In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Nokia N9 and N950 phones announced, running "MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan"
    • MeeGo 1.2 Community Edition for N900 "Summer Edition" released
  2. Applications
    • Continually updated wallpaper for your N900
  3. Development
    • Nokia porting Qt Quick Components to Ubuntu, Maemo & MeeGo
    • Information on N9 Open Source Developer Device Programme
    • Reporting Harmattan development system bugs
    • ...and 5 more
  4. Community
    • Testing community apps for MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan
  5. Devices
    • Concerned about N9 availability in your country?
    • Future Harmattan release may have homescreen folders
    • N9 Camera in-depth
    • ...and 3 more
  6. In the Wild
    • A Nokian's argument with Stephen Elop
    • "We Want Nokia To Keep MeeGo" petition
    • Quim Gil's thoughts on future MeeGo devices from Nokia
  7. Announcements
    • Enhanced N900 lock screen

Front Page

Nokia N9 and N950 phones announced, running "MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan"

As you'll probably be aware, on Tuesday Nokia launched Harmattan into the world. From the Nokia Connection event in Singapore, a decent presentation and coordinated online presence swung into action. The reaction to this touch-focused, slickly designed device has been overwhelming positive, leading several - including Engadget - to question the wisdom of Nokia's move away from MeeGo to concentrate on Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

The team behind the MeeGo-based Nokia N9 brought together elements of industrial design, software development and user interface advancements, as well as a developer platform to create a better way to use a phone. All that’s needed to use the Nokia N9 is a simple gesture, a swipe of the finger. It is an intuitive way to use all the different features and functions. Whenever you are in an application, you just swipe from the edge of the screen to go back home.

This issue is, obviously, very N9 focused - and there's been a lot of news and discussion this week. We're going to highlight what we think are the stand-out items, to reduce the volume to the things we think you should read.

MeeGo 1.2 Community Edition for N900 "Summer Edition" released

With a one day delay for last minute fixes, the widely anticipated second release of the MeeGo Community Edition for the N900 was released. Jukka Eklund announced the release, saying that the good news is that we made it! We set our targets as "Faster and fancier. More applications, better settings." and we delivered on that. You can see the improvement eg. in application start-up time and overall performance. There are more applications carefully selected, for example some of the new MeeGo UX-based ones, new cool Terminal, Package management, IRC, and MeeGo Extras apps client. And a new game :) A few further bugs have been found, so there'll be an update posted next week.


Continually updated wallpaper for your N900

An update to the oculo desktop widget has brought with it support for periodic web-enabled updates the desktop background image: With the 0.9 version of oculo, your N900 homescreen gets one level up: beautiful wallpapers that will never be the same. Well, whether they are beautiful really depends on you: you decide what tiny part of the World Wide Web should be rendered in there! oculo is currently available from Extras-devel, so handle it with care.


Nokia porting Qt Quick Components to Ubuntu, Maemo & MeeGo

One of the biggest problems facing Harmattan is that the preferred user interface technology is Nokia's Qt Quick Components on top of QML; whereas Intel developed their own "MeeGo UX Components" which were a late addition to MeeGo 1.2. With similar aims, the two frameworks still have a different API. Nokia's Qt Quick Components allow you to target Symbian and Harmattan, and soon Maemo and MeeGo as well. Kate Alhola writes: Nokia Developer former Forum Nokia will provides a community port of components to Ubuntu Natty, Maemo5, and MeeGo 1.2. New components could be easily adapted for example to MeeGo 1.2 style with just small hack in application. Our Qt Components are licensed with Open Source license, so you are free to use them in any system. Out product theme that comes with MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan SDK is proprietary but I have made version of MeeGo 1.2 theme that works with MeeGo Harmattan Qt Components. I will provide more information about porting to different platforms and community theme in my upcoming blogs.

Information on N9 Open Source Developer Device Programme

Quim Gil provides information on the N950 developer device programme through, which has 250 devices to give out to foster development ahead of the N9 launch: Candidates must be community developers ready to start working on new or existing open source applications, to be published in and the Nokia Store. Links to your current projects are relevant! Deadline for applications: end of Tuesday, June 28th. IMPORTANT: commercial developers are encouraged to apply directly at See also the related discussion thread at Nokia Developer. Thank you for your understanding. The short window (which expires tomorrow) means hopefully developers should start receiving devices this week. A video demonstrating what they should expect is also linked to below.

