Markus’ Little Blog

November 15, 2010

What’s Nokia doing in MeeGo?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Markus S. @ 23:18

EDIT 2: Damn, I’m so dump. I had the answers already but I totally forgot about them. I posted something similar to this blog post in the comments section of that article but being a bit ill (not surprising in November..) I completely forgot about it and never checked back.
Due weird circumstances my websearching brought me back to that article where I found a reply by Nokia’s Quim Gil. He wrote:

The apps included in the MeeGo Handset UX are the top of a complex iceberg. Nokia is contributing heavily to Core OS and Handset UX, from Kernel to MeeGo Touch Framework. The Handset application/services layer in MeeGo products from Nokia will be heavily tied to Ovi and Nokia proprietary apps. It would be quite schizophrenic to also develop the open alternatives. Still you can see Nokia’s involvement in Mozilla, KOffice and essential application back-ends like Kcal or Buteo.

Now we have it: Nokia won’t open source the actual front-ends. The code for the Handset UX front-ends is just meant to be a reference implementation and nothing to ever become a usable product on its own.

Apart from MeeGo Touch Framework (a component I wasn’t really aware of at that time, even though I had heard the name before but it never caught my attention) Nokia is involved with upstream projects for back-end services.
A misconception (likely due my unclear use of words because I’m not a native English speaker) in said comments section was that I accused Nokia to be not involved in FOSS except Qt. That is not what I meant. Both my comment and this blog post were solely about MeeGo-specific projects and not multi-purpose upstream projects like Mozilla where Nokia is developing a Qt port of Firefox Mobile.

With my regained memory about the VisionMobile article, let me say a few words about the comparison of MeeGo Handset and Android. If the MeeGo Handset front-ends stay a mere reference implementation, cheap smartphone manufacturers will more likely opt for Android because even stock Android is a polished product. The development may occur behind closed doors but a complete end to end stack is released with each development cycle.

This however may serve as opportunity for us KDE people. If Plasma Mobile + our apps turn out as polished product bundle, we “only” have to make potential MeeGo adopters aware of it as in “Just take it all for free. You only need to set a branded wallpaper and you’re set. If you do encounter bugs, our development is open – just submit a patch.”

Now that it’s all settled, I can go to bed again. ;-) For reference I keep my original blog post below:


A while ago I was wondering about MeeGo. In every article about MeeGo it’s being told how it’s a project of both Nokia and Intel.

But then I had a look at MeeGo source codes. Strangely, apart from Qt itself, I could not find any Nokia code at all. I thought that at least the Handset UX must obviously be a Nokia product. After all, Nokia plans to ship their first MeeGo phone in the coming months.
Well, MeeGo’s Handset developer group has not a single Nokia member. All but two have Intel mail addresses and the two don’t have a @nokia.com address either.
Wherever I look, I can only find Intel code.

The only area where I could find actual Nokia involvement was the semi-official N900 port. The table on that page contains some Nokia-related names and the page also talks about “closed components” only Nokia has access to.
Is it actually true that Nokia’s only involvement with open source MeeGo-specific code is to port Intel’s open source code to the N900 via “closed components”?
Then I thought that Nokia will probably develop a closed source user interface for their upcoming MeeGo devices, similar to the WeTab. However that would contradict page 4 of Nokia’s Software Strategy White Paper.

Anybody got a clue what’s going on? My elite web searching skillz left me as puzzled as before…

EDIT: Nokia develops MeeGo Touch Framework. That’s still no front-end application that I had hoped to find, though. :-(

11 Comments

  1. I guess they’re developing something in secrecy and will dump the code when it’s done.

    Comment by mr talking badger — November 16, 2010 @ 00:46

  2. Nokia will roll out Harmattan (i.e. Maemo 6) which will be based on MeeGo Core, but UI will be different from MeeGo Handset UX. It is written using MeeGo Touch Framework, but that is all I can say right now. Maybe they will open-sourced it someday, but don’t have high hopes.

    Comment by bq — November 16, 2010 @ 00:52

    • Now that you mentioned the term “MeeGo Touch Framework” I had a quick look at it and at least that one is developed by Nokia.
      It’s still strange that in Nokia’s Software Strategy White Paper they claim that the user interface would be open source while the Handset stuff developed in the open has nothing to do with Nokia…

      At least I have had the impression that the UI running on Nokia’s MeeGo phone would be FOSS Handset UX + Ovi + custom branding and not something proprietary…

      Comment by Markus — November 16, 2010 @ 01:53

  3. Google for libmeegotouch. You will find something in gitorious.

    Adenilson

    Comment by Adenilson Cavalcanti — November 16, 2010 @ 01:45

  4. Do not expect code for applications in Nokia Handset UX. They never released it for Maemo devices (770/n8x0/n900) and already said that Harmattan will follow same way.

    Comment by Hrw — November 16, 2010 @ 06:28

  5. But honestly, why should they release it? It’s the only thing that sets smartphones apart these days. Or do Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, LG etc. open source their Android interfaces?

    Comment by Andre — November 16, 2010 @ 10:30

    • “why should they release it?”

      They said so in the Software Strategy White Paper that the user interface would be FOSS.

      Comment by Markus — November 16, 2010 @ 12:53

      • User interface is not exact wording. Note that Harmattan will contain many components from MeeGo so they will be open. Some of them will be UI. But rest…

        Comment by Hrw — November 16, 2010 @ 13:08

  6. Well, in KDE there is an interesting phenomenon; close to noone of those developers working for a company direct in the KDE SVN is using his company mail-address. That means just counting the @company mail-addresses wan’t provide a realistic answer. I am not sure why that’s so but it’s like that since I can remember back. Maybe this phenomenon occurs cause developers start to participate in a project before they got hired and later just continue to use there infrastructure (blogs, mails, webpages, etc.)? In any case it’s an interesting social phenomenon.

    Comment by dipesh — November 16, 2010 @ 19:03

  7. Consider that Nokia has lots of contractors. So counting emails might just get you counting all the Nokia sub-contractors.

    If you download “FreOffice” on your n900, you’ll find it is a mobile edition of KOffice. It has a big “NOKIA” logo next to the K one in the about box. Some of the people who work on it are with KO GmbH: http://kogmbh.com
    Most of those people have actual @kde.org addresses, and I imagine use them in SVN/GIT.

    Of course, this doesn’t answer your main question. ;)

    Comment by blauzahl — November 17, 2010 @ 20:39

  8. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Comment by David Elkin — April 19, 2011 @ 07:08


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