[maemo-developers] Is mauku open source, i.e free or is in non-free?

From: Aldon Hynes Aldon.Hynes at Orient-Lodge.com
Date: Thu Jan 28 17:51:55 EET 2010
Ed, Marius, et al.

  I think your comment about Maemo grows from being "mostly used by Linux
geeks" gets to my key concern.  I can see arguments for repositories being
either libre or gratis and I believe it is important to re-evaluate these
arguments if there is any desire for Maemo to grow beyond being "mostly used
by Linux geeks".  Personally, I hope that it does.

  I do not see any intended malice in Marius' email and I do not mean to
pick on him.  However, I am very concerned that much of the tone here may
drive away mobile phone application developers that are not Linux
evangelists.  I think that would be unfortunate.  I would like to see the
N900 and its descendents as dominant devices in the smartphone market.  To
do so, we need to think about how we relate to all developers.

  Would it make sense for maemo.org to have non-gratis repositories?
Personally, I think there is value to this.  One of the complaints about
Apple is the way they control their App Store.  Unless you jailbreak your
iPhone, you need to run apps from the App Store, which is a pain to get apps
into and gives Apple complete control over what gets run on non-jailbroke

  While Nokia would probably like to make a cut on every non-gratis app
sold, they would probably be wise not to follow the Apple model and become a
bottleneck.  As such, a non-gratis repository on maemo.org would probably be
a good thing.  For that matter, given the open nature of maemo, I could
easily see someone else setting up non-gratis repositories as their own app
stores.  This, I believe would be good for the N900 and related devices.

  As such, we then come back to the nature of QA.  Apple uses the QA
argument as the reason that they should be the only App Store for the
iPhone.  Personally, I would love to see different app stores for the N900,
with different levels QA.  Ovi Store would imply that it has passed a level
of QA that Nokia deems appropriate.  A non-gratis maemo.org repository would
have different QA implications, and a third party app store would have yet
another set of implications about QA.

  I do think your comments help.  As I've been saying, I think it is very
important to think about how the N900 and maemo exist in a broader mobile
device ecosphere.  I think the discussion about how we understand and QA
mauku provides a great opportunity to look at the bigger picture.


-----Original Message-----
From: eopage at gmail.com [mailto:eopage at gmail.com]On Behalf Of Edward Page
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:31 AM
To: Aldon Hynes
Cc: maemo-developers at maemo.org
Subject: Re: Is mauku open source, i.e free or is in non-free?

I can't speak for Marius but I can say that "in the (hardcore) Linux
world" Free has generally meant libre rather than gratis, except where
specifically stated.  I hope that the quotes and a parenthetical
qualifier for that judging statement show that I am not implying
anything good or bad about people who do or do not know the
distinguishment.  This can be viewed as such a common assumption that
when we talk about "free" and "non-free" we mistakenly make the
assumption that everyone knows which definition we are using.  This
might come up more frequently as Maemo grows from being "mostly used
by Linux geeks."

Please reread Marius' email in that context.  I do not think there is
malice in his words.  As for the value in switching from libre to

Maemo was based on a desktop distribution called Debian which has a
strong Free Software (libre) culture.  This is where the tradition of
"free" and "non-free" repos comes from.  Personally I think switching
from the repos meaning libre to gratis would add as much confusion as
they do now because of Maemo's history.

I'm not too sure what would be the point of a non-free (non-gratis)
repository as I doubt maemo.org is going to open up an app store and
be a means of for-profit distribution especially on Nokia's dime in
competition to Ovi.

Besides historical reasons in distinguishing free (libre) and non-free
(non-libre), I would think it it would mostly matter to community
members and mean zilch to end-users.  I know there has been discussion
of a different QA process for non-free (non-libre) due to its nature
but I stopped following the QA process discussions and do not know
what the resolution was.  I would imagine it would make a big
difference to Mer as it would represent packages that the community
could auto-rebuild for other architectures or crowd-source if any
porting effort was needed.

I hope this helped in someway.

Ed Page

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