Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wanted: Task-Based Profiles

On the recent trip to Dublin for the MeeGo Conference, I noticed that I had to spend time to reorganize the desktops and other settings of the N900 to be friendly for carrier roaming. In my carrier's home zone, I have unlimited data, but while roaming, the data costs rack up quickly.

My roaming setup is:

1. Turn off all widgets that update themselves (OMWeather, Twitter, Facebook, RSS)
2. Set Mail for Exchange to Manual Updates
3. Turn off all IM and VoIP accounts
4. Use the 'mobile' HTML sites for GMail, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

There is no easy way to switch between my normal setup to this roaming setup and back again. So, after returning from my trip, I had to spend more time to put the desktop back to its normal state.

I recently stumbled upon 'Desktop Activity Manager' which allows you to setup different desktop profiles. This works fine for the desktop, but still requires manually setting MfE and IM/VoIP to off. I currently use 3 desktop profiles for 'normal', 'roaming' and 'car'. The car profile has only one desktop view with a few icons that are needed.

In a perfect world, while in my car, I would also like all IM to be turned off to reduce distraction, keep VoIP on so that I can receive calls, have the Phone and Maps applications started, and set the master volume to maximum. I wish I had an easy and reversible way to do this !!

Customizable profiles for the N900 would be a very useful feature for me. Not only in setting the look of the phone, but also it's functionality. Visual clues could be given to remind you what profile you are in: custom backgrounds, color schemes, or status bar icons. Switching between profiles could be accomplished via status bar icon.

No two users are alike, so any system would have to be flexible enough to allow deep customization.

Perhaps a talented Maemo developer will bring this to light someday!

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts on MeeGo Conference 2010

Since the Meego Conference in Dublin, many members of the community have already presented their thoughts on the venue, presentations, social events, etc. Those summaries echo what I felt while there. It was a fantastic experience, larger and better than the Maemo Summit last year.

As a conference wrap-up, I'll share a few highlights and takeaways that I had:

Seeing Carsten Munk on stage during Doug Fisher's keynote was, I believe, critical for MeeGo - it highlighted the openess that the project is trying to achieve.

IVI --> In-Vehicle Infotainment seems like a challenging aspect for MeeGo, due to the integration of other devices/sensors into the mix. As some of you know, I have a 'passing interest' in aviation, and immediately saw the potential for MeeGo as a base for IFE Systems (In-Flight Entertainment). Other than the usual entertainment use-cases, I see new angles: being able to bring your own content from your phone/portable media player to the seat-back displays; sharing that content with other seat-backs; Instant Messaging with other passengers.

Media Panel --> Monday at 5:15 pm was the media-only panel session chaired by Jim Zemlin of Linux Foundation. It was personally rewarding to be considered a member of the MeeGo Media, and I was elated to have finally met esteemed bloggers Mark Guim (The Nokia Blog), Vaibhav Sharma (The Handheld Blog), and Rafe Blanford (All About MeeGo). In terms of the panel session, it was a reiteration of the themes introduced in the morning keynotes.

Handset --> Not much to get excited about yet, since the Handset UX is not usable from an end-user perspective. Many handset veterans (read: folk) expressed that it is hard to get excited when you do not see the hardware/software in your hands. I agree - the N900's that were distributed at the Maemo Summit gave everyone an instant stake in Maemo - it is unfortunate that MeeGo based hardware from Nokia was not ready for Dublin.

IdeaPad Giveaway --> Thanks to Intel for the generous gift of the Lenovo IdeaPad. The MeeGo Netbook UX is not the ideal setup for this device due to its rotatable touchscreen. I would like to see something that handles both Netbook and Tablet UX on this device, which at this point in time, does not exist. If I were to chose one, I would go for the Tablet UX flavour for the Lenovo. But the Tablet UX seems to have disappeared from the MeeGo project! I expect we will see a usable solution for the IdeaPad soon, as there are people actively looking at improving the IdeaPad experience on

In closing, I extend my sincere thanks to the Linux Foundation, Nokia, Intel and other sponsors of the event. It was a fabulous time, and I look forward to MeeGo's maturity where I can use it as an everyday OS in my mobile life.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Maemo Community Council Election (Q3-2010): Candidates Q&A

As part of the lead-up to the Q3-2010 Maemo Community Council election, I am holding a Q&A with the 10 candidates.  There is a wide range of candidates again this time, making the vote difficult, at least for me.  I am hoping that the Q&A will help the community decide which candidates are best to represent our community.

The format of the Q&A is 5 questions, selected by me.  A few of the questions intentionally attempt to elicit discussion surrounding our future - one in which Nokia's involvement could conceivably diminish.  I am not sure if that will happen, but I thought I would push those boundaries to see what the candidates thought.  As you will see after reading the Q&A, there are mixed feelings on this topic. 

Without further delay, here is what our candidates have to say, presented in the order in which I received the reponses:



1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I'm standing for the Council, because I would like to do more to help the Community. I've contributed to Maemo since 2007-2008 in many ways (helping the organization of events, coding applications ecc...) and I hope to have the required experience to be able to "listen" then Community and give it the best support possible.

Yes, I think the first thing a Council member should do is to listen. Having good idea is very nice, but usually many good ideas come from the whole Community, not only from a single person.

I don't think I've anything better than other candidates (I don't know them all, but I don't think this anyway). I'm just offering my help. Whoever will be elected I hope it will work hard for the Community.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

I think that Maemo is not dead, yet. Lot of people own a N900 (mobile carriers still sell them and also Nokia is selling them in their Nokia Shop) and also N800 and N810 tablets. I think we need to support these people and not leaving them alone and abandoned, so... yes, I think we still need a Maemo Council to support them.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

We should really improve the QA testing of applications. We have a lot of application that stay in extras-testing for months and nobody test them. We need to improve this part and I've some idea about this.  Most experienced and active developers should try to help Maemo developers, in particular those who want to move from C/Gtk to C++/Qt, so their application would be usable in a better way in MeeGo too.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

I've started following MeeGo forum and meego-community mailing list as soon as they became available. I think it's very important to follow MeeGo development and how it evolves, to understand better the future of Maemo too. I think there is nothing bad following both communities. I will divide my time developing applications for MeeGo and helping the Maemo Community.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

I think that without the direct support from Nokia, even if Maemo is (is it?) 100% opensource, the community alone will have big difficoulties trying to fix all OS bugs. The Council should play a strong role in this field, trying to give voice to thousand of people who want to see their devices updated and old/known bug fixed, even if MeeGo will be the main project to develop and support.

Consider me available for any other question you have :)


COSIMO KROLL (zehjotkah)

1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I would like to be part of the maemo community in the best way I can.
I'm already doing many things like providing support at the forums and doing maemo video reviews. But in the meantime I've learned some more regarding management and also obtained a lot of experience. For example I did all the treasure-management at the maemo summer coding competition. Also I've founded a very successful event, the mobile freidae berlin (

I think the one thing that is separating me from others is that in some way I always got the right words in my emails to "important" persons.
For example it took me only one mail to get ZodTTD to provide Smoku with the sources of the Playstation Emulator, PSX4All, whereas it was impossible for Smoku to get a reaction from him.

Also the prizes from Nokia for the winners of the maemo summer coding competition, the six flights and accommodation at the MeeGo conference 2010 in Dublin. I just had to write a single email to Quim Gil to achieve that success.

Others are thinking the same regarding me. Randall Arnold (Texrat) one time said to me that Quim Gil is replying my emails very quickly but his mails not.
So there must be a difference in communication

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

I think there is no big difference. The council will be a council for both operating system communities. Therefore it has to be active on both sites ( and Some members will be more active on the one and others will be more active on the other site. Of course the council will be important for the "old" maemo community in one year, too. MeeGo does not make the Nokia 770, N800, N810 and N900 community members and their needs disappear.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

We have to think and decide together about the relationship between and
We have to assign new positions at the maemo community to keep it healthy.
We have to organize another coding competition because it was such a great success last time.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

Yes, I'm already active on the forums.
Also I've started my own site about MeeGo (
Also the event mentioned earlier (mobile freidae) is about MeeGo, too.
We've not only tried the handset UX, we've also demonstrated it and the Netbook UX during the event. The MeeGo version for tablets will follow with the WeTab at the next mobile fridae.
I've no clue how I will split my time but you can be sure that I will not forget my N900 or the community. I'm even still using my N810. For example I tried some weeks ago to get Sygic Mobile Maps working on it (with no luck, though, but I was active for the N810 users).
The N900 is a great and useful device. Nothing will change that.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

I don't know if a "Fremantle Community SSU" will be needed since we've still PR 1.3 to come and there is still no talk about Nokias discontinuation of the N900s software development.
With Qt there will be also a lot of possibilities; for example the new Ovi Maps (installed on the N8) is made in Qt. So maybe we'll get that one day on our N900s? Also Nokia is working on a MeeGo version for the N900 so we're still far from the need of a community SSU.
But new applications and therefore developers are always needed.
Because of that we need another coding competition during the next six month.
Thanks for reading.
Be sure to check out my council declaration, too:


KATHY SMITH (revdkathy)

1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I'm standing because rather a lot of people whose opinions I respect suggested I should. They seemed collectively to feel that my rather eclectic skillset would bring something different to the council. I'm not a developer, either for platform or applications. I don't have business or management skills. I don't have a lot of experience in Open Source communities. In fact, in many ways I'm still a complete novice.

What I think I do have to offer is a strong background in community building, with skills in communication and networking, and the perspective of the end user. (Hopefully not the ranting, negative sort!) And a hearty dose of common sense.

In a council of five people, it's open to debate whether you can use someone with those skills, or whether you want more experienced technical or managerial people in all five posts. I put myself forward not because I think the community 'needs' my skills on the council, but because I think there are a number of people who'd like to have the choice. If the community would like me to serve, I'll give it my best shot. If not, I shall continue to seek out other ways to use my abilities for the community.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

With Meego around the corner, I think it is all the more important that the Maemo community continues to do what it does well, and to demonstrate that the Maemo way of being community has value. The Meego community is a very different beastie, with a very different way of doing things. Without wanting to say that 'our way is better', I think it will be important to make it clear that Maemo has a lot to offer in what it has learned about 'doing community'. For this, Maemo will need a strong council and strong networks.

