Open letter of support for Python on the Maemo/MeeGo platform

2010-08-04 16:04 UTC by Attila Csipa

After receiving feedback from the community, including developers who are trying to get their software into Ovi Store, it is the opinion of the Council that the unexplained restriction on dependencies between Ovi and Extras - and in particular the availability of Python as a platform for Ovi Store applications - represents a serious threat to the success of Maemo, MeeGo and Ovi Store.


It will come as a surprise for many community members and users that Python is still not an officially supported language/runtime on the Maemo nor MeeGo platforms, despite the huge number of  Python applications currently in Extras, and even though they base on the work of Nokia's own PyMaemo team, plus two Qt bindings and a GTK+/Hildon one. To put things in perspective, about a third of ALL stable Maemo applications are written in Python, both overall and those using Qt.

The community level support means Python itself is located in community repositories, and, as a consequence, Python software is not admissible to Ovi (regardless of being free or not). Highlighting this is part of a broader agenda - ensuring cooperation between libraries and runtimes used by Ovi-distributed software and software in community repositories, but the first step towards that is addressing the single biggest such case - Python.

If there are technical issues which need to be addressed, let's discuss them in the open and try and solve them; if there are purely political issues, we strongly urge Nokia to reconsider.

Maemo Community Council


Thomas Perl
Karma: 2668

@Andrea Costantini: "Python is not battery friendly" is simply not true. You can write a perfect "battery-friendly" (i.e. no unnecessary wake-ups in the background) app in Python, and you can write a battery-hogging app in C/C++. And with bindings like PyGTK/PySide/PyQt, most of the hard work is still done in low-level C/C++ code - Python just works as glue code there.

UI apps are more I/O-bound (waiting for user input) than CPU-bound (number crunching/processing). And most mobile apps consist of mostly UI code, with the number crunching done in libraries that are written in lower-level languages, anyway.

What Python does is that it allows for more efficient programming, readable code and quicker application development. Programmer time is usually more expensive than CPU time nowadays.

Using Python is usually just a constant factor worse than C. The problem lies with algorithms - these can be re-written to be more efficient.

If you (as a user) don't want to use Python apps, you don't have to install them. But please give the developers a chance to develop in Python and publish their apps in the default distribution channel.

2010-08-05 12:53 UTC

May be because Python is not battery friendly ?

As a Python fan I understand that for a developer it is very useful for developing applications in a fast and confortable way and having it on Maemo is wonderful. But Python is not the ideal language for using it on a phone, especially for application that must run for much time. Surely there are many ways to lower cpu usage of Python applications, I'm not an expert and I don't know how it can and should be done but this may be the crucial point to be addressed for use it officially.

As last thougth, my N900 with low usage last about 4 days, and with moderate usage it last 2 days. But many users complain less than 12 hours, may be it's due to some python background applications?

2010-08-05 07:39 UTC


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