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Thoughts from Jamie Bennett

Archive for October, 2008

Entertainer 0.2 Release Candidate Available

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Its been nearly 4 months since the last release of Entertainer but now version 0.2 RC (Release Candidate) has been made available. This release has many bug fixes, some minor enhancements (slide show feature, video playback eye candy among others) and some code clean-up but the real story is how Entertainer is progressing.

This release indicates the Entertainer projects approach to early development. Instead of rushing off adding feature after feature at the expense of code cleanness and correctness, Entertainer is building up slowly on a solid base. It is progressing with a test driven development approach which is ensuring that as Entertainer grows, the code quality doesn’t diminish.

So whats planned for version 0.3? Well some things the developers have talked about are a more agile development approach, more code clean-up, bug fixes, complete Clutter 0.8 support, a new backend indexer, and we may even see an appearance of the plug-in architecture, but that one is more likely to be postponed until 0.4.

As 0.3 is being worked on by the team, my personal goal is to get the interface as finger friendly as possible for the Maemo supported released. The infrastructure isn’t really there yet to allow the touch interface but with some work it will come.

With the Maemo 5 Alpha SDK slated to be released November time, and the Beta some time early next year, now is the perfect time to get this excellent Desktop media center application tablet friendly.

So what are you waiting for, go get the software from launchpad or wait a little while for the PPA archived version which will be made available soon.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 30th, 2008 at 10:24 am

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Maemo Summit Lightning Sessions – Day 2

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At the 2008 Maemo Summit there were more lightening talks planned for day two, along with some from day 1 that had technical problems. Here are a hand full great talks that showcase what Maemo has to offer.

liqbase, by Gary Birkett

liqbase, by Gary Birkett from Jamie Bennett on Vimeo.

WorldTV99: Watching TV on your tablet by Bunanson

WorldTV99: Watching TV on your tablet from Jamie Bennett on Vimeo.

mCalendar advanced syncing with google services – Benoît Hervier

mCalendar advanced syncing with google services – Benoît Hervier from Jamie Bennett on Vimeo.

KDE on maemo by Marijn Kruisselbrink

KDE on maemo by Marijn Kruisselbrink from Jamie Bennett on Vimeo.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 26th, 2008 at 8:12 pm

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CELF Embedded Linux Conference Europe

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I will be attending the CELF Embedded Linux Conference Europe next week (Thursday and Friday). This time I’ll be taking in the sights and sounds as I won’t be speaking at the event. If anyone else is there and would like to meet up for a coffee/tea/beer then get in touch, it will be nice to catch up with old friends and hopefully meet new ones.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 26th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

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Googles Android

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So, Google has released the code to their mobile operating system, Android. Now I know this has confused some people who already thought that the code was open, but it wasn’t until yesterday. Although several revisions of the Android SDK have been released over the past year, the actual guts of the code had remained closed, until now. It was released to coincide with T-Mobiles release of its G1 mobile phone, the first Android powered device.

As many people did, I rushed off to download the source from the git repository at kernel.org. Its been about 24 hours now since I started looking at it.

So is this the ‘next big thing’? Will Google dominate the mobile space with Android? Will this change the world? Well, yes and no.

First off, the code itself. A quick peruse around shows that its in pretty good shape, modifications to the standard Linux kernel, Python, Java, the usual suspects. Its well documented and nice to read as you would expect from the talented engineers at Google. Speaking of documentation, the contributor documentation sets out Googles intentions for the platform. This is where the interesting idea’s start to spring from. Not what Android has to offer today, but what it will be like in the future.

Yes, technically Android is strong. It’s backed by one of the most powerful companies in the world and one would expect it will do well. But where the platform shines is in none of that, its the fact that the platform is open.

Within 4 1/2 hours of the source code being released, the Google Android team accepted their first patch from the community. Within 24 hours that number was up past 10. That’s the beauty of open source. Even with Google’s engineering man power, they will still over look bugs, they will still break things. In a closed source company this is always a problem. In an open source one, the famous old Linus quote applies, “Many eyes make all bugs shallow”.

Android will succeed, but it will be more to do with its open nature than anything else. To paraphrase a famous companies slogan, “The futures bright, the futures Orange Android”.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 23rd, 2008 at 2:06 pm

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Introducing the Maemo Community Council

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Wow, who would of thought it; 65gb of video takes a long time to edit and transcode.

So here is another one. From day 2 of the summit comes a very interesting video, the introduction of the first ever Maemo Community Council.

