In a tremendous show of trust and good faith, Nokia’s Maemo team has invited certain maemo.org community members to test pre-release Maemo firmware designed for the Nokia N900.
Currently being without an N900 means I have to sadly decline the invitation to participate, and I’m only mentioning this to the world at large to demonstrate proof of the slow-but-steady progress of Maemo toward increased openness.
Prospective participants are largely being culled from community members exhibiting a strong history of bug reporting, analysis and feedback. Like the 300-or-so recipients of N900s at Maemo Summit 2009 in Amsterdam, they are not being asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) but instead are being trusted by the Maemo team to employ discretion while testing the firmware.
This is profound, folks.
As a former employee who lobbied over a year ago for this very thing, I’m excited to see it come to be even as I’m disappointed that I can’t play along. Still, the gesture itself is what’s truly important here, and I hope participants oblige the responsibility placed upon them. This move could portend more to come if it turns out right.
There will likely still be those critics who think Nokia will never go fast and far enough, but in my opinion they would be missing the important picture here. Increased openness in testing and broadening the tester base potentially means a better operating system and applications for everyone. Here’s hoping this is just the start of a ramped-up “release early, release often” philosophy from Maemo.