Planet maemo: category "feed:bc034fe7bc4cd5ba2bbd6c0cfff73d04"

Andrew Flegg

Maemo Weekly News: a proposal

2009-11-21 20:34 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

I've been discussing this idea with a few key contributors over the past few days to make sure it's realistic and feasible. We've polished it and would like to ask for volunteers for a new Maemo Weekly News digest.

Click to read 1894 more words
Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg

Unlike Navicore/Wayfinder on previous Maemo devices, Ovi Maps on the N900 downloads maps on demand. This is obviously a problem if you're going somewhere abroad and don't want to pay extortionate data roaming charges.

Fortunately, S60 Ovi Maps users also have the same problem, and the solution is straightforward:

  1. Scroll down this post to Direct Links for Ovi Map Version and download the maps for the countries you are interested in. (EDIT: updated to different blog post)
  2. Unzip the maps into cities/diskcache on the big VFAT partition (mounted under MyDocs) on your N900.
  3. That's it!

Some of the files you may already have, I've chosen to overwrite them; YMMV.

However, as far as I can tell, searching for locations still requires a network connection :-(

Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg

As those of you who read maemo-community might know, I've decided not to run for the council this time.

I'm really proud of being a part of the first two councils, and the level of trust Nokia placed in us with the recruitment of the debmaster; chairing the sprint meetings for the gang-of-four; the decisions over the summit and inviting us to the launch of the N900 at Nokia World.

My enthusiasm for Maemo is not diminished; indeed, with the launch of the N900, I'm as excited now as I was waiting for the launch of the 770 back in November 2005. However, after a year on the council, I'm now looking forward to six months as "just" a normal community member. I've not come to this decision easily, and I'm very happy to have had such warm words of encouragement. My reasons are two-fold:

  1. There are many other members of the community who should have a chance to represent us. In particular, I'm very happy that Stephen (sjgadsby), Valério (VDVsx) and Graham (gcobb) have chosen to accept my nomination of them. The fact they're joined by the likes of Alan Bruce (qole), Gary Birkett (lcuk) and Jay Carter (zerojay) - and others - is even better.
  2. The vitriol and nastiness spewed by a very vocal, but tiny, minority of people on - especially regarding the transition of to - took a lot of the fun away. Given the massive investment of time my role as chair required, taking the fun away removed one of the main motivations for me.

I still plan on being an active (and vocal) community member both as a developer, a community evangelist and as a user. I hope that if you would have voted for me, you consider voting for one of the excellent candidates we have standing (and we have many). In particular, Stephen, Valério and Graham have all been long term contributors in many different ways and are tolerant, helpful people. I will struggle to cast my single transferable vote for them, Gary, Alan and Jay.

However whomever you vote for, please do vote (once you receive your voting tokens)! I think that the Community Council has been far more effective than I ever imagined it could be when I suggested it back in 2008 and I look forward to seeing where this community will go in the next six months

Categories: Maemo
Andrew Flegg

Vala 0.5.7 now in Extras

2009-03-18 14:40 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

After a bit of a prod; and a delay; mud-builder's vala recipe has been updated to the latest release 0.5.7 and uploaded to Extras-Devel as "vala" - this can now be used in Build-Depends lines in auto-builder packages.

What is Vala?

Vala is a modern, object-oriented programming language with a syntax inspired by C# and Java. However, it compiles to native code (via C), giving the benefits of modern programming languages and the speed of native development.

From its website:

Vala is a new programming language that aims to bring modern programming language features to GNOME developers without imposing any additional runtime requirements and without using a different ABI compared to applications and libraries written in C.


I've also uploaded another little package - vala-sample (basically, HildonSample) - which demonstrates that a Build-Depends: vala line in a package's debian/control can be built using the auto-builder:

This is only in Extras-devel as it's use to end-users is pretty small, however it demonstrates three things:

  • How easy it is to package stuff with mud-builder.
  • That the auto-builder can build Vala apps.
  • That unlike other modern programming languages on Maemo (such as Python, Ruby, Java or C#) there is no additional start-up lag in a Vala application.

A screenshot all the same:

Vala Sample application
Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg

Announcing my standing for council membership

2009-02-27 23:25 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

I've set the ball rolling, and put myself forward as a candidate (the first) in the second Maemo Community Council election.

I'm proud to have been a member of the inaugural Community Council. In the last six months, we've seen a sea-change in the way Maemo is progressing:

  • the first Maemo Summit, paid for by Nokia;
  • community ownership of;
  • better use of Bugzilla by both Nokia and the community;
  • the realistic vision of a community-led "hacker edition" in Mer;
  • a webmaster, docmaster, bugmaster and now debmaster all being paid for for us;
  • open communication and - importantly - progress indicators like the Maemo 5/Fremantle pre-release SDKs, which would've been unheard of back in 2006/2007.

The Council has been involved in many of these, but would claim credit for few. I believe we've truly fulfilled our role as facilitators and would like to continue my role there. We've not got everything right, but I think we've proved the idea; and that it can be a cohesive force within the community.

I think there's still work to be done, though. Nokia are being more open, and projects like Tracker and Rygel are being developed openly. Yet, Modest has slipped back into internal development; some patches to Application Manager have been merged, but the community's vision for application management in Diablo - and Fremantle - looks unlikely to have been realised. The system as a whole, and the application environment which so clearly defines the Maemo brand, are architected internally. Design decisions are taken internally.

