As many readers already know, I tried to get local Maemo meetups going around a year or so ago, using the Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas, US) area as a prototype.. Just as the effort began gaining traction, the MeeGo announcement put an unwitting crimp in those activities. So I was excited and relieved when the MeeGo community finally reached the critical mass necessary for local enthusiast groups.
Forum Nokia‘s Jeffrey Cooper was gracious enough to host our first meetup at the Nokia Irving building (near Dallas). The site is ideal location-wise, as it’s easy to reach from just about anywhere in the area.
The room had all the amenities we required and in fact was ideal from a layout perspective: rather than an auditorium, it was a large open space filled with long tables perfect for seating, displays, demos and refreshments. We could have held easily three times the 13 who showed up (out of ~20 who had indicated they would attend, and ~40 in the group total).
Jeff was a very personable host and got things rolling with a high level introduction to Qt development. I then described the MeeGo community and the experience at MeeGo Conference 2010 (my talk ran a bit over). I also had a lineup of legacy Maemo devices (770, N800, N810) and the MeeGo-powered Lenovo ideapad S10-3t (provided by Intel at the conference) on display. Texas Iinstruments’ Nishanth Menon wrapped up presentations with a really cool talk on getting MeeGo to run on the new OMAP4 Pandaboard. Their approach of splitting the development team in two (half focused on upstream code committal, half on rapid prototyping to demonstrate results for the business) looked like a very practical solution to commercial open source projects.
At thirteen, attendance was about half the number who said they were coming, which was not unusual. We had a diverse audience which makes for interesting discussion.
I brought snacks but not many seemed hungry. It would be good to get feedback on attendees’ expectations there, especially since a possible restaurant venue has been proposed.
The meeting ran one hour over but most stayed that long to socialize. One benefit of these gatherings that I can’t stress enough is the opportunity for unemployed members to present their skills and interests, and for members with opportunities to share them.
Overall I believe the meetup went well, with very minor hiccups to be expected in a first meeting. Speaking of feedback:
“Excellent. The speakers and members shared lot of their knowledge and it helped me. Appreciate everybody and Texrat for taking time to organize meeting. I also signed up for qt training. I would not have known if I did not attend it.”
“It was a good kickoff for the local chapter. I enjoyed seeing the Meego Ideapad and the Panda board. There is great potential and I hope we can keep up the energy and build on it.”
“Not many members but they seem to have Enthusiasm about MeeGo / Linux. They can bring more people and more information to share together.”
…not bad for the first one!
Fliers and other promotional materials are currently under development. We’re also working on college outreach and could use help making contacts– efforts so far have come up empty.
I’ll plan on presenting updates at every gathering, but I’m hoping more members will showcase their work and interests as Nishanth did. I am looking forward to suggestions from members on future topics! Same for venues, guests and related activities. It would be nice to even have an occasional product giveaway. On that latter note, TI’s Jayabharath Goluguri informed us that a few Pandaboards would be made available, free, to contributors with noteworthy proposals. We’re excited at the prospect and used this offer to get the MeeGo Community Device Program moving forward again. More on that as things develop!
(Disclaimer: I was the coordinator of this event)