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#1
Texrat has posted an interesting article on the (numerous) missteps Nokia has made with MeeGo this year and how it's slowly killing off much of the inertia and enthusiasm they had managed to generated over the past few years.

It's a nice overview of many of the areas Nokia has fumbled and illustrates exactly how little Nokia has really learned in this market over the past 5 years (despite several statements from the likes of Ari and other claiming education). It's unfortunate that Nokia has managed to create such an amazing platform with so much promise and foster a great community, yet continually cut the community off at the knees, abandon their existing customers both in support and next generation hardware features and generally just kill off all the enthusiasm and inertia they can.

Watching this cycle repeat itself first with the 770, then with the N8x0 and now with the N900, despite several promises to the contrafry, has become depressingly familiar.

MeeGo's initial promise of new beginnings and openness hasn't been realized and Nokia's failure to leverage any of the enthusiasm they've generated with Maemo and maemo.org. Instead pissing it all away by providing no migration path for their existing users and contributors, and watching as those contributors interested in getting involved flail uselessly against the wall of disorganized we're-open-but-not-really that is currently MeeGo. Which leaves us with a dying Maemo and a MeeGo overshadowed and stifled by it, and nobody very happy for it.

Is Nokia, as a company, really capable of properly developing, deploying and supporting an open product from start to finish without hamstringing either the community, their own developers? What I've seen over the past 5 years leads me to believe not. The dinosaurs at the top of the company seem to be stuck in 2002 and their shortsighted business decisions are killing this community, this platform and the company as a whole.

Are they capable of really changing direction here? Big ships do turn slowly, sure, but it's not making it any easier when they start turning back the other direction.

So, what are your thoughts?
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Last edited by GeneralAntilles; 2010-06-16 at 12:32. Reason: What I get for typing it out on an N900
 

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#2
And here is the link to the article mentioned:

http://tabulacrypticum.wordpress.com...teps-for-2010/

I don't know what goes on 'in there' but from the outside and guessing from past cases I've seen, it's likely due to legacy beauracracy and design by committee. They don't know the exact solution out of their current issues, so there's no drive toward a singular goal.

Thus: limited resources are deployed to pursue multiple (sometimes conflicting) goals.. decisions are made based on short term goals with long term negative consequences.. no coherence between different part of the org body.. it becomes hard to communicate what they're doing publicly because of all this...
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Last edited by ysss; 2010-06-11 at 16:03.
 

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#3
I believe the market will take care of the problem. If Nokia's future devices do not sell well, their stock will drop more..

If the stock drops another 30-40% from current levels then the CEO will be kicked out and hopefully better management put in place. Mind you, the new management may go for Android for the 'quick fix'
 

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#4
I agree on most all points. I was disappointed to hear no official support for MeeGo was coming to the N900. The final decision for me to actually buy the N900 and spend that much money was that it was named the official dev platform for MeeGo. So I knew that, at least in some capacity, MeeGo would come... but it's still upsetting to see that at best we'll get a mostly functional dev-build.

Things such as the possibility of no Flash 10 on the N900 further point towards, despite what Nokia rep's keep telling us, as far as Nokia is concerned Maemo is mostly a "dead" platform. Maemo 5, the best edition of Maemo that I've had so far (started with Chinook), was alive for about 3 months after the N900 was released and then immediately crashed when they started saying that a bunch of things would not be fixed in M5 but instead wait for Harmattan, and then saying Harmattan is not coming to the N900.

Then they gave hope, yet again, by the announcement of MeeGo. Maybe Harmattan wasn't coming to the N900 because we would get MeeGo? Sadly, no. I feel bad, actually, for the people that buy the Harmattan device - I realize Nokia believes they have already invested too much development into it to restructure it now on MeeGo .. but no matter how good the "compatibility" layer will be, it still won't be MeeGo. MeeGo has been shown to be the primary focus from here on out, meaning that Harmattan is pretty much dead even before it's released. Unless they come up with a seriously killer automated system that RPM's added to MeeGo's repo's are automatically grabbed, unpackaged, repackaged into DEB, and uploaded to Harmattan's Repo's.. you can claim all the compatibility you want: Still requires someone (either paid, or community) to manually bring the apps to a platform already lost focus, already being forgotten, already losing dev's to the "new" OS.

