[maemo-community] Council Update - July 2011

From: Sunny B sunnyb7532 at gmail.com
Date: Sun Jul 10 20:15:07 EEST 2011

This month's Community Council Update has been posted and there is already a
bit of discussion going on in the forum.  The Update is repeated here for
those that do not follow the forum.  You may discuss it here in the mailing
list or in the forum.


On July 1, 2011, Maemo stands at an interesting crossroads.  In June, Nokia
formally announced the N9 Harmattan mobile phone mentioned in Council's
previous posting.  Although the stage for the announcement of the device was
somewhat awkward, being amongst other marginally related news at the Nokia
Connections event in Singapore, the device itself was well presented and
showed off the design attributes of the N9 admirably.  A wealth of product
information was promptly available online.  Reaction from the general press
was positive as well and led to an upswing of anticipation for the phone,
which is expected to be released in the next few months.

The device was described at the announcement as the result of Nokia's MeeGo
project and is described in specifications as "MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan".  As
widely expected, it has a Maemo base ("Harmattan") with a MeeGo API.  From
the perspective of application developers and end users alike, the phone
appears as a MeeGo handset although that technically may not be correct.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the lack of technical compliance, the device
is widely described as a MeeGo device and hoped to lift the profile of the
MeeGo project.  Nokia also initiated much activity surrounding the device at
www.meego.com, including threads in the MeeGo forum, to describe aspects of
the device.  As first reported in the previous Council posting, the N9 has
both a closed mode and an open (developer) mode.  Root access and terminal
are available as well.  Nokia also announced the availability of a limited
number of N950 developer devices in an attempt to increase the number of
apps available for the N9 at launch.

Nokia made no outreach to maemo.org during the N9 launch.  Although not
formally reported as such, Nokia received an "exception" from the Linux
Foundation for the N9 and is freely using the meego.com infrastructure to
provide community support for the N9.  In addition, it was announced that
OBS would include Harmattan as a target and that the community apps
repository for MeeGo would include Harmattan apps.  While there is reason
for increased optimisim for the future of MeeGo, the relationship between
Maemo, Nokia and MeeGo is left somewhat out on a limb.  In an IRC meeting
with maemo.org council, new Nokia liaison Matti Arias confirmed that all of
Nokia's Maemo/MeeGo related ifs focused on promoting the N9.  Such promotion
will not involve maemo.org.

The future of maemo.org is uncertain.  While there may be a new sub-forum
for the N9/N950 devices, it is mainly for organizational purposes as
maemo.org is unlikely to be the "home base" for the devices.  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 maemo.org 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.
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