Planet maemo: category "feed:7fcfc1509bab9a1434b50b0bcec19a0c"

Alberto Garcia

Remapping the N900 arrow keys

2009-12-17 13:28 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

Here’s a tip for those of you using an N900 with an English keyboard.

For those who don’t know it, this is how arrow keys are arranged in (some) non-English layouts:

N900 keyboard

Compare to the English layout:

N900 keyboard

My N900 has an English keyboard, and I like it because I use the X terminal a lot so having separate keys for the arrows is good.

However I miss the accents (in particular ‘ and ~) as I usually write in Portuguese and Spanish, and using the additional on-screen keyboard is not that convenient for a Jabber conversation.

Fortunately, arrow keys can be re-mapped to add extra symbols by editing this file:


Just go to the end of the file and replace the ‘arrows_4btns‘ entry with this:

xkb_symbols "arrows_4btns" {
key <UP> { type[Group1] = "PC_FN_LEVEL2", symbols[Group1] = [ Up, dead_circumflex ] };
key <LEFT> { type[Group1] = "PC_FN_LEVEL2", symbols[Group1] = [ Left, dead_acute ] };
key <DOWN> { type[Group1] = "PC_FN_LEVEL2", symbols[Group1] = [ Down, dead_tilde ] };
key <RGHT> { type[Group1] = "PC_FN_LEVEL2", symbols[Group1] = [ Right, dead_grave ] };

With this, Fn+Up/Down/Left/Right will produce a dead circumflex/tilde/acute accent/grave accent.

If you want these changes to take effect immediately just type ‘setxkbmap us‘.

Hope you find it useful.

Update 19 Dec 2009. Since some people have asked: of course even if you only write in English or another language that doesn’t need accents, you can still add useful symbols to the arrow keys such as ‘|‘, ‘<‘ or ‘>‘. You can use any of these keyboard layouts as an example. See also this thread and this other one.

Update 10 Jan 2010. The information on this post is now (in expanded form) in the Maemo wiki.

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Vagalume 0.8 has just been released. This is the first version to come with support for and the Nokia N900.

Here’s how it looks (click to enlarge):

Vagalume on a Nokia N900

We also have a new logo designed by Otto Krüja:

Vagalume logo

Many things have changed since the previous version. These are some of the highlights (read the full list here):

  • Implemented the Web Services API v2.0
  • Support for and other services
  • Support for Maemo 5 (Nokia N900)
  • New logo and other UI changes
  • Sleep timer (i.e. stop playback after X minutes)
  • New configuration setting to download free tracks automatically

If you are interested in or the support for multiple servers you should read the Vagalume FAQ.

Very important for N900 users: as you may already know, does not allow streaming music to mobile phones. If you are user and you have a Nokia N900 then you should really read the FAQ (and also this post).

N900 users will also notice that the UI hasn’t been completely adapted to the Maemo 5 style. That is going to happen soon, but since I didn’t want to delay this release even more, this version uses the classic UI.

A Moblin version is also in the works. Expect a release soon.

Updated 15 Dec 2009: Some users are experiencing connection problems after upgrading to Vagalume 0.8. This problem has already been fixed, so expect a new version soon.

Updated 16 Dec 2009: I’ve just released Vagalume 0.8.1 with the aforementioned fix (see changes here).

Updated 21 Dec 2009: And Vagalume 0.8.2 is out, with one more fix for another connection problem (see changes here).

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Amost ready for the next Vagalume release

2009-11-30 15:20 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

Now that the N900 is (almost) here, many people ask me if I’m going to release a new version of Vagalume for Maemo 5.

Progress in Vagalume has been very slow this year, partly because of all the work we’ve been doing in Hildon Widgets.

Fortunately, the next Vagalume release will be out very soon. And yes, I know I had already said back in May that it would only take a few weeks, but this time it’s true ;-) This version is already working (you can grab the code from the GIT repository and compile it) and here’s a screenshot to prove it (click to enlarge):

Vagalume running on a Nokia N900

And, as I promised back in May, this time it comes with support for

On another note, this weekend I’m flying to Barcelona for the Maemo-Barcelona Long Weekend.

