【专访】Maemo 社区委员会主席 Valério D Valério，首谈 MeeGo
中文版 | English Version
iFanr：能否向我们介绍一下你在这个社区的成长经历并分享你和 maemo 的一些故事？
Valério：我不是最早的那拨成员。Maemo 社区 2005 年成立，我在 2008 年才加入。在此之前我已经知道 Maemo，2008 年夏天我被选中参加 GSoC（Google Summer of Code）的一个项目，开发 OpenMoko（该平台现在已经完蛋）。我的项目需要进行很多蓝牙编程，我很幸运地得到了 BlueZ 项目（Linux 蓝牙桟）合作导师的大力帮助。他也参与了一些 Maemo 项目（Canola、Carman 等等），向我介绍了更多 Maemo 方面的情况。我在项目完成以后搞了一台 N810 将代码移植到 Maemo 平台，结果就是现在的 BlueMaemo。
我加入社区后先是潜水，过了一段时间开始提些 IRC 和邮件列表方面的问题，人们都很好、给了很多帮助，我想这是我积极参与社区活动的主要原因。
鉴于我对 GSoC 项目充满激情，也从中收获很多。因此 2009 年，我在 Maemo 社区内部提议组件一个指导团队（请资深开源软件开发者指导参加 GSoC 的学生）加入当年的项目，这样我们可以更好的宣传 Maemo 社区，并获得一些学生劳力:)
后来我们的指导团队被选中了，分配到了 10 个参与 GSoC 项目的学生。这对我们而言是一次成功，我们打算今年再搞一次。
由于完成了 GSoC 的工作，加上我也获得了一些组织活动的经验，社区委员会邀请我参与征集参会者的工作。我接受了邀请，觉得我们后来干得还不错，09 年在阿姆斯特丹举行的 Maemo 峰会非常成功。
2009 年 9 月我被提名参加社区委员会选举，我参加后当选。就是这样:)
iFanr：能不能谈谈你们和 Nokia 的合作，比如 Maemo 社区委员会和 Nokia 的协调工作究竟是如何完成的？
Valério：合作很融洽，Nokia 对我们很坦诚，总是尽量帮助 Maemo 社区。Maemo 社区现在有六名成员在 Nokia 的资助下为社区工作，主要负责 maemo.org 网站的基础建设，以及为社区开发者和新手提供帮助。
iFanr：听说社区在选择是否同意某软件进入 extras 软件库是采用的投票机制，你能否介绍一下这个机制，并且对开发者们有什么建议？
Valério：我们有一个规则简单的 Q&A 流程，我们不进行任何过滤也不根据 UI 丑陋与否做出评判，只要程序符合描述而且没有严重的 bug 和漏洞就行。开发者需要理解一点，我们得保护最终用户，当中很多人的技术水平相对没有那么高，无法应付不稳定的程序。
我们鼓励开发人员把程序上传到 Extras，这么做不但会增加程序的用户量，也会为自己增加 Karma 值。
iFanr：我们知道你开发了 Bluemaemo 这个有趣的软件（它甚至可以把 N900 变成 PS3 手柄）。能否和我们分享一下你在 Maemo 平台的开发感受？
Valério：挺好的，因为有 Linux 背景，开发对我来说很容易。但我得承认，和其它现有主要移动平台上的开发相比，Maemo 的学习曲线高很多。我经常说，Maemo 为真正的程序员而生:) 但随着 Qt 和 Nokia WRT 的应用，开发难度应该会有所改善。
iFanr：请谈谈ovi store 收费模式为 maemo.org 社区中高水平开源软件作者带来的机遇。你个人是否有开发收费软件的打算？
Valério：我没这打算，如果 Nokia 能降低准入标准，我预计很多社区成员能从中获益。不管怎么样，我们正在研究为 Extras 里的程序设立一个捐助系统的可能性，已经有些程序在接受捐助了。
iFanr：即将到来的 Qt 会不会让很多开发者选择等待而不是现在就加入进来?