As for a year from now, sadly I have misplaced my crystal ball. We have seen that a year is a very long time in the technology world: a year ago we were still awaiting the release of the n900 (Oh that thread!), and Meego had never been heard of. I believe there is value in the Maemo way of doing things in principle, and I don't think that principle will change whether we take the best of Maemo into Meego or create something permanent for those who remain with Maemo (or preferably both). There are a lot of Maemo devices still out there and they will continue to need a community for a long time.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

I answered this question last, as I think in many ways it draws up the answers in the other questions.

I think the next Council will be faced with the question of what Maemo will look like as Nokia's support and involvement steadily reduces.

I hope the next council will continue to press for the fremantle code to be opened as fully as possible so that the community can continue to support it. I know the last Council worked very hard on this, without success for legal reasons. In the end, it may well not be possible. Doesn't mean we can't still go on trying.

I hope the next council will work with Meego towards there being as much cross-platform compatibility as possible between Meego and Fremantle, so that the tremendous work done creating apps to run on Maemo won't have to be started from scratch all over again with Meego (using Qt and other platforms).

Most of all, I would like to see the Maemo council and the community it represents demonstrate to the Meego community the value of a mixed community of platform developers, application developers, professionals and hobbyists, graphics and sound experts and committed, involved end-users. I believe there is much that is valuable in the Maemo way of being community, and while there are things which we may not want to repeat, there are others that have great value but currently seem to have no counterpart in the Meego community.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

Yes, I am a member at Forum Meego, and part of their community. I have just taken over the role of co-ordinator of their greeter programme from Texrat, and been appointed moderator of their 'Community Matters' forum. So it's fair to say that Meego will be taking up some of my free time, though to be honest the community there is much smaller than Maemo, and at the moment much quieter.

On the other hand, were I to be elected to the Maemo council, clearly that would be top priority for my available time.
I don't see the two as contradictory, and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the 'either/or' approach. In fact, I think it will be important to view Maemo and Meego as 'both/and'.

I believe it will be important to bridge the two environments as fully as possible.

For example, I would want to lend my voice to those arguing to ensure that apps developed for Maemo will run on Meego – and vice versa. Partly because more apps will be good for the end user, but also because had I spent my free time developing something on Maemo 5 I'd be pretty hacked off if the next iteration (Meego) was so different it took a massive effort to port from one to the other. I don't pretend to understand all the technicalities, but I think that will be really important.

And I don't think we will be able to have that sort of influence on Meego by standing on the outside shouting from the Maemo hill.

(And unless someone gives me one, the chances of me having a Meego device by November are slim!)

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

In part, that follows on from what I have said in previous questions (As far as I understand the question!)

Meego is already available in some sense for the n900, though presumably it never will be for earlier devices. Nor will it be pushed as an OTA update for every n900 user – and in fact for most end-users, sticking with Maemo will be the right option. There will be a need for a community around Maemo for a number of years, and one of the tasks of the council in this session (and perhaps the next) will be to ask what that needs to look like, how it is to be resourced and who will want to belong to it. Having support for fremantle will clearly be essential.

I think I'd want to ask questions about why Mer and Diablo were less than spectacularly successful despite enormous effort: how much was down to closed drivers? What lessons can we learn from those experiences? In the end, this is something I am out of my depth on: I am too new a community member to have been involved in either project, and not technical enough to follow them fully. That doesn't mean I can't grasp at least the broad principles (and sometimes a fresh eye can ask new questions). I would see my role being to determine the will of the community and endeavour as far as possible to make it happen. If that's about making a Community SSU into something to sustain the community for a long while, then that's what I would work for and support. We have seen the resistance to date by Nokia (for legal reasons) to fully open the fremantle code.

You hint at the end of Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform, but as yet we have heard nothing to suggest that is imminent. There is a further firmware release planned, but beyond that we honestly don't know. I would want to join with those arguing for as much of the closed Maemo5 code as possible to be opened so that the community CAN continue to support and improve it. And fighting to convince Nokia to continue to offer some sort of support to all the iterations of Maemo (not just fremantle) as long as possible.



1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I have benefited greatly from being a part of the Maemo community, and I'd like to give back.

We have a strong pool of candidates for this election. We have people with technical skills, managerial skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, communication skills, and beyond. I cannot and will not claim to be the best in any area. In the community, I've done my best to help out where, when, and how I can. That's all I can promise for myself if elected to the council.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

The move from Maemo to MeeGo has caused anxiety within our community. Community members have questions about technical aspects of MeeGo, and community members have questions about the essence of the MeeGo community. In some cases, there are already answers to the questions, but the information hasn't yet reached everyone interested in it. In other cases, the questions remain unanswered, and there's a need for seeking out information. There's certainly a role for the Maemo Community Council in helping there.

At the same time, it is the _Maemo_ Community Council, and there are and will be community members who aren't interested in MeeGo. It is essential that these community members and their needs aren't allowed to be drowned out by the noise the MeeGo transition is causing. The council has a duty there.

I won't predict whether a Maemo Community Council will be needed in a year. I expect there to be a smaller, but focused and enthusiastic, Maemo community then, but whether they need a formal body to assist with coordination and communication remains to be seen.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

- assure that developers and others who wish to transition to MeeGo
can do so with the minimum of hassle
- assure that developers and others who do not wish to transition to
MeeGo continue to find provides them with the services upon
which they have come to rely
- assure that independent developers can simultaneously target all of
Maemo 5, plain MeeGo, and vendor-customized MeeGo through
Extras and a MeeGo equivalent with a minimum of effort
- resolve questions and barriers regarding the addition of items to
vendor-specific application stores by independent, small group, and
small company developers
- enhance and expand community support of Maemo for existing devices

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

I follow and participate in both and MeeGo mailing lists and forums. I provide Bug Jars, weekly summaries of activity with Bugzilla, for both and MeeGo. I still use my N800 and N810 in addition to my N900, and I see no reason why I would abandon them for a MeeGo handset, should I purchase one. Indeed, I still want a 770
and a N810 WiMAX Edition, even more so than a MeeGo-Harmattan device, in fact.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

I certainly hope so! I'm encouraged by the work community members are already doing to enhance and extend Maemo 5, without waiting to see what PR1.3 might someday bring. I hope community updates to Maemo 5, as well as Diablo, continue to grow, and I'll do what I can to assist those efforts. My secret dream is that somehow these community Maemo release efforts could expand to benefit the 770 as well.



1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

The Maemo Community and the development of software for the n900 have been my window to the open source world and an opportunity for me to explore and learn hands on. I am very curious to find out how the open source world will evolve and shape itself around the "mass consumer market". For me, the "maemo wave" offers a very unique perspective and the community around it is a promising factor. I hope to see and help it continue to strive and not slowly die with Fremantle.

What separates me from the others running? Frankly, I have never had the opportunity to attend an open source conference, I barely know how to use IRC and I have spent my entire professional life developing closed source applications. If anything, I can offer a different perspective that, hopefully, in contrast with the other experiences will cultivate ingenious solutions for the challenges ahead.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

The Maemo Community is not about the devices, it is about the people gathered around the devices. The devices will eventually become obsolete and be replaced. I believe if we don't find a "future" for the Maemo Community it will rapidly be dismantled. I have this recurring idea that the Maemo Community should be, maybe with a different name, the home for the Nokia Meego devices thus justifying many more council elections.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

I believe the most important priority to be addressed is to determine whether the Maemo Community will find an opportunity to evolve onto the new landscape or will it just slowly die. I am not convinced, as many others, that the only possible path for the Maemo Community is to merge into Meego. I believe there will be room for a community mainly dedicated to (meego + handset UX + Nokia).  The new council will be challenged to find a reason for Maemo to exist more than just "post-end-of-life" support for the n900. When everything is moving, if you are not going up you must be going down (and quickly)!

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

I have tried to keep up as much as possible with the Meego mailing lists but haven't started to develop anything for Meego yet. All my development for Maemo is with Qt so I can make the applications run in multiple devices. I strongly believe the future of the Maemo Community is to embrace the new Nokia (Meego) device and invest in keeping Qt up to date for the n900 so we can leverage all the development efforts around Meego. I would like to have seen some investment in trying to bring the Qt back to the n8x0 devices. I don't think the Maemo can afford to compete with Meego for resources; it will either work in conjunction with or will disappear.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

Realistically I don't think "fixing bugs" is nearly as important as the ability to get new applications. For better or worse we get used to the "few things" that don't work and find ways around them. Not that I don't think these initiatives are important but I would concentrate on making the n900 an "easy target" for applications developed for Meego.



1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I'm standing for council because I think it is important that the wider community has a voice, hence the importance of the council. In terms of that wider community, I think that I can represent the concerns of application developers well, due to my experience working both on the technologies of the platform, such as Qt, and with actually developing applications.

(Of course, I wouldn't exclude other parts of the community, this is just one that I feel I know best and can therefore best represent)

I don't feel personally that I stand out from any of the other candidates, or indeed, those that aren't running. We all have a track record, but at the end of the day, anyone *can* and *should* get involved, so here I am. Histories don't matter all that much, what matters is what you bring to the table, I think.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?


MeeGo is changing a lot of things in very big ways, but we cannot forget that we have an existing community around Maemo devices, and that community cannot be left out in the cold. It has to be taken care of, and nurtured in whatever direction the community as a whole wants to go.

*IF* there is a council required in a year? Well, that pretty much requires on the continuation of the direction we're in now. So far, signs point towards gradual migration towards MeeGo, in which case, we may not be a seperate community forever.

My personal view is that this is a good thing, with a caveat: we shouldn't forget pieces of Maemo that can provide value in MeeGo, such as hildon - this would give us the applications we love on top of an operating system with an open, committed future.)

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

I touched on this in my previous answer, but it certainly deserves elaboration.

