In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • July update from Maemo Community Council
  2. Applications
    • Getting Harmattan home screens in landscape
    • Pre-release of "Trap, Shake, Kill 'em" for Harmattan
    • Pre-release of "Plonk"/"Mong" for Harmattan
    • Novacut video editor preview on N900
  3. Development
    • How to replace tklock (touchscreen/key lock) SystemUI plugin on Maemo 5
    • Qt Quick Components now also available for Symbian
    • Cloning Maemo 5's vibration plugin - help wanted
    • ...and 3 more
  4. Community
    • Sections on MeeGo forums for discussing N9, N950 and Harmattan?
    • Prize fund donations for Community Coding Competition pass $1,000
    • MeeGo Community Office meeting: Wednesday, 12th July

Front Page

July update from Maemo Community Council

RM Bauer, a member of the current Maemo Community Council has posted thoughts on the the N9 launch on the Council blog:

There are numerous directions in which the community may move. For example, the Swipe UI/UX layer of the N9 is closed source and so there will be interest in developing an open source community alternative. Alternatively, the community can simply continue on with support for previous versions of Maemo. The staying power of in the two year interim between the N900 and the N9 has been recognized even by Nokia. There are approximately 1 million downloads per week. A minimal level of support will continue to be provided by Nokia for at least a year. In keeping with its history of open governance, the community itself must decide the best direction forward.

The most interesting pieces of news are that Matti Airas is the new Maemo community liaison from Nokia and that another year of support is going to be provided. Given Nokia's budgetary process has previously been based on six month cycles, this is an improvement.


Getting Harmattan home screens in landscape

Nokia's emphasis with Harmattan and the N9 is heavily focused on easy single-handed usage. Thus landscape orientation is something of an afterthought in many areas. Unfortunately for the keyboarded N950, this makes using the phone in landscape with the keyboard open occasionally painful. In particular with the homescreen being locked to portrait. Urho Konttori mentioned on IRC that this is a theme setting that was picked due to insufficient testing and QA resources for a proper landscape homescreen implementation. As such, it's a relatively simple change to enable it, although there are a number of bugs revealed in doing so. Niels Breet gives us the recipe on the forum: I did this yesterday evening based on some descriptions Kontorri gave on irc. It now also shows home screens in landscape. There is a redraw bug, which needs to be fixed still. But it basically works. Hit the link for the changes.

Pre-release of "Trap, Shake, Kill 'em" for Harmattan

"mja" has released a preview of the Harmattan version of his arcade-game application: Additionally, new background images are included, making the package a bit more bloated though. Thanks NASA/ESA! What's more, I've changed the trap counts etc. small things to make gameplay more balanced. The game requires you to use your thumbs to set up a force field to trap alien invaders, shaking your device to dispose of them once trapped. Don't catch your allies, though, or it's game over.

Pre-release of "Plonk"/"Mong" for Harmattan

The community-developed Pong-clone "Plonk" for MeeGo now has a pre-release preview. Thomas Perl has put a link to the .deb on the forum, those interested in braving the dangerous waters of game testing (and willing to face the consequences) should try it out.

Novacut video editor preview on N900

Talk user "dmj726" has posted a link to a video that seems to be a prototype for cutting video that's running on the n900. If you look closely you'll notice Firefox Mobile flash on the screen for a moment.


How to replace tklock (touchscreen/key lock) SystemUI plugin on Maemo 5

Jonathan Wilson has continued his campaign to grok the closed source components at the lowest levels of Maemo, with the touchscreen/key lock being his latest success: The tklock plugin plugin_init function registers 2 systemui handlers using systemui_add_handler and also registers a dbus signal handler for the signal display_status_ind sent by mce (documentation for the The information should be useful to those looking to replace the lockscreen and hook into the functionality.

Qt Quick Components now also available for Symbian

Qt Quick Components, the ready-to-use platform-native UI elements for QML, are now available for Symbian: Qt Quick has been around for a little while now, helping developers make great looking, responsive user interfaces. And it is nice to see so many applications in Ovi Store utilizing this new technology. But we want to keep taking it further and one of the ways we’re doing that is by adding ready-made UI building blocks to Qt Quick. We call these building blocks Qt Quick components! In brief, Qt Quick components is a UI component set for Qt Quick application developers and designers. It helps to create a fresh and modern UX with added productivity. In the first phase, the Symbian and MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan platforms are covered. For more information on the history of this project so far, see the related Qt Labs postings below.