Valério：我觉得不会，Maemo 的 Qt 正在 beta 阶段，不过已经很不错了。我想 Qt 被 Symbian 平台大量采用会让很多开发者投入 Maemo 的怀抱，或许他们是在等 Symbian 平台上的 Qt 最终发布，而不是 Maemo 上的。
iFanr：市场上用 Linux 平台的主流手机系统有 3 个：webOS、Android 和 Maemo。Linux 上的 GUI 开发难度众所周知，前两者的 SDK 提供虚拟机和更高级的解释性语言开发接口，这种的做法降低了系统的效率，但也降低了开发难度。为何 Maemo 坚持以本地 API（相对前两者）作为主要开发环境？开发者们更喜欢本地的 C/C++ 还是 Python 之类的高级语言？
在我看来这是 Maemo 当前的缺陷之一，移动操作系统需要极为简单的开发工具以吸引大量开发者，从而带来大量程序。这缺陷将在未来几个月内得到弥补。
目前我们有很多开发者偏好 Python，也有很多人偏好 C/C++。但就像我之前说的，你也可以使用其它编程语言。
iFanr：“我没看出 Android 有任何地方能让它超越 Linux maemo” Nokia 副总裁 Ukko Lappalainen 曾经在 08 年的 Nokia world 对路透社记者如是说。你怎么看待 Maemo 和 Android 各自的优劣？
Valério：Maemo 基于 Linux，有无限的可能性，使用的自由度更大，可以 hack 整个设备，而 Android 的开放还不够透明。但 Android 系统的使用比 Maemo 更广泛，程序更多，Google 也吸引了大量关注。
从用户的角度来说我喜欢 Android，系统精雕细琢，运行的不错。但从开发人员的角度来说，Android 系统局限很大，开发者无法进入被 Google 牢牢控制的底层，这有点吓人:)
Maemo 比 Android 历史更长，但现在才开始崛起，因为之前的设备都不是手机，所以需要吸引开发人员和大公司的注意。但目前在我看来 Maemo 的前途很光明。
iFanr：Maemo 的国际化支持远不如 Symbian 完善。Maemo 社区能这个方面为中国等地区用户提供什么帮助？Nokia 有没有介入国际化支持工作？
Valério：不知道 Nokia 对此有何计划，但我看到好几个社区成员正在开发不同的输入法，而且我们已经有些新的输入法了。这就是社区的力量，我们可以创造原本没有的东西。FM 收音机是个很好的例子，社区在 N900 发布前就开发了一个程序来调用 FM 收音功能，因为 Maemo OS 原本不支持，彩信支持也一样。Maemo 社区有一些非常杰出的开发者。
iFanr：社区有没有协调不同国家团队所进行的翻译、本地化项目的打算？目前中文本地化项目是在独立于 maemo.org 的情况下完成的。
Valério：现在有些人在用 Transifex，不过 Maemo6 在这方面有更大的计划：http://wiki.maemo.org/Objective:Community_localization 和 http://wiki.maemo.org/Maemo-Barcelona_Long_Weekend/Localization
iFanr：中国的开发人员如何更快地融入 maemo.org 社区？地域性软件例如铁路数据查询对中国用户非常有用，但看起来不那么容易进入extras仓库，对于这种情况，你有没有什么好的建议？
Valério：进入 extras 仓库并不困难，开发人员只要遵循简单的规则。开发人员如果有疑问应该在我们的 IRS/邮件列表/论坛里提问，我们社区非常友好而乐于助人。
iFanr：但高度地域化的程序（比如铁轮数据程序和俄国的社交网络程序）可能很难在 extras-testing 的 Q&A 流程中获得足够多的选票，毕竟大多数活跃的社区成员，特别是很多高级成员对这些程序可能缺乏兴趣。本土化程序可能需要不同的 Q&A 流程，或者由当地 Maemo 论坛和 maemo.org 合作。
iFanr：你个人对 Maemo 与 Moblin 的合并怎么看？部分 Maemo 社区成员认为这不是一个好主意。
Valério：我非常赞同这次合并，Intel 和 Nokia 早就在一些项目上展开合作，此次融合肯定会带来更多合作，避免分裂。对于整个开源世界而言，这也是个非常好的消息，因为两家公司都将专注于构成现代 Linux 发行版基础的上游项目。
有个可能让人担心的地方是 Nokia 和 intel 将由此获得的控制力与影响力，这可以被视为“恶”。不过鉴于 Linux 基金会将领导这次合并，而且他们过去的表现已经证明了自己，我想这问题应该也不太需要担心。
iFanr：很多人担心 N900 可能会因此得不到主要版本升级，比如 Maemo 6 或者 MeeGo 1.0，你觉得呢？
Valério：很多用户会做错误的假设，Maemo5 没有被遗弃，升级正在不断发布，系统每天都有提升。而且我觉得我们在买硬件产品时不会指望能够获得 10 代操作系统升级，比如装着专有操作系统的笔记本电脑。
