Sunday, January 31, 2010

[How To] : Get Applications For The N900?

Posted on 2:06 PM by SlipKoRnSaad

Following my full coverage of the N900, i'll briefly talk about the application department ;)

The thing you'll love about the Maemo platform is the fact that you can add repositories, in a simplified way, that means that you can add a storage location from which software packages may be retrieved and installed, even though the N900 supports installing software directly from a file (downloaded with the WWW browser, received via Bluetooth, copied from the PC, etc.), you will quickly realize that getting and installing software via the Application Manager is a much better and more convenient way, not just to install the software but also to be automatically notified about any updated versions, additional files or plug-ins ;)

All you need to do is to add details of a repository to the Application Manager and it will check the repository and list all applications contained in it. You can add as many repositories as you can only find and the App Manager will monitor all of them and list all software they contain !

There are three different community driven repositories :


Extras is the primary repository for Maemo applications where most community software can be found. You can browse the applications available in Extras at Maemo Downloads.
The Extras repository is pre-configured in the N900 but is disabled by default. In order to enable it you can simply download an application from Maemo Downloads.

To enable Extras repository, just open this link on your tablet.

Or you can enable it by hand:
  • Go into the Application manager.
  • Tap the menu -> Tools -> Application catalog...
  • Double-tap maemo Extras.
  • Uncheck Disabled.

About Extras

Extras is split into two areas:
  • free applications are Open Source have been through the Maemo Extras vetting process
  • non-free applications are usually closed, binary only and their quality and security must be taken on trust


The software hosted in extras-testing might not be ready for end users! Please don't play with it unless you really know what you are doing.

Extras testing is a repository that holds applications waiting to be tested. It is a place where power users can download the latest developer releases, test them out and evaluate them. User backups and predisposition to re-flash your device in case of trouble is assumed.


The software hosted in extras-devel is most likely not ready for end users! So, don't play with it unless you really know what you are doing.

Developers upload the newest version of their software to Extras-devel. Developers upload the newest version of their software to extras-devel. From there the packages go Extras-testing and finally Extras through an automatic and human Quality Assurance process. This is a repository for developers and regular contributors of specific software projects. If you want to play with extras-devel software you need to be prepared to feel some pain sooner or later ;)

That said, here's an example to how to enable some repositories (Extras-devel as an example) :

Application manager --> Application catalogs --> New
Catalog name: Maemo Extras-devel
Web address:
Distribution: fremantle
Components: free non-free

Maemo Extras-Testing repository : 

Distribution: fremantle
Components: free non-free

Maemo Extras-Devel repository : 

Distribution: fremantle
Components: free non-free

Mozilla repository : 

Distribution: chinook
Components: release 
My-Maemo repository :

Distribution: fremantle
Components: user

Where you'll find software that's not available via any other repository. This includes apps posted by people as standalone files on the web, as well as apps written for previous Tablets but compatible with the N900.

Sometimes, some repositories might be broken, don't worry if you got an update fail notification ;)

Source : maemo and my-maemo

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