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Posts: 2 | Thanked: 6 times | Joined on Dec 2017
#1
Hello everyone,

I never owned a Nokia N900 but I like the way it looks with the keyboard. I read that Maemo is a linux based OS and I want to know if it is worth it to have a Nokia N900 from now onwards.

As a phone, does it work well?
Can you browse the web like any android smartphone?
Can you watch youtube videos?
Did you ever connected it to the TV?
Do you connect it to the TV often?
Can I develop apps with Python for it?

If I wanted to install EMACS could I install it?
Can I install and run Python 2.7 or 3?
I often execute a python script to download some data from websites, can I do it in Nokia N900?
For example could I install jupyter-notebook server and go to the browser to run scripts, or could I install Keras Library?

Would you recomend a Nokia N900?

Thank you in advance.

Last edited by vascoferreira; 2017-12-27 at 01:03. Reason: More questions
 
Feathers McGraw's Avatar
Posts: 627 | Thanked: 2,244 times | Joined on Jul 2014 @ UK
#2
It works really well for low level Linux stuff (terminal, command line utils, diagnostic tools) but the thing that kept me from using it as my main phone in the end is the browser, which is very outdated now.

Basically the proprietary bits (HW drivers) have prevented an otherwise very free mobile OS from being updated, so the kernel is quite old and so is glibc. Can't update them without breaking the proprietary bits! Add in the poor specs (by today's standards) and it doesn't really cut it for your average Linux user's use case (some things like YouTube work most of the time but they are very slow).

In conclusion, yes I would buy one (I bought mine in 2015 I think) and it's useful and fun, but don't expect it to replace your "normal" smartphone!
 

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#3
Originally Posted by Feathers McGraw View Post
It works really well for low level Linux stuff (terminal, command line utils, diagnostic tools) but the thing that kept me from using it as my main phone in the end is the browser, which is very outdated now.

Basically the proprietary bits (HW drivers) have prevented an otherwise very free mobile OS from being updated, so the kernel is quite old and so is glibc. Can't update them without breaking the proprietary bits! Add in the poor specs (by today's standards) and it doesn't really cut it for your average Linux user's use case (some things like YouTube work most of the time but they are very slow).

In conclusion, yes I would buy one (I bought mine in 2015 I think) and it's useful and fun, but don't expect it to replace your "normal" smartphone!
Thank you for your reply.

Currently I don't own a smartphone, I have a Nokia 6500 . I had a tablet Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 but it doesn't work anymore. I want to have a phone that can be usefull and sometimes check e-mail (Hotmail), facebook and or search some stuff on the web. I like its design and keyboard. No smartphone has a real querty keyboard or are outdated as well.

I checked ebay and there's some N900 for 100 so I thought that maybe it could be usefull and also because I think it has a high quality build that could survive some time.

Do you use yours everyday? Do you develop apps for it?

And if I may know, what do you do with it?

Last edited by vascoferreira; 2017-12-27 at 06:15. Reason: Minor details
 

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#4
It's still my daily driver, used mainly as my personal agenda since I use taskwarrior for keeping track of my duties. I wrote some small python scripts in order to sync my family calendar (my wife uses a MS live calendar) with N900 calendar and to have alarms and events set straight from Taskwarrior. I have 4 emails accounts of which the three working ones are set up and working with no hiccups. All the drawbacks mentioned from Feathers McGraw are absolutely true. Browsers are too outdated, the best working one for me is uzbl which I launch from easy Debian when needed but you must be VERY patient waiting for website to download. Luckily, my most visited sites (like this one) are working OK with the standard webbrowser, and Opera has the best reflowing of the text of any other browser. I have no Facebook and don't do any youtube. N900 hardware is too underpowered to satisfactorily run modern javascript and I do not think Jupyter will be a satisfactory experience on it.
As a phone it is still perfectly working, the keyboard is fantastic for such a small piece of plastic and it is the main reason for which I'm still in love with it. I tested iOs and I have an Android phone which never saw a sim card. I tested SailfishOs on the XperiaX and I am currently looking around for alternatives since for my usecase the N900 and Maemo are far superior.
Don't buy it if you need a decent web experience. Buy it if you need to check a server SSH'ing into it for checking some logs and restart or reconfigure some services while you are on the road.
 

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#5
Answering the questions in the subject, I had to think about it. They really are two different questions.

Would I use the N900 in 2018? I would and I will. Just like I did in 2017 and 2016.

Knowing what I know now but not having one, would I buy one? Probably not. Not unless I was a hardline ideologist.
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#6
Of your list I guess the web-browsing is what causes most problems as many sites today are too heavy for N900.
 
Posts: 58 | Thanked: 310 times | Joined on Jun 2012 @ Europe
#7
It's been years since I used my N900. It worked great as a phone, and had Skype built-in which also worked very well. It felt nice and sturdy in the hand (but thick and heavy in your pocket). No 4G AFAIK.

I never used the TV out but I know some people used it and with a terminal window/SSH could use it with for remote maintenance.

As juiceme noted, most Web sites are too heavy nowadays. In fact, one reason to get a new phone in less than three years or so is that sites are (re)designed with the latest generations of phones in mind. Even so-called "mobile" versions that used to be great, bare bones versions that used to work even over 2G now come with color and scripting. After the N900 I got an N9, which became unbearably slow at browsing and now my Jolla is starting to be too slow too.
 

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#8
Hi!

I have my n900 since 2010 and I still use it as my daily phone.
I do not know what an "average user" needs nowadays and I do not really know what Android is capable of because I do not have any Android phone. My wife has...

First of all - as said earlier - the stock browser experience sucks... I have opera mobile installed and that is enough most of the time for my needs. If not then I use midori - I have kali linux chroot with i3 window manager and midori is quite good on it...
Youtube: with cutetube2 I do not have restriction so it is far enough for me; I'm able to watch any video but you have to set it up properly (search for the threads...).
Development: I learned python on the phone itself and wrote some apps, scripts - I find it quite useful. But: you have to keep is mind that the stock python is 2.5 and I would not recommend to update 2.7 or 3 because maybe some compatibility issue can occur or simply there is no module for that... On kali image there is python 2.7... I did not try Jupyter though...
I have a "development maemo image" on my phone so I can write (learn) C code than build it or simply build any app if it is possible (last time I built sqlcipher with checkinstall). It is useful but of course has limitations...

I connected it to my TV (with scart adapter, hahaha) in the past to watch movies but nowadays I don't. But you can do that of course but be avare of the resolution...

So all in all for me it is good and I would not cahnge it to any Android phone. Would I buy one...? I do not know since I would not know any linux stuff without is
Keep in mind that if you want *any* android app/experience then n900 is not your phone because there is no such apps for it (as far as I know).
 

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#9
Originally Posted by vascoferreira View Post
If I wanted to install EMACS could I install it?
Would you recomend a Nokia N900?
Emacs on N900 is awesome due to its keyboard - it is the primary reason I am still using the N900 as my main phone.
Pretty recent emacs version is available for N900 25.1 see thread
 

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#10
Nope. Too much work, not enough to make it worth my time now.
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