Maemo-Barcelona Long Weekend

I’ll talk about GTK and the Maemo 5 UI, and my fellow Igalian Felipe will also be there, explaining how to port GNOME applications to Maemo.

In principle all training sessions are going to be in Spanish, but we’ll be around the whole weekend in case you want to talk to us.

You can see the agenda for the weekend here.

And that’s it for the moment. See you in Barcelona!

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Out in the street

2009-10-05 10:28 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

We don’t see many products running an OS based on Linux and GNOME advertised on bus stops around here, but look at this one … :-)
Nokia N900

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

With all the fuss that’s going on around the announcement of the Nokia N900, I honestly didn’t want to write yet another post about it.

But I can’t resist :-)

I’m not going to talk about its features or its specs. I just want to say that it’s really exciting for me to see the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones releasing a high-end handset with a GNU/Linux-based operating system.

I think that this is a great milestone for the free software movement as a whole, because none of this could have been possible without all the work that Linux, GNOME, Debian and other projects have been doing before this.

Being part of the N900 team, of course I want this new device to hit the big time; but what I really want to see is not just the success of this particular model, but the proof that free software has entered the mobile phone market to stay. For good.

Let’s make it happen.

Did I say I’m excited? :-)

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Back from Gran Canaria

2009-07-14 01:40 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

So many things happened during the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit that it’s impossible to summarize them all, but here’s a list of the ones that come to my mind now:

  • Alfredo Kraus auditorium is a great venue, and its location couldn’t be better.
  • The University was less spectacular, but from a functional point of view I think it was more suited to this kind of conference than the auditorium (to begin with, Internet connection worked better). Its main problems: distance to the city center and lack of places to have lunch.
  • When Jos van den Oever said: we not only share specifications, we also share code, and everyone in the room started to applaud.
  • Despite that, and at least for me due to the packed schedule, I couldn’t attend any of the KDE talks. I don’t know if other people had the same feeling, but I left Gran Canaria a bit skeptical about the actual usefulness of having both conferences together.
  • All keynotes were good.
  • Moblin 2 looks promising.
  • GNOME Shell, Zeitgeist, Clutter, WebkitGTK+, client side windows.
  • The hacking sessions at the hotel lobby.
  • Nokia’s announcement that Maemo will switch away from GTK+. While this is a complex decision with a lot of causes (probably some of them political and some of them technical), I think it’s fair to say that this is (at least party) a failure of GNOME/GTK+, and deserves some debate inside the GNOME community.
  • Few women giving talks. I hope there comes a day when the number of women in free software conferences is not a matter of mention.
  • The weather was too hot for me (although at night it was fantastic).
  • The beach at night.
  • Canarian food at the dinner with the GNOME Hispano team.
  • Fernando and Xan’s GNOME 1, 2, 3 show.
  • The GNOME band.
  • Kimmo using a whiteboard for his talk.
Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Ready for the Desktop Summit

2009-06-25 01:27 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

Following our traditions, last Tuesday we had a very big party on the beach where we set everything on fire (this pic is not from this year, though).

Bonfires of Saint John, Corunha

That means one thing: Summer is finally here!

That also means that in less than 10 days I’m flying to Gran Canaria, along with many other Igalians, for the Desktop Summit. We have a few talks there this year, I’ll give two: an introduction to the new Hildon 2.2 and a Git workshop (this one at the Spanish GUADEC).

I’ve already been to Gran Canaria once some years ago, and I keep very good memories of that trip. The island is not very big and has some amazing landscapes, specially in the central part. The Maspalomas Dunes in the south are worth a visit too (a trip is being arranged by the organisation, see here, and hurry up if you’re interested), although that part of the island is full of hotels and I didn’t find it particularly beautiful.

I was in Las Palmas for less than a day and I remember it as a nice city. I think it’s going to be a great place for the Summit. I’m looking forward to seeing many people that I haven’t seen for a long time, and I hope that grouping together the GNOME and KDE teams in the same place for such an important event bears fruit sooner or later.

