In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • Intel forms new Linux venture with Linux Foundation, LiMo & Samsung: Tizen
    • Mer relaunched to take over from MeeGo
  2. Applications
    • VLC for Nokia N9
    • Matchbox hacking enables title swiping
  3. Development
    • Cordia Tab hardware hits a roadblock with Chinese manufacturers' lack of respect for GPL
    • H-E-N9 USB hostmode enabler N9
  4. Community
    • New Maemo Community Council makes themselves (slightly) public
  5. Devices
    • Nokia N9 starts shipping
    • MetaWatch incoming call notification from N950
  6. In the Wild
    • More info on Nokia's Meltemi surfaces
    • Plonk wins "Best Apps for Tablets" in Intel's AppUp Developer Challenge

Front Page

Intel forms new Linux venture with Linux Foundation, LiMo & Samsung: Tizen

Editor: Andrew Flegg

As you'll no doubt have heard, Intel is forming a collaboration, in conjunction with a hardware vendor and hosted by the Linux Foundation, to produce a new Linux-based mobile OS. No, not MeeGo; this is "Tizen". The main difference is that the buzzword of "HTML5" is being used as the preferred/primary application development framework, rather than MeeGo/Symbian/Harmattan's Qt. Andrew Savory has an in-depth summary of the announcement:

In order for Intel to bring other companies on board, they needed to cut all ties with Nokia and make a concession by losing Qt. But if you're throwing out Qt, the value proposition of MeeGo needs to be reconsidered. Without Qt, MeeGo doesn't have the rich developer story - no APIs, SDK, documentation. You need an alternative.

MeeGo's stated selling point compared with, say, Android was its open development and governance. This was, however, never realised. Tizen seems not to be repeating this "mistake" (promising something they can't deliver) and participation is on an invite-only basis. That raises the question of Tizen's advantage compared with other HTML5-capable runtimes, such as Android, iOS or Windows.

Mer relaunched to take over from MeeGo

Editor: Andrew Flegg

Carsten Munk, Robin Burchell and David Greaves have relaunched Mer to provide a focused successor to MeeGo: How does the concept of a truly open and inclusive integration community for devices sound? After all if "upstream is king" - then contributions will end up the same place, no matter if it's Tizen, Maemo, MeeGo or openSUSE. Governance, deliverables and focus of Mer are being discussed. In your editor's opinion, the clearer definition of the "Core" of the project - delivering something which can boot and provides the basis of other, clearly defined, projects is something which MeeGo never got right.


VLC for Nokia N9

Via: @fiferboy

Editor: Andrew Olmsted

Rémi Denis-Courmont has ported the very popular video player VLC to Harmattan. This application is based on VLC media player version 1.2.0 (which is in pre-release stage at the VideoLAN project). Because it is a pre-release, there are some bugs. Otherwise, this is a standard VLC, including almost all of the features and plugins found in the desktop versions. This initial version users the desktop interface which isn't ideal for a device with a small screen, but having such a capable player available it a very good thing.

Matchbox hacking enables title swiping

A Talk user "auouymous" has put together a Matchbox (the Maemo 5 window manager) hack which allows users to swipe left and right on the titlebar to change applications. Open a couple apps and swipe horizontally, left[back] or right[forward], on the titlebar to cycle between them. Swipe down from the titlebar to hide the app. Hidden apps can not be cycled to with horizontal swipes, you'll need to switch to them with Telescope or task navigator to unhide and get them back in the window list. An interesting hack, but potentially a dangerous one since it requires replacing vital system binaries. Be careful here unless you know what you're doing and are willing to risk a reflash.


Cordia Tab hardware hits a roadblock with Chinese manufacturers' lack of respect for GPL

Due to some unfortunate GPL violations by tablet hardware OEMs, the Cordia Tab project has found itself without a viable hardware supplier: Searching for other manufacturers brought the same result as my previous attempts – every single manufacturer doesn’t care a button for GPL conditions and keeps the modified Linux kernel secret. We cannot use the binary kernel provided for the Android build, as it lacks crucial features like devtmpfs and cgroups support. More importantly it locks us from any future upgrades – we need to be able to forward-port features to newer kernels. It is too bad an interesting start-up project can find itself so quickly without a product because manufacturers chose to ignore requirements of free software licenses.

