Who makes the maemo community?

30May08

Back to Helsinki, full of thoughts and ideas exchanged yesterday around the maemo track in LinuxTag @ Berlin. The slides of my presentation are available, but they are mostly a background for my speech, that was recorded and will be uploaded hopefully soonish.

Among other things, we kicked off 10 days of brainstorm about maemo.org, the online space of a community. Some ideas are starting to be structured around the 100 Days action plan and the Agenda 2010. I wonder though if all we are happy and on the same page about a basic question: what is and what should be the target audience of maemo.org? Who makes this community?

Open source development for Internet tablets, says the current homepage. Is this reflecting the reality today and the scope this community wants for the future?

What if…

  • Open source would be the core of a wider area around openness? There are projects that are releasing soon, often, listening to feedback, discussing with users and other developers, yet they license they choose is not open source. Are they inside or outside the maemo community?
  • Development would be the core of a wider area around collaboration. This is a general trend around open source development: there are many areas where non-developer contributors get involved and produce amazing stuff. Are they inside or outside?

What if maemo.org would evolve to a community of open collaboration? Software developers and open source insiders would still be a strong reference, like the Grand Prix pilots and mechanics, but the space would be also open to anybody excited just about doing any kind of maemo related stuff together.

Image: Flamingos – Phoenicopterus ruber, by Julio Caldas (some rights reserved)

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10 Responses to “Who makes the maemo community?”

  1. 1 Ryan Abel

    I think pulling in closed-source contributors to maemo.org has less to do with maemo.org than the closed-source contributors. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with involving closed-source contributors, but, by their nature, they usually don’t tend to get very closely involved in open-source communities (and open-source communities, by THEIR nature, tend not to attract a lot of closed-source types).

    But would I like to see the HAVA guys, or the Rhapsody, Skype, or Gizmo guy, or any other closed-source group or individual actively involved in maemo.org and the maemo community? Yes I would.

    As far as non-development contributors, I think they’re already fairly well involved with maemo.org. Planet, Downloads, Bugzilla, the mailing lists (to an extent), the wiki (which, I’m thinking, is really going to take off with mediawiki :D), irc, etc all involved a large number of non-developers types. More explicitly expanding the scope of maemo.org to include these types of contributors, I believe, is a good idea.

  2. 2 Danilo

    Would it work? I hope so.

  3. 3 qgil

    Ryan, you are opposing open source to commercial software, when in fact the pairs are: open source / closed source and community / commercial.

    Look for instance Canola. Many people even think it’s open source because the way INdT handles the development is quite open. Then you have software like Mauku, starting as non-free and moving afterward to free software license, but in fact not changing the development model, that since the beginning was the typical of the single-man non-profit project releasing alphas, betas and integrating feedback as it comes.

    maemo.org doesn’t need to worry about pure commercial development & software companies since this is the area that Forum Nokia handles well. As you say, if these commercial developers want to join the maemo.org open community waters, this is another story and they are welcome.

  4. 4 qgil

    I have started a new thread at Internet Tablet Talk since the opinion of that big group of maemo lovers is totally relevant: http://www.internettablettalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=187419

  5. 5 Bundyo

    In my opinion maemo.org should be a meeting point to any Maemo related developer regardless if it is open or closed, however every developer should clearly state his projects purpose and license and actively participate in the community supporting it in a way. That would be the ideal scenario.
    That said, i don’t see Skype or Rhapsody guys using the bug tracker or support forum at all. There should be a way for other outside projects, which already have established project channels, to integrate them somehow in maemo.org. There’s probably no other way to get them to use other than theirs.

  6. IMHO, today there are many people who isn’t a developer and they do a great work in the maemo community. Simply handling bugs, writing tutorials for newbies, giving ideas of how the UI could be improved and many other things. Any person who has produced something to the maemo community should have her site inside. But as Ryan says, I think this already happens today.

    About the closed-source applications, I think two principal types exist, on the one hand there are Skype, Rhapsody, etc. and on the other hand the applications like Canola.
    Whereas nobody of Skype is going to work inside of the community for any matter, the Canola people have a great background in open source software, and this way several applications they launch are open source, and they contribute things to the community though some parts of her software are closed.

    The emblems that could exist in maemo.org aren’t important, what matter are people and ideas. And the more people are involved inside maemo more good ideas and more work we will get.

  7. From a typical end-user’s point of view, open/closed source doesn’t matter: all they want is a single location for getting the extra software (the Maemo application catalog). For technical reasons (making sure all the libraries are compatible) it would be best if all the extra software came from a single repository. For additional technical reasons it would be best to split that single repository into several components (extras, extras-devel, commercial). I’d also love a -updates or -backports that would contain updated versions of core OS applications such as osso-xterm with bugfixes that you would otherwise only get with a new OS image.

    For a typical power user, it would also be very good to have a single location for reporting bugs & problems. A link to the relevant bug tracker might be sufficient, if every app in the Maemo application catalog had one.

    For a developer who is also a user, the open/closed split matters a lot. I want to know beforehand if I’m allowed to fix the software when it breaks. Here “breaks” might mean simply that nobody has compiled a package for a newly released maemo version.

    To summarise: application catalog ought to have both kinds of apps. Perhaps with icons indicating openness (smiley face) or closeness (frowny face), and the ability to filter the results if you’re an open-source zealot. The repository should have a strict split of open and non-open source components, with up-to-date source packages being absolutely mandatory for the open-source component. Discussion forums (and mailing lists) ought to be open for all developers.

  8. 8 Mythic

    I agree with Ryan too. With the only exception that I believe that current design of maemo.org should have more structured content and separate informations for developers and non-developers. In the current design, everything is blended and for example the /intro/ page feels oriented only to developers.

  9. 9 qgil

    Sure, until now maemo.org has been oriented to developers. But the content shouldn’t define the target audience. This is why it’s worth asking ourselves now about the target audience we want to reach. Once this is decided then it is clearer what to do with the content, structure, layout, services offered…

    In the ITt krisse and others are insisting in the debate of casual vs advanced users. I think that in fact the approach is about users expecting a vertical communication with Nokia only (customer-provider relationship) or an horizontal, community based communication. A community driven maemo.org might be useful for the latter.

  10. 10 keesj

    Hello Quim

    I really enjoyed LinuxTag

    In your post you state:

    “What if maemo.org would evolve to a community of open collaboration? Software developers and open source insiders would still be a strong reference, like the Grand Prix pilots and mechanics, but the space would be also open to anybody excited just about doing any kind of maemo related stuff together.”

    The last part of the sentence poses a little problem to me because you use the maemo in there “any kind of maemo related stuff” . It is a kind of recursive definition.

    From reading your post it feels like you want to make the scope of Maemo bigger.
    Software that does not use hildon is not by definition bad. Currently for me Maemo equals hildon. but at linuxtag we have seen many cool non hildon stuff.

    what about;

    “Maemo == Open Source standing computing”.



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