See you in Gran Canaria!

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Coming soon to your screens …

2009-05-19 22:17 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

Now that is restricted in most countries, the obvious alternative (already discussed in previous posts) was to start offering support for similar services for people that cannot / don’t want to use anymore.

So here is Vagalume with support for

Vagalume using the radio

(this is not ready yet, but expect a new release in a few days/weeks)

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

The Maemo 5 Beta SDK has just been released. Apart from the many changes introduced since the alpha release, one important milestone is that from now on the development of Hildon and Modest will be open and hosted at the Maemo Garage in a public Git repository.

For Hildon we now have a development mailing list where you can talk to us, make suggestions, contribute, complain or simply follow the progress of this project.

I’d like to thank Nokia for having taken yet another step towards openness, and of course all the people who have been supporting Maemo, using it, spreading it, developing for it and reporting bugs.

Let’s make Maemo 5 a success!

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia is no longer free

2009-04-23 10:44 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

Yesterday announced that from now on users will need a subscriber account in order to listen to their radio streams. The new API for streaming music has also been published.

I already talked about this change in my previous post and I think that I don’t have much more to add.

For those of you who are going to keep using I updated Vagalume yesterday and it’s already using the new API. I’ll try to test it more thoroughly during these days and release a new version soon.

I’m also interested in adding support for other compatible alternatives such as

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

Yesterday announced important changes in their radio streaming service.

The most obvious one is that from now on users will have to pay a monthly fee of €3.00 to continue using their radio stations (except in Germany, the USA and the UK, where the service will remain free).

This is sad news for all users (and music lovers in general) as it appears to be a consequence of the licensing agreements that has with labels and the royalties they have to pay on streaming music (this article from last month gives some details on this).

Besides this, a post in one of the forums adds a couple of things:

  1. The old API to stream music will disappear in a few weeks. Unless I’m missing something, that implies that all clients (official and third party) will stop working, and upgrading them is required to continue using the service.
  2. Streaming music to mobile phones will not be permitted (a comment in the same thread explains that this restriction applies only to phones, so Nokia tablets are not affected).

The new API and its details haven’t been published yet, and I don’t know how this could affect open source clients.

My plans are to continue using (since I still think it’s a great service) and to keep working on Vagalume, but right now the future is uncertain so we’ll have to wait for a few weeks to see how all this ends up.

Update 25 Mar 2009 18:16:03 +0100: Rob Taylor asked about open source clients and the answer is that Open source apps can apply for an API key at the moment, and that won’t change.

Update 28 Mar 2009 16:57:16 +0100: It had already been said in the initial post, but another comment in the same thread confirms that you need a subscriber account to be able to use third-party clients, even if you’re in the UK, US or Germany.

Categories: English
Alberto Garcia

ZX Spectrum in your Nokia N810

2008-10-27 12:38 UTC  by  Alberto Garcia

It’s been a month since my last post. As usual, lots of work but also lots of fun. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Igalia Summit, where we discussed about the future of the company, played geocaching, football, tute, …

Here are our guitar heroes Edu and Claudio:


Besides all of this, I’ve also found a bit of time to play with my tablet. I’ve just ported Fuse, the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator (unrelated to this FUSE, btw) to Maemo.

Fuse is one of the best Spectrum emulators I’ve ever used (definitely my favourite one for Unix), and also one of the few released as free software. It supports all standard models (16K/48K/128K/+2/+2A/+3) and some Russian clones too. It can load most file formats, has good sound support, joystick emulation, … well, better go to the project page to see all features ;-)

The port still has a few rough edges, but it’s perfectly functional for everyday use.

Here is a screenshot of Fuse running Head Over Heels on Maemo:

Fuse running Head over Heels

Fuse is available in Maemo extras. For more information go here.

On another note, Vagalume development is progressing slowly, but there are some news: we have Vagalume packages for Intel MIDs based on RedFlag Midinux. Go here to get them.

Categories: English