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Nokia Trades Symbian For MeeGo In N-Series Smartphones

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the unfortunate-name dept.

Cellphones 184

An anonymous reader writes "Nokia announced that moving forward, MeeGo would be the default operating system in the N series of smartphones (original Reuters report). Symbian will still be used in low-end devices from Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. The move to MeeGo is a demonstration of support for the open source mobile OS, but considering the handset user experience hasn't been rolled out and likely won't be rolled out in time for its vague June deadline outlined at MeeGo.com, could the decision be premature?"

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As an N900 user... (3, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685372)

I'm just hoping the Maemo phone doesn't get completely locked out of Meego. Yes, there is a Meego image currently available, but does have some missing functionality(unless you want to operate it as an overpowered N810).

Re:As an N900 user... (5, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685444)

The late June release that is expected will have an "open" and "closed" release. The "open" image will run on the N900 but omit some firmware and OpenGL/BME drivers. The closed image will include those, and will require a valid IMEI for the N900, and should provide 100% hardware functionality.

With luck the BME will be replaced, since it just controls a chip with plenty of publicly available documentation. OpenGL, well... until Imagination stops acting like Nvidia we're SOL.

Re:As an N900 user... (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686192)

With luck the BME will be replaced, since it just controls a chip with plenty of publicly available documentation. OpenGL, well... until Imagination stops acting like Nvidia we're SOL.

What is needed is for someone to come up with a way to extract the binary blob from the original firmware so the already licensed copy can be reused in an otherwise open source upgrade.

Re:As an N900 user... (4, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687638)

It seems that a volunteer company (some "Nokia" if you've ever heard of them) has already done that [maemo.org] (5th post down). No real need to do it again..

I'm hoping that they keep the open nature of Maemo/Meego on these new phones. The N900 is the first phone I've had in ages which doesn't crash all the time. Not as slick as an iphone yet, but definitely much more flexible. Nothing quite as fun as controlling your phone from it's web server via WiFi...

Re:As an N900 user... (3, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687902)

It's a multitool, and something I've waited to have happen since the N770 (which I have as well).
It has EDGE, 3G(T-mobile-friendly bands), 802.11b/g, IR, plenty of storage and it's open.

The only missing part is that Nokia really hates Perl, loves Python, or both.

Hardly premature. (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685386)

Nokia is moving to MeeGo with their next device, but it will be a strange hybrid between Maemo and MeeGo, featuring the UI and Qt Toolkits prominently, but still using the Maemo backend. Future devices after that will use a pure MeeGo front-end.

Even then, they're already prepping Qt 4.7 for Maemo5 which means the core toolkit intended for MeeGo devices is available on a released device.

That said, it can't come soon enough. A well built, fully open and far more stable standard Linux stack is where I wanted devices to be years ago. Better late than never I suppose.

Re:Hardly premature. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685520)

Plus it might be really not such a big deal. After all, both MeeGo and Symbian are moving towards UI based on Qt, and using it as their main API for apps.

"Heavyweight" MeeGo backend will drive their "mobile computing" devices, while traditionally more lightweight (but also more limited / moving forward more intermittently) Symbian will be on on the mainstream bulk of affordable devices, still offering something pretty close.

It's what they are doing already. S40 still lives (actually, is the largest part of what Nokia sells, and the most popular mobile phone platform), still has a future. Even S30 ships quite a few units. The plan seemed to be from the beginning to have, top to bottom, MeeGo - Symbian - S40 - S30 lineup. In time, the price range of each category moves down.

Re:Hardly premature. (0)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687272)

Nokia's adamant refusal to phase out the S40/S60 Symbian crap is the reason why they are fucked in the high profit smart phone market. They are now far from a technology leader, everyone knows that they are just selling cheap stuff that does less. Smart phones no longer imply Nokia's stuff.

Re:Hardly premature. (4, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687380)

First, S40 is not Symbian (the latter is only 20% of what Nokia makes). Secondly, Nokia almost has a larger part of smartphone market than all the other players combined (where do you see strictly "technology" advances now anyway?)

