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:

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ANDREA GRANDI (andy80)

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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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 :)

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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 (http://mobilefreidae.org).

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 (maemo.org and meego.com). 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 maemo.org and meego.com.
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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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 meego.com forums.
Also I've started my own site about MeeGo (http://meetmeego.org).
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 maemo.org 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: http://wiki.maemo.org/Community_Council/Council_election_Q3_2010/Candidate_declarations#Cosimo_Kroll


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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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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.


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STEPHEN GADSBY (sjgadsby)

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 maemo.org 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 maemo.org
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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org count on you to be our voice even if you have a shiny new MeeGo device come November?!

I follow and participate in both maemo.org and MeeGo mailing lists and forums. I provide Bug Jars, weekly summaries of activity with Bugzilla, for both maemo.org 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.


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FELIPE CROCHIK (fcrochik)

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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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.


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ROBIN BURCHELL (w00t)

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?

Yes.

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 maemo.org 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 maemo.org 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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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
  example http://bugs.meego.com/show_bug.cgi?id=4900)
 - 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 maemo.org, but I do not feel I have neglected maemo.org 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: http://blog.rburchell.com/2010/04/every-time-you-scale-pixmap-god-kills.html)


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.


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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, maemo.org 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 maemo.org 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 maemo.org (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 maemo.org.


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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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 meego.com as it does on maemo.org - 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 maemo.org.


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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 maemo.org, 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 maemo.org 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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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 maemo.org. But, I would not trust any Maemo Community Council member that didn't keep a heads up about everything that was occurring at meego.com 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.


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ANDREW FLEGG (jaffa)

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 maemo.org. 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 maemo.org. 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 maemo.org, 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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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 a.so 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.


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RUDIGER SCHILLER (chemist)


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: http://wiki.maemo.org/Community_Council/Council_election_Q3_2010/Candidate_declarations#R.C3.BCdiger_Schiller


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 forum.meego.com 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 maemo.org 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.

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3 comments:

Marius Gedminas said...

I do not think illicit means what you think it means.

EIPI said...

Thank you for the observation. I should have used elicit. Post updated. I need a proof-reader!

timsamoff said...

I think the original word worked fine in this case. :p