[maemo-users] Is OS2006 still supported?

From: Hal Vaughan hal at thresholddigital.com
Date: Fri Apr 18 21:51:03 EEST 2008
Note: Part of this is venting, but it's stuff I do feel I have to say.  
Note what I say in the last paragraph and don't take the rest 
personally.  I've been in and out of this group and until now didn't 
realize that Nokia was actively involved here and that, in itself, 
impresses me.  So take my other points in the context of me also being 
glad to know Nokia is actively involved here.

On Friday 18 April 2008, Quim Gil wrote:
> Hi,
> To the originator of this thread: Nokia launched the 770 and release
> the OS2006 - and we are responsible of that. But Python and many
> other libraries and applications compatible with OS2006 were
> contributed by third parties, and all the merit goes for them.
> ext lakestevensdental wrote:
> >  As a point of comparison between the internet tablets and
> > microlaptops
> Thanks for your detailed comparison. Direct comparisons in real world
> help a lot understanding (all of us) what is going on.
> As much as I understand the feelings of the 770 owners, I also think
> that many (not all!) comparisons we are seeing are rather simplistic
> and better for an ideal world than the real one we live in.
> Nokia produces devices fitting in pockets. Let's compare devices in
> this category if we really want to have a fruitful discussion.

That is true, but some points apply to any product out there.

> Nowadays: what customers in the consumer electronics or the computer
> industry expect continuous support and (free/paid) software updates
> for devices fitting in their pockets, launched in 2005 or before?
> Let's look at the real examples and let's see what can we learn from
> them.

I do.  Maybe I can't get it on something expensive like Windows, but I 
can keep updating my desktop and servers I bought in 2004 and I've been 
continuing to do so with both Ubuntu and Debian since I set them up.  
(The Ubuntu desktop was later than 2004, but still, the point is there 
is long term support.)

> You can compare OS2006 in the 770 with your distro of choice in your
> PC because both are Linux-based, but this comparison won't help you
> understanding the complexities behind. Platform development on top of
> a PC (consolidated x86 architecture and fat hardware resources) is
> radically different than developing on top of a tablet (new and far
> from consolidated silicon and hardware configurations in devices
> fitting in your pocket and lasting several hours without recharging).
> Add to this that the final product is in the price range the tablets
> are, and that the software updates are expected to be free as in
> beer.
> What products beat the tablets and specifically the 770 in this
> sense? Let's discuss those.
> Remember the first laptop you bought. Did you expect it to stay fit
> for how long? And your second laptop? It is now that things start
> getting decent in the lifetime of portable computers. For the devices
> fitting in your pocket it will take a little longer. The fact that
> users want full Internet (think the Internet 3 years ago and now in
> terms of hardware requirements), full multimedia, amazing UI and what
> not doesn't really help making mobile devices stay young for long.

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.

Nokia, or Microsoft, or some other company may want me to, but I don't 
want to and I resent any time a company tries to trap me into the 
upgrade pattern.  After going from Windows 95 to 98 to Win2k, then 
having to get WinXP to test my software for my customers, I found my 
decision, around 2000, to switch over to Linux has really paid off for 

Now I do see the need to push the limits and create new products with 
new features, but as a consumer, when I see a product be forced into 
obsolescence quickly by any company, I give *serious* thought to 
whether I'm going to buy from them again.  If I find I can build a 
desktop system that will last me for 5 years or I can buy something 
that looks great, but it's from a company that I've seen make products 
obsolete in 2-3 years, then I'll gladly pay more for something that 
won't face forced obsolescence.

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.  In some 
cases it might be because they use new features of the newer models.  
In that case I understand it, but one issue is that I'm using one OS 
version, at this point, I can't even remember the name, and that most 
programs need a later one.  Yes, I can use an HE, and I do a LOT of 
hacking on my own -- but not on anything that I want to be sure will 
work when I need it.

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

> Yes, on the software side you can do a lot, but thing also that in
> the real world we live, doing a lot on task A implies doing less on
> tasks B, C, D. Bad if you leave your focus on the 770, bad if you
> don't beat the new products launched by the competition? We need to
> find the balance - and we need to make a sustainable (my managers
> would say "profitable") business out of it.

I have a small business.  I don't have to worry about scale, but I also 
run a "live" service that has to stay in operation so my customers get 
their data on time.  I had to go through a rough time of creating a new 
system with, compared to the old, absolutely awesome abilities.  While 
doing it, I had to make sure that the changeover was seemless to my 
customers.  I had to go through a massive system upgrade, yet still 
provide support to older versions and make sure that it was possible to 
add the new features to the old software.

It took me a bit more effort, and much of that is because I'm fairly new 
at this, but it did convince me that it's possible to push the limits 
and still continue to provide support for what has been done.  Yes, by 
definition, the new systems with new abilities will have things the old 
one does not, but I've seen many programs that, from my experience, 
should work just fine on a 770 but won't.

If I upgrade to a newer model, I want to be sure I won't go through this 
again in a few years.  I know there are bleeding edge adopters, but I 
have a house to take care of, a 23 year old car to maintain (I drive a 
vintage convertible), a pet to pay for, dates where I have to pick up 
the tab, fees for my ballroom dancing lessons, and so on.  Nokia, or 
Sony, or any company is only going to get a small part of my overall 

That's why I want to know that every effort is being made to make sure a 
product has as long a lifespan as possible.  True, you've got my money 
and you don't need to impress me anymore, but no company who gets my 
money, then drops my product and tells me to just upgrade will get my 
money over and over.

> This balance probably goes in the direction of
> - Let Nokia and third parties push innovation in new products as fast
> and successful as possible. Otherwise the rest will be pointless.

I like the third party issue.  I'm learning C++ and have been using Perl 
and Java for years.  While I'm relatively new, I might even be 
interested in helping where I can.  I know a lot of programmers will 
contribute to projects like this.

> - Nokia makes sure all of its customers (users, developers) get a
> good service for the time and money they invest.
> - The community is empowered to keep over time hardware and software
> as fit as they wish and are able to.

I see this as an important point and I seem to have missed a lot of 
discussions on this.  From what I gather, part of the issue is that 
there are things that can't be open sourced.  That is a limit, but on 
the other hand, 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.

> We have discussed some times the latter point, which I believe is the
> most crucial to most of the people complaining. We haven't forgot the
> previous discussions and we are open to new ideas.

I've vented here because I'm just frustrated with some of the 
limitations I've recently become aware of, but I do have to say that I 
am quite impressed that there are people from Nokia involved here and 
on the positive side it tells me that Nokia is interested in community 
development and isn't planning on abandoning this product, so I do 
salute you on that!


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