I think the most important things are, in no particular order:
 - Figuring out what pieces of Maemo we should look at taking to MeeGo, and
  organise that porting (community efforts? upstream (if there is one) ? Nokia?)
 - Continue to educate the developer community about Qt and other
  platform-level changes
 - Engage new developers to come and try the platform out
 - Figuring out where end-users and power-users fit in a MeeGo context
  (if there isn't a place for them, then might still prove useful)
 - Figuring out a more productive channel for end-user feedback

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

Yes, I have been taking an active role in MeeGo, because it's important. I think it's the future of the devices we have *now* (if we work towards it), not just the devices we buy in November (or whenever the future decides to give them to us).

If properly engaged, I think it has the capability to deliver more power into our hands than any iteration of Maemo thus far, but that does rather depend on us getting involved and raising the issues that we find important.

In terms of my personal activities on MeeGo, I have (amongst other things)
 - Been involved with mailing lists
 - Tried out various parts of the software stack (both middleware libraries like
  libmeegotouch and applications like the IVI UX)
 - Sent patches for various parts of the software stack
 - Tried to encourage openness as a primary development methodology (see for
 - Offered support to application developers (and others) via forums/IRC/other

I personally don't see time spent on MeeGo as time not spent on, but I do not feel I have neglected either - as much of the work I do is keeping the migration of the existing community and devices in mind. For example, some time ago, I worked on improving the performance of libmeegotouch software rendering mode, which could be useful for things like the n8x0 hardware adaptation. (See:

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

Quite simply, no.

Fremantle is, for better or worse, effectively a dead platform. A lot of the source isn't available (and realistically, won't be available).

I think the best future for Fremantle is the one I have outlined above: migration of irreplaceable or useful parts of the Maemo stack to MeeGo, as then, we have a fully open OS (hardware blobs excepted), meaning:

 - We can easily upgrade to the latest and greatest MeeGo with minimal effort
  from Nokia (mostly community driven in the future I hope..)
 - We can fix bugs at any place in the software stack (no more waiting for
  components to be opened).

This is especially important, as you can almost certainly bet that some people *will* be distracted by newer devices, meaning that maintaining a full stack of software *just* for one device is even less plausible, given there are less people to do it.

With the above, we'd have the same software working across many devices (it already works on e.g. Aava and N900), meaning more 'interested' developers working on all parts of the stack.


ATTILA CSIPA (achipa/atilla77)

1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I have been involved with the Maemo Community for several years now in various functions - user, developer, tester, Community Council member and thus believe to have a good understanding of how (especially
technically) the community works and clear plans what needs to be done in order to maximize efficiency and synergy for all Maemo users. I think the Community is lucky that this time around we have the most
candidates ever applied, and that their backgrounds and skillsets are very diverse. It is also a good thing that there is new blood there - my particular skills could help bridge old and new, with a special emphasis on leveraging MeeGo resources to improve the situation in Maemo land. We might not get all the MeeGo goodies or commercial support, but there is plenty infrastructure and application-wise that we CAN use, but only if we put in an effort to do so.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

I think that the role of the Council is pivotal with MeeGo around the corner. Without focusing on what happens in MeeGo land, will get pushed more and more to the sidelines - especially if new, shiny MeeGo devices appear - and the only way to try to battle that is to have a good link between MeeGo/Nokia and the community - a role traditionally filled by the Council. There is no guarantee of success and it won't be easy to secure a solid future (or at least link to MeeGo) for (and thus Maemo based device owners), but if nothing else, we can at least try, as inaction means slow but sure decay. I really don't know whether the Council will be just as needed in a year, it will depend on both the status of MeeGo at that point and state of

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

Most of the burning questions have been resolved one way or the other, in my mind, there is one single priority - interaction with MeeGo. I intentionally won't say transition, as it has been made clear that MeeGo does not wish to transform/assimilate the Maemo Community, but the relations with MeeGo are critical. Things from the MeeGo project, like the Open Build System, applications based on the Qt ecosystem are more than useful for Maemo, too, and if at some point the MeeGo port to the N900 becomes useful for everyday use, that's where users will go anyway.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

I firmly believe that, though not apparent, the future of the Maemo Community will be influenced by what happens in MeeGo land. Maemo and Maemo device owners can expect benefit only from projects like MeeGo if they fight for it - if their voices are not heard there, they WILL be overlooked even if there is no technical obstacle for cooperation and synergy. In that sense, I believe the new Council should spend at least as much time on as it does on - lest they turn into the Waldor and Statler of MeeGo (the two grumpy old men from Muppet Show).

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

Sadly, I must say I don't see a too bright future for a Fremantle Community SSU. The Maemo Community had difficulties gathering a critical mass for keeping OS level things going, and the closed components of Maemo make that even more of an issue. With most of the platform developers leaving the community or having already transitioned to MeeGo (stskeeps, lbt, and many more), I doubt that Community SSUs or Hacker Editions, while valiant efforts and potentially useful for the short term, can provide a long term solution. At this point it's hard to tell just what the right solution will be, as it depends on many factors regarding Harmattan, MeeGo, new devices, etc, but at the moment cooperation with MeeGo and leveraging the MeeGo hardware adaptation project for the N900 seems to be one of the strongest contenders for providing a
second life for Maemo device owners and the community around


TIM SAMOFF (timsamoff)

1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

The Maemo Community Council is a unique, but important entity. Nowhere else in the open source universe do a small group of community members get to liaise between the greater community of users and developers and the people who are producing the software and/or devices that are driving the community.

In this regard, the Maemo Community Council possesses great responsibility: they must diligently keep their ear to the grindstone and honestly (and sometimes adamantly) communicate the desires, dreams, and problems of the community back to the parent company -- in our case, Nokia (soon to include Intel).

At this point during the evolution of Maemo to MeeGo, there is no more crucial a time to be involved in this capacity. Community members and Nokia employees alike wish to have an efficient channel of communication in which vital topics are communicated (both to and from Nokia), thoroughly considered, and acted upon.

Personally, I have an interesting connection with Maemo. I began as afrustrated user, quickly transitioned into a power user, and then began helping various developers with design-oriented tasks. I am not a
developer and I don't know how to program applications... I don't even know how to add something to the application repositories. But, since my beginnings in open source software (almost twenty years ago), I have
always been interested in user interface and user experience issues.  That is how I first found Maemo and that is how I continued to get involved.

Since becoming a member of, I penned a cohesive user interface design document for Maemo (up to Chinook), created several pieces of art for various applications, served in both the inaugural and second term Maemo Community Council, helped to plan both the first and second Maemo Summits, and designed the brand iconography for the second Maemo Summit (among other things).

It is because of my connection with the community, my dedication to making both the community and Maemo an overall better experience for end users of all types, and my willingness to lend a hand when needed that makes my nomination for the next Maemo Community Council a valid one.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

I think that the Maemo Community council is important now and in the future, no matter what happens to the development landscape. The Maemo community is one of the largest hands-on communities in the open source universe. There are opinions about Maemo from all sides of the spectrum. If Nokia plans on continuing its involvement with the community (in any capacity) the Council will retain its efficacy as a communication conduit. If MeeGo happens to take over everything that Maemo has conceived during the past several years, then having some dedicated people who understand both the history of Maemo as well as the scope of MeeGo will continue to benefit Nokia and Intel.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

The Maemo community has grown despondent towards the future of Maemo and the onset of MeeGo. Maybe people have grown bored with the current state of and don't look forward to retooling all of their work for a new operating system with new user interface standards. This is understandable, but not so far gone that attitudes like this can't be turned around.

Maemo, as an open source ecosystem, needs an open source style of communication. Now, more than ever, a close-knit group of people like the Maemo Community Council can organize and channel the energy that our community has always possessed. Community projects, learning opportunities, and a roadmap that outlines exit and transition plans are all necessary in keeping the truly dedicated community members on a
positive path towards supporting both the current and any potential infrastructures.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

The short answer is "yes." But, the advent of MeeGo happened to occur at a time of my life when I wasn't quite able to concentrate on anything (even Maemo). Because of this, my involvement with MeeGo has been thin to say the least. But, I'm not one who sees much of a difference between the overlying goals of Maemo and MeeGo. In fact, my opinion is that there will be a convergence of some sort that happens not to far in the distant future. Maemo needs a Council. That is clear. The Council that is elected should remain dedicated to the things that happen within But, I would not trust any Maemo Community Council member that didn't keep a heads up about everything that was occurring at either. Both of these worlds remain separate at the moment, but I don't think that they will for long.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

I have another short answer for this one as well: "No." The reason for this is not because the efforts aren't important or valid. On the contrary. But, one must look at the underlying philosophy of everything
we at Maemo are built upon. As a community whose soul is in open source software, we must inherently expect that most of the efforts that are spearheaded by the community are by and for open source developers.
Because of this, anything that relies on an ed user's ability to be able to find and understand how to fit into these efforts will fail. The idealistic side of me wishes that this isn't so. After all, as someone who is not a developer, I have been able to integrate and participate in several open source initiative over the years. But, I have to be honest in realizing that I (and anyone like me) am an exception. Unless a group of developers are able to organize themselves into an organization that can develop a world class, intuitive method for casual users to plug their device into a computer, click "GO," and sit back and watch a progress bar complete everything for them, then these efforts will remain applicable only to the types of people who like getting their hands dirty.

Still, this is a case for the importance of the Maemo Community Council.  If enough research could be done to systematically prove that a certain number of users are still purchasing N-Series devices solely to use the
Maemo operating system, Nokia might be swayed into agreement that ongoing support is necessary. The Council would be the entity that could achieve this.



1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

I decided to run again when Andrea was the only candidate, but by the time I'd finally got around to it, we'd got a much more complete field! So much so, I did re-consider running: all of the candidates this time are excellent, and casting my own vote will be hard.

I'm running, though, as I think I've got a good skill set which means I can offer a lot to the community, and the council particularly.

In my "day job" (not Maemo or MeeGo related), I'm a developer, architect and manager: I understand how development happens at big companies and the pressures of shipping a large complex piece of technology. This allows me to act as a bridge between Nokia's commercial pressures and the (sometimes) more idealistic view of the community. I also have to travel to clients and prospects and talk through issues with them, with the council primarily being a facilitation and communication role, these skills are invaluable.