But most importantly...well, I guess you think it's just horrible that Nokia focuses, for a long time, on as broad spectrum of the market as possible, right? Not only on "premium" people living in "premium" places, segment about which some manufacturers only care about; such a shame. That tends to spread resources.
Nokia contributed greatly to close to 5 billion mobile subscribers that the world has now; for many of those people their first real means of communication, a great shift for humanity, that sort of "crap". Unfortunatelly - feelings and expectations of "investors" overlook such long term societal effects (a thing which will also bring new opportunities for "investments"...) - oh well, as long as they are comfortably profitable it's fine (and we'll see how some dispute ends up regarding possible freeriders on, also, Nokia R&D); BTW, not so breathtaking bottom line might be also because Nokia actually owns over a dozen of their manufacturing facilities, most of them not in China, half in the EU, and one even quite close to Cupertino. But I guess you think not outsourcing to sweatshops is also "fucked"...

Re:Hardly premature. (0)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688082)

You seem to be a particularly blinded nokia fan so ok, I'll humor you by replying. Nokia used to be the leader in smart phones till the iphone was launched. If you wanted the best OR most expensive phone, it was a nokia. Now, every manufacturer makes better phones than nokia. They are pushed into the poor man's smart phone segment, and for the past 3 years, they have done nothing to respond. Releasing a 180g brick that doesn't even have UI in portrait mode and barely sold doesn't count. So now, everyone knows Nokia is a smart phone you got cause you couldn't afford better- simple as that.

You talk a lot about history, but it doesn't count in the technology industry. People change their phones every 1-2 yrs and Nokia has done nothing good in the last 3.

Re:Hardly premature. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688140)

My main phone isn't even a Nokia, FYI (though it might be soon, we'll see). And what I talk about is very much present and future; just not perceived through impressions from very few & quite atypical markets.

I suspect it's possible that you might be for a surprise with marketshare numbers at the end of year, especially since you seem to particularly blinded anti-nokia...smth ("every manufacturer makes better phones than nokia" said just like that, really?). But I guess you will just dismiss it via "those people don't count, they shouldn't be allowed to get such technology anyway!", etc....

Re:Hardly premature. (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685716)

You and a few more folks on slashdot, but not 99% of mobile phone users. I want my phone to check email, sync my calendar, make/receive call, and most importantly work without me having to tinker with it. While there maybe a hardcore group of hobby hackers that think this is cool, trust me, the vast majority of don't really care about the openness factor.

Re:Hardly premature. (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685780)

You and a few more folks on slashdot, but not 99% of mobile phone users. I want my phone to check email, sync my calendar, make/receive call, and most importantly work without me having to tinker with it.

Which is how it should be, in the end.

While there maybe a hardcore group of hobby hackers that think this is cool, trust me, the vast majority of don't really care about the openness factor.

The vast majority, rather, are ignorant of what being totally closed means for them and their data. Of course, that's also what gives us the continued dominance of Windows. The openness -is- good and is totally orthogonal to the concept of the previously mentioned functional system that works without having to tinker.

We can have both, to dismiss such things (especially on a site like Slashdot) strikes me as a little silly.

It is more like Nokia Linux (4, Informative)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685828)

This is not someone's pet project, it is Nokia and its flagship multimedia phone platform (E(nterprise) series stays on Symbian).

I am sure they will put stability and power usage to first place. After all, this is the company who takes huge beating because they insisted and still insist on "code with discipline" on mobile platform. Most of the parts of Symbian which developers hate is actually a specific way to code for mobile platform to use less power and stay stable. They expect(ed) some company who manages to do "talk" and "smart" on single CPU without problems to let them code like they code for desktop. It doesn't happen of course.

N series on the other hand, is flexible and they can say "lets put 2 CPUs", "lets put 512MB RAM" as they are multimedia/high end phones with high price flexibility. I guess that and massive multimedia support already existing on Linux along with developers is the major reason for this decision.

Don't let their liberal "no app store" fool you. If your app doesn't act fine on Symbian, it is gone. It won't slow down or anything. Flooding memory? "Memory full, please close some applications" and guess what? It closes it before it alerts. I am sure they won't let things like that happen on Linux too.

So, it is not something like desktop linux fitting on phone. Just like iOS isn't some NeXT/BSD compiled for ARM either.

Re:It is more like Nokia Linux (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685874)

Except that there -will- be, like there is for Maemo, a community repository where less stable software can be made available.