Reporting Harmattan development system bugs was the Bugzilla instance for Maemo, from the 770 through to the N900, but the disconnect between user-facing issues and developers hidden within Nokia often caused friction. Quim Gil outlines that the bug reporting process for Harmattan is much simpler: only issues affecting the SDK or developer experience should be logged. User facing issues & enhancements should go through Nokia's customer service channels, which are far more suited to dealing with them. This bug reporting tool focuses on *developer issues*: platform, SDK, documentation, etc (the open source components). However, we have added a component "Device" where the developers getting the devices can also file bugs they are finding as testers of the device.

Python for Harmattan released

Luciano Wolf has announced that the Harmattan Python team is proud to announce the availability of a full-featured Python environment for the MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan platform. Supported on Nokia's N9 phone and preloaded on the Nokia N950 developer device as well as the Harmattan Platform SDK, the Harmattan Python environment allows you to write Python applications with complete device functionality and flawless user experience. You can even publish your Python applications on Ovi Store!

The last point is particularly pleasing, given the previous stance towards Python from the Ovi Store which the previous Maemo Community Council attempted to have addressed.

Urho Konttori looks back on N9 development

Urho Konttori, involved in the development of Harmattan and the N9, publicly thanked his staff and colleagues for the extraordinary effort in getting it released - to such fanfare - when surrounded by challenging circumstances.

What I want to say to the people who beared all that: Respect. You have my utmost respect and admiration. We didn't just do our best, we crafted the software to near perfection. Simplistic UI is easy to imagine, but extremely hard to execute. And execution includes design. Devil is in details and temptations are many. Keeping the boat steady on course needed a lot from you design and product management. It's nothing short of miracle that the fruit of our labor is now admired by millions.

Why the Nokia N9 does run "MeeGo", and how that's good for the MeeGo project

One of your editor's, Andrew Flegg, responded to a comment on LWN from Arjan van de Ven (one of the MeeGo architects) which said that "MeeGo is not Harmattan, despite Nokia's best efforts to confuse things".

MeeGo needs two things - both of which can be provided by the N9 and N950: A mass-market, consumer-friendly device perceived to be running MeeGo, for future OEMs and manufacturers to see that a compelling UX can be built on (something like) MeeGo; [and] apps.

The Compliance Specification (for MeeGo 1.1 at least) specifies that "compliant applications must conform to the MeeGo API", and since the "MeeGo API" is very similar to the "Harmattan API", this means a relatively simple porting exercise (although a lot of the Harmattan GUI is MTF rather than QML, QML is still the preferred way to write Harmattan apps, as it is on MeeGo). We can certainly sympathize with the emotional politics wrapped up in this issue, but leveraging the buzz around Nokia's MeeGo-branded efforts seems more productive in the long run than treating Harmattan like radioactive waste.

Help out with QML for MeeGo IM client

Jeremias Bosch has asked for assistance in developing the QML user interface for Peregrine, the IM client which is shipped as standard on the MeeGo Community Edition. He says that in order to speed up for MeeGo 1.2 CE Releases we are looking for one or two community qml developers who can help and support us in bringing the updates for MeeGo 1.2 CE faster. This will will bring the User Experience of Chat and VoiP on MeeGo 1.2 CE to a new level.

Post to Harmattan event feed from Python

Thomas Perl has packaged the API for posting to Harmattan's Events' view into a convenient Python API: This library allows you to post new events to the Harmattan Event Feed screen and receive callbacks when events are clicked. You can post updates about new items that are found and create other kinds of cool notifications :) The Event Feed screen is available in MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan on the N950 and N9 - this library allows you to integrate Python code with it. One of your editor's Harmattan application plans revolves around geolocation and the Events Feed, so such convenience APIs will be very handy.


Testing community apps for MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

Quim Gil has started a forum thread over at to help developers in sourcing assistance for application testing. Given the extreme lack of hardware that's unlikely to abate before the release of the N9 later this year, this will help many developers looking to put together applications for Harmattan who lack access to their own device. If you've got an application you'd like tested on a real device, head on over to the thread and let them know.


Concerned about N9 availability in your country? used to have a number of online stores, which sold devices direct to consumers. Nokia also has a "notify me of availability" page for the N9 which misses out a number of prominent countries like the US, UK, France and so on. However, Marcus Wikström points out this is almost certainly for Nokia's online shops: The availability list on the web is for the Nokia online shop. Nokia UK online shop (and others) closes June 30 so that's why it's not listed there. It's not a list of all countries it will be released in. and Expansys, two reputable online UK electronics vendors, also have it available for pre-order. From the hardware side, the device supports penta-band 3G (including T-Mobile and AT&T in the US). Given the likely cost of that support, it seems unlikely Nokia would ship the device with it if they weren't planning to ship the device to those countries.