Forum Nokia is Nokia's official developer channel, and as a Champion I can also act as a bridge between our hobbyist and open source developer community and those more corporate channels, which have their faults but also give us things we can learn from - and they from us.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

The current Council are in talks with Nokia about the community, represented by the Council, taking on full responsibility for This has some legal issues which need to get answered, but is progressing well. As the site would need some form of owner/controller/contact, this would entwine the future of the Council with the future of Therefore, despite committing to a referendum on the future of the Council before the end of the year, this would be impossible if the Council was coordinating community support of the site, and setting priorities for the paid team directly.

As to the future of, it will always have *some* place for owners of 770 and N8x0 devices. Despite the MeeGo adaptation layer for N810, I suspect Maemo is still the right answer for most users there, which is why it's good to see the Maemo 4 Community SSU.

However, the numbers of N900s in the community far outstrip the numbers of previous devices (combined), and the future here is still unclear. There are three possibilities:

   * Maemo 5, with ongoing support from the Community SSU
   * MeeGo Handset UX
   * Harmattan (previously known as Maemo 6)
     "Hacker Edition", aka MeeGo-Harmattan HE.

I suspect one of these will emerge as the best option for most community members (possibly switching over time as MeeGo matures), but whicg that will be is unclear, as is where the discussion and community for each of those will evolve.

This is the biggest challenge facing the incoming Council: to actively monitor the ever-changing situation and, in addition to our normal facilitation tasks, use communications like the Council blog (and perhaps even stronger methods) to make sure users and community members are informed about the options and help them make their own choices.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

There are three: engaging in the MeeGo community, getting involved with post-Nokia Fremantle support and pushing for more Qt-based development and integration which can give us cross-platform applications.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

I'm active on the MeeGo mailing lists and fora, have tested MeeGo Handset on my N900 and have started dabbling in Qt development.

I've been at Nokia World this week and, despite the lack of MeeGo (or, rather, MeeGo-Harmattan) devices being announced, all of the developer talks were focused on Qt or Web Runtime, and talked about them in use for Symbian, Maemo and MeeGo. Many demos were given from N900s.

As a developer, and so a community member, this is exciting: I'll be able to develop applications in a proper IDE and deploy, test and distribute across all three platforms.

I'm not one to abandon gadgets, we still have two N810s in our household, receiving active use, and I can imagine that continuing with the N900.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

Certainly I expect the Fremantle Community SSU to be more successful than Mer (as it will be backwards compatible and can only *add* to the functionality of a device) and even the Diablo Community SSU (as it's started now, before Maemo 5's even end-of-life). There are also more N900s than earlier devices, meaning the demand for these things will be higher. Hopefully, the community at large will step up.

I suspect we'll see Nokia engineers, who may have wished to develop certain features for ages, do so now that the management of many components can be done openly. I plan to offer MohammadAG as much support as possible in both the logistical and promotional efforts around his work.



Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, I did not receive Rudiger's responses to the Q&A that I had sent.  As I wanted to get this Q&A published by the time of the start of voting, I humbly apologize to Rudiger, and commit to publishing his responses in this Q&A if and when they arrive. 
Rudger's candidate declaration is here:

EDIT - Rudiger kindly forwarded me his responses after I published the article, but within the election period.  His responses are below:

1. Why are you standing for election for the Maemo Community Council?  What do you think separates you from others that are running?

On the one hand I stand for it to encourage others (former or active councelors)
On the other I seperate from all others as I like to reflect and mirror opinions
and take a stand for the opposition.

2. With MeeGo around the corner, do you think that there is a role for a Council in today's Maemo landscape?  Do you think there is a role for a Council a year from now, when MeeGo is in full swing?

Maemo will last longer than the support by Nokia, the process of handover
as full community supported distribution is a key element on this matter.

3. What priorities would you say are required for the Maemo Community during the next 6 months?

OSS'ing the Nokia Stack to make the Community SSU happen.
Support for Maemo Developers to have an easy hand to code for MeeGo, Harmattan and Maemo Devices at the same time.

4. Have you started transitioning to MeeGo?  For instance, talking on or mailing lists, getting apps ready for MeeGo, or trying out the handset UX on the N900?  If so, how do you plan on splitting your time between MeeGo and Maemo activities?  Can we at count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

Yes but more in a way of 'looking' what happens over there as I will keep my
soul with maemo for at least another year or so. For time splitting; I offered
help to the Marketing Team wich isn't anything I have to think of heavy time
management. MeeGo is currently going the wrong path for me and I think it wont
change fast.

So NO I wont have a MeeGo device any time soon.

5. Community efforts at providing "post-end-of-life" support are greatly appreciated.  Take Mer, or the Diablo Community SSU as examples.  In spite of the best intentions, and great efforts expended, they have not delivered the end-user impact that has been speculated or promised.  Do you think a "Fremantle Community SSU" is going to keep the Maemo Community (realistically) 'chugging' along with their N900's past Nokia's involvement in the Maemo platform?

My own device's future depends on it and yes I believe the community has
the power (dev- talk-) to do it. There are still N800- and N810-only community
members active and some are coding for M5 and asked N900 owners for
testing their new releases.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Maemo Minute #5: Real Face-to-Facetime

I saw a Bell Canada iPhone 4 commercial on TV today. It was focused on the FaceTime application. At the end of the commercial, in small print, was the limitation that it works on Wi-Fi only.

Well, Maemo 5 and the N900 allow SIP video calling, GoogleTalk with Video, and Skype Video over Wi-Fi and 3G. I have had several Google Talk with Video calls over Windmobile's 3G network. And, just for the record, Maemo had this feature before Apple, and without the silly limitation.

Advantage: Maemo.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is old is new again (Tablet Companions)

Nokia let the tablet segment slip out of their portfolio. After 3 generations of Internet Tablets, the form factor that started Maemo is now a distant memory.

Maemo is alive and kicking, for now, in the superb N900 mobile computer. However, that 4-5" wifi/BT enabled tablet that got so many of us interested in Maemo has seen no recent attention from Finland.

This article on Blackberry's rumoured tablet companion actually got me upset. Nokia had a good chance at being the segment leader if they had kept that product line fresh. Instead, they chose to focus on bringing Maemo to a cellular phone device.

Don't get me wrong, I love the N900. As a convergence device, it is computer combined with cellular phone. A great media player, best-in-class VoIP and IM integration, killer hardware, etc.

But it seems that other smartphone manufacturers are starting to branch out to 'accessorize' their flagships. Although the iPad is not technically a companion to an iPhone, you'll likely see those two together in fanboys' European purses. Now Blackberry is rumoured to have a companion tablet in the works, which tethers to your Blackberry smartphone.

Come on! We had this 5 years ago in Maemo. Nokia just decided to abandon that offering, leaving the field open for competition to swoop in.

I like my N800 tablet, but it is sadly in permanent storage in my daypack. Not because it is not functional, but because OS2008 does feel noticeably clunky compared to Fremantle.

MeeGo appears to be one avenue in which we can get the tablet back. But with NOKIA on the label? I am not hopeful. Prove me wrong, Nokia. In the meantime, we may have to watch tablets emerge from here and there, while Nokia finds more reasons to reinvent themselves year after year.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Friday, June 4, 2010

Two years of Maemo Blogging!

I was thinking that the 2nd 'anniversary' of my blog, Mobile Tablets! had to be around the corner.  It turns out that it is today, June 4th!

My first post was a short intro on what I had envisioned for my Nokia Tablet related blog - mostly talking about my usage in the daily grind.  The Wimax trials were my first feature (in 6 parts), but my  first break was the interview of qwerty12, which allowed me to test my interview skills.  Since then, I've had the privilege of interviewing several Maemo heavyweights (Andre, Ryan, Randall and Peter), published features related to Mer, and even some pre-election coverage for the recent Community Council elections.  The interview sparking the most contentious comments was the one of GeneralAntilles, and the post with the most tweets and thumbs on was related to the N8X0 drivers announcement at the Summit.  And recently, I have begun a series of "Maemo Minutes" - which are small tidbits related to Maemo, anecdotes and/or tips.

The blog was my main karma source, allowing me to attend Maemo Summit 2009 in Amsterdam (thanks Jaffa, for encouraging me to apply for sponsorship).  At that time, I was one of a few Maemo bloggers around.  In this N900 era, there are dozens of blogs related to Maemo.  It is difficult to separate yourselves from them.  I do not and cannot compete with professional bloggers - that is something that just does not interest me.  I have tried to create content of interest to me and the community (I hope!) instead of 'retweeting' it.  It becomes difficult, but that is where I like to areas untouched by others.
I have not spent any effort blogging about my Maemo 5 application, MaeFlight (now in extras-devel).  But I think I will start to.  I do not develop software in my day job, so I am mainly tinkering, hoping to round out my Maemo contributions, and learn more about this platform I love from 'the other side'.

I would like your feedback - what do you think I should focus on for new content now.... Maemo, MeeGo, community stuff, news, no-change, etc.  My buddy, Texrat, gave me a few interview ideas recently.  I want Mobile Tablets! to be relevant to the community, so I humbly ask for your input.  Many thanks!

I'll close with a quote from a Facebook exchange I had with a friend of 19 years, who did not know that I was 'EIPI' until last month:

"Woah, I cannot believe you are EIPI!!! You are famous (well at least in a pool of 30,000 people). Very cool."

Not sure I agree with the 'famous' part, but that made me laugh, nonetheless.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Maemo Meetup in Toronto

Last night, I attended the Mobile Geeks of Toronto (MGoTO) meetup. The featured guest was Samir Agarwal, head of Nokia's Maemo Operations in Mountain View, CA.

There were about 15 attendees, ranging from members, mobile enthusiasts, wireless carriers, and of course Howard Chui, of HowardForums fame.

I was in "EIPI-mode", and asked Samir some very pointed questions relating to Maemo/Meego. Some takeaways:

1. Nokia is commiting to the North American market with Meego
2. Meego devices from Nokia will be both mainstream and high-end in the hardware department.
3. Meego is not replacing Symbian
4. Samir would not answer if Nokia's Meego would have the 2-way pannable desktop, saying it may be damaging to his job if he answered! I am fairly certain that it will though based upon what we know of Harmattan.
5. Skype video coming to N900 .... It was demonstrated between Samir's N900 and his Booklet 3G.