Cloning Maemo 5's vibration plugin - help wanted

Jonathan Wilson would like some help exploring how libvibration works: Its a rather hacked up version of the MeeGo mce source tree (or rather the oldest version in that particular repo) and currently only builds (any files not linked into are assumed to be WIP and/or unusable). The plugin builds fine but when I run it on my N900 in place of the stock plugin, it just makes mce go crazy and doesn't actually seem to work. Anyone with any insights should get in touch.

C++ Harmattan event feed library

Johan Paul has produced "libharmattaneventview", a C++ port of Thomas Perl's Python event feed library (which we mentioned a couple of weeks ago): D-Pointer has today published the first public version of the libHarmattanEventView Qt C++ library that you can to use with your Nokia N9 Harmattan MeeGo device and integrate your application with its Event view. A video of the library in action, as well as comprehensive documentation, is available.

Qt Components - should developers accept they'll never be cross-platform?

Attila Csipa provides us with some interesting insight into the potential true benefit of Qt Components and the question of code-once-deploy-everywhere UI coding: Paradigm shifts are always difficult, especially when linked totechnology changes. Qt Components are here and seeing that there and at least three component sets (MeeGo Harmattan, Symbian, MeeGo UX) and counting, it is hard to see how components will help solve the cross-platform problem that has been plaguing mobile developers. Hard to see, if you think about Components as a QWidgetling, that is. In the vein of the story of the ugly duckling, I will try to explain how you can utilize Components and avoid the feeling of being given a square peg when you are looking at a round hole [...] Think about the UI as a throwaway component. Is it Harmattan? Okay, I'll just drop in the QML from the examples, who cares if it runs on Symbian. Different resolution? I'll just include a different QML optimized for that. I can see the disbelief in your eyes. How can this work? The point is that spawning UIs with QML is *fast*. Really fast. Actually way, way, way faster than tweaking for a certain subset/common API or resolution independence. You will write (and maintain !) 5 different UIs *faster* than you would write a monolithic QWidgets UI that would work truly cross-platform. It is a radically different setup. Qt Components hasn't, so far, realized its potential for cross-platform UIs, but Attila's proposed approach of doing "throwaway" UIs for each platform makes some sense. By sharing application logic, but separating the UI, you can put together platform-specific UIs with relative ease and deploy each separately without having to worry about working around platform idiosyncrasies. The next step in selling this approach to developers is to provide examples on how best to do the platform and capability detection.

MeeGo 1.2 and Harmattan package comparison

A package comparison between MeeGo 1.2 and Harmattan has been generated by a user on the MeeGo forum: The list of core packages is taken from meego-compliance-tools-1.2. I'm currently working on the tools for checking compatibility of operating systems and it's one of the first reports. See the link in the post for the link to the comparison table. As expected with Nokia touting Harmattan as "MeeGo compatible", there is a lot of commonality; with obvious differences limited to the lower levels of the stack; for example, EDS being used rather than Tracker for contacts' storage or low level X utility packages being present.


Sections on MeeGo forums for discussing N9, N950 and Harmattan?

Following the article last week on the discussion about having a sub-forum to discuss the N9, this week it's's turn to act as the proposed home for Harmattan devices; with "wonko" suggesting it might be a good point to think about adding new Subforums targeted specifically at the development for the N9 and the corresponding development kit (N950). I found the organization as in to be quite useful. Despite the confusion, is the de facto home; with packaging, development, application and user issues around the N9 and N950 already being actively discussed, with several Nokians contributing as well.

Prize fund donations for Community Coding Competition pass $1,000

The second annual Community Coding Competetion has passed last year's $1,000 mark for prize donations. The competitions features entries in 8 primary categories, and a 9th "Beginner" category, for MeeGo and Maemo applications. The contest runs until July 31st, at which time you should be sure to check out the entries and vote on your favorite. Good luck to the developers!

MeeGo Community Office meeting: Wednesday, 12th July

The next MeeGo Community Office meeting will be held on 12th July and cover:; IT; device programmes; events and