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MeeGo Developer Edition for the N900

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Michal Jerz
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PostPosted: Friday, 04.Mar.2011 08:53    Post subject: MeeGo Developer Edition for the N900   Reply with quote   

As announced yesterday by Jukka Eklund (Product Manager at Nokia) on MeeGo Development list, the Nokia N900 will get own version of MeeGo - the N900 MeeGo Developer Edition. A dedicated team will be formed for this project, including the current N900 Hardware Adaptation Team. The goal is to deliver a flashable image of the OS that's fully usable as primary smartphone for developers/hackers.

Eklund wrote: "I am thrilled to announce a little thing we started at Nokia. Basically we want to have MeeGo running in N900 device, so that it's really usable as your daily development device. Basic Handset UX should work, phone calls, SMS, web browsing. So we are concentrating on a few selected features and polish those to be "perfect". It might mean that we leave out some things in MeeGo 1.2 trunk for this edition, but that is not the default intention.

We are doing this fully on the open, and I hope this is an interesting project where we all in the community work towards the same goal: have a great MeeGo edition in the N900. This work is naturally based on the great work done already by N900 adaptation team.

The wiki is up here: http://wiki.meego.com/ARM/N900/DeveloperEdition. It will populated with more information as we go, thanks for the patience."


OK, so what does it actually mean? Well, change of plans, the N900 will eventually get kind of OFFICIAL MeeGo port. And that's a good news, at least for N900 owners. Still nothing that could be addressed to mass-market end-users, though.

What's somehow less exciting, however, is that it also probably means that launch of the actual MeeGo device (be it the rumoured N950 or whatever else) is actually... NOWHERE NEAR. If it was, Nokia most probably wouldn't be investing resources and creating a dedicated team to make a MeeGo development device out of the N900.

To recap, N900 users will get a MeeGo upgrade for their aging 1,5 years old hardware, but (at least not in the nearest future) not a new hardware to upgrade to, i.e. what's actually needed the most. And the MeeGo port will most probably be LESS functional than their current Maemo 5. And in such sense, while the efforts to push MeeGo development forward and bring it to kind of "production level" are highly appreciated, this announcement is actually as much disappointing as exciting. I bet that nine out of every ten N900 users would prefer to see an official upgrade to their current Maemo 5 platform in a form of (kind of) "Maemo 6" adding some missing features and improving the overall experience, or even just the same unchanged Maemo 5 on a new, powerful hardware that after 1,5 years is now so badly missing.

But OK, Nokia, most of us have learned that we need to be patient with you. So we warmly welcome and appreciate the MeeGo port for the N900, in hope that this time it's REALLY the promised last step before an actual, real MeeGo phone (kind of) announced for this year, and that it will help bring it to us quicker and make it better. Just please don't disappoint us this time...
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PostPosted: Friday, 04.Mar.2011 19:25    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

I prefer to see this positive - we see that there is still something going on in meego development, and we n900 users get some new stuff to try.

Of course it is called a DEVELOPER EDITION so there is no need to make it feature complete or even usable at all, but let's just keep some little bit of hope that this meego version is really something that will work...
(I know I should not keep any hopes on Nokia after their recent decisions, but you can always dream - and at least this is something new we will be able to try out without having to spend any money on a new device while not knowing about the platform's future...
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PostPosted: Friday, 04.Mar.2011 21:32    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Of course, I do appreciate that there is something still going on about MeeGo at Nokia.

But releasing such a "developer edition" for the N900 must mean that the MeeGo phone (which is also supposed to be a "developer" device, not a mass-market product) is nowhere near. If it was coming soon, I guess that a special version for the N900 would not be needed. And in this regard, it's actually a sad news.

For MeeGo to become successful, it has to finally come to the market. As soon as possible, this year. On real, full-featured, end-user devices. Or else, it will never play any important role.
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PostPosted: Saturday, 05.Mar.2011 11:38    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

To analyse this news I need to de-couple hardware from software:

1) Hardware - having used a P990i for the best part of three years I am more than happy with my 'aging' N900 hardware - its much newer than my desktop and netbooks (one of which is running MeeGo) and I am still quite happy with them too. Smile Given Nokia's recent strategic aliance with Micro$oft it comes as no suprise there will be no high end MeeGo Nokia released and this announcement is a better outcome than I was expecting (ie Nokia dop MeeGo althogether) so good news in that respect.