但我敢打赌 N900 可以用上 Maemo6，哪怕功能不完全或者没有 Nokia 的支持，Maemo 社区也会让它用上。而且这不会太难，因为几乎一切都是开源的，N900 已经在运行 Maemo6 的 UI 库。当然，我理解 Nokia 为什么现在不能做任何承诺，情况变得很快，许下诺言可能就等于是在欺骗社区。
iFanr：能否介绍一下 maemo 社区的“明星”？
iFanr：有人说 Maemo 设备只是 Geek 的玩具，无法实现 iPhone, Symbian 式的巨大商业成功。你觉得呢？
Valério：以 前的设备是这样。但我认为 N900 不是 geek 的玩具，而是高级用户（Power User）的设备。N900 并不适合每个人，这也是 Nokia 推出如此广泛类型设备的原因。在我看来这是正确的途径，一款设备不可能适合所有场合。比如我父母就不想要触摸设备，他们需要实体键盘。
Valério：04 年的一份报告显示葡萄牙是世界上人均手机数量最多的国家之一。大约 1070 万人拥有 1400 万台手机。当然，大部分是非智能机，不过智能手机数量也不少。令人吃惊的 iPhone 和 Android 手机在这儿都卖得不怎么样，HTC 在这儿的口碑不好。Nokia 仍旧主宰着市场，但三星从去年开始快速上升。
iFanr：身边用 N900 的多么？
Valério：不多，比 Android 手机还少，也就是说非常少。
iFanr：你自己是不是数码产品玩家？对最近发布的 iPad 有什么看法？
Valério：是的，我很喜欢这些玩物。iPad 和 Apple 其他产品一样靓丽，不过从功能性的角度来看，它没法打动我。同笔记本相比我不但看不到它有任何优势，相反还暴露了很多不足。而且 iPad 被 Apple 牢牢控制，这点也不好。
我朋友 mooch 前段时间告诉了我 Maemo 名字的由来，现在我可以讲讲这个故事了。
网络平板刚出现那会儿甚至还没出现平板的说法，只是称其为“设备”，Nokia 770 当时也只是原型。Mooch 告诉我他刚刚拿到一部崭新的台式机，可以做点什么了。
他要为自己的机器找个新名字，他启动了一个叫做“pwgen”软件。奇奇怪怪、难以理解的名字出现在屏幕上，其中有个名字很像 maemo 但还不是(pwgen 默认给出的是8位字符串)，他从屏幕上的8位字符串中提炼出了 maemo，并在互联网上搜索发现 maemo 并没有什么含义，好像是地球上某个地方的方言词汇，他决定选择 maemo 作为自己电脑的名字。
那时他是部门里 IT 团队的一员，他用电脑搜集开发人员通过电子邮件和 FTP 发给他的程序包(果然是很原始的阶段吧)。
他必须扩展存储，并且升级到双 CPU 主机。服务和需求增长太快，很快超过了 2GB 存储和 2x PIII 700MHz 的处理能力，于是他定购了一台新机器作为整个部门的核心服务器。
这就是 maemo.org 的由来。
中文版 | English Version
iFanr: Can you tell us how you joined in maemo community and became the Chair of the Maemo Community council? Maybe share some stories about the community and yourself?
Valério: I’m not one of the oldest members of the community, the Maemo community started around 2005, I only joined the community in 2008. I already knew Maemo for some time, but in the summer of 2008 I was select for a project in Google Summer of Code, working for OpenMoko, nowadays a dead platform. My project needed a lot of Bluetooth coding, so I was lucky to find a co-mentor from the BlueZ project(Linux Bluetooth stack) that helped me a lot, he worked in some Maemo projects(Canola, Carman, …), so he introduced me a bit more to Maemo. When I finished my project I got a N810 in order to port my code to Maemo, this project is now known as BlueMaemo.
