[maemo-developers] Public maemo repository

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Tue Aug 7 10:03:49 EEST 2007

On Thu, 2007-07-26 at 13:20 -0300, ext Rodrigo Vivi wrote:
> I don't believe that wait is a good approach.

We are not waiting. We are doing plenty of things. 

Nokia didn't wait to start producing n years ago tablets with Debian
GNU/Linux and GNOME inside. We are dealing now with real products
already in the market and only this should explain clearly why our
priorities today can't be just the same than the ones Ubuntu Mobile
currently has.

A bit more of background about Nokia not waiting.

For what I know Nokia didn't wait Debian to have something ready when
the maemo project started. They (I say 'they' because this happened
before I joined) didn't wait either Ubuntu to become mobile, being
present and active in the Ubuntu summits and keeping good communication
with the key people in Canonical. We were talking with Intel and others
in the context of the GNOME Mobile conversations months before the
initiative was announced (in fact Nokia's participation in this
initiative was key since the first day). We didn't wait to talk face to
face to Intel about collaboration as soon as they talked publicly about
their MID using Hildon. We didn't wait to make explicit this
collaboration with Intel and Canonical, making all our internal steps at
light speed (in corporate sense) to start moving Hildon to real GNOME

This thread shows that we are not waiting today/tomorrow either.

> If we believe and
> conclude that Ubuntu Mobile will be a good alternative we need to join
> and help the Ubuntu community to do that. 

A move like this is not done by belief. You check strategies, you look
at processes, you analyze interests, you listen, you discuss and a long
etc until the day you decide to change the way you have been doing
things for another way that seems more appropriate. Then another odyssey
starts. Doing all these while keeping your production and own R&D is not

Besides, there is no single good alternative to the current status.
Ubuntu, Debian, maemo distro... all these options have pros and cons and
'belief' is perhaps one of the worst advisers when you have a project
like Nokia has in its hand with maemo and the tablets.

Also, "help the Ubuntu community" is a nice way to put it. We are
helping Intel and Canonical as well (or primarily, at this stage). As
for today this means we are indirectly helping also Samsung, Fujitsu,
Kohjinsha, HTC, Amtek, Elektrobit and probably other vendors to come. No
problem, we believe in open source collaboration and we expect this help
provided and received to be sustainable and useful for all parties. But
don't be surprised if we get questions from a business perspective,
since all these organizations are businesses as well. 

More than businesses, they are also brands. Brands are amazing: just a
name and a logo bring a complex message to the inner parts of people's
consciousness. "Nokia joining the Ubuntu Mobile project sponsored by
Canonical and Intel" is a single sentence that tells nothing specific to
a distro developer but has a strong many for the rest of population (in
fact this sentence would have 100 interpretations).

And well, don't you think that there are not technical challenges in the
pure codebase. Ubuntu and maemo lovers should know all this already:
It's not only about ARM/EABI vs x86. We have cross-build vs native
build, toolchain changes, different security models, single user system
vs multi-user, root vs no root, passwords management, different
organization in partitions and package management, Busiybox vs GNU
utilities, Perl and Python as essential or not, debconf yes or not,
upstart yes or not, Kdrive X vs full X, different way to handle
localization a lot more. 

And what about the differences in product schedules, that's another
whole story.

Nothing that couldn't be aligned somehow (nor with pure & original
Debian if that option should be chosen) but you reckon the amount of
effort is noticeable - already if we enter at a planning level. Remember
that for Nokia (and for any company) effort = time + people + money. As
said we are doing plenty of things and we probably are doing a good use
of time, people and money available. "Helping the Ubuntu community" is
not a free-as-in-beer exercise.

> This kind of contribution
> that makes the free software community even better. 

Well yes, but Nokia has already a good account of contributions that
make the free software community even better, don't you agree? We try to
keep being a good open source citizen in this community and even

My *personal* opinion is that nowadays the best favor Nokia can do the
community is to push the tablets with (your) free software inside/around
and an open development platform to a mainstream product as Nokia
understands mainstream products: something your auntie and your neighbor
won't ignore.

The question is how Ubuntu Mobile, Debian ARM or a public maemo distro
help in that direction, while Nokia helps others in their own open
source purposes.

Quim Gil - http://maemo.org

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