Tag Archives: maemo.org

MeeGo Limbo

Several people have asked me to put my thoughts down on Nokia’s new partnership with Microsoft.  Twitter just isn’t the place for it; several 140-characters-or-less postings were met with responses quite distant from where I was going.  I’ll try to say something useful and coherent– but keep in mind this will be an opinion piece.  Very personal.  And lengthy.

To understand my take on things you need to understand where I come from.  Six years ago I was perfectly happy without a cell phone.  I had no need for one, even despised and sometimes pitied people enslaved to them.  And smartphones?  I dismissed the idea entirely.  What would I do with a “computer in my palm”?  How smart could a phone be?   Continue reading

Developing the MeeGo community

A great deal of useful conversation during Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2010 (LFCS2010) earlier this year revolved around what a MeeGo community should look like.  There are of course numerous aspects to this but for now I want to focus on three only: what sort of constituency would best benefit MeeGo, how could the website structure reflect, support and encourage that constituency, and what might this mean for maemo.org.

It might be helpful for the reader to browse through threads under Community Matters at the MeeGo discussion forum, as I will be referring to points raised there.  However, that won’t be necessary for a high-level perspective.  Regardless, a community is actually taking shape so I think it’s time to discuss a few subjects.  Continue reading

Who’s Minding the Ovi Store?

Nokia has been proudly touting some impressive statistics of its Ovi store recently, and on the surface they do seem promising.  Given their global cell phone sales numbers, that shouldn’t be surprising.  Even though Nokia has hit a rough spot, the company still manages to crank out more devices per year than any competitor.

However, looking into the details exposes some disturbing aspects.

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An Open Letter to Nokia for 2010

Dear Nokia,

I’ve retreated a bit from cheerleading for you lately and in case there was any concern, I want to make something clear:

I still love you.

After all, we go back a long way.  In the 1990s when things looked rough at The Stanley Works (now Stanley Black and Decker) I looked around to identify other employment prospects just in case.  My research had been directing me to logistics and your US manufacturing/distribution facility in Fort Worth, Texas (now gone, sadly) quickly became a top candidate.  And when Stanley decided to cut our US operations to the bone in 2002, you were the first to which I eagerly applied.  I was encouraged that it was easy to talk to a human being in hiring departments, but discouraged that you cancelled opportunities almost as fast as you opened them… that’s how fast your business needs changed I found out.

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Will 2011 be make-or-break for Nokia?

As many know I was recently privileged to attend the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2010 in San Francisco, California.  After running out of juice trying to maintain community enthusiasm at maemo.org while simultaneously whipping it up for MeeGo, I was reinvigorated by the fresh energy permeating the conference.  Seeing old acquaintances again, finally greeting others in person for the first time and making new friends always helps… as did the endless talks at various pubs and eateries about MeeGo’s future.

One aspect that renewed my faith was that even though 2009 did not turn out to be the breakthrough for open source that I had hoped, it looks like 2010 is setting the stage for this to be the case in 2011.  For one, Nokia and Intel’s MeeGo venture strengthens the possibilities in my opinion.  True, proprietary solution drivers are hardening their positions more now than ever, setting the stage for an eventual showdown that’s long overdue– but I expect open source to ultimately prevail and allow us to move past that exhausting argument and into the next awaiting world.

But even with its 5-year Maemo (along with Moblin) legacy, MeeGo still represents a beginning of sorts, and it will indeed be 2011 at least before it truly bears fruit– especially if recent product launches are any example.  Meanwhile, what else will Nokia be doing to ensure its continued relevance?

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Input on a feedback ecosystem

I am about to plunge this often-erratic blog over a sharply-defined edge and into a sea of clear certainty.

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk feedback.

How many times have you been presented with a survey in which you were highly interested but failed to complete?

How often do you play a song you enjoy yet neglect to rate it?

How many software bugs have plagued your mobile device of choice and were not followed by reports sent to the developer(s)?

I think it’s safe to say that the one aspect of feedback that keeps our complaining (or praising) confined to unproductive quarters is the frequent disconnect between the usage and the feedback opportunity.  At least in my experience, far too often the feedback mechanisms are separated from the origin of their need, especially when that starts with a mobile device.  The greater the gap, the less likely we may be to take the step that can actually serve to prevent future aggravation.

