Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What can we realistically expect : QA about Nokia N900, Maemo 5, Meego and Harmattan !

Posted on 4:04 AM by SlipKoRnSaad

In case you don't know, there's an interesting wiki page on that was created following a lot of hot-topic questions being asked without answer which resulted in a general bad mood on Talk.

The purpose of the page is to compile known information and open questions into one and easy to read source from :

Quim Gil (qgil) : Job title - Open source advocate, Maemo Devices @ Nokia.
Ari Jaaksi (jaaksi) : Job title - Vice President of Maemo Software @ Nokia.
Urho Konttori (konttori) : Job title - Project Manager @ Nokia.
Tomas Junnonen (tomasj) : Job title - Developer @ Nokia.
Peter Schneider (peterschneider): Job title - Head of the global marketing team for Maemo Devices @ Nokia.
Valtteri Halla (valhalla) : Job title - Director, Nokia Meego @ Nokia.

Here's some examples :

The MeeGo project has announced support for the N900. What does it really mean for my N900 ?

What that blog post talks about is MeeGo vanilla support announced by the MeeGo project. This is not Harmattan support with Harmattan apps by Nokia. It's Nokia and not the MeeGo project who has the word on Nokia deliveries.

Still, N900 users concerned about "the future of the N900" now know that their hardware is in the real track for future support. More answers to come as the Harmattan alpha release approaches.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

MeeGo will come with a reference UX and reference OSS apps. If someone is expecting official Nokia apps then this is another story. The story of 'Harmattan running in the N900'. We have dicussed this. Nothing new on that front.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

That said, please do not take this yet as a commitment to fully productise MeeGo on N900. I am quite confident that we will end up having a really good developer distro for N900 already but committing to stabilise a consumer-grade MeeGo 1.0 (first half this year) for N900 is another story. That is a product business decision beyond my scope. Also, we do not yet know about MeeGo 1 release content. I am not yet sure if I would be personally ready to let my Maemo5 go for the first MeeGo release in my daily N900 use.

Source : Valtteri Halla (Nokia)

Making MeeGo work on the N900 is costing money already now. There is a team working on this as we speak, and as MeeGo first code release is taking shape.

The N900 was announced as official ARM hardware platform for MeeGo. This means that you can expect an open source operating system working on the N900 with a MeeGo API allowing you to install and run MeeGo applications.

The open source evolution path of the N900 is quite clear and looking good

What Nokia hasn't announced yet is the commercial evolution path beyond the Maemo 5 official updates that it is granted that will keep coming. Yes, this is the same old question "Harmattan / MeeGo officially supported for the N900" and the same answer still prevails.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

Will Harmattan/Meego be supported on the N900 for the average consumer and not just for for developers ? 

Put this MeeGo support in perspective:

- From unstable to stable, if MeeGo doesn't make developers happy it will never make users happy. Developer happiness is a requird milestone no matter what.

- Leaving aside the Nokia-centric perspective, if MeeGo doesn't make users happy by own merits it will give a hard time to device vendors making happy their customers. So again user happiness is basically a milestone for MeeGo no matter what.

Sure, still this doesn't answer the question of Nokia's Harmattan official support and Nokia proprietary apps, but maybe these two axis help you figuring out worst case scenarios.

Sources : Quim Gil (Nokia)

What Nokia hasn't announced yet is the commercial evolution path beyond the Maemo 5 official updates that it is granted that will keep coming. Yes, this is the same old question "Harmattan / MeeGo officially supported for the N900" and the same answer still prevails.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

Why can't Nokia promise the N900 will get MeeGo ?

Intel and Nokia are still discussing the last details about the MeeGo architecture. In technical terms this means that still today nobody knows what exactly the MeeGo OS will consist of. Imagine a month ago, two months ago, three...

... (You have to consider) the jump from Maemo 5 to Harmattan/MeeGo, which represents a deep change in the OS plus a total rewrite of the applications.

Still, the chance is there. The sooner you demand an answer the easiest is to get a conservative silence. The closer we get to Harmattan / MeeGo stable releases the easiest is to give accurate technical and business answers.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

Why is Ovi Suite still not working with Maemo 5 ?

Improving all the time. N900 is still young, and as a new platform not everything works. Symbian has been around for years, so it is further in many areas.

Source : Ari Jaaksi (Nokia)

From :

Nokia N900 supports a range of Ovi services including Ovi Store, Contacts on Ovi, Ovi Share, Nokia Messaging, and Ovi Maps. Comes with Music and other services that require platform-wide support of DRM will be supported in our MeeGo-based devices which we intend to provide with Microsoft PlayReady-based DRM technology. Naturally, we'll be working to increase support for all Ovi services as we go forward with MeeGo.

Source : Peter Schneider (Nokia)

What are the officially-confirmed major feature in future Maemo 5 release ?