I personally Love my N900 and Maemo 5 suits me fine, Once MeeGo is available in a Dev version (with UX) I will likely use that.. I certainly have hopes that Stskeeps and Qgil with the community can bring forth M6-HE and "user" ready MeeGo editions as well. But the lack of official support for the future, so quickly after a device is release, by Nokia is quite upsetting.

Ultimately though, someone like me doesn't have an option. As long as Nokia continues to release the best device on the market for me (for me, Android and Wapple don't even come close to this) - I will continue to buy them and Nokia still makes money off of me.. even if I disagree with quite a few of their decisions.

(Can't really claim any of the competitors are much better.. it's just a shame someone can't be "better").

ETA: Just read through Texrat's blog and realized we have the same complaints. Yay for repetition .
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Last edited by fatalsaint; 2010-06-11 at 16:05.
 

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#5
Originally Posted by ysss View Post
And here is the link to the article mentioned:

http://tabulacrypticum.wordpress.com...teps-for-2010/
Oops, thanks. Meant to linkify "interesting article", but MicroB apparently had some trouble with that.. . .
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#6
Originally Posted by GeneralAntilles View Post
Big ships do turn slowly, sure, but it's not making it any easier when they start turning back the other direction.
That's why big ships have little ships on board. I don't know what exactly part of "beta" makes Nokia run for the hills.

Google has betas. Half of what they do is Beta for a year, open to public. Every single one of their service has some sort of beta something open to general public.

Microsoft has opened their future OS to anyone with a connection to the Internet for over a year with great success. W7 is by far the best shaped, least full-of-holes thing ever to leave the gates of Gates.

I won't even bring up the OSS community.

When you become too big to turn, you launch the smaller ships to the water. What Nokia needs is a small, exceptionally good team of programmers that work closely (not too close, though) with the users and have the ability to launch small patches, independent packages and applications, fill holes and keep the boat nimble. Some of the bugs up there require a single line of code and would break nothing else.

The most voted ever brainstorm, the most requested ever enhancement, what we have all been waiting for is modular updates and a crack in the monolithic firmware concept of theirs.

When fighting other industry behemoths, you need big guns. Corporate policy, changes to support structure, scaffolding. Right now, they are fighting bugs and a cannon a fly does not swat. Nokia needs to launch fighters.

Will it? I think not. Not only they show no desire to increase agility, I doubt they even know how.
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#7
Originally Posted by ndi View Post
That's why big ships have little ships on board.
I thought all the small boats on the big boats was for when the big one sinks...

If anything, it's an apt metaphor, except that the upper level Nokia execs remind me of the crew of the Titanic, blithely ignoring warnings of what is coming and standing confident that their ship can never be sunk.

This is why I'm happy that MeeGo is not -solely- a Nokia effort. Though I would also like it more were it not solely a Nokia/Intel effort (see SSSE3 requirement.) Their release style is screwy, the reasons for which I'll chalk up to "stupid corporate bureaucracy," but once it's out then we'll see how truly Open they intend to be.
 

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#8
I've been meaning to comment on his article for quite some time, because it's an interesting topic, and one that is obviously quite so important - and as a result, I wanted to make sure I had the appropriate amount of time to address it.

I haven't found the time yet, but since you've brought it up again, I'll reply to you (and hopefully use this to figure out more of where my exact thoughts lie).

I'd like to start with an open disclaimer and warning that, while I agree that mistakes have been made, I think the overall tone of Texrat's post was far too negative. It's easy to criticize, to point out mistakes, and to cast blame. It's a lot harder to step up to the plate, acknowledge failure, and put positive energy into making the right thing happen.

That having been said, on we go. Apologies in advance, because this is really goddamn long. I didn't expect it to be this big.

Originally Posted by GeneralAntilles View Post
Watching this cycle repeat itself first with the 770, then with the N8x0 and now with the N900, despite several promises to the contrafry, has become depressingly familiar.
I think it's still far, far too early to be sounding the death-knell of the N900 (and, possibly, even the N8x0 hardware), and as such, this premature and sweeping negative sentiment kind of amazed me.

The hardware of the N900 in particular should be more than capable to take whatever is thrown at it. Given that the UX is supposed to be entirely open, there is nothing, technically, stopping it running, provided some work is invested in getting it running.