I joined the community first as a lurker, after a while I started asking questions in the IRC and in the mailing lists, people were very nice and helpful, I think that was the main reason to stick within the community.
Since I’ve a great passion for the Google Summer of Code program, the program gave me a lot, I proposed inside the Maemo community a application as mentoring organization in 2009, that way we could promote more our community and get some students labor 🙂
We were chosen as a mentoring organization and got 10 students to work with us, the program was a success for us, we intend to run again this year.
After the work done in Summer of code program, and also because I’ve some experience organizing events, the Community Council invited me to be one of the members of the Maemo summit call for papers committee, I accepted the invitation, and I think we did a great job, the Maemo Summit 2009, held in Amsterdam was a great success.
In September 2009 I was nominated for the Community Council, I accepted, run and the community choose me, that’s it 🙂
iFanr: How’s the cooperation between Nokia and Maemo Community? Would you like to share some stories about how you, Community Council, cowork together to get things done?
Valério: The cooperation is great, Nokia is very open with us and tries to help the community all the time.
We currently have 6 community members sponsored by Nokia working for the community, mostly in our infrastructure and helping the community developers and newcomers.
From time to time Nokia puts important decisions in our hands, like select community members to have early access to devices/new firmware versions, select sponsored participants for events around the world among other things.
iFanr: Where’s the name “Maemo” come from?
Valério: Well, I’m not the more appropriate person to explain that, but here’s some explanations: http://stezz.blogspot.com/2008/10/where-maemo-is-coming-from.html
iFanr: Does Maemo has her own mascot like many other open source communities do?
Valério: No, but the community is brainstorming something for a while: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=28965
iFanr: From your blog we know about BlueMaemo. How do you feel about your developing experience in Maemo?
Valério: Is quite good, because my background is Linux, was very easy for me, but I’ve to agree that currently the learning curve is much higher than the majority of the other mobile platforms out there, I used to said that Maemo is for true coders 🙂 . But things will improve a lot with the adoption of Qt and Nokia WRT.
iFanr: It’s said the community vote to decide on whether certain app can get into extras. Can you tell us the mechanism you adopt? What’s your suggestions for developers?
Valério: We’ve a Q&A process based in simple rules, we don’t do any censorship or judgments based in ugly UIs, as long the apps works as advertised and don’t have critical bugs or power flaws, we’re good. The developers have to understand that we need to protect the end users that are usually less skilled and can’t deal with unstable applications.
We encourage the developers to upload to Extras, because they will increase the users base of their apps and also will receive Karma. We’ve a rewarding system that measures the contributions of each community members, that system is used for several things, like discounts in devices, sponsored trips, t-shirts, ability to vote and run for the Community Council, etc..
iFanr: What opportunities will the billing mode of ovi store bring to mid-hi level open source app developers in maemo.org? Do you personally have plans for some billing apps?
Valério: No I don’t have, if Nokia lower the entry barrier, I predict that a lot of community members will benefit a lot, anyway we’re studying the possibilities for a donation system for the apps in Extras, some apps there already offer that possibility.
iFanr: Will the upcoming Qt make a lot of developers choose to wait till its formal release instead of joining in right now?
Valério: Don’t think so, Qt for Maemo is in beta now, but is quite good already, but I think that the mass adoption of Qt in Symbian will bring a lot of developers to Maemo, so perhaps they are waiting for a final Qt release in Symbian, more that they are in Maemo.
Maemo VS the others
iFanr: The difficulties of native development in Linux is known to all. There are 3 major mobile platfrom based on Linux: webOS, Android and Maemo: the first two provide high-level APIs and easy-to-use libraries via Java or Javescript. This may reduce system efficiency, but it can simplify developer’s work. Why Maemo does not follow this pattern but instead insists on providing native APIs as the primary development environment? Which one do the developers prefer, native or Python?