- PR1.2

1. QT 4.6

Source : [Confirmed by Qgil, Trolltech, etc.]

2. Live wallpaper

Source : Bug 3910

3. Customizable single menu, no more "More"

Source : Bug 5349

- PR1.3

1. QT Mobility

Source : Urho Konttori (Nokia)

I am confused. What is Harmattan and what is MeeGo ? What is the difference between both ? Do they share common features ?

So what’s with (Harmattan)? (Harmattan) will be MeeGo compatible.....consider (Harmattan) already a MeeGo instance.

Source : Ari Jaaksi (Nokia)

Harmattan is the name of the software program that comes after Fremantle / Maemo 5. In the Maemo Summit we already announced it as "Maemo 6" in order to bring a clear signal about the major update, change of toolkit, etc.

Now MeeGo comes to the picture. "Maemo 6" will not be used by Nokia as a brand since all the marketing effort around the software platform will be around MeeGo.

To be clear: this is not about "ditching" or "abandoning" any platform. The Harmattan program keeps working with the same plans than last week, no matter the name of the product they will deliver. Maemo 6 and Moblin 2.x merge and have a successor called MeeGo. Current Maemo people will look at it and will say "looks like his mother!". Current Moblin people will look at it and will say "looks like his father!" (or choose your preferred gender) Of course you will see changes compared to Maemo 5, but these changes were coming anyway with Maemo 6.

What does this mean exactly for Harmattan/MeeGo? It means different things for different people:

- For end users nothing really changes, apart from a name most of them were not aware of anyway.

- For application developers not much changes. Harmattan's developer offering is based on Qt 4.6 + Qt Creator, Web Runtime + Aptana. Same for MeeGo and by the way same for Symbian. Harmattan might have extended APIs unique to Nokia devices (e.g. Ovi APIs), but we'll see and this is part of the MeeGo flexibility anyway. Wait for the SDKs to be released and then we can discuss in more detail. There will be also the APIs available for those willing to use them, provided directly by other open source components in the platform (e.g. GStreamer). Developers will be of course free to use them, at the expense of loosing compatibility with Symbian, and with MeeGo... depends on the component and to be seen as soon as there is a detailed MeeGo architecture public. Then there will be the obvious difference in packaging (deb still for Harmattan, rpm for MeeGo) but this won't be the big issue and anyway compatibility with Symbian implies specific packaging as well.

- For those caring about the platform in depth, Harmattan =! MeeGo. If we would make Harmattan identical to MeeGo then we would need to postpone dates and, really not for a good reason. Not a reason for application developers (the API is there anyway) and not a good reason for end users, who could not care less about packaging and some obscure middleware components. This is the only reason making Ari Jaaksi refer to Harmattan as a "MeeGo instance" instead of just "MeeGo product".

This is why we are dropping the "Maemo 6" brand while keeping all the Harmattan development full speed and in the same direction that it was.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

Harmattan and MeeGo come with a whole Qt based application and UI framework and a Qt style API. Maemo 5 is a different story, with a GTK+ based applications and UI framework and GNOME style API.

This is what makes Harmattan quite close to MeeGo in platform terms, while Maemo 5 is really something different. That said you can reach very similar APIs with Maemo 5, and you can also add more libraries to Maemo 5 in order to fine tune the compatibility. You can also do so with Symbian, yet you don't have problems seeing that it's pointless to call Symbian MeeGo.

We can discuss this in more details once we have a MeeGo and a Harmattan list of components to compare.

PS: about the packaging... we are talking here about API compatibility.

Source : Quim Gil (Nokia)

1. There is Nokia Maemo 5 / Fremantle now. The next release would have been Nokia Maemo 6 / Harmattan. Now, it is called Meego / Harmattan instead, but it's still the same Harmattan that it was going to be. This would be way clearer if they didn't rebrand it as MeeGo yet, but they wanted to get the marketing behind that brand already. You can think of Harmattan as half MeeGo. The next release after Harmattan will be Nokia's first full MeeGo.

2. You need to understand the layers, which together form an operating system. It may be difficult if you come from Windows/OS X world because they both only have one user interface. UI and applications, however are only the top of the OS pyramid. Underneath them there are a lot of stuff that actually make it all tick. That's what Meego is about, providing a common base for user interfaces and applications to be built on. When you think of Meego in general, think of everything you as an end user don't see.

3. What you actually see, the UI, applications, services etc. can and will vary depending on who made the Meego device. LG's UI may look totally different from Nokia UI. You'll only see Ovi applications and services on Nokia devices. These manufacturer specific applications on top of Meego won't necessarily be open source either. But the base on which they are built on is the same.

Source (NON OFFICIAL) : jas

(Harmattan) will be compatible with MeeGo.. but it is not MeeGo.

(Harmattan) will still use Deb.. MeeGo uses RPM.

Source (NON OFFICIAL) : fatalsaint

 More to read !

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