Samir was asking for our feedback. I had my NA peeps in mind when I strongly said that Nokia must be committed to MeeGo's success in North America. Two things, IMO have been strikes against the N900 here in North America: 1) still being a geek device, and 2) choice of AWS HSPA bands which severely limit its adoption in 850/1900 land over here. If Nokia puts in the 5 band chip from the N8 in the first MeeGo device, it will go a long way to securing North American adoption, IMO.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Friday, April 9, 2010

Maemo Minute #4: NuevaSync - Set it and Forget it

The N900's MfE client can sync with a number of MfE servers, but is not Google-friendly, since Google's implementation of Mail for Exchange (MfE) is not standard. I for one would like to use Google Calendar and Google Contacts as my main PIM database. I had my N900 calendar syncing for a while with Google, and then I found it to be unreliable, so I turned it off. Another annoyance I found was that MfE would download my Google contacts, but would not sync them afterwards (I reported Bug 5835 for this).

There have been several threads on Talk about this, including the long winded one started by Vitaly Repin. The short of it all: MfE on the N900 does not officially support Google. A business decision by Nokia, and unfortunate for many of us Maemo enthusiasts who happen to use Google's services for basic PIM.

Enter NuevaSync.

The service offered by NuevaSync is free (for basic usage), and provides a nice bridge between the N900's MfE client and Google. I am a NuevaSync user for about 2 days now. I have not used it to sync e-mail, but Calendar and Contacts sync like a charm. The free account allows you to sync calendar entries up to 2 weeks in the past. If you are like myself, and have years of calendar entries that you want to sync once to the N900 (to retain your calendar history), you will have to 'try' a premium account for 5 days to get past the 2 week sync restriction that NuevaSync has in place on the basic account. The premium account has other niceties, but for me, the basic account is just enough.

It's another service to add to your already large list of accounts you manage. But if you use Google like I do for almost everything, then NuevaSync is a must for your N900. As I posted on Texrat's blog, I hope that major 3rd party services (such as Google) work out of the box with the first MeeGo product from Nokia. I want to be able to open the Harmattan device's box, fire it up, and connect to my entire online life in a few minutes - 100% reliably, and using the default clients. Hopefully, my dream will be a reality shortly!

Note: I am in no way affiliated with Nuevasync.

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maemo Community Council: Candidates Getting Grilled

The Maemo Community Council election is drawing near, and the nomination process is closed.  As you have probably heard by now, the candidate list is quite strong, comprising former and current Council members, community veterans, and relative newcomers with strong community contributions.  With the hype surrounding Maemo, the N900, MeeGo, and our uncertain future, this is the hottest political arena that our community has ever seen.

It is therefore with great honour that Mobile Tablets! is presenting this unofficial Q&A with the candidates as part of the lead up to the election. 

Background to this Q&A:

All candidates were contacted personally to see if they would take part in a Q&A.  All agreed, however, due to some confusion in the instructions (for which I apologize deeply to them), it was unclear to some where and how to respond to the questions that I posed.  Most of that was resolved, however, I did not get Andrew F Black's (andrewfblack) responses at the time of this writing.  As I wanted to get this post out before elections started, I humbly apologize to Andrew F Black that the post had to be published without his responses.  I will commit to ammending this post with his responses if and when they arrive.

And now without further delay, let the grilling begin!

1. What is motivating you to run for Maemo Community Council?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): This time it's to help maintain continuity from one council to the next, as well as to help facilitate transfer of successful assets and projects to MeeGo while acting to calm the concerned membership.
 Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): To help out where I can.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): I believe that for this election, there should be 1-2 (fairly) new community members elected. The worst thing that can happen to the Council is if only 'old' members are elected (the ones that already have been in the Council or close to it). Or the other way round.
I think that I can bring this new energy and approach into the Council, something which is and will be extremely important in those times. 
I consider Maemo/MeeGo to be an important player on the market, because of philosophy ('root access'), user experience (more desktop-like) and developer perspective (Linux development for mobile phones). Being interested (also professionally) in all those three aspects, I would like to see the platform flourish. Community is an important part of Maemo and future MeeGo, and Council is an important part of this Community. Having the best possible Council is then important for me personally. If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): A lot of things. This is an exciting time for mobile Linux and, I believe, the beginning of something that people will look back on in 10 years as the time when mobile computing changed forever. I see it as an incredible opportunity to be involved with this and help shape the direction things take towards the future.

Plus, I just like helping to make good things happen. ;)
Javier Pedro (javispedro): By the time I was nominated, I felt that a certain trait was missing from the set of nominees that previous councils (or at least, previous council elections candidates) had. Clearly, this is no longer the case -- this trait is now covered both by me and candidates nominated after me. Still, my views are of course not entirely shadowed by any single other candidate and as such the original motivation still stands.
Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): I've been a member of the Maemo community since I first read about the 770 in May 2005, and rediscovered it a couple of months before launch. With many others, I started hanging out at and subscribed to the maemo-* mailing lists. I found that I could add value in letting the forum folk know what was going on on the mailing lists and so grew into a very active member of the Maemo community.

With the launch of each successive device, I'd like to think my contributions have increased. But in early 2008, Nokia were increasingly asking the community questions of the form "should we hold a summit?", "should we open source X?" and no-one in the community felt empowered to answer. I proposed the creation of a community council to speak on the community's behalf - and the idea's proved successful.

After two terms on the council, I felt it was time to step down and give another set of candidates a go. These last six months have given my a fresh perspective and I hope to combine that with my experience and leadership qualities as we face the single largest change in Maemo's history: MeeGo.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): The Community Council is in front of a crossroads, and I feel that the future of the Council as an institution will largely depend on what it does (and how successfully). Change is inevitable, and I believe I can help this period be transitioned, solving current problems with a mindful eye on the future. I think that it is very important that the Council has 'doers' in it's ranks, people who can and will commit time and effort to achieve goals, and are better at solving problems better than lamenting about them.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): I already manage a smaller community (the Linux user group of my city) and I think I could reuse some of the skills I learned and apply them in Maemo Community. I also have a couple of ideas to get more developers involved and to make the whole Community stronger.

Steven Yeager (YoDude): I always believed that the Community Council we elect should have some representation from the average customer/user base. I also believe that the forums are, and will continue to be the communication means of choice for many engaged users.
At the time of my declaration a current council member who I had voted for in the past recently had posted…  
“It always frustrated me that the decision makers often chose to marginalize the forum users because they were too many, too unruly, too... unmanageable.  By doing the important business on the mailing lists and IRC instead of the forums, it kept the noise down, but at the expense of losing a huge pool of resources."
… I share his views on this issue. Unfortunately, for personal reasons this councilman had decided not to run for reelection.
I was his decision not to run that motivated to me run this term. At the time I believe only 2 other candidates had declared and I feared that these views might not be represented by the future council.  Since then the slate has filled out nicely.  I hope that through the publicly viewed discourse that you have provided here on your blog and any subsequent posts on the forums, the issues that are important to me and I believe many others, will also become part of the platform of all candidates.
If that becomes the case, these views will be represented by the council no matter who is elected.

2. Effective Council representation requires a commitment of significant time and energy on your part. How are you planning to fulfill your Council duties, while maintaining all your other personal, professional and/or academic responsibilities.
Randall Arnold (Texrat): Same way I did last term: commit to this being a part of my life.  It wasn't easy last term but this work is important enough to me to make the time. 
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): Good management. Currently I'm making videos about the N900 and I'm very active in the community. The activity in the community will fusion with the activity as a concil member. If then is not enough time, I can still decide to not make a video on this day. 
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): I am a busy person, both working and studying. I however feel that there is still place in my 24 hours day for involvement in Council works.
On personal (and practical) note, I do have very flexible schedule in both my academic activities and work, both regarding hours of the day (and night) and days of the year. Neither real-time conferences nor trips should be a problem (as they have never been). Due to my work, I live in two time zones anyway (Europe and US). Living alone, I don't have to worry about working at night or weekends. I guess everyone who has been a student knows how this works :)
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): Same way I always do. ;) Invest the free time where I have it. Sometimes there's more of it and sometimes there's less, but I try to be as productive as I can as often as I can.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): Well, like every other community member :). This will still be a in-free-time-only activity, and I think that the sprint system promotes the search of proper available free time slots.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): As I've been on the council twice before, including once as chair, I'm aware of the demands on the time that it entails. I wouldn't have stood if I was confident I could make the time to give the role the dedication it deserves.
However, I also have thoughts on how to reduce the burden, in particular with the monthly sprint meetings. Currently, these are run by the council chair, but I believe that it would be more efficient, more transparent and more effective if the Council and Nokia both provided input into the meeting and then it was run, and chaired, by the team lead: Niels Breet.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): A formal Council representation would only give additional legitimacy to my current efforts and agenda, which I'm already representing and investing considerable effort into. I don't want a Council hat for the vitrine, but to put it to good use - if I can't, I will return it for other folks to be able to pick up, I think that is the only fair thing to do. That said, I would have never accepted to be a Council candidate if I doubted I will be able to commit time and effort to it.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): I'll simply play less to Playstation and online games, dedicating more of my spare time to something really useful :)

Steven Yeager (YoDude): I work in the physical world and away from a connected desktop computer for most of my day.That is what attracted me to Nokia’s Internet Tablet concept in the first place.  Like anyone else, I don’t undertake a task to be less than successful. In the pursuit of this success many of us have seen our work week increase to 60, 70, or even 80 hours. Fortunately because of my professional success and the position that I hold, I have been able to secure commitments from my employer and co-workers so that I can limit my employed work week to 40 hours for at least the next 6 to 8 months.
Of course prior commitments, vacations, and other family events like the birth of a child will always occur, but that is one of the reasons why there are more than one council member I would think.