In my opinion that’s one of the flaws that Maemo has at the moment, mobile OSs need damn simple toolkits in order to attract a lot of developers and thus a lot of apps will be available, that should be fixed in the next months.
Currently we’ve a lot of distinct developers some prefer Python other prefer C/C++, but was I said the possibilities are endless you can also use other programing languages.
iFanr: ”I don’t see anything in Android which would make it better than Linux maemo” Ukko Lappalainen once said that. What do you think are the pros and cons of the two platforms？
Valério: Maemo is stock Linux so the possibilities are endless, you have much more freedom of use and you can hack the entire phone. The sense of openness in Android is more blurry, you don’t have such possibilities, but the OS right now is more spread than Maemo and has more applications, also has a lot of hype created by Google.
From a user point of view I can like android, the system is polished and work well, but from a developer point of view it looses everything, the system is quite limited, you can’t hack much in the low level and it is heavily controlled by Google, that’s also a bit scary :).
Maemo is older than Android, but is only raising now, because the previous devices aren’t phones, so needs to catch the attention of the developers and the big companies, but from what I’ve seen so far I predict a very bright future for Maemo 🙂 .
iFanr: It’s still far from perfect when talking about international support on Maemo comparing with Symbian. How can Maemo community support users from other countries like China? Have Nokia got into the work for Maemo’s international support?
Valério: I don’t know about Nokia’s plans on that, but I’ve seen a couple of community members working in different input methods, we already have a few new ones, that’s the power of our community, if doesn’t exist the community can create it. A great example was the FM radio, the community made a application to use the FM radio before the device was released, because the Maemo OS doesn’t offer such possibility out of the box, same for MMS support, We’ve very talented persons in the community.
iFanr: Is there any community effort to coordinate translation/localization projects by teams from different countries. Currently the Chinese localization project is done rather isolated from the international Maemo community.
Valério: Currently some people are using Transifex, but there’s a bigger plan for Maemo6 at least: http://wiki.maemo.org/Objective:Community_localization and http://wiki.maemo.org/Maemo-Barcelona_Long_Weekend/Localization
iFanr: Any suggestion on connecting Chinese maemo communities to talk.maemo.org?
Valério: I know that a lot of people don’t understand English, in my opinion is better to have separated localized forums, but for tutorials and how-to’s is better to have everything in just one place, that in my opinion should be the maemo.org wiki, we already have some articles in Chinese, but we need much more.
For forums we need active members that can bring informations to the English forums about the Chinese community(and other communities), cool hacks, new apps, etc, and also take information from the English forums to the Chinese ones, that way we can improve the interaction a lot.
iFanr: What should Chinese developers do to soonly intergrated into Maemo.org community? Some local apps, such as railway data query apps are very helpful to Chinese users, but that seems hard to get into extras repository. Do you have suggestions on this situation?
Valério: I don’t think it is hard to upload to extras, the developers only have to follow some simple rules, if they have doubts/problems they should ask in our IRC/mailing lists/forums, our community is very friendly and helpful.
iFanr: We think it may be hard for highly localized apps (such as railway data query app they mentioned or Russian social network app in extras-devel) to get enough votes from extras-testing QA process, since most active community members, especially senior ones, are probably not interested in them. Hence, we feel that those localized apps may need different QA process (or more cooperation between local Maemo forums and maemo.org).
Valério: That’s true, let’s see if we can change that with the Testing squad 🙂 .
iFanr: What’s your personal opinion on this merge? not all people in maemo.org think it’s positive.
Valério: I’m very positive about the merge, Intel and Nokia were already collaborating in some projects, with the merge they will collaborate even more for sure, avoiding fragmentation. For the open source world in general, these are very good news, because the two companies will concentrate in upstream projects that are the building blocks of any modern Linux distributions.
Other thing that can worry people is the control/influence that Nokia and Intel will have, this can be seen as ‘evil’, but seeing the Linux Foundation leading this consortium and by their proven record, I think we can be less worried.
iFanr: Many people concerned that N900 may not get a major update, like Maemo 6 or MeeGo 1.0, do you think so?
Valério: Many users make a lot of wrong assumptions, Maemo5 is not legacy, updates are coming and the system is day by day better, also I think when we bought a device we’re not expecting it to run the next 10 0Ss, same for a laptop with a proprietary OS for example.
