Planet maemo

07/26/07 03:33:38 UTC


The iNdT team, thorough Marcelo Oliveira’s (aka handful) blog, posted some good news on the development of the next vesion of Canola. Expect an improved interface, new character input methods (ala the iPhone), and major optimizations.

Videos and more images after the jump.


New keyboard similar to the iPhone (YouTube)
Exclusive Canola New Interface Sneak Peek (mov)


Interface sketches


Home screen sketches


New input method


Image Viewer


Pictures Menu


Audio Menu


Categories: Internet tabletsoftwaredevelopment
07/26/07 00:26:58 UTC
a very small portion of the paper prototype work I know it has been a long time since my last canola dev post, but I think things are starting to born here. So answering simple question : 1) Why is it taking so long for a new release? A: Well, we kind ...
07/25/07 16:15:07 UTC

This year the topics are generating emotional reactions, which I think is a good sign. Whether the reaction is for or against is secondary, at least there is a strong message getting through.

gtk+3 bling etc.

I made my presentation on maemo and gtk+ describing our current situation with our patches as well as some pain points we’ve found during our time with gtk+. We continued the discussion about theming separately with several people, trying to bring up all the different needs on the table as toolkit developers simply aren’t currently aware of them all. Benjamin Berg took the ball and is pinging everyone to update the wiki

The discussion around gtk+3 was surprisingly aligned. The consensus seems to be that current gtk+ is a dead end in terms of developing important new features. Most of the time in reviewing patches nowadays goes to trying to guess whether it will break some applications. Making any changes to the core of gtk+ simply isn’t feasible. gtk+3 should be designed in such a way that it would be more easy to modify.

As, again, no one really has all the requirements for more modern toolkit so lots of experimentation, with clutter, lowfat, HippoCanvas, etc. is strongly encouraged. And then next GUADEC the results could be evaluated and discussed.


gtk+2 is still actively maintained. Things scheduled to be considered for 2.14: offscreen rendering, filechooser API, press and hold, GVFS (now would be a good time to review the GVFS API.) Extended layout SoC project is progressing nicely, natural size requisition is working already so we might want to have a peek and maybe solve some of our remaining problems.

online desktop

Apparently controversial topic that raised quite some discussion. In my opinion seamless integration with network services would make a lot of sense with mobile device like n800. I’m thinking the device should be just a big cache for things like Flickr.

Oh, whatever happened to NFlick again…? :-)


Hiker is about UI-less services, so no gtk+ on this level. Alarm and notification services are a potential area for collaboration, not only in mobile space but also on the desktop. One thing that sounded interesting was the Bundle Manager which allows creating Mac style application bundles, applications reside only in one directory as opposed to spread out in /bin,/share,/lib,… and that directory can be easily moved around.

But then again, we have apt and dependency resolution so it might not that interesting.


One point to take home from Practical Project Maintenance: Reduce friction!

We need to make Hildon an easy project to approach if we are to attract outside developers. So jhbuild moduleset you can use on average desktop, integration with gdm or startx rather than running 10 different commands to start up the session, normal l10n practices, transparent processes, etc… Entry points to the project need to be clear.

Categories: General
07/25/07 14:44:00 UTC
Remember when I listed must-have applications then solicited others to post their responses?
InternetTabletTalk users did not let me down. This thread is worth reading both by N800 owners and for people thinking of purchasing one.
07/25/07 13:51:04 UTC

Bruce Sterling is running a fictional geoblog Dispatches From the Hyperlocal Future on Wired. Much of it deals with the possibilities that the connection between GeoRSS, Microformats and neogeography with mobile devices will bring:

You see, the difference between the old-fashioned semantic Web and the new hyperlocal Web — that's hyper as in linked, and local as in location — is that the databases of the new Web are stuffed with geographic coordinates. Real positions. Real distances. So the bodyware I carry in my pockets and travel bag broadcasts its location to any device within earshot. (Of course, the RFID chips embedded in everything help the manufacturer get it out the door, but I programmed my own tags so I can't lose anything.) Roomware — that's houseware to you troglodytes who still live in houses — is the stuff that runs a hotel room. You know, the remotes that control temperature and unlock the liquor cabinet, plus the window overlay that displays the weather forecast and traffic conditions. Streetware is my mobile's navigator, plus social tags, ad filters, and all those black-and-white barcode blotches painted on walls like graffiti. Cityware is the next scale up. That's how the local government monitors traffic, chases down leaky water mains, and keeps tourists on the straight and narrow. Stateware, nationware, globalware — you get the idea.

Geopresence aggregation gets mentioned as well:

I'm dictating this entry — thank heaven for voice recognition — from the passenger seat of a Hyundai GPS-King careering along the Beltway. I downloaded a cool plug-in to block out the gas-food-lodging ads that hit my screen a quarter mile before each exit, so I'm free to concentrate. What do I care about lodging anyway? The best thing about being a top-tier geo blogger is that everyone knows where you are. When the buddy list tells folks you're in town, they ping to offer you dinner and invite you to sleep on the couch. They're my homies in a world where the entire planet is home. I love all you guys!

Much of the technology mentioned in the blog exists already today, but I guess it will be the blog's 2017 before the technologies are integrated and ubiquitous enough to really change our lives, cellphone-like.

Via Boing Boing.

Categories: geo
07/25/07 12:38:54 UTC

I've started working on a new Social News section for The idea of this area is to provide a centralized view on what is happening at the moment in the maemo community.

Every day brings dozens of maemo-related posts via various channels, and keeping up-to-date with them requires a lot of time. The new social news section aims to fix this by providing a somewhat Digg-like news aggregator that will bring only the most interesting items to the top.

Interestingly, a new service called AideRSS went live today with quite much publicity. AideRSS is a new breed of RSS aggregator that uses various metrics to determine the relevancy of new items. This is what AideRSS says about most interesting stuff now on Planet Maemo:


While I don't have access to their secret sauce, using a bit similar metrics I get quite similar results as well:


The way the new org.maemo.socialnews score calculator works is that it looks for number of votes or links from various sources, gives them configurable weight, and then builds a relevancy value out of that. This seems to work quite well, although I guess I will end up tuning it quite a bit when we start syndicating larger amounts of data.

In any case, the next challenge is to combine the relevancy data of items and their tagging/categorization to build a newspaper-like page. Actually, feeding this data to a proper newspaper generator could make interesting results as well.

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Categories: oscom
Tags: , , ,
07/25/07 10:29:23 UTC

This is pretty much an open question with no clear answer, however, I would be interested if you would have some opinion about it:

Everybody likes Gnome, but the question is that is it perfect? Could it be made better? Is the metaphor really the correct one and there is nothing more to do anymore than design some new dialogs? Is the toolkit (Gtk+) providing all means for implementing what would be needed for a great and stylish user experience? In my opinion, the answer is that Gnome is not much different from other windowed user interfaces which have evolved very little during the last 10 years or so. Visually Gnome is square and the interaction is two-dimensional and it resembles very much other similar systems like Windows. The thing is that the basic metaphor that is in today’s Gnome was already present on my Amiga 500 on year 1987. Back then PCs were having text based MS-DOS and an early not yet so popular attempt of Windows and the Amiga’s user interface was superior to the PC alternatives. Slow gradual improvement happened on user interfaces and finally we have the Gnome which is the same metaphor with the same limitations pretty much as good as it gets.

Now the same (or similar) desktop is on my N800 Internet tablet. The metaphor is pretty much the same as it has always been, there are menus and icons you can click and you run applications in windows and you can switch between the windows. There are certain new improvements made to make switching easier, make the desktop look visually more appealing etc. However, this is pretty much bread and butter, it is how these interfaces have been done since the 1980s with little gradual improvements over time.

