Maemo rubber hits the road

I just got back from the Maemo Developer event held in Santa Clara, California December 3 and 4.  The tenor was more about developer outreach than training but that was not a bad thing at all– sessions like these are needed to cultivate interest, especially amongst commercial contributors.

The trip was made all the more… well, exciting for me because everything was last minute.  I did not know for sure I would be attending until a week or so before, then received three day notice I would be presenting on behalf of the community.  Halfway there on the plane it became clear to me (thanks to GoGo wifi and Ovi mail) after a couple of exchanges with Maemo folks that the event’s main audience would come from the business side of the software world, which meant more changes to my presentation.  By the time I got done there was so much text on the slides I tripped myself up trying to read it!

Ah, the benefit of time to practice…😉

If it sounds like I am complaining then banish the thought.  The important part is that a simple community guy like myself was asked to present our slice of the Maemo pie to an audience that might otherwise have limited their incursion to Forum Nokia.

Not that Forum Nokia is in the way– indeed, their representatives made me aware that they are willing to support us in any way they are able, and that they understand the issues we face (such as “who manages what document and where”) as a homegrown open source community.  And the Forum itself is very rich with a long tradition of great support from Nokia.  Of course we will continue to be faced with discussions around Forum Nokia vs maemo.org for entry points, resource management, etc… but such debates need not be contentious as long as we find common goals.

Along those lines, one concern has been over commercial developers acting solely as resource consumers: drawing down open source, developing custom code advances in-house and then failing to push relevant ones upstream.  This can be mitigated by first ensuring that commercial developers understand how to play in this hybrid space, and by also making it clear that they run the risk of breaking their own code when the open source community makes strong changes at the SDK headwaters.  There will of course be those times when some downstream-developed code is deemed proprietary and we will just have to sort that out as it comes.

As to the event itself, here are some specific takeaways (also posted in my usual thread at talk.maemo.org):

  • Nokia understands the concerns expressed by individual contributors who want to find success in Ovi Store. No fine details to reveal at this time but be encouraged by the fact that they are listening! New member code177 expressed gratitude at the chance to get his needs in front of people willing to listen. He is also appreciated for volunteering to be the lightning rod here.😉
  • Nokia is receptive to the “gotchas” that have been hot topics in talk.maemo.org. Particularly, support for feedback, donationware and app testing functionality on the device. After some really stimulating discussion I corralled the ideas into what I think is an actionable plan to accomodate these wants and needs. More on that soon in Brainstorm and on my blog (so subscribe to the latter!).
  • I was particularly relieved and excited to hear Forum Nokia’s support for local events in the US. Details need to be hashed out but I feel now that the push for this is no longer stalled. As with most things, it was simply a matter of navigating the Nokia matrix and connecting with the right facilitator! So I will begin a little recon work and report back when some plans are formed.

There are chicken-and-egg scenarios at play here; getting funding for local community outreach can be problematic if there’s no known area interest, but generating the interest is difficult without funded events.  I will be preparing surveys to be deployed at related gatherings (Linux user groups, Python developer groups, et al) to gauge potential interest and then provide this data to the appropriate Maemo people for consideration.  The good news is that I know who they are now, they appear genuinely receptive, and the platform momentum is favoring us.

So let’s get it in gear and go!

3 responses to “Maemo rubber hits the road

  1. Pingback: Chickens, eggs and N900s « Tabula Crypticum

  2. Pingback: Maemo community outreach: Dallas open source Saturday | Maemo Nokia N900

  3. Pingback: An Open Letter to Nokia for 2010 « Tabula Crypticum

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