3. The current Council has been criticized for lack of formal communication on their activities. What formal methods and frequency of communication do you believe are appropriate? Should all Council members share this responsibility or only a select few?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): There were lapses in every medium.  The main formal methods, email and the forum, work well when used.  The challenge is making sure every council member engages, at the very least to say "I can't be bothered right now".  Frequency can be on an as-needed basis as well as regular meetings, once every two weeks working for the latter I think.  All members should participate.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): I think only one or two council members should have the responsibility to inform the community. That does not mean, that the others are not allowed to inform as well. But these two members have to inform the community in form of a weekly/monthly report.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): I agree with the statement that there is not enough formal communication about Council activities. Whether this should be done by chosen persons or by all members, depends on the structure of elected Council, both regarding personal issues (this formal channel should not be monopolized by one fraction) and chosen responsibilities division (if any, in a natural way persons responsible for certain aspects should be the ones communicating them).
There are two main methods of communication that could be useful in this situation. Formal reports from the works of Council published in set intervals and (less formal) Council blog, an aggregator for all the members. I should definitely see the second option being done, the first one (for example in a form of two/three weeks wiki pages reports) depends on the actual works of the Council and if the results are suitable for such reports.
In short: make the community aware that there is a Council, that it works on something and may even sometimes ask for help. 
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): When I served my first two terms on the council we made a lot of use of the blog on I think having at least one member pushing a sort of "state of the community" post at least once a month would be helpful. But, much like the paid staff, frequent communication and open working methods are a necessity from all council members.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): When I was still considering whether to accept or decline my nomination, one of the first things I did was to try to search which kind of activities previous councils did. I found the awful parts (the council blog still talking about the emulators, which means it's nearly as outdated as my own blog which is very, very outdated) and the better parts (like the public logs of the sprints). While all community members should still take care of communication and, more importantly, leaving logs of their own actions, more formal methods of communication will be useful but not necessarily on a timed basis. For example, Jaffa's MWKN covers much more than what the council blog covered (and he's not a council member!), and is currently a much more useful resource, up to the point that the council blog's usefulness seems diminished.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): I think all council members should be communicating with, and participating in, the community. That doesn't mean that everyone has to participate in every medium - however, some must.

One thing I think would help is that when key issues are facing the community, a single member is identified as the coordinator. These half a dozen issues could be presented as a table on the council
homepage and could, currently, say "VDVsx: extras testing & QA"; "gcobb: optification"; "Texrat: community outreach". This wouldn't preclude anyone else (either within, or outside, the council) participating but it makes clear who's responsible for pushing it forward.

Indeed, the coordinator need not even be on the council. Valerio Valerio (VDVsx) asked the first council's blessing to start the ball rolling on's first Google Summer of Code and this kind of high-level task ownership is something I'd like to see encouraged.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): I would like to see a Council weekly, much in the vein of the Maemo Weekly News. Ideally this would be a rotational duty (so everyone needs to write a single short report of 'what happened to/in the Council' less than once a month). While not a 'fun' idea and the word 'report' makes a lot of people uneasy, I agree that more communication from the Council is welcome, even if it's a 'nothing happened', just to keep people in the loop. Nokia has a very tight disclosure policy - but we don't have to (nor can afford to). Sprints are supposed to help this, but it is hard to see what's really going on in a continuous matter unless one is keeping a close eye on things - which is largely unnecessary as that is one of the tasks of the Council.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): Improving the communication between the Council and the Community is a must. My idea is that the Council should only schedule and coordinate the activities. These should be completed by Community members, awarding them with karma points. Of course there will be activities that cannot be shared but this is another story.

Steven Yeager (YoDude):
All elected representatives of a community share the responsibility of communicating their activities with the community who elected them. However, formal communication from the council either with the community or with Nokia should be agreed upon by the council in total, in advance. The council should speak for the community as one “voice”.
A formal communication with the community should be required on a monthly basis in my opinion.
In keeping with the councils stated goals to…
“At some point, the maemo-community mailing list will be integrated with the Community subforum at Talk. Until then, the Council will use the Community subforum and link to important items in maemo-community, identified by using the [Council] tag”
…found on the Wiki page located at  >>
I believe the council should use the forums for these communications as much as possible.
I hope to expand on this further in my answers to the following questions.

4. The Maemo community has grown large, especially since the introduction of the N900. With that, the issues the Community is facing has grown in stride. Presently, there has been no formal division within the Council, other than identification of a Chairperson. Should members of the Council have roles or portfolios? If yes, what portfolios are large enough to warrant a Council member to devote a majority of their time to them?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): Absolutely.  Each member should champion a cause or causes and perform as a community facilitator for activities involved.  Project manager may be a better term.  I can answer the portfolio question best with examples: application testing as Valerio has championed, community outreach as I have, etc.  Size of the project should not be as much a focus as impact on the community.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): Yes, I think the community members should have specific roles. For example as I've said one or two should be responsable for the community communication. Again one or two should be the contact for Nokia, and later, as we will have meego the contact for Intel, too.
And the last one is thecontact for the linux foundation. So we have splitted tasks for every council member.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): If any roles in the Council should be introduced, those should be more about being coordinators for certain tasks than being one and only responsible for various things. I think that this is a good idea, allowing people to focus on certain responsibilities and making it clear for the community who is the right person to contact.
Regarding the scope of the tasks, this will be something life will tell. I think that those can be both large blocks (like sprints coordination, extras testing process, meego cooperation) and small, well defined tasks within this scope.
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): To a certain extent, people seem to fall into the role that most suits them, but I don't think this process should be formalized beyond, perhaps, having council members pick up certain pet projects they're particularly interested in and act as a go-to person for them.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): At this point I don't think that any portfolia is large enough to warrant a permanent Council member to it. As with any previous councils, there will be a natural tendency for each candidate to concentrate on the "roles" they prefer, which may actually be the reason the community chosed them.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): I don't believe specific roles to be necessary, apart from the single point man. Obviously, different members will have different interests, but the main point of the council is to empower people (who are already participating and contributing widely to the community) to speak on the community's behalf. Therefore, the main thing a council member has to do is "carry on doing what they're doing".

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): Not every Council member has the same skills, and I think that delegating tasks to particular persons can be a good thing if there is an agreement and general trust on the side of the Council. Since the election platforms are not role-specific, this would happen on formation of a Council, depending on it's actual members. In effect, these things could (and in a way, already are) done as particular tasks in the Sprint process. I would not even shy away from the Council delegating certain tasks to community members or creating task groups (within legal and technical limits, of course) - it should not take a Council membership to be able to push a certain agenda. Again, the Sprint process already provides a way for this, but it is largely unused/underutilized.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): I don't think there should be any particular division. The Council should simply work together to the tasks and, of course, if someone is more skilled in any particular task he could choose to lead it.

Steven Yeager (YoDude): Reoccurring tasks such as communication with Nokia, developer relations, member relations, forum administration, council elections, or whatever additional responsibilities that the council may have could be managed by committee with reports required sometime before each formal communication.
I realize that given the size of the council these committees will likely have only two members, however it is the committee concept that should be used to provide coverage overlap, manage responsibilities, and help identify the right people for the right jobs.

5. Current terms are 6 months. Is this sufficient time for having impact, or is it too short or too long?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): I think it was okay up to now but believe 12 months will make more sense with MeeGo.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): I think that the time is just right, because the community, devices and personal situations are changing very fast.  If the period would be shorter, the council would have no chance to achieve important projects. If the period would be longer, maybe someone would not be happy with the council.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): I believe that in current situation it may prove to be too short of a period. It is however a matter of how many members of the Council are re-elected, so the continuity is preserved. I think that cadence of 9 months would be better.
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): 6 months feels a lot longer from the other side, trust me. ;) Council members are free to run again as often as they like. Assuming a candidate remains popular, they have as much time as they need to push whatever agenda they'd like to push, but the 6 month period leaves the option open for members who don't want to continue their obligation (for whatever reason) to step down, while offering a much lower barrier to entry for potential candidates. 6 months is a much more reasonable obligation period for most people than a full year.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): In computing, a decade is an eternity. In this very dynamic handheld devices world, 6 months is half an eternity (Nokia releases a new (not-necessarily-Maemo) device every few months!). I think that 6 months is enough.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): Before the MeeGo announcement, I was considering running on a platform based around three principal changes:
  * paid contributors to become more empowered and accountable.   * Council terms to be made 12 months.   * Council members able to resign.

I've reconsidered that position in light of the changes which will affect the community in ways of we're not yet sure. However, all three were interrelated: my empowering the members but having a well-defined and concrete mechanism for feeding in requirements (on the same footing as Nokia) would put the council in a position to be involved in performance reviews. By having a 12-month term, there would be enough continuity and knowledge within the council to make this feasible. Also, a 12-month term would mean a single council would be responsible for the yearly summit, and be in a position to be involved in Nokia World.

However, in the current council, we've seen that high-profile community members with the best of intentions can - for various reasons - not have the time necessary to devote to the role. Therefore, council members should have the ability to resign; especially when having to commit to the role for 12 months. This should also encourage more candidates in the election, as there'd be a clear mechanism to decide, after the fact, that it wasn't for them.

Perhaps, with the MeeGo transition, this lengthened term would be a good idea. I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on the topic.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): It's certainly not too short. 12 months could be an alternative, but given how fast the community is changing, I think 6 months is a better choice. We already have a problem of bringing new blood to the council (or even the activities surrounding it) lengthening the term would only make this worse.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): I think is a bit short, I would prefer 12 months, but even 6 months are ok. We just have to hurry up to be sure to do all we want to do.

Steven Yeager (YoDude): Although changes to the council charter I believe is currently beyond the scope of what a new candidate can expect to accomplish, this is another item that could be examined and reported upon by a council committee.
Using the committee approach to better manage council activities itself may require longer terms. Or perhaps term overlaps should be examined to help provide continuity and to keep the election process in the forefront of our communities collective conscience. This in turn could promote more community involvement with the election process which in turn will benefit all.

