The first is that a Lot of people on maemo.org have got very hot under the collar this week about Nokia’s apparent ‘failure to support’ n900 since they’re looking to the Next Device. Which left me wondering what people were expecting. I would be very surprised if most of Nokia’s Maemo efforts at this point weren’t going into the next device.
People are upset at the suggestion that Maemo 6 won’t be installable on n900. Personally, I would be surprised if it were. Certainly the next device will likely have different hardware (there are all sorts of rumours) and handle DRM files. So it would be unlikely that the OS will be compatible. On the other hand, with the arrival of Qt 4.6, apps written for one device should run effortlessly on either provided they’re not dependent on specific hardware features.
So I ask myself what people expected. When you buy a device, you buy a feature set, and some bugs. You hope that over time, the bugs will be worked out. When I bought my n95, I bought it for all the features it had – one of which, the camera, was far from sorted until about the third firmware update six months later. What I didn’t do was buy it for features it didn’t have.
Now, I expect Nokia to go on fixing bugs (there are rumours –only rumours! - of at least two more updates – one small and one large during the spring some time). And I’d expect them to add the things they’ve committed themselves to (like full support for Qt4.6). But I don’t actually think they’re likely to waste energy on adding much by way of features. The n900 came with a feature set: that’s what I bought. And frankly, it runs pretty well with those features.
Of course, that’s not to say more features wouldn’t be nice. That’s where the whole ‘open source’ thing comes in: Nokia may be busy making a note of what features people want for Maemo 6 but the community are already building extra features for n900.
So I’m not dissatisfied. I bought My Mo because my existing device was (literally) falling apart. I couldn’t wait for ‘the next big thing’. And if I had, by then there would have been an even bigger ‘big thing’ just around the corner. In the end, you have to say “This will do enough of what I want right now”. And go for it. I may never be able to afford Maemo 6. That’s ok: n900 will probably last me till Maemo 7 is on the horizon. If Nokia go on updating, excellent. If not, ok: I got what I paid for.
There’s also still a great deal of rumbling around about the Ovi maps issue. Those of you unfamiliar with Scripture, please forgive me for a little foray into theological reflection. I am reminded of Matt 20:1-16, where many people are upset because having got exactly what they agreed to, they see others being treated more generously. I paid for the (I gather rather poor) version of maps on n900. If Nokia want to give their latest whizzy version to symbian users, who am I to complain? I am getting what I bargained for. Fortunately for me, I don’t use GPS much, just plain old paper maps.
That reflection leads me on to the fact that I have finally (thanks to many people) got a couple of working Bibles onto My Mo. Right now, the port of Rapier is functional, but not glitzy. A Maemo 5 specific version (which will be called Katana, I believe) is in the works. Functional is good enough for me. Right back when I was still deciding which device to buy, a working Bible was one of my ‘must haves’, and the fact that a group of people stepped up to the plate and have made one leaves me speechless. The Maemo community is something very special.
Speaking of the Maemo community, I must mention our sheep. You’ll have read before on this blog about the ‘sheep project’. I believe it will eventually be called MaeSheep. But right now, it’s in extras-devel under the name of ‘sheep’. And Hopbeat has done an amazing job with it. The little dog chases the sheep into pens with varying degrees of difficulty. All the while Stobbsc’s wonderful sheep sounds 'baa' at you. Artwork by various team members make it look extremely classy. As an example of community collaboration at work, it is superb. If you have an n900, please test it for us!
It was the sheep that gave me tonight’s ‘proud moment’. Hopbeat announced that the new game, running on Qt 4.6 was in extras-devel. I promptly asked whether we needed anything special for Qt 4.6, since the current n900 firmware (PR 1.1) was running t 4.5.Hopbeat thanked me for the reminder, and said he’d make sure all the dependencies were collected properly from the right libraries. I thought no more of it until this evening when I read a post (in a completely different thread) saying “Yes! You should probably learn that on linux everything comes in little pieces. For example if you install little program which says it will take only 60Kb but in reality it might install 50 mb of different librarys and packages because you didnt have those. these are shared between programs. It's not windows where you install single binary.” (Slender, here: http://talk.maemo.org/showpost.php?p=50
I have also been having fun with my n900’s ability to view YouTube. I asked about the ownership of the maemo.org logo (with a view to knitting it, of which more another time!) and the conversation moved on to licences. The Open Licences are often referred to as GNU – which to me can only mean Flanders and Swann, and “I’m a Gnu”. That led me on to a selection of Flanders and Swann material available on YouTube. And the reflection that somehow our society has lost sight of the value of Good Clean Innocent Fun. If you have a few moments to spare, let me recommend the Gnu, the Hippopotamus song, Transports of delight, or The Gasman Cometh all readily available on the web. (There’s a wonderful version of ‘the gasman’ enacted here: http://revdkathy.tumblr.com/post/361166
We need more innocent fun.
As I said, no one theme or rant this week. Just random rumblings. But lots to think about too.