H-E-N9 USB hostmode enabler N9

Via: @fiferboy

Editor: Andrew Olmsted

Joerg Reisenweber has taken the first steps to getting USB Host Mode working on the N950 and N9. I succeeded in a first step towards USB host mode: finding out about charger chip and operating it in boost mode -> stable 5V supply to USB receptacle[...]It's well understood that there are still massive obstacles regarding loading of kernel modules and also regarding Pretty impressive work for having to probe and test assumptions about the inner workings of the hardware without proper datasheets.


New Maemo Community Council makes themselves (slightly) public

As we've previously covered, there were only three candidates for the Maemo Community Council. This meant that no election was necessary. In a post on TMO, RM Bauer introduces the three new members:

Thanks to all of those who participated in the discussion surrounding the future of prior to the election. Ultimately, none of the persons who advocated shutting down maemo or transitioning it to meego ran for council. I think it was good that the discussion, although heated at times, did not continue on as part of a divisive, partisan election. Hopefully, we can all now move forward together as an independent self-governing community intent on promoting the use of maemo software on pocketable devices.

The above quote is a little disingenous as no-one was arguing for an immediate shutdown of Rob then went on to explain two proposals that they'd like to see the community comment on: pushing one or two big projects and "stepping back" from technical issues.


Nokia N9 starts shipping

Editor: Andrew Olmsted

If you are lucky enough to live in a country where it is being offered, the Nokia N9 running MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan is now available for purchase. Nokia's Conversations Blog says the Nokia N9 has now begun shipping to customers and stores. The beautifully designed device features an intuitive user interface that’s controlled with a simple swipe. Pre-orders for the Nokia N9 have already started in many countries, and people’s response towards the device has been extremely positive.

The N9 has also started showing up on some importer websites such as Expansys, although your editor hasn't seen listings with price or availability yet.

MetaWatch incoming call notification from N950

Via: @GeneralAntilles

Editor: Ryan Abel

Your editor finally received his digital MetaWatch last week, and have been test-driving it with the N950 and Javier S. Pedro's already-impressive SoWatch daemon. I've put together a short video demoing an incoming call notification on the watch. Hopefully more to come this week.

In the Wild

More info on Nokia's Meltemi surfaces

We first heard the codename "Meltemi" (following Maemo's wind-based naming conventions: a Greek word for dry summer winds over the Aegean) in the Spring this year (right around the time of the 2nd, and presumably last, MeeGo Conference), but without any particular information to go with it and very little useful speculation. Now rumors are pointing to it being a a new low-end Linux-based OS for devices bridging the featurephone/smartphone gap:

Nokia is reportedly working on new software that’s aimed at low-end feature phones — and no, it’s not a revival of Symbian. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nokia is working on a Linux-based operating system code-named Meltemi, and the project is being led by Nokia’s executive vice president for mobile phones, Mary McDowell.

Apparently alan bruce's wild and frantic speculation during the MeeGo Conference 2011 in SF earlier in the year wasn't unfounded.

Plonk wins "Best Apps for Tablets" in Intel's AppUp Developer Challenge

Thomas Perl, Cornelius Hald and Tim Samoff's Pong clone for MeeGo, Plonk, (formerly "Mong" and still listed as such on the Intel contest page) has won "Best Apps for Tablets" in Intel's AppUp Developer Challenge. Bring pong to the next level with “Mong” by Thomas Perl. This multi-touch app showcases attention-to-detail graphics and accurate reaction to touch. “Mong” is an excellent app to play against yourself or break out with friends for a MeeGo* pong tournament. Thomas is a student at the University of Technology in Vienna, Australia. He discovered MeeGo through the* community, where he works on Python-based projects like “gPodder” and Qt*-based games like “That Rabbit Game,” "qw The Game" and “Gaberln.” The MeeGo pong ("Mong") project was started as a community project in collaboration with Cornelius Hald and Tim Samoff during MeeGo Conference 2011. The award comes with a $25,000 prize.