Introducing the Maemo Community Council from Jamie Bennett on Vimeo.

Well worth the watch, if only to see the rest of the guys introduce General Antilles.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 22nd, 2008 at 9:03 pm

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Marcelo Eduardo – "We are not the Users"

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In this presentation from the Maemo Summit 2008, Marcelo Eduardo gives his views on producing custom user experiences and interfaces.

Marcelo is the user experience designer at Nokia’s Institute of Technology (INdT) and has been involved in projects such as Carman and the hugely popular Canola.

Marcelo gave a great and entertaining talk, well worth a watch so go do it now !.

Marcelo Eduardo – “We are not the Users” from Jamie Bennett on Vimeo.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 21st, 2008 at 9:24 am

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Maemo Summit Lightning Sessions – Part 2

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As promised, here are the recordings from the second half of the lightning sessions. I must apologize if I missed anyone (I think I missed one) as I had a technical fault in one of the talks.

Anyway here are the recordings.

Maemo Bug Jar – Stephen Gadsby

What I want from Maemo – Marius Gedminas

QEdje – Eduardo Lima

PyPy – Holger Krekel / Maciej Fijalkowsk

Illumination – Tim Teulings

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 15th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

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Nokia´s Contribution to the Linux Kernel

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Lately there has been a lot of talk about commercial contributions to the Linux kernel, specifically from distribution vendors.

At the Linux Plumbers Conference in Portland, Oregon, Greg Kroah-Hartman of Linux kernel fame recently took a swipe, specifically at Canonical (blog postgoogle video). Now this may (or may not) come as a shock to you but the most popular Linux distribution (number 1 at distrowatch for many a moon) doesn’t seem to ‘give back’. In retaliation people have come out to defend Ubuntu but this got me thinking, where does Maemo and Nokia stand with regards to Linux kernel contributions?

Well as a avid follower of the OMAP mailing list one can clearly see Nokia’s influence. Many of the major contributors are Nokia employee’s and regularly supply patches and discussion points.

To further solidify my opinion of Nokia’s contributions, this weeks Linux Weekly News (subscription required and highly encouraged) has an article showing the top contributors to the 2.6.27 kernel and right there, at number 5 (by lines changed) is, you guessed it, Nokia.

Now these kind of statistics can’t measure the quality of these patches or their usefulness but it does signal Nokia’s continued work in kernel space. Way to go Nokia.

So maybe this will keep Greg K-H off Nokia’s back, for now at least.

Written by Jamie Bennett

October 14th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

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Maemo Summit Lightning Sessions – Part 1

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Part 1 of the Maemo Summit lightning sessions has now been uploaded. Below you will find the first 7 videos, the others should come in the next day or two.

Debian in a chroot on the tablet – Alan Bruce (qole)

Developing Multilingual Multimodal Applications in Maemo – Nikos Tsourakis

Reality or Vision? The Nokia tablets for mobile and desktop use- Uwe Koch

Screencasting: x11vnc and pyvnc2swf – Eric Warnke

Maemo User Interface Issues Overview – Tim Samoff

ESBox and Pluthon Eclipse plugins – Andrea Grandi

Elisator for cow’s health analisys – Manrique Lopez


Written by Jamie Bennett

October 7th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

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The HSPA modem work has arrived

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For those people who don’t follow the linux-omap mailing list, a nice set of patches that begin to enable the HSPA modem of the new Nokia tablets, has just landed. These patches have yet to be reviewed but from a quick scan, they look in pretty good shape. They have been posted to the main kernel mailing list as well but as of this time, no comments have been made.

I wish the developers at Nokia would be more vocal about the development process, especially as there is a lot of anticipation for the Maemo 5 platform. I guess until we have them all blogging somewhere we will just have to piece together the parts of the puzzle ourselves.

Nokia’s Carlos Chinea has announced:

Hi guys !

I'm working on adding support for Nokia HSPA modems to OMAP.

Please consider integrating the following patch set into the
linux-omap tree. The patch set implements a generic device driver
for the OMAP Synchronous Serial Interface.

The Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) is a high speed communication
interface that is used for connecting OMAP to a cellular modem engine.

The patch set is based on linux-omap 2.6.27-rc7.

Any comments will be appreciated.


The patch set is quite large as it implements new functionality but it is a indication that the modem work is at a healthy stage. Lets hope we see it as part of the SDK come November’ish time.

A link to the original message can be found here</a.