Slowly, hopefully, we can change Nokia management into utilising the enthusiastic talent at their disposal in a way which is truly ground-breaking in the industry; with a root-to-tip collaboration between us all.

Thanks for reading this, and I'll happily answer any questions anyone has.

Categories: Maemo
Andrew Flegg

Maemo-based netbooks?

2008-10-25 09:49 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

In the latest Internet Tablet School editorial, The future of Nokia, Maemo and the Internet Tablets, krisse explains why a Maemo-based netbook makes the most sense for Nokia now.

Respectfully, I've never heard a more crazy idea:

  • Maemo is a touch-based OS, which doesn't work well with a larger style keyboard.
  • People who don't want Windows would find Mac OS X or Ubuntu Netbook Remix a much more compelling user experience on such a device.
  • What on earth is the benefit of Maemo here, vs. an alternative OS?!
  • The comments when the 770 was released were "where's the phone?", and although Nokia make lots and lots of non-phone devices (such as one of our DVB-T receivers), the comments about Nokia trying to break in to a crowded market (of laptop makers) would be easily compiled into an hilarious book.

IMNSHO, it's just plain bonkers to go down that line instead of a small, tablet form factor - however unproven that may in the end-consumer mainstream.

Categories: Maemo
Andrew Flegg Community Council elections

2008-08-26 10:05 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

The call for nominations for the first Community Council elections has been open for a couple of weeks now. But I wonder if the wider is aware of just how important this could be for the future of the platform.

So, this post'll be syndicated on in the hope that we get more candidates putting themselves forward, and interest drummed up in the wider community in terms of asking the candidates more probing questions. Hopefully we can avoid the nastiness associated with the US presidential election :-)

Of course, I'm biased. I've thrown my hat into the ring: my candidature announcement has been sent to maemo-community. I recommend you subscribe if you're interested in shaping the future of Maemo, rather than "just" developing with it.

Categories: Maemo
Andrew Flegg

OpenMoko UI "train wreck"

2008-07-23 11:39 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

Picked up from Internet Tablet Talk, there're a couple of videos showing how bad the OpenMoko UI is on basic usability challenges.

What's interesting is that the small comparison with the iPhone shows how poor hardware (pressure-based touchscreen, bezel around the screen) combines with poor software implementation (separate apps => slow start-up times, little thought to the size of a usable target area) to emphasise the poor user experience. And, frustratingly, how many of the issues raised cut quite close to the bone for Maemo devices too :-(

Hopefully the UI changes in Fremantle (for example, #2564) will be a big help; and a concentration on finger usage may allow a more sensitive, different, touchscreen technology to be used in the N900. Will be very interesting to see the UI talks at the summit - see you there!

Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg what next? (part 2)

2008-06-04 09:44 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

Following on from my earlier post, what next?, LinuxTag has now happened (and Quim very kindly used my open source triangle), and the 10 days brainstorm for the 100 Days community action plan, and 2010 Agenda have been launched.

My main focus in the earlier post was more related to the 2010 vision: what should Nokia do as soon as possible to really fully utilise an untapped area of the community.

However, what can the community do to organise itself and present more of a consensus view? Consensus by mailing list posts and wiki-edits just means the loudest - or most pushy - individual voices get heard. So, I suggest a Community Council, elected by the maemo community, to act as a filter/co-ordinating body to present a more unified view to Nokia - and therefore help them to help us.

Comments welcome below, or just make changes in the wiki!

Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg what next?

2008-04-20 20:18 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg
I was invited, but unfortunately had to decline, to speak at the maemo track of LinuxTag 2008. The final topic, what next? is subtitled "mid-term: what Nokia should do + what the community could do". Whilst looking at whether I could attend, I started thinking about this topic. Below is the crystallisation of some of those thoughts which probably would've formed the basis of a few slides to kickstart discussion.
Click to read 2854 more words
Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg

Non-tablet software in downloads

2008-03-31 22:06 UTC  by  Andrew Flegg

X-Fade's been working hard and bug #2347 has been fixed. This now means that the official downloads catalogue can now contain non-tablet software such as tablet-encode.

Hopefully this'll boost the profile of things like mediautils to a wider audience.

Steps are simple:

  1. Go to add new application (logging in if necessary) and fill out the fields as detailed.
  2. One particularly cool feature is the ability to put in a direct download URL for the "click to install" arrow.
  3. Don't try and attach any screenshots until you've first saved the details; there's an issue with that and it's best done when editing the page after the first save.

I've raised a feature request that the download statistics available to extras(-devel) users are picked up from for a more integrated system.

Categories: #jf
Andrew Flegg

tablet-encode has had v2.18 released. Notable new features in this release include:

  • A new "mplayer" preset with a very high bitrate.
  • Ability to define your own presets and options in ~/.tablet-encode.conf.
  • Ability to rip all the episodes off a DVD with a single option.
  • Add support for Freevo FXD files as pointers to the actual video.

The --episodes option is particularly cool; ripping a TV series' DVD (for, say, a long flight) is now a 3-step process:

  1. Attach N810 via USB.
  2. Insert DVD to computer.
  3. Run:
    tablet-encode --episodes dvd: /media/nokia-sd/Video/

It's hard to imagine it being any easier! Of course, at some point the GUI should support showing you thumbnails of each of the titles so you can select the ones you want to rip. If anyone's got any time, and experience with Perl Gtk+, I'd be happy to accept some help in improving the GUI version.

I'd also like to thank GeneralAntilles, rm_you, Marius Gedminas, Mike Lococo and divinerites for all their help with this release.

Categories: #jf