And, well, judging by the team already working on the n900 port[1], and the fact that there are a lot of n900s out there, I'd say it will probably happen. How functional it will be is - obviously - too early to say yet (hence premature!) but I'd call off calling it a wasted effort at this point. The N8x0 port also exists (albeit unofficially) - although it hasn't seen a great deal of coordinated interest that I've seen around meego-dev or the forums there. So perhaps that is less likely to make ground - although, it would be nice for it to happen.

[1]: http://wiki.meego.com/ARM/N900#The_team_and_the_work

Originally Posted by GeneralAntilles View Post
MeeGo's initial promise of new beginnings and openness hasn't been realized and Nokia's failure to leverage any of the enthusiasm they're generated with Maemo and maemo.org. Instead pissing it all away bt providing no migration path for their existing users and contributors, and watching as those contributors interested in getting involved flail uselessly against the wall of disorganized we're-open-but-not-really that is currently MeeGo. Which leaves us with a dying Maemo and a MeeGo overshadowed and stifled by it, and nobody very happy for it.
Things didn't start open. That's something that you can't really expect, though, when you've got two large companies trying to smush together two big, not fully open products, processes, and amounts of people. It has, however, progressed fairly gradually, and promisingly over the past few weeks, months, and is getting better. The recent emergence of the large numbers of Intel and Nokia QA people on MeeGo-Dev being one good example of that, IMO.

It's also absolutely absurd that you call Maemo dying when the last iteration of it (albeit, MeeGo branded, which *is* a valid criticism and mistake in my book) is yet to be released, and the last update for Maemo 5 came out under a month ago. Or should we call a funeral for you now, with the slight subtext that you've not actually stopped breathing *yet*, but you surely will?

I think it's also a little flawed to hold a funeral at all, when large numbers of people, and presumably software that would have been in Maemo's future, are now in MeeGo's, for example, Qt and the Harmattan UI kit (renamed MeeGo Touch something).


Originally Posted by GeneralAntilles View Post
Is Nokia, as a company, really capable of properly developing, deploying and supporting an open product from start to finish without hamstringing either the community, their own developers? What I've seen over the past 5 years leads me to believe not. The dinosaurs at the top of the company seem to be stuck in 2002 and their shortsighted business decisions are killing this community, this platform and the company as a whole.
Mistakes have been made along the way, in various aspects (I still dislike the existence of the Harmattan UI framework, for example), but throughout those five years, there has also been a huge amount of change - the introduction of Qt and the move to a fully open, easily portable base (MeeGo) obviously being the two big ones.

Taking Qt as a direct example, it is hugely encouraging to see the changes that have taken place since being bought up. Qt is now licenced under LGPL, community contributions are now accepted (albeit under a contributor agreement), and there are now discussions underway about how to open Qt up to full, open governance and leadership. That's a long way from a single company directing the entirety of the roadmap, development, and support of a toolkit.

I won't get into the whole debate about whether it was *necessary* (presumably, there were good reasons for spending the amounts of money they have on purchasing, opening, maintaining, and everything else related to Qt), as it's largely irrelevant for this. I merely mention this as an example of how things *are* going from bad to good.

--

If you want to know what my thoughts are, then at the heart of things, they're this: If you're (not you, specifically, but everyone) feeling negative and bitter because things aren't utopia right now, then I guess I can understand that, but instant gratification is never going to happen when you're moving things this big (in many terms. I won't bother defining that), and if you can't see that, then I really pity you.

At the end of the day, I think that things are going in the right direction, and time (and loving TLC) needs to keep being thrown at things to keep that happening. And that is happening from a lot of people.
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#9
I'd also like to point out that due to the length of that, I didn't put as much effort into proofreading as I normally do. Sorry, but, I wrote it. I can't do all the work, right?
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#10
One has to agree with TextRat,s summary of the last 6 months.

My concern for Nokia is that the deb based Meego device sounds like step 6 of 7, it actally kills all of the hard fought compatibility that Qt brings (ignoring that whole bunch of new classes coming down the line that start with M). As a part time Dev I find the whole packaging cycle very hard work, and non value add to the already extended test and code cycles due to constant platform changes.

If it were not for the lack of choice for an open source fanboy like me I would have succumbed to the dark side by now I suspect.

On the other hand I also now look at it like this. Its about the platform not the device. My 500 pounds every 18 months is donated to Nokia,s support of open source upstream efforts. The hardware just comes along for the ride. But I can see average Joe not "getting" this.
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