But I can bet that the N900 will run Maemo6, even if not all the features or not supported by Nokia, the community will do it, and will not be that hard since almost everything will be opensource software, we already have the Maemo6 UI library running in the N900. Of course I understand why Nokia can’t promise anything right now, things change very fast, and then they would be lying to the community.
iFanr: Can you also introduce some maemo stars?
Valério: yes, we have some ‘rock stars’ inside the community, from a developers point of view, the most famous are:
*Andrew Flegg – author of some developers tools and Hermes a application that retrieves your contacts information from facebook, twitter,… and merge that info inside the built-in contacts applications, he’s also a former council member(Inaugural council and second term)
*Faheem Pervez – He’s a legend, started contributing to the community with 15 years old, one of the most competent hackers inside the community, he has done lots of application ports(games, simple utilities, …) and recently he has done a lot of very useful small widgets and control panel applets.
*Randall Arnold – Community man, his focus are mostly user topics, help newcomers, start new activities, he’s a member of the current Community Council.
There’s a lot of interesting people in the community, very hard to name all of them 😀
iFanr: Some says Maemo devices are nothing but geeks’ toys, it will never reach a commercial success as iPhone and Symbian do. What do you think of this?
Valério: They were in the past, I can agree in part with that, but in my opinion the N900 is not a geeks’ device, but a power users device, so is not suitable for every one, for that reason Nokia have a big range of different devices, and that’s the correct approach in my opinion, one device doesn’t fits all, my mom or my dad don’t want an touch device for example, because they want a device with physical keys.
iFanr: Can you talk a bit about the smartphones in Portugal?
Valério: We’re one the countries in the world with one of the highest cellphone ratio per capita, a study from 2004 revealed ~14,000,000 cellphones for a population around 10,700,00, of course the majority of the phones here are dumbphones, but we’ve a lot of smartphones as well. Surprisingly the IPhone didn’t sell much around here, neither the Android devices, HTC devices have bad reputation around here. Nokia still dominate the market, but Samsung is raising a lot in the last years.
iFanr: Do you have many smartphone choices from carriers?
Valério: Yes, a lot, and we used to have the phones right after the announcements, we don’t have to wait much for phones from the main brands, that’s good.
iFanr: Do you see many N900 users around you?
Valério: Not so many, I would say that the ratio is a bit less than the Android devices, so quite low.
iFanr: Are you yourself a gadgeteer? What’s your idea on recently released iPad from Apple?
Valério: Yes, I like gadgets a lot. The iPad is a shinny device like any other Apple product, but for the functionalities point of view, it doesn’t convince me, I can’t see any advantage compared to a laptop, only a lot of disadvantages, and also the device is very locked to Apple that’s not good either.
Maemo the name
I will try to tell the story as my friend mooch told me quite some time ago.
It was the beginning of the internet tablets, it was so beginning that the tablets were just called “devices” and that the 770 was only a prototype. I wasn’t there yet but mooch told me he was and he just received his brand new shiny desktop to start doing something.
In the search for a new name for his machine he fired up the good old ‘pwgen’ utility. Strange and incomprehensible names started to come up on the screen. One of those wasn’t really maemo but it was really close to be (pwgen default is to give you 8 chars strings). He extrapolated somehow maemo from the 8 chars displaying on the screen and he dig up in the internet finding out that maemo didn’t really mean that much besides something in a dialect on the other part of the world and he decided to choose that as the name of his desktop.
At that time he was the IT guy in the organization and he started to use his desktop to collect packages that developers were sending him over e-mail, ftp… (yeah it was really the beginning).
In few months his desktop was clogged with packages and he couldn’t use it anymore as his desktop but it became quite useful as central repository for the developers.
He had to grow it with more disk space and move to another 2x CPU box. When services and needs grew way too much for the little power provided by 2GB and 2x PIII 700MHz, he ordered a new machine that became THE Server.
Someday after some other months somebody came into the room and asked him if Nokia could use that name to register a domain to publish some sdk. Without second thoughts he told “Of course”.
Well that was the beginning of maemo.org .
Kudos to mooch 😉