[maemo-users] Is OS2006 still supported?

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Mon Apr 21 13:29:55 EEST 2008
Thanks a lot for all this feedback! Points taken, I will process them.
Frantisek, I'm specially aware that you raised these topics before and
in detail. Extra thanks for your and your good blog post.

Some comments:

Luca Olivetti wrote:
> Well, yes, but a company that buys chipsets in the millions has a lot 
> more bargaining force with its suppliers than a lone hacker in a 
> basement, hasn't it?

In theory yes, in practice the game doesn't work like this. Bargaining
doesn't necessarily help a business ecosystem and a sustainable
relationship. Understanding why to opensource is as important as
understanding why a company prefers to keep the code closed. Why
hardware vendors don't provide open source drivers or good documentation
for free? What should change in their business to see a benefit from
opensourcing drivers and documenting hardware?

Frantisek Dufka wrote:
> BTW is the first 2008HE also the last one?

Undecided. Is it worth investing more time on this? If so, is it worth
investing it keeping the current way or finding a way for the community
to take over? The 770 topic itself is important according to user
reactions in the Internet but is it out there enough users, developers
and "install base" to make this happen?

Hal Vaughan wrote:
> (The Ubuntu desktop was later than 2004, but still, the point is there
> is long term support.)

You keep talking about the quite stable desktop architecture. The
relevant comparison for this discussion are Linux distros or whatever OS
installed in devices fitting in your pocket offering long term support
(say 3 years) in 2005 (or today).

> This is specious logic and just not applicable.  Yes, it works from the
> marketing side, but not on the sales side.  As someone else pointed
> out, this is part of a planned obsolescence strategy.  When I buy *any*
> computer hardware, I buy with an eye on what I can keep using for years
> and not for a couple years.  One reason I use Linux is that I don't
> like playing the upgrade game.  I see no reason why I should spend
> money on the next version hardware OR software if what I have is
> working for me now.

I hope not to get into marketing or sales speech in the following points:

1. From a strictly engineering point of view: look at the desktop
hardware in 2003 and now, look at the mobile hardware evolution in the
same time frame. The fact is that mobile hardware architectures are far
more unstable and this create extra hassle for platform development,
leave alone stable APIs.

2. Repeat exercise 1, now looking at top use cases in the desktop and in
mobile devices. Most computer use cases are same or similar, just deeper
and faster - requiring more memory or clock speed - but that's it. In
mobile devices the usage is quite different, getting all kinds of new
hardware pieces, APIs and performance issues.

3. The Nokia tablets don't have planned obsolescence. The
online/multi/media context and the consumer expectations make them
obsolete faster, just like most mobile products. Online video, full AJAX
and long etc can't be easily fulfilled with old mobile hardware. You can
do some miracles on the software engineering side but at what cost and
in exchange of what.

4. If what you have is working for you now then it should just be enough
to keep using your device like the day you bought it. However, what
happens in most cases is that a new device in a new category (like the
770 was) gets new use cases from the people who bought them than
established products.

> The last time I looked at Maemo, I found that there were a lot of
> programs that I couldn't even think of adding to my N770.

http://maemo.org/downloads/OS2006/ reports 249 third party applications
for the 770's original OS2006. Note that this is more than the number of
applications found there for the N800/N810.

> Has the OS changed so much that backporting it to the 770 would be that
> hard?

Yes, specially if you need to respond to the performance requirements of
a sales product.

> If so, how do I know that if I buy an 800 or 810 that we won't
> be having this same conversation when a 820 or 900 comes out?

ifferences between the 770 and the newer devices are the 770 lesson
itself, a bigger customer base, a bigger and deeper developer base, more
business partners, a better understanding of the open source approach...

You are asking about certainty in a fast moving area - we can't give it
and I keep asking about real examples of direct competitors who give it.
I would also like to have this certainty - or do you think that we enjoy
breaking APIs and making life more difficult for users and developers?

Then again the fast moving aspect is what makes this industry so
interesting nowadays, and this is also why some developers and users are
happy to be in the ride.

> you've got my money and you don't need to impress me anymore

No sane company thinks like this. You become a customer and the
objective is to keep you as a happy customer. It is obvious that Nokia
is not a single shot company
> if as much as possible were open sourced, how would
> that hurt Nokia?  What it would do is lower their costs in some ways
> because the community would help maintain it.

This would take too long to discuss here. Think about this: open source
has proven to be good to minimize costs and commoditize, to help you not
to be the last one or close your shop. It is still to be seen how open
source in differentiating areas can help bringing you to the Number 1
position, and keeping you there. I have my opinions, but I also
understand that those doing the money investments sometimes differ.


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