Tuesday, June 21, 2011

N9 disappointment

It seems the default applications will be closed source, so yeah, looks cool, uses Qt and bla bla bla, but still not a real Free Software phone as they sold it to us.

Of course I'd be more than happy to be proven wrong.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's better to have something 90% open, than not open at all...

mikelima said...

I agree with you, to an extent, but in the end, the UI could eventually be replaced by free software. As long as the framework has a free license, non free programs can be replaced one by one. It may take a while, though.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention they won't release the N950 beyond lending 250 of them to select community developers.

The rest of us who want a MeeGo QWERTY phone get completely sidelined.

Albert Astals Cid said...

@Anon1: When someone from Nokia promises an open phone in front of the whole Akademy at the keynote, well i expect a open phone, not 0.9 open phone.

Anonymous said...

Given that this has been the strategy Nokia has used in previous encarnations of their maemo platform I find amusing you believed them in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Remember that Nokia's definition of open[1] differs from everyone else's. Bait and switch, bait and switch.

[1]: http://symbian.nokia.com/blog/2011/04/04/not-open-source-just-open-for-business/

suy said...

IMHO you didn't have the proper expectations. I knew since the beginning that the core OS would be quite open, but the main would be closed.

It's perfectly OK to me. Who cares if the main Mail program is proprietary if I can replace it with Kontact touch? Who cares if the player doesn't support vorbis by default if I can add a gstreamer package with vorbis support?

Also, AFAIK, most apps use open libraries, so they will be quite conformant to standards. I think that standards conformance, and interoperability will be better on Harmattan than on any other phone. And it will be something actually usable, not some nice but eternal promise like the Freerunner.

PS: You can buy the N900 and install the Meego community edition. Maybe the N9 will have an almost pure OSS build of MeeGo too.

Albert Astals Cid said...

@suy: I care because without source i can not fix bugs, and that's the thing that would make me decide to buy a phone or not, the hability to scratch my itches.

And i don't need to buy an N900, i already have one :-P

suy said...

Heh, nice for you then. You (and all active KDE devs) should get a N9 or N950 at a discount at least.

I know that source code of the core apps would have been awesome. Not that I fix lots of bugs, but I remember one super tiny glitch on my N81 that drove me nuts. I would love to scratch my itch, sure. But as I said, in this times, if Harmattan is as flexible as Android, and you can replace one closed app with an open one, is OK for me.

I see it as the beginnings of GNU, when Stallmann and company had to code free apps on top of proprietary systems.

Jack said...

Seems like more of a problem to Meego than a contribution to the Meego ecosystem.

Really wanted one of those devices but I'll pass.

http://lwn.net/Articles/448590/

Anonymous said...

At the very least the PowerVR OpenGL drivers will be non-free.

Sad to see Qt 5 will require non-free drivers on mobile devices, since none of the mobile GPUs have free drivers.

Anonymous said...

I think you should leave it to the community to make the devices actually free.

Even the OpenMoko devices have non-free parts in them to this day. The community is slowly working towards freeing them though. Same for Android, WebOS and any other Linux based devices.

You cannot expect any hardware vendors to do this right, time to market and other factors prevent it.

Kevin Krammer said...

@suy: while the Maemo/MeeGo underpinnings will allow a certain degree of extensibility, the experience with previous devices has shown that there are often rather annoying limits.

Taking your example of adding support for a free codec later on: on the N810 this was a huge effort mainly due to developers not having access to the DSP's SDK or documentation under Free Software compatible terms.

In the case of the N9 it seems to support quite a range of codecs already, including Ogg Vorbis, thought I am disappointed that its spec sheets say nothing about WebM.

Albert Astals Cid said...

@AnonX: Can you explain why time to market prevents open sourcing your product software after its on the market?

jospoortvliet said...

While I'm not a huge fan of it, I get the decision to keep some UI components closed - you want to keep your advantage.

And note that Quim has said that Nokia is looking for reasons to open up stuff - if developers express an interest in working on and improving one of the apps, they'll consider opening it up.

So yeah, it ain't all perfect, but the infrastructure is open and many of the apps are closed - just like on android etc...

Anonymous said...

even android are more open than nokias new phone :(

andre klapper said...

Wrong expectations as http://wiki.maemo.org/Why_the_closed_packages is still valid.

Albert Astals Cid said...

@Andre: It's not wrong expectations, it is wrong messaging (one could say lies) since i remember one of the Meego top people saying at Akademy "We want you to help us improve our software", not saying "We want you to help us improve part of the software we use, but you know our software we'll keep for ourselves"

Anonymous said...

"You cannot expect any hardware vendors to do this right, time to market and other factors prevent it."

Same excuse, different year. That and the feeble "but we only buy millions of units from vendor X and so have no power over them" excuse.

"Even the OpenMoko devices have non-free parts in them to this day."

But the aim was to use as many components supportable by Free Software as possible. There were some unfortunate decisions about chipsets which involved NDAs so that people could write Free drivers, if I remember correctly, but the whole process was a learning exercise including stuff like hardware design and integration.

Nokia, meanwhile, fail at the level of intention - they have enough hardware experience - and would rather you didn't think about longevity, sustainability, keeping the device viable for a moment longer than it takes for the next product to come out.

"And note that Quim has said that Nokia is looking for reasons to open up stuff - if developers express an interest in working on and improving one of the apps, they'll consider opening it up."

Some younger readers might not remember vinyl, but listening to a broken record gets annoying after a while.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the "it's open, it's open, well OK it isn't open" messaging is verging on deceptive advertising. Bait and switch is only one way to put it.

Average Joe said...

This phone runs Harmattan. Harmattan != MeeGo. MeeGo is 100% open and you can install it on the N9/N900 if you want - then you can modify it, fix bugs etc.

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