6. The Council is privy to certain knowledge that a normal community member is not. For you to function in your role, this is understandable. However, the situation may arise where a subset of the Council may be made privy to some knowledge, as happened recently with the MeeGo announcement. Do you agree with Nokia's decision, or do you think the entire Council should have been given the same information at the same time, and under the same restrictions?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): Even given the explanation, I disagree with the decision.  Not simply because only one member was privy, but because the one who was could do nothing with the knowledge.  That made it pointless.  Either inform the entire council or none.  If information security is so big a concern, make it none... but be prepared for a challenge afterward.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): I'm fine with that IF it does have good reasons. I think Nokia had good reasons to not let everyone know the meego release. 
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): Nokia should not create such splits within Council. Not because the members are entitled to any information, but because this is harmful for the Council and community: if there is a reason why some members should be excluded from certain information, it means that the system Nokia-Council-Community doesn't work and needs to be fixed. 
I however do not know the particular case with MeeGo announcement and, as I appreciate that there may be extraordinary situations in Nokia-Council contacts (the above is my opinion about those contacts in general), I cannot just write 'it was wrong', as I do not know. However, the less it happens the better.
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): I don't particularly agree with Nokia's decision with the MeeGo announcement, but I can understand it. Unfortunately hedging like that just ties the hands of whoever actually gets told. At least when the whole council is involved they have an opportunity to plan for whatever big announcement is coming down the pipe, but a single person doesn't have many more options available than sitting and waiting.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): Note that one of the usual Council FAQ answers is "No NDAs were signed". Since the council represents the community, I don't believe that the council having more information than the community to be "right thing". Clearly, for organizational purposes, this may be required; ideally only for short periods of time.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): In general, the council operates best when it knows the same information the rest of the community do. I'd certainly be wary of having wide-ranging and long-running NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) which could hamstring the ability of a council member to do their job effectively.
However, if an NDA is for a specific event, I think it can be considered individually. For example, when the N900 was about to be launched, Nokia emailed the council saying they'd like the community to be involved in the launch; however they couldn't tell us when it would be. We decided between ourselves that Alan Bruce, Tim Samoff and I would sign a time-limited, specific NDA; whilst Kees Jongenburger and Ryan Abel wouldn't.
I think this provided a good balance; I'm not sure I'd ever agree with the whole council signing an NDA at the same time.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): The biggest problem is that this currently seems to be decided on a case-by- case basis. I certainly would like to avoid situations where only parts of the Council know about something, as it creates points of conflict, and also defeats the point of the Council - one of the fundamental tasks of the Council is to act as a bridge between the community and the other stakeholders, hardly possible if the Council is separated into knows and know nots. Having an appointed liaison to particular companies or issues is a different matter - it's always good to know who is the point of contact and ultimate source for something, but limiting him/her in what can (not) be disclosed is pointless.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): It would be nice if at least all the Council members had the same level of knowledge, of course after signing a NDA, but this is not a decision the Council can take. If Nokia and Intel think that more people could share these knowledges then it wil be fine for me.

Steven Yeager (YoDude): Nokia is a business.  The decisions that it makes are the essence of its success and survival in a very competitive market. I have no problem with how it chooses to communicate events to the council that may affect that business.
An individual councilman doesn’t have control over that and here again; the committee approach may also help. A “steering “committee by nature would be a subset of the council.

7. It seems that this term of the Maemo Community Council will be a busy one with MeeGo unfolding, possibly a new device rolling out of Finland, and of course, organization of the annual Summit. What priorities do you think the Council should keep during this term?

Randall Arnold (Texrat): Main priority is ensure the health of the current community while migrating to MeeGo.  That won't be easy.  We have already seen the anxiety MeeGo has introduced.  We need to 1) push Nokia to answer hard questions about the future of the N900 vis-a-vis MeeGo and 2) listen with empathy to member concerns and see what we can do to address them.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): Unify the community. Help to form a big community with talented people.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): As the MeeGo will be approaching to day one, it will be Councils priority to ensure panic-free environment. Many members of Maemo community will get afraid that their n900 is going to fell apart (metaphorically speaking [mostly]).  If this happens, it will have a very negative impact on the Maemo community as well as the newly forming MeeGo one. It must be clearly stated that we are experiencing evolution (raaapid one), no one is going to be left behind, MeeGo monsters will not take over and so on. This will be a difficult task for the Council, but with (hopefully) unified views of the members it can be achieved.
This Summit will be a crucial one (exact weight will depend on Nokia and Intel timing). Good organization and giving people reason to participate will be the most important task. If at this point (active) members will get apathetic, not seeing reason to participate in a summit of a soon-to-be-dead (in their thinking) platform, the community will fail. 
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): Depending on Nokia's decision regarding MeeGo-on-N900, of course, but, primarily: making sure the existing infrastructure is in top-shape to carry support for the Maemo platform for as long as is necessary, helping to smooth the MeeGo transition as much as possible, and bringing as many of the good parts of Maemo and to MeeGo as we can.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): The priority is IMO representation of the existing community. Note that at least every other term has been "interesting", with either the N+1 iteration of the ITOS unrolling, a new device, or summit happening -- and the priority has been the usual one. During this term

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): There are still various tasks around; particularly around quality assurance and Extras that need to be completed. However, I think the main task of the council will be trying to ensure consistency and continuity as Maemo evolves from Maemo 5 on the N900 to Harmattan on a MeeGo-branded device to actual code-drops of MeeGo.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): The answer is in the question :) The upcoming Council is largely a preparatory one, with the actual transition happening probably in the following Council's term, but it is very important that the upcoming Council has a firm stance on the relations of the present Maemo and future MeeGo communities (with the obvious 'using a MeeGo device' dividing them).
Harmattan's Maemo roots will make things really a challenge for communities - it's not the N900 and Fremantle that are really torn between two worlds, but the Harmattan device - so close to MeeGo, but still Maemo. Integrating these people into the community is very important (we certainly don't want the will- MeeGo-run-on-my-Harmattan-device and Harmattan-is-obsolete-even-before-it-was-released thread fights all over again).

The Summit is an important event in community life and since there won't be a Maemo Summit, but a MeeGo summit, it is an excellent opportunity to bring and transition Maemo and Moblin people to Meego. This Summit will arguably will be the harder to organize as the number of stakeholders increased significantly, but a good Council approach can help that, too.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): I think that our priorities should be involving more developers and organize the best Summit ever.

Steven Yeager (YoDude):
Our Maemo community has been a process of evolution. From manufacturing, to operating software development, to independent application development, and finally the end user experience.
As manufacturing and operating software activities begin to wane more resources should be committed to maintaining and promoting independent development and enhancing the actual user experience.
How our community handles the user experience will have the most effect on the evolution of the developing MeeGo community, IMHO.

8. There are many strong candidates running in this election. Some have had open disagreements with each other in the past. How do you propose to overcome such interpersonal differences while carrying out your Council duties?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): Separate the personal from the professional.  I have recommitted myself to this recently, and hope other candidates do as well.  We won't have time for pettiness.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): I've never had PERSONAL disagreements with any of the others, so no problem. But IF there would be one, communication is the key. Every human is different, with different opinions. We have to agree on one decision before communicate, to form a strong community council.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): Personal differences will happen always (now, that's something new), especially among individuals that are supposed to be leaders. I don't really believe in any sort of system solution in this case, it should be all based on individual talks. As Buddha said, Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. In short: I don't know nor dare to propose any system that would guarantee solving such differences. We will deal with them when they arise :)
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): We'll just have to work together to be civil and ensure productive collaboration. Whatever challenges disagreements may bring with them (polarization and entrenchment are major issues), they force you to continually evaluate your own position and prevent you from becoming complacent in your views.
 Javier Pedro (javispedro): The 5 members will be the most voted for ones, thus "the most loud voice" (as in, number of persons) is a nice approach.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): Two of the biggest strengths of the Maemo community are the passion, and diversity, of its members, This leads to positives like a commitment of both time and energy in making the platform better; but
even the occasional disagreement can have a positive force in the end.

The thing we should always bear in mind is that these disagreements come from a fundamental desire to make the platform better for everyone and that that, amongst with many other things, holds us together more than anything divides us. The wide range of people making up the Maemo community means that outcomes of a discussion can be better than any one person could develop on their own.

On a practical basis, approaching communications from an "I'm OK, you're OK" position - what Randall would call "listening without prejudice" - can help smooth over perceived slights and jibes when most of the community is largely communicating electronically. Physical meet ups whenever possible also help enormously - it's harder to bear a grudge when you've shared a beer.

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): Disagreements are not necessary problems - Council members are chosen to represent the community, and if there is a disagreement in the community, that easily translates to disagreement in the Council. What *is* dangerous, is, however, if the disagreement, instead of being solved or even being compromised on, turns into conflict. It's the conflict that is really detrimental. While there are a lot of very strong candidates, I am really sorry to see that there very few candidates whose primary area of expertise is 'people skills'. In times of conflict, it's often very difficult to overcome this from one's own efforts and help from other Council members could be very helpful.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): Personally I didn't have any disagreement with current Council members. Anyway I think that we all should work for the Community, forgiving any past disagreement.

Steven Yeager (YoDude):
Simple, open flame war's culminating in a winner take all mud wrestling tournament…
Just kidding!
In reality differences and disagreements will always occur. We have overcome our disagreements in the past and directed our attention productively toward goals for the common good of our community. I don’t see anything preventing us from doing so in the future.

9. Previous Councils have put together proposals for new resources or improving existing community resources. An example of this is the creation of the role of Distmaster. What resources would you propose requiring improvement, and why? What new resources would you champion if elected?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): Given that MeeGo already has a robust structure, starting with the Technical Steering Group, I am assuming we can expect a more professional approach with MeeGo.  This is not a slam on; we had extremely resourceful people doing the best they could with what they had.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): More moderators because the community is growing very fast and will be growing even faster. Then we should have a contact from Nokia/Intel just for developers.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): Regarding resources, the most important issue at the moment is lack of good documentation. We need to resolve this issue with Nokia (so they deliver it) and create a well organized layout, probably similar to the one known from Java or Qt documentation. Current wiki pages acting as documentation are to inconsistent, information is hard to access etc. This should also be a priority for MeeGo community, from the day one.
Another issue is a structure of some parts of, where to many pages are presented to the user without clear logic (an example can be overview of the packages and trying to access voting site for a package). At some point it is easier to go back and ask google about given site than to navigate on
If elected I would like to see improvements in the packages promotion and handling on the Nokia's inability to implement framework for paid applications for n900 in Ovi Store is now apparent, the least that can be don eon the community side is to have a unified system of donations. Providing real security framework is probably outside our possibilities, so we should not go for a 'real' paid applications; instead system of donations closely linked to the application overview and good promotion of the best ones should be implemented. Large part of community would actually show their support with donations, we should promote this and make it as easy as possible.  
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): To be honest, I don't believe there's a lot of long-term benefit investing resources heavily into unless they translate well to MeeGo (and hopefully even less of one if Nokia decides to do the right thing). For my part, my pet projects have always been the wiki and bugzilla, improvements to the software and processes of both offer concrete and easily-translatable benefits for MeeGo.
Specifically, I'd really like to improve the approachability of bugzilla with improved and simplified bug views for new users and more-helpful bug-submission forms.

