Planet maemo: category "feed:d443227b3e9056c673daf7c465839a14"

Andrew Flegg

In a brief break from Hermes-related Maemo work, I was inspired by Manfred Weiss' MyMenu to create an auto-organising menu application for the N900:

[New application menu: top-level]

Catorise organises the application menu to have top-levels corresponding to the sections in Application Manager. Features:

  • Uses the section icons from the current theme, falling back to the default theme if none available.
  • Determines an application's section from the same information the packager used when uploading it to Extras.
  • Keeps track of application installs/uninstalls.
  • Entirely non-destructive: remove the package and everything goes back to how it was before.
  • "All" and "Other" sections, just as in the App Manager, to provide additional access routes.

So, with Catorise the section you find an application's icon is the same you used to install it!

It is currently in Extras-devel. This should, therefore, only be tested by people who are willing to suffer potential data loss, hair loss and the eating of babies.

It's largely feature complete, however there are some known problems/future developments:

  • Applications installed from Ovi will go into the "Other" section, due to the way Ovi on Maemo has been designed. I've some thoughts on how to work around this, though.
  • Changing the theme will only update the icons on the next application install/removal.
  • A quick GUI editor could be created to manipulate /opt/catorise/menu which is a simple text file cache to speed-up rebuilding. This would allow the user to shuffle the apps to best suit their use cases.
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 1924 more words
Alexander Bokovoy

Marko Mattila has published nice overview of Maemo Image Editor project which is part of Maemo 6 development, opened under Qt-GPLv3-LGPLv2.1 licensing triplet at Maemo Summit 2009. Maemo Image Editor is not an editor application in itself, it is set of libraries to provide basis for mobile image processing. History of editing is preserved and crash recovery is provided as part of image editing infrastructure. The project also aims to allow manipulations of huge images in memory constrained environments, like N900 and future devices.

Click to read 1242 more words
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 the above URL and download the maps for the countries you are interested in. Obviously skip the instructions about downloading Ovi Maps - the N900 has Ovi Maps already installed!

  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 :-(

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

Kees Jongenburger

A few days ago the Maemo 5.0 Beta SDK was announced. I was more exited then I expected myself. I already played with the Alpha SDK and was able to install the Beta without pain on my amd64 based machine.

The install on amd64

The amd64 bits architecture is not officially supported as host for the SDK and in the past I have had troubles installing the SDK. This time the installer worked pretty well. But before you install the sdk and /or sbox you need to add "vdso32=0" to your kernel command line. this can be done in /boot/grub/menu.lst . I used the “tar.gz” based install on a “not supported” arch to install scratchbox.

root@ijssijs:~# ./ -F -s /scratchbox

The only drawback of this method is that you have to start and stop scrachbox by hand when you want to use it. The “default” ./ -F appeared to work at first but the install of the Maemo SDK failed after wards (I guess this is something related to fakeroot) . After that I follow the normal install using

keesj@ijssijs:~/downloads$ ./ -y 

The biggest difference compared to the Maemo 4.x SDK in that the Xephyr X-server now requires the composite extension where it used to be disabled explicitly when starting the server

Xephyr :2 -host-cursor -screen 800x480x16 -dpi 96 -ac 

Trying some QT stuff

Trying some qt is really childs play. I always likes qt and apparently it only gets better. the qt4 project on Maemo created packages that by now are in the fremantle extras repository. simply add fremantle free 

to your /etc/apt/source.list and apt-get install libqtgui4 libqt4-dev and qt4-demos . After that you can go to /usr/lib/qt4/examples and looks at the many demo's. The nice thing about this is that the demos are small get you started very quickly. I really fancy the clock example. it is very easy to create nice apps based on this.


Trying out opengl samples should be as easy as downloading the sdk from here

and copying the file to the SDK directory.

 cp -r Include/* /scratchbox/users/$USER/targets/FREMANTLE_X86/usr/include/
 cp LinuxPC/Lib/* /scratchbox/users/$USER/targets/FREMANTLE_X86/usr/lib/
 cp -r LinuxPC/Include/* /scratchbox/users/$USER/targets/FREMANTLE_X86/usr/include/

however this doesn't work for me

Next for me will be to create a small app in qt!

(sorry for the edits' a wiki page would have been a better solution)

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
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.

Andrew Flegg

Maemo-based netbooks? (Jaffa@maemopeople)

2008-10-25 08:49 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.

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.

Andrew Flegg

OpenMoko UI "train wreck" (Jaffa@maemopeople)

2008-07-23 10:39 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!

Kees Jongenburger

Velocity, the rapidity of motion, describes the speed at which we move as community. It describes the speed at which we can make changes to the Maemo world. We need to understand a few things about velocity in the community in order to function properly.

Understanding more about maemo velocity. First of all velocity can be hard to measure. We want to measure the progress Maemo is making. You might think that it is easy enough to measure but it is not.It is NOT is the sum of all the work that is done (work doesn't mean progress). It is not the sum of all the progress that is done either as not all the progress results in Maemo moving. It is the intersection of the progress made(more on that in the next paragraph). What would be a good measure to measure our velocity? Thinking in terms of maemo 5.0 would be wrong as 5.0 without 3rd apps would be useless. I think that "new users / week" or "new developer / week" might be a good unit as it makes everybody happy( Nokia and US) .

Given an amount of people we have in the community we have a certain amount of available horse-power that we can spend moving Maemo to increase it's velocity. The problem is that velocity != horse-power. And certainly Until LinuxTag the amount of horse-power we had available was not changing that much. What did we do with that power? We tried to keep up that's all we where not able to move forwards and spread our wings. We are an eco system that works at a certain speed and there is not much you can do about that can we? Would it help to enter more bugs in the bugtracker? I don't think so.

So we had LinuxTag and now have Niels and Dave. I am very happy to see them so busy. They certainly make progress in the documentation and packaging area. They also surely will increase our velocity in the end. What is this post about then? Niels and Dave are doing stuff we really wanted for a long time. Can we keep up with them as community or must we help increase the velocity by doing different things? can we simply wait for new developers to come? I certainly have a hard time keeping up with then.