Future Harmattan release may have homescreen folders

Urho Konttori, who has been locked inside Nokia for many months working on Harmattan and the N9, has emerged blinking into the light and answered a number of questions on the forums and IRC. Regarding the ability to categorise your applications on the N9's home screen he says: foldering support is coming in update release. We are working on it.

N9 Camera in-depth

Nokia's Conversations blog has more details on the N9's camera, including how you take - and focus - pictures without a dedicated camera key: With an 8-megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss lens and autofocus, the Nokia N9 has the hardware to take great photos and videos when out-and-about. We know that the camera capabilities of our phones are always of keen interest to Conversations readers and thought it would be a good idea to tell you more about how taking a photo works, and what you can do with it afterwards. There are a range of "in-depth" articles on, including covering the range of accessories that were announced and the navigation capabilities.

N9 has hardware for FM receiver & transmitter, but no software

According to a post by Quim Gil, the N9 has built-in FM transmitter and receiver functionality: Someone asked about FM radio. Hartti already answered but let me confirm that from a pure hardware description point of view there is both FM RX and TX inside. The N9 feature's TI's WL1271 wireless chipset, which includes support for FM RX and TX. Although the N900 shipped with built-in FM transmitter functionality, it did not include a radio application. The N9 will be similar: the community will just have to come to the rescue again.

Nokia N9 can have instant app close gesture, enabled in settings

Nokia's gesture-based UI interactions leave a lot of options open for quickly controlling applications and tasks. Evidently the N9 will ship with at least some of these potential features in the form of an instant app-close gesture: the swipe is from up to bottom -- the other swipe just puts application into a recents view. Felipe (now famous for his arguing with Elop) wrote a patch and me and Urho drove it through the management at last. Congratulations to Urho and Felipe on persisting and getting it not only as configuration option but also in Settings UI. According to Urho Konttori, much of the touch interaction in the Swipe UI is defined in the .theme files. This will potentially leave a lot of room for relatively low-entry customization.

Major progress on N900 cell broadcast SMSes

Jonathan Wilson has succeeded in receiving information which is broadcast from cell towers, typically advertising the cell tower ID or location: The reason Cell Broadcast SMS is broken on the N900 is that there is a bug in libsms, specifically it is incorrectly dealing with the size field of the SMS packet being sent from the cell modem firmware. As Nokia are unlikely to fix the bug (at least in Fremantle libsms, its fixed in Harmattan libsms), publish source code for libsms or publish the information required to produce a replacement for libsms that doesn't require rewriting or replacing half the system, I have found a way to patch the binary of libsms to fix the bug. Developers who are interested on hacking on this, and exposing them to the user, should get involved in the two threads with Jonathan and Joerg Reisenweber.

In the Wild

A Nokian's argument with Stephen Elop

Felipe Contreras has posted about an interesting email exchange he had with his boss, Stephen Elop, over Elop's assertion that MeeGo wasn't ready enough to support the device portfolio Nokia needed: This is simply not true. Before explaining why, I’ll quickly say that I actually work on hardware adaptation, so if somebody knows the amount of effort needed to adapt MeeGo to different hardware platforms, it’s us. Plus, I closely follow Linux related mailing lists (linux-arm, linux-omap, linux-media, etc.), and know a lot of people in different companies that work precisely in this area. I have quite a few years of experience doing this, so I know what I’m talking about. As we noted, Nokia could release fewer devices and still be competitive; and if each one had the level of thought, design, and craftsmanship as the N9... well, that sounds like a strategy we could get behind.

"We Want Nokia To Keep MeeGo" petition

A bit of fun, and unlikely to change anything, a Twitter petition has been started to show Nokia's board the level of support and excitement around the N9: We the undersigned hereby petition... we want Nokia to keep MeeGo At the time of writing there are over 2000 signatures, and is in the top ten of the month.

Quim Gil's thoughts on future MeeGo devices from Nokia

A lot of focus has been put on Stephen Elop's statements about the future of MeeGo within Nokia. Quim Gil has shared his personal thoughts on it, given the investment Nokia are continuing to make to Qt, the Linux kernel and WebKit: Even if working on them is really fun, you may guess that Nokia is not paying the teams for the fun of it. It is sensible to expect more to come in a form or another.


Enhanced N900 lock screen

Yet another enhancement project from Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh, this time in the form of an improved lockscreen for Maemo 5. The new lockscreen adds media playback controls, current track information and an updated unlock slider. Feedback on additional features is welcome. For now, interested testers can find it in Extras-devel. Standard warnings and disclaimers apply.