Sure you won't get into the Ovi store or whatnot, but you will be able to make your software available without having to pass strict checklists if you really, really want to put it out there. Assuming your carrier or non-Nokia handset vendor isn't being an ass.

Ovi store isn't app store either (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686030)

Ovi Store just demands an actual person (verifiable) to pay some small amount of mone to publish their stuff, it is not controlled by anyone except some generic security checks.

The key here is "Symbian Signed", I am sure they will (have to) implement it on Maemo too. Or a very funny and joke like thing like actual app store with their string checking interns may happen.

I think the real deal (talk/sms/emergency call/ring) will run in its own process and/or even CPU and somehow will be untouchable.

I really don't think they will let someone "ATDT (some island)" in any form, with root access or not. We speak about millions of devices here.

Re:Ovi store isn't app store either (3, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686062)

The key here is "Symbian Signed", I am sure they will (have to) implement it on Maemo too. Or a very funny and joke like thing like actual app store with their string checking interns may happen.

There will be a "DRM" mode, but there will also be an "Open" mode. The goal is to answer the whiny calls of media companies and the like and give them a "secure" platform, but not screw over those who use devices like the N900, which implements zero DRM. I fully plan on ensuring any device I buy can be switched to (and will quickly be switched to) a no-DRM mode.

I think the real deal (talk/sms/emergency call/ring) will run in its own process and/or even CPU and somehow will be untouchable.

You can send an SMS from the device right now via dbus. The call stack in Maemo is closed, but they're using oFono in MeeGo. I have no doubt the OS will give the user control but to say that it -must- be locked down in some fashion and they -must- deny the user control is nonsense.

Re:Ovi store isn't app store either (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686108)

I suppose I should clarify.

In the "DRM" mode, only the "extras" repository is available (and any a vendor may add,) and promotion to that requires your program be reviewed (in a far more open process than anything Apple can offer.) Abusive software like you mentioned is unlikely to pass muster.

The "unstable" repositories will only be addable in no-DRM mode, and you're on your own.

Re:It is more like Nokia Linux (1)

Jaffa (7714) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688046)

Except that there -will- be, like there is for Maemo, a community repository where less stable software can be made available.

Sure you won't get into the Ovi store or whatnot, but you will be able to make your software available without having to pass strict checklists if you really, really want to put it out there.

Actually, there's lots of evidence that the community's QA process [maemo.org] is a lot more stringent than Ovi's; and results in software which is better, doesn't drain the battery, doesn't waste rootfs space and generally behaves a lot better.

The biggest obstacle to Ovi inclusion (even with the recently announced opening of it to individuals) are:

  • VAT registration
  • No dependency on libraries in the community repos
  • No Python (a comparitively large number of third party apps for Maemo are written in Python

Re:It is more like Nokia Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687636)

Could be write what you saying. My N900 never crashed or freezed

Re:Hardly premature. (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686320)

Hey, with over 300+ developers at their last conference, it is almost a tidal wave!

Very pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685402)

I'm a very-biased N900 owner, but I think this is sensational news.

Re:Very pleased (5, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685602)

Join the club.

I'm rather skeptic and after the "N900 experience" (read: serious lack of commercial apps, treated by Nokia as a second-class device, the whole (ongoing) Ovi Store debacle, ...) I'm not sure I'll ever buy a Nokia device again.
And that's coming from someone who's been a steady Nokia customer since the late 90's.

Re:Very pleased (4, Insightful)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687194)

Well yeah. If you want an app store the n900 isn't the phone for you and you'll be unhappy with it.

In the meantime i love my n900. It seems to be able to do almost everything my full Linux machine can do. I have the GCC toolchain on the phone, openSLL client and server, all the old console emulators. Tutorials to install these features are provided on the official maemo forums.

Yeah it's unpolished. It doesn't even hide its shell from the applications menu. That's also why i love it.

Re:Very pleased (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687240)

True.
With all the downsides it's still a useful tool. I lost count of how often I used it to do all kinds of server maintenance while I was on the road. And if you need more power there's always the ability to switch over to fully grown Debian.

Re:Very pleased (0, Troll)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687310)

The question is- why do you need that stuff on a phone? Being unpolished, incompetent and difficult to use isn't cool. It just shows well.. incompetence. There is no app store because the developers know this phone environment is not worth their time.

