and the fact that Myriad's CTO was one of the main developers for BeOS: These days, Benoit Schillings does something else entirely: he's currently the chief technology officer at Myriad, where he and his team is working on Alien Dalvik. Now that I know he's the one leading this team, I know for sure we've got something special here. [...] Let's start with a bit of news that should make the boatloads of Qt fans around here very happy: it is coded using Qt (not s surprise considering Schillings worked at Trolltech), in an entirely portable fashion. While they're focussing on Maemo on the N900 right now, you should eventually be able to run this on Symbian as well, and possibly wherever else Qt runs. The article goes on to expand on Myriad's business plan, with the suggestion that the technology will be aimed at manufacturers and OEMs. What the impact is for N900 users, where it isn't an active business target for the manufacturer, is still unclear.


QuickFlickr now available for Maemo and N900

Marko Mattila and d-pointer have pushed QuickFlickr to Extras-devel: After a long time, we decided to release a new QuickFlickr version for N900 too. It’s available at Maemo Extras-devel repository. We have also received some feedback about the “black screen” issue on Symbian^3 devices. Now that problem is fixed. There are slight differences in the UI depending on which platform QuickFlickr is being ran. This is also something that we will work on later, but before that, here’s the video how our app runs on different devices. QuickFlickr is available in Extras-devel, so the usual caveats - about updating other software whilst having the repo enabled - apply.

gPodder bug fixes in latest release

Thomas Perl brings us another gPodder update: Your monthly load of gPodder release goodness has arrived! The 2.x branch of gPodder is for bugfixes and small enhancements, while the "innovation" happens in the "tres" branch in our Git repository. It is recommended for all gPodder users to upgrade to 2.13 to get the best compatibility with podcast feeds and the latest fixes. Here's a summary of the changes: Handle failed feed updates in "gpo", fix encoding issue in minidb, fix broken YouTube search, OPML Export for Maemo 5, always show "Check for updates" on Maemo 5, fix problems with MAFW position tracking, option: Auto-download when on Wi-Fi, various fixes to the Maemo 5 UI ("Copy" in shownotes, icon refresh), updated translations: Norwegian Bokmål and German. The latest stable gPodder release is available from Extras, so upgrade at your will.

KhtEditor 0.0.17 now available

Benoît HERVIER has announced a new release of his programmer's text editor; this version optimises import by avoiding * import, switch to new signal style, and fix a bug in autoindent, and so will use less memory than previous version. I've also fixed support for launching qmlviewer, and added a plugin nammed “QClassList” which try to generate import of QtClass by parsing the source code. It is available in Extras-devel, so please be careful not to update any other packages whilst the repo is enabled.