The question is now that is the metaphor in the desktop perfect so that it could not be reworked in any way? I have no clear answer, but for example the Lowfat -presentation at Guadec07 was pretty interesting because it was a deviation from the basic metaphor we have so much used to have so long with no radical changes. If you have some ideas that are something completely different from the usual desktop metaphor, would be interesting to hear about these, feel free to post them in the comments if you have something in your mind.

Another very interesting development at Guadec in my opinion was Clutter. I started considering using it myself too for some of my own projects, it makes possible to make a bit more lively (non-static) user interfaces than the Gtk+ alone. At least I can abandon using OpenOffice Impress as the ‘opt’ from the toys section from Clutter makes a lot cooler slide transitions for presentations. After playing a bit with clutter and looking back to Gtk+ widgets, it is pretty clear that the look & feel of Gtk+ is pretty boring and offers tools for the bread and butter only, not for anything shiny and this applies to both desktop and embedded devices, there is no difference, both are desktops and both should be cool and have ambitious goals.

If you have watched Sci-Fi movies, the futuristic user interfaces have usually a some kind of movement to show and emphasize what is going on, however, if you look Gnome or other standard metaphor windowing systems today, they are pretty much static - nothing happens on the screen and everything remains silently on their place. Wobbling windows made with Compiz or Beryl don’t count for this. This is not a bad thing always of course, a user interface with too much movement might be hard to use - actually this can be evidenced by using some DVD movies with very complicated menus. However, there must be a middle-ground how to do that I guess.

Any comments are welcome!

Categories: work & linux
07/25/07 09:31:00 UTC
Just a short notice to tell you all that Gustavo posted a video showing off his experiment implementing a iPhone-like virtual keyboard for the N800.

Please check it out:
07/25/07 09:15:00 UTC
Install now!

Mauku brings Jaiku micro-blogging into Maemo environment. The application works in Nokia 770 and Nokia N800 devices.

License Non-free (proprietary, source not available)
Version 0.1.1
Status Beta
OS version IT OS 2007
Submitted by Henrik Hedberg


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Categories: Communications
07/24/07 23:35:03 UTC

Apple doesn’t sell iPhone here in Brazil, we wanted to evaluate its virtual keyboard usability… our solution here at INdT: write one using Python and Edje!

The plan was to do it in less than one week, it took a bit more since I had to work on other things, fix some bugs with the EFL itself and also implement new features (like pointer_mode: NOGRAB) and also did the initial graphics, later replaced with Ian’s nice work. It does no type prediction, word hint, cursor navigation or key composition (accents are not possible).

Summary is 230 lines of Python, 1110 lines of Edje, including comments and blank lines, and a really easy to type keyboard.

Categories: MaemoLinuxFree SoftwareHackingINdTPython
07/24/07 22:25:22 UTC

I’m pleased to announce that we already have the source code of base packages available under mamona’s repository (

Finally I could code a bbclass to OpenEmbedded to generate all files that are necessary to add the source to a deb repository:

* .dsc - debian source package control file
* .orig.tar.gz - Original source package
* .diff.gz - patches that we apply
* .changes - changes file

The sourcedsc.bbclass that generates these files is not under the OE repository yet. It is under evaluation by OE team. But it is available under OE bugtrack
or under our svn:

Categories: OpenEmbeddedINdTMamona
07/24/07 20:08:49 UTC

This is my GUADEC 2007 report. I just put some summaries in the areas I interested in:

Input Methods
I presented my lightning talk about the Hildon Input Method (slides available here). I explained the architecture of Hildon Input Method and threw some ideas to extend it. Then I saw the lowfat demo and I think Hildon Input Method could be used there. And also Ross Burton of OpenedHand showed his interests in his mail. I also had a tiny discussion with Alp Toker of Collabora to get the input method working in Webkit in Maemo.

read more

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