Javier Pedro (javispedro): One topic that I'm personally interested in is localization. We have a i18n team, a interesting i18n platform, and even then, when a user goes to, all he gets is an English page with an English description of a entirely-in-English application. Being a person that gets often emailed from other Spanish speaking only members, you can understand this is something which I really think needs improvement.

Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): The direction of MeeGo will have a large impact here; especially since Intel has community focused resources like web resource and experts in RPM packaging. Hopefully our existing paid contributors will be able to continue to contribute (and put dinner on their tables) with involvement in Maemo and, increasingly, MeeGo.

In the short term, as I outlined above, I think the the should become more responsible - and, as a consequence, accountable - through them clearly setting their own priorities after taking input from three sources:
 * Their customer, Nokia  * Their customer, the community (through the council)  * Themselves, and their expert domain knowledge

Atilla Csipa (attila77/achipa): The single biggest improvement on current resources is better feedback. There is a lot of effort put in the community resources, but people often get nervous and disenchanted with the procedure more because the lack of *easily* followable statuses (I believe the Sprint logs and a semi-hidden Qaiku simply don't cut it at these scales). As for new resources, I have lobbied a while back for a QAmaster position (not necessarily paid, more important here is the authority). Testing is often perceived as a chore, and IMO a even a single can person could make a difference channeling the QA efforts. The testing squad was a first step, and the introduction of soon-to-be moderators a further large step in the right direction, kudos to Valerio et al for pushing the testing agenda. Improving feedback is vital, but if the only result is that the developer gets 100 bug/enhancement requests, he'll be swamped. That's why I believe a QA person/team could validate (moderate, if you wish) the tester conclusions - we have the problem of testers downvoting the app because of factors that had nothing to with the app and interpreting what's a blocker and what not. Also, in my vision, the QA team/person should actively HELP the developer (especially new ones) resolve blockers (not everybody has mad coding skillz like qwerty12). Not write code instead of the developer, of course, but with pointers to documentation, code, examples, linking him with other developers, etc. This way we could also avoid the situation of the developer being handed a huge A, B, C, D list of issues and a 'deal with it' note, hoping that he will not loose motivation while he hunts around how to resolve those (maybe well known) issues. Another aspect is an active watch on the testing repo, or even whole process. There is a number of initiatives of improving feeback in general (like the current efforts of the Extras-Assistant team, Randall Arnold's proposed feedback framework, and my own humble AppWatch application). I would like to see these efforts receive more attention, possibly integrate on official level.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): as I already said, we should improve developers tools. For example we should provide someting similar to "Google Code" bcause the actual Garage is not enough for a developer (all main projects migrated to Gitorius, each project host its webpage externally ecc....).

Steven Yeager (YoDude): With an eye on maintaining and promoting independent development and enhancing the actual user experience, I believe more effort should now be placed on the forums.
The forum culture is much different than the mailing list culture. The enthusiasm that grows from within a forum can be almost immediate and is very contagious.
An example of this for me is that although I use and am very happy with a community developed mapper program on my N810 while in my car, I just made an impulse purchase of a new Navigation program for my N900. This was not so much because I needed it, or because I planned to use it in the near future. It was because I wanted to explore the application and participate in the enthusiastic threads that popped up recently on the forum.
Quite a few developers have also found that in their personal development sprints, many active and willing real world users are available to them for testing any time of day by simply opening a thread on the forum. Feedback with useful information is almost immediate, and more can be done in the time that they have for these personal projects.
The forum needs to be developed more and I believe there are plenty of members who will volunteer to do this if given the opportunity. In order to provide that opportunity I believe these volunteers will need to be managed outside the perceived influence of our council members.
I believe some things are done best when done autocratically. I believe our forums administration is one of these things. The forums need to react swiftly to changes but be stable in nature.
 That is why if elected I will push for a Council appointed forum administrator who will have autocratic control over the forum and its moderation.
The term should probably be no less than a year or no more than 3 years without reappointment. The details of which can be determined by Council vote I hope. He or she would also be subject to recall of course.

10. MeeGo is our future. The future is unfortunately unclear at the moment. The Maemo Community requires strong leadership at this time.  Can you provide a summary of your leadership style? What do you think the Council's challenges will be with respect to MeeGo in the coming 6 months, and how are you planning on addressing them?
Randall Arnold (Texrat): I tend to be a cheerleader or coach at the beginning of an undertaking and a "lead from the shadows" sort once the ball gets rolling.  I prefer to motivate rather than micromanage, and to clear paths rather than give orders.  I also think any project should have fun elements.
The second is such a big question it's difficult to answer concretely.  But in summary the main challenges I see are tackling "FUD", keeping members engaged and incorporating lessons learned into what we do with MeeGo.  I see these already happening so I am encouraged by the leadership so far.  Quim Gil has been a relentless presence here, tirelessly posting and emailing and making sure the conversations stay on track and produce respectable results.  Tero Kojo has also done this on email lists.  I will take cues and follow their lead as best I can.
Cosimo Kroll (zehjotkah): My leadership style is cooperative. I first read/hear, then think about and last talk about it.
Nobody can tell what the future brings, but I can imagine (only one example), that we will see a lot more average user in our forums, who don't understand the Linux style of life. We have to integrate them, and encourage them to participate. Only a active community is a good community.
Arek Stopczynski (hopbeat): As I have already written several times, I see myself as a man of dialogue. It is this Council's responsibility to make this community available for as many users as possible and in order to achieve this, it is necessary to understand various groups present in it. The Council is elected to represent community, not to rule it. It however doesn't meant that it can be pushed around, in those interesting times the leadership must be strong. But it must reflect the aggregated needs of the community, not an effect of fights between those groups or even Council members.
In short: be able to see the groups in community; listen to them; get from this what is good for community/community wants and implement this forcefully. There is time to talk and time to act.
Ryan Abel (GeneralAntilles): Full of spit and vinegar, hopefully with a bit of insight thrown in? ;) I'm a person who likes to get down to the detail work and help make things happen. I'm not the type of person to sugar-coat anything and rarely shy away from a good discussion (sometimes a negative point). I love this community and I love this platform and my goal as a leader is always to help make it the best it can be.
The most unclear issue, and the one that will have the biggest effect on the transition in the coming months, is MeeGo-on-N900. It's a question that will need answering before we can be certain of our path to the future. Until it's answered, though, I believe we have to assume the worst and keep working to make as strong as it can be.
Javier Pedro (javispedro): Defining MeeGo. For example; do we want to ensure that every single feature is replaced with a full working alternative in Will cover all of the older devices services and
community? The current answers seem to be 'yes', but still seems early to be sure. Will the new meego community not be a directly superset of the community, and thus it may actually be sensible to keep a "community subset" around? The ultimate method is to set a course and try to reach a destination; if it was not possible, try another course :).
Andrew Flegg (Jaffa): I'm not sure I'd say the council needs to "lead" the community; the council are representatives of the Maemo community, elected to speak on the community's behalf. The strongest way I'd put it is to give a strong, guiding hand. The council rarely, if ever, make decisions within themselves: in all circumstances which come to mind, the community have come to consensus, with the council facilitating and arbitrating.

The council's challenges with MeeGo will be ensuring that Nokia don't sideline Maemo, existing devices and existing resources as MeeGo ramps up. This will be less of a risk if MeeGo on N900 and N8x0 is a realistic day-to-day prospect. However, if it's not, the council will need to find a way for the Maemo community to continue and thrive as its corporate backer starts looking elsewhere.

Of course, the promise of cross-platform development and deployment from Qt will help with Maemo 5, Harmattan, MeeGo and even Symbian, Qt applications running on existing devices; giving longevity and strength to the community at an applications level, even if we can't achieve it at an OS level.

It's an exciting time for Maemo, and I look forward to being part of it; whether elected to the council or not!
Thanks for taking the time to put these questions together. If you, or any of your readers have any more questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


(aka Jaffa)

Attila Csipa (attila77/achipa): The future will certainly be challenging, many of the choices being made as further aspects of MeeGo get revealed. The crucial thing is to be able to see and determine courses of action that could transfer the experience and all the good things we have at onto MeeGo, at the same time preserving all the resources needed for devices and people not being able to (or simply interested in) going MeeGo for now. A forum and mailing lists can always be made anew, but is far more than that (sometimes even we take for granted), and people not familiar with the Maemo community can overlook or dismiss that way too easily. We (as in Council) need to be open AND firm if we wish to function, and that is also my stance on leadership style.

Andrea Grandi (andy80): this is not an easy question. We cannot guess the future and there is no mathematical rule to address all problems. A person should be trained to resolve unknown problems not aready known one.

Steven Yeager (YoDude): I believe the strongest leaders lead by example. I agree that this term will have an effect on how the MeeGo community develops and eventually evolves. However, I am not running for the Meego community council. The example our council can make is how we will maintain and promote independent development and enhance the actual user experience for members of our community.
I want to thank you and your readers for this opportunity to express my views and I now look forward to answering any additional questions that our membership may have regarding my views as a candidate for election to the Maemo Community Council.

'Post'-Mortem by EIPI:
Andrew Flegg (Jaffa), a two-time Council member, and a current Council Candidate contacted me via the -community mailing list to see if I was interested in grilling the candidates to give some exposure to this election.  I immediately agreed, but being on vacation at the time, I did not have the continuous attention that this endeavour required.  What I thought was a fairly straight-forward task, ended up being a bit of an organizational nuisance!  For that I apologize to the candidates. 

I think this type of 'debate' has its place in the Maemo elections process, whether official or unofficial.  However, I know that if I had to do it again, it would be organized and administered differently.  Continuous improvement!

Finally, the candidates are very strong this time around (why does that sound like an Emperor line?), and I wish each of them the best of luck!

Digg Technorati Delicious Google Bookmark slashdot