[maemo-users] Hacker Edition (was Re: Is OS2006 still supported?)

From: Andrew Flegg andrew at bleb.org
Date: Fri Apr 25 00:19:56 EEST 2008
On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Quim Gil <quim.gil at nokia.com> wrote:
>  ext Frantisek Dufka wrote:
>  >
>  > Current way is not ideal from the beginning. Each hacker edition so far
>  > was done without any public progress or discussion. So far the community
>  > role was mostly asking about progress with no answer, waiting, and later
>  > reporting bugs in garage tracker after some release appeared.
>  I agree the setting was not ideal but it was the best we could get in
>  order to deliver a HE in practical terms. The result of the exercise is
>  all in all acceptable, according to the feedback received.

I wouldn't say that: each HE may have been acceptable in and of
itself, but the people waiting on it have been beholden to Nokia
investing in it - which was obviously not in Nokia's strategic
interest, or 770 support wouldn't have been dropped in the first

>  My personal opinion (and I insist in the "personal" bit) is that a
>  requisite to continue any Hacker Edition model is to have the community
>  hackers not only involved but driving.

Agreed. But Nokia need to do some more work to make this viable. As I
outline in my "maemo.org: what next?" post[1], I'm afraid you can't
get this for free.

The community *could* maintain the Hacker Editions, but currently the
level of work involved would be too great to make it worthwhile. For
example (and I've not tried any of this myself, since I no longer have
a 770, so please forgive any errors):

  * How can the community create an easy to install FIASCO image?
  * How can the community easily recompile large numbers of source packages
    from Maemo 3.x and 4.x with 770-compatible optimisations?
  * Are the changes which were necessary to build the existing HEs integrated
    upstream; is the series of patches applyable and maintainable over a
    given codebase?
  * Is it clear which bits of an N800 firmware image need to be extracted and
   reused wholesale, and which bits of an existing 770 firmware image need to
   copied verbatim as they are binary blobs?
  * Can the kernel be updated and still maintain user-expected
functionality such
    as wifi, BT and power management?
  * If all the above is possible, can the community actually
redistribute the images
    in compliance with the click-through EULA on ITOS firmware downloads, which
    prohibits redistribution?

As I said, I don't know that these are the right questions, however
I'd like to think of myself as fairly up-to-speed on maemo hacking and
these are the ones that have literally just come off the top of my
head without much thought.

The "community" maintaining the Hacker Editions is perfect; especially
since post-Diablo there's no guarantee that the N800 will be getting
updates (Elephanta etc) and so there may be two devices the community
want to support. BUT - and it's a big and important "but" - I think
Nokia need to be more open on how they've built the HEs to date.
Otherwise the community will be doing a whole load of work from
scratch, which is never particularly high on open source developers'
minds (IMHO).

>  What does this mean in practice? We have discussed in several threads.
>  Time to agree on things and document in a more structured manner? May
>  sounds like a good month to draw the lines of a potential common plan.
>  Please drive. We at Nokia will help knowing more about the stones in the
>  way and the possibilities to remove them.

First step, I think, is for people to be able to take the os2007on770
project from garage (is there an os2008on770 project?) and build their
own firmware images from taking 770 binary blobs, N800 source code and
os2007on770 patches. Until this is possible AND easy, the community
just won't get involved. Once we're at that point, we can look at how
to progress it. Unfortunately, getting there for this first step
(AIUI) is entirely under Nokia's control.

Perhaps it'd be different if the target device was the (presumably)
more popular N800 and more geeks had to scratch that itch, personally.
(Please don't consider this a reason to drop N800 support prematurely!

Hope that helps,


[1] http://www.maemopeople.org/index.php/jaffa/2008/04/20/maemo_org_what_next

Andrew Flegg -- mailto:andrew at bleb.org | http://www.bleb.org/

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