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MeeGo and the N900 meet blogger irresponsibility

This morning got off to a roaring start, as a fast-filling thread plopped onto maemo.org seemed to have it from an authoritative source that there will not be a version of MeeGo to run on Nokia’s N900.  The fear, uncertainty and doubt spread like wildfire, naturally igniting the ideal 140-character vehicle for misunderstandings, Twitter.

It became obvious to me that the root problem was a misunderstanding by a CNET Asia blogger that was picked up by speed-readers and blown up into a noisy tornado of nonsense.

I’ll break this down for those interested.

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maemo.org council election Spring 2010

I’m going to take a brief break from the MeeGo cheerleading to rally support for a related and more immediate need: electing the next maemo.org community council.  The bad news is it means there’s gonna be a lecture… and it’s liable to stick to some readers.

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From Maemo to MeeGo, now where do WE go?

This morning’s stunning announcement that Nokia’s Linux-based Maemo mobile operating system would merge with Intel’s Moblin to form MeeGo was met with a wild variety of reactions, none of them meek.

Natural fear and anxiety from many of those with longstanding and deep roots into Maemo were countered by fist-pumping exuberance from those new to the ecosystem and encouraged by what possibilities this merger might portend.

I’m excited, too, although that includes anxiety of my own.  As many readers know by now, I’ve been working hard on some maemo.org community initiatives lately, mainly outreach and event coordination.  I’d put a lot of time and even money into the effort.  Of course, this was entirely on my initiative so I’m not looking to recover anything… rather, just expressing a little regret that some really nice materials (and thanks to the maemo.org community for the guidance there) are now going into the trash.

Some have expressed the fear that such a fate awaits maemo.org in toto, but despite my own personal concerns I’m trying to stay optimistic.  That includes already registering for the 2010 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, creating an account at MeeGo.com and preparing to reach out to MeeGo’s Technical Steering group.

While some of my own recent work has been rendered pointless, there are some projects I’m championing that may well carry over.  Chief among them are an effort to bring bug reporting to handheld devices and a better means of brainstorming virtually.  More on those later.  In addition, there appear to be gaps in the MeeGo structure that maemo.org best practices driven by spirited members can help fill.

The last sentences touches on the main gap: community.  Currently Moblin is very developer-centric and this has carried over to the initial MeeGo site.  Missing is the heavy focus on users so deeply ingrained in the maemo.org culture.  Many Maemo developers started as people interested in the product and lacking the background to immediately jump into coding for the Nokia devices– yet maemo.org’s rich support network and history of user growth facilitation have enabled many, many people to quickly expand their skill sets and contribute in ways some never imagined.  Can we integrate that can-do culture into MeeGo?  Well, I know many who will certainly try!

There’s also some trepidation over the fact that MeeGo was launched on a .com instead of .org.  I’m trying not to read too much into that just yet.  It could simply turn out to be a semantics issue, although some purists will argue the point.

I had several articles oriented around maemo.org staged for upcoming publication, and now I have to revisit everything I’ve been doing.  But rest assured that if I’m so empowered I will continue as I have been and add a healthy transition to MeeGo to my goals.  To that end, I will be running for maemo.org council re-election and humbly ask for your vote.

Let’s put worries behind us and rise to the challenge!  If we don’t, who will?

maemo.org growing pains

Nokia’s launch last year of the N900 mobile computer introduced a bit of disruption to their normal business model.  The ripple effect naturally propagated down to the lowest levels and had a huge impact on the semi-independent community, maemo.org.

Before subjecting you to an epic article, I want to point out that change was anticipated, but have to admit with some embarassment that when talk of adding cellular capability to Maemo devices gained traction, I was one of those naive souls downplaying the potential impact.  I assumed two things, both unfortunately proven incorrect:

  1. the consumer cost of a phone-capable tablet would be fairly low
  2. Nokia would platform the product and continue offering “slate” form factors with no cell phone embedded along with cell-enabled models

But others more prescient grasped very early that even if either or both of these played out (which they sadly didn’t), adding that GSM/UMTS radio introduced the devices to a largely different demographic… one that could significantly shift the priorities of maemo.org.

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