2) Software - intel are still working on the core OS - the question is the extent to which Nokia MeeGo's code will be contributed back to MeeGo project. Eklung writes "we are doing this fully on the open", does this imply their UI be portable to other devices? In which case this is good news as I am sure the Chinese will jump on a touch UI to ship with their 4pple clones. Imagine the suprise when consummers realize it doesn't just look like an iphone it actually works and there apps for it to.

That could be the way MeeGo reaches the mass market - running on cheap hardware. Once developers realise there is a market out they will starting writing apps - at which point manufacurers will ship more expensive hardware running it to.

All in all I see this announcement as good news.
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PostPosted: Monday, 23.May.2011 09:04    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

why would they still spend/waste money on meego when Windows will be there main OS in the future.
It would be strange to have symbian, meego and windows at the same time officialy supported and updated by Nokia.
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PostPosted: Monday, 23.May.2011 10:44    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Liquid_Li0n wrote:
why would they still spend/waste money on meego when Windows will be there main OS in the future.

Stephen Elot has said that MeeGo will serve as a new technology / future technology platform while Windows Phone will be the main smartphone platform. Symbian will serve as a stop gap until enough Nokia Windows Phone devices are available.

--
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Michal Jerz
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PostPosted: Monday, 23.May.2011 18:16    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Quote:

why would they still spend/waste money on meego when Windows will be there main OS in the future.

Maybe because they're not really 100% sure if Windows will be successful. They need MeeGo as a backup, just in case.

If you look at the current WP7 sales (about 1.6 million phones sold in Q1 2011 compared to e.g. 36,2 million Android phones and even 27,5 million units of that "old, obsolete, burning and forgotten" Symbian) then having some doubts turns out to be quite justified.

Quote:

Stephen Elot has said that MeeGo will serve as a new technology / future technology platform

If I could have just one wish then it'd be so that Steven Elop stays away from MeeGo as far as only possible.
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PostPosted: Monday, 23.May.2011 21:53    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Michal Jerz wrote:
[...]

If I could have just one wish then it'd be so that Steven Elop stays away from MeeGo as far as only possible.


if he does this, it might actually work! Shocked
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PostPosted: Monday, 23.May.2011 22:23    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

The MeeGo DE San Francisco build for the N900 has just been released.

http://my-maemo.com/?p=7277
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 24.May.2011 01:11    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

michal,

do you know how to do two things:

1. install the meego image on the device emmc....i only have class4 cards and it runs slow...albiet, the 1.2 is MUCH better.

2. reinstall the original maemo back to the emmc, over-writing the meego image.

my guess is that reinstalling the maemo back on the device is a simple as doing a basic flash and then a vanilla...which should automatically install the kernels, OS and wipe the emmc clean.



oh, i guess there is one more, just for futher explaination..

in order for me to get winimagewriter to create an image on a memory card, i had to take the raw.rar and unzip it, then take the .raw file and just change the .raw to .img.

so if there is a way to load the .raw image to the n900 emmc, do you know the command?

i have an extra n900 so i figure it may actually work better if it is on the emmc. currently, i can call the device, it rings, but you cannot answer...my guess is this is because there is a major lag between reading the card and functioning.

also, i would like to see if it would actually connect and sync my contacts, and setup email....
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 24.May.2011 02:08    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

You're right. It is *terribly* slow from SD card. Or, shortly speaking, hardly usable.

Quote:

1. install the meego image on the device emmc....i only have class4 cards and it runs slow...albiet, the 1.2 is MUCH better.

You need to follow this guide:
http://wiki.meego.com/ARM/N900/Install/EMMC

But for this you need a PC with Linux. It can't be done from Windows because the installation is carried out by a sh script.

