More Post-MeeGo Musing: Community Echoes

Ever since Intel’s MeeGo-cedes-to-Tizen announcement, I’ve been in a slightly unfocused state.  It’s familiar territory– when Maemo was set aside by Nokia for MeeGo, there was the same quandary: what now?  Better yet, what next?

After a little over two years of scant free time, I’m finally working normal hours.  So that liberates me for more community engagement, aka the stuff I really love.  It also frees me up to think.  But looking back on the past 5 years of support for open source projects with great promise but ultimate abandonment, I’m left to wonder what to target. 

I asked that question out loud not long ago and concluded that adding Windows Phone to my repertoire makes sense.  I already have the skills and connections.  But so does including Qt, and so I’ve been plunging into QML recently as I await the delivery of a Nokia WP phone for development.  I find that, in both cases, developer/enthusiast communities for both platforms are small and quiet in my area.  So I feel obligated to help build them up as I did for Maemo and MeeGo.

That last thought just makes me nostalgic for a time when inspiring those communities could be as simple as posting “Just wait until you see what’s next!” on a discussion forum or IRC chat.  The passion of Maemo and MeeGo advocates was undeniable.  Even their complaints betrayed high interest; most people who don’t really care about a product or project won’t give you much feedback.  They just leave.

I notice that the original Maemo community refuses to “just leave”.  At the very least, we lament on twitter the lost chances to see each other in person once or twice a year.  We hit each other up with connection requests on social media channels, as a friend did to me this morning, inspiring this post.

I’ve realized most of my true friends are nowhere close to my neighborhood.  They’re in Moscow and Tampere and Mexico City and New Delhi and Vancouver and Berlin and Beijing.  Sadly, one I’ll not see again.

Some in my former circles will do more than cling to contact via virtual means.  Many are already in Qt and I hope to encourage more to try the waters.  A few will venture into Windows Phone, especially Nokia Developer Champions transitioning from Symbian.  Others have or will find homes in other related ventures like KDE, Ubuntu, Mozilla, et al.  So odds are I’ll bump into some of them here or there.

What I’d really like to do, though, is form a consortium of sorts from all of these passionate, talented people.  Find or create some projects, like Maemo, that fire us up again and keep us strongly connected.  The opportunities are there; Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon haven’t solved every problem yet.

More than ever, creative solutions these days demand diversity of skills.  The landscape moves too fast, the darlings of industry overturned too often for people to successfully coagulate into homogenous, bureaucratic masses.  Those deeply embedded in the eroding status quo haven’t realized that yet.  But my old Maemo and MeeGo friends do.  They’re out there now, plowing new furrows in stale fields and causing wonderful disruption.  They’re fast refactoring MeeGo communities into new groups, some with new but related purpose.

Even with the so-called failures of Maemo and MeeGo, I’m proud of what the members accomplished.  I’m pleased to have been a part of those grand experiments.  And instead of bemoaning the outcomes, let’s refocus.  Retarget.  Identify and support initiatives that take from and extend the best parts of both.  Include rather than exclude.

Anyway, I’m not going anywhere.  I’m finding new focus.  I’ll see you all at Qt Project, in the Mer IRC channel, a local Windows Phone meetup or maybe some big conference somewhere.  Let’s stay in touch.  That’s what communities do.

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16 responses to “More Post-MeeGo Musing: Community Echoes

  1. He said “Windows Phone”!!!

  2. I think my focus is on devices, and there *is* a successor to the 770 which introduced me to this community; the N9.

    So, the N9 community’s where I’m at. That’s unfocused (and split without any real home), but it gives a tangible target for my QML hackery.

  3. Randall,
    The time I spent at Maemo.org was singularly enriched by your thoughts, prods, and enthusiasm. I would say I’ve missed that, but I’ve followed you here (and now elsewhere) instead. Enthusiasm has no boundaries of brand. Thoughts are universally applicable. And prods are always motivational in one way or another. While I was never truly a part of the community in the sense of going places and meeting people, the connection I have to it is and was embodied in your presence there – like any community leader you’re the conduit. Keep it up!
    S

  4. Thank you for a great post Randall. I have been pondering a smimilar question recently. But the Maemo Community was one to marval at! (I know i say was…. but what i mean is, in it’s hey ‘day’!) – I agree whole heartedly, the people really did make it…

    Anything that you and any people you mentioned put your heart and souls into, will surely be a success, and if not… a lot of fun, complaints, troll bashing and even some coding will be produced along the way.

    I look forward to see what will happen with regards to the N9/Meego future, as well as the MS side of things. (After all, that was my forte years ago)

    Gary would have also been proud of this post, i am sure (Even if it did lack any bacon!)

    Roll on whatever is next! :)

  5. Pingback: More Post-MeeGo Musing: Community Echoes | Tabula Crypticum | Maemo Meego

  6. Good post! You are right, some of old MeeGo people have found new ‘home’ in some other projects, started new OSS projects and regrouped activities under different umbrellas like Devaamo (http://devaamo.fi) or Qt. That is no surprise to me since the people involved are prone to stay on the move instead of looking back tears rolling down the cheek. Hope to see live some day again :) Until then, we can keep on chatting in #Mer channel.

  7. (nice post as usual). I have been visiting maemo.org for the last 2 years (since i bought n900), and I think even if we dont see maemo in a lot of devices that it should have powered, and even if the companies behind it have abandoned it, guys like you have been a great contribution to it, and the people that it brought together, and the time that was spent hacking over it, was a time well spent. And I think this is all that matters. Life is so short, we dont have to make sure that what we do goes on to live for hundreds of years, I think whatever we do, while it was done, and the ppl who got effected by it, if they all had a great time, then it was just all good. Thanks to you guys, lot of people learned a lot by just visiting maemo.org (like me), and I think as long as that passion is alive, great things will keep on happening :) … Long live #Mer <3

  8. When in doubt, mumble.

  9. Pingback: Microsoft + Nokia Babies: Hate at a Distance, Love Up Close | Tabula Crypticum

  10. Pingback: Microsoft + Nokia Babies: Hate at a Distance, Love Up Close | PHONE INFORMATION RAKUS.US

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