If you have a Windows computer, I guess you could quickly setup some Linux distro running in VirtualBox or some other virtual machine...

Quote:

2. reinstall the original maemo back to the emmc, over-writing the meego image.

Well, I guess you can simply download the eMMC image from Nokia and reflash it using the Flasher-3.5.exe

Quote:

in order for me to get winimagewriter to create an image on a memory card, i had to take the raw.rar and unzip it, then take the .raw file and just change the .raw to .img.

It wasn't .rar, it was .bz2. But yes, you need to unpack the .raw file from the archive. And then for the WinImageWriter to see it either rename it (to anything you like with .img extension) or simply copy its original name and paste it in the "File name" requester of the ImageWriter...

Quote:

so if there is a way to load the .raw image to the n900 emmc, do you know the command?

I guess you could do this on the N900 itself using information from the "On the N900 itself" chapter here:

http://wiki.meego.com/ARM/N900/Install/MMC#On_the_N900_itself

You just need to enter the correct partition. I guess it's mmcblk0p1 but check this carefully or else you may delete the /opt/ partition instead.

P.S. Since the MeeGo DE only needs 4 GB, it might be a good idea to repartition the eMMC Flash of the N900 and create a DEDICATED, additional partition for it (by shrinking MyDocs).

See here for some more details:

http://wiki.maemo.org/Repartitioning_the_flash

P.S.2 If you repartition the flash and make a dedicated 4 GB partition for MeeGo that can be seen from PC via USB Mass Storage, I guess it might be possible to write the image to that partition using the WinImageWriter....
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Michal Jerz
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 24.May.2011 02:20    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Oh, and one general comment....

With all due respect and appreciation for the hard work of the community, when I look at this MeeGo DE running on my N900, I wonder how TWO YEARS could have been spent since Maemo 5 only to get this... And I wonder what are the benefits it can offer to a typical Maemo 5 user... I guess during those TWO YEARS the Maemo 6 platform could have been turned into fully mature MASTERPIECE making each Android and iOS phone user scream from jealousy. And this.... after two years..... I'm too stupid to understand this.

P.S. I know that MeeGo is supposed to be something much more than Maemo: it runs on tablets, netbooks, TVs, cars multimedia systems, etc. And it's great. And MeeGo on my laptop or on the WeTab runs really nicely. But for reasons completely incomprehensible to me, its smartphone incarnation (which I always thought is the biggest and most important market) is simply way behind all other UXes, as if no one really cared about it, but the community. Amazing.
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 24.May.2011 02:39    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

thank you.

and, i agree...2 years, proly millions of dollars and incomplete. i dont get it.

and you get guys taking 4-9 months to whip out code for applications for all the platforms that are available...even the playbook is starting to get good applications.

who knows! Rolling Eyes

but thanks again.

i will look at somehow repartitioning and then winimagewriter...seems it may be easier if i cannot get a linux pc.
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 24.May.2011 02:51    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

if i partition the drive, how can i get it back to the stock?

will it automatically make it as new if i do a maemo OS flash and vanilla so that the partitions are the factory state?

i dont mind bricking this device, so long as a simple flash will bring it back to normal.
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 24.May.2011 03:41    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Quote:

and, i agree...2 years, proly millions of dollars and incomplete. i dont get it.

The core MeeGo itself (as well as e.g. Netbook UX or IVI) are stable and functional, quite "commercial" quality. Only the smartphone version just isn't there. And something tells me that it's the smartphone version that mainly Nokia was meant to take care of....

Quote:

if i partition the drive, how can i get it back to the stock?

You will need to manually repartition it again. Or simply keep it this way. What's the difference if you have one 27 GB MyDocs partition, or a 23 GB MyDocs + 4 GB on a separate partition... Even if you don't use MeeGo on it, you could modify NITDroid installer to install in that 4 GB partition which will also give you a performance increase... Or simply use that partition for videos, music, whatever...

Quote:

will it automatically make it as new if i do a maemo OS flash and vanilla so that the partitions are the factory state?

No, it will not repartition.
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