Re:Very pleased (1)

Yer Mum (570034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687572)

There's no app store because it's a new platform. This will in all probability change when Symbian becomes mid-range and Meego becomes top-range and both use QT for the GUI.

It's unpolished because it's a new platform yet the nerds still wanted to beta test it in their thousands and the platform was later tidied up for mass consumption. I assume we've forgotten Android 1.0?

Re:Very pleased (0, Troll)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688134)

There's no app store because it's a new platform. This will in all probability change when Symbian becomes mid-range and Meego becomes top-range and both use QT for the GUI.

It's unpolished because it's a new platform yet the nerds still wanted to beta test it in their thousands and the platform was later tidied up for mass consumption. I assume we've forgotten Android 1.0?

Android 1.0 failed cause it was not good. Just like the N900.

Re:Very pleased (0, Troll)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687298)

And that's coming from someone who's been a steady Nokia customer since the late 90's.

It's never a good idea to get attached to any tech company. Things change fast and you might miss out on something great for no good reason

Re:Very pleased (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687444)

Do you see something about "getting attached" in just being a steady customer for over a decade?

Re:Very pleased (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688104)

For the most part I've just always been more comfortable with Nokia devices although at times I used separate phones for business and personal purposes. With the exception of the Maemo devices' lack of user-friendliness they simply deliver the "it just works" experience Apple usually claims for itself.

E.g., around 1999/2000 I had a 3210 and later a 6210 for personal use and an Alcatel One Touch Com for business use.
For those who don't know the OTC: It offered extremely reliable pen input, a note/drawing app, full text search through contacts/text messages/mails without borders) with a comfort which practically no other smartphone offered at that time (unless you wanted to shell out a ton of money for the first WinCE phones and bluescreens in your pocket).

But it took until 2004 to sway me away from the OTC and the 3660 when the 7710 came with its superior Symbian Series 90 platform (which although abandoned continues its legacy with today's Hildon in the N900).

It boils down to deciding what works best for oneself and to me that usually was Nokia but at least to me they've burnt a lot of bridges by constantly shooting themself in the foot thanks to bad decisions (and sometimes abandoning superior products along the way).

Re:Very pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687686)

Move on. Nothing inspiring to see here, much like Nokia phones have been for the past few years.

Re:Very pleased (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687906)

What are you blabbing about? The thing has the whole set of Linux apps avaliable for it. And since when does “flagship device” equal “second-class device”?

Also the Ovi Store is just a dummy. It’s there to be able to say they have an “app store” to the Appletards*. But there never was a point to an “app store” on full operating systems. Just as there is no point to an app store for your Linux or Windows desktop. And just as there was nobody who felt a need for a app store back in and before 2004, when the first Symbian smart phones came to the market.
You just went to Google and typed “Symbian $myAppKeywords”. Up came and come countless sites listing tons of Symbian apps, allowing download and linking to the manufacturer’s site.
And then you can also just search for MIDP (Java) software. Which again lists you lots of sites with lots of apps.

* It’s really just Applethink in an Apple world, where there is a point to a single app store.

Re:Very pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687918)

It's funny that I've spent something like three euros on couple applications on N900 just to take a look at them, but rest of those ~120 installed applications are completely free, and provide vastly superior functionality to what I could even imagine getting with un-rooted iPhone. The sad part about Nokia is that they want to show Ovi as the place to find applications for regular users, when the phone actually has direct access to much better, and entirely free application coverage at Maemo repositories.

N900 is perfect for me - then again, I don't believe in the need of excess productization and commercialization a la Apple. Android has all chances to run over Meego despite Nokia starting to push it seriously, but Google has gained its market by being overly co-operative with the operators - which is usually customers' loss. If they find a balance in that, Nokia will stay in their troubled trend on smartphones, but if they forget the end users, Nokia will eventually get back on very dominant track. What is certain is that Apple wants customers to have only that amount of freedom on their devices that allows getting greatest profits out of them, and not an inch more.

Re:Very pleased (1)

hyartep (1694754) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688036)

n900 was never going to be mainstream product. that's why it was not advertised much.

it was supposed to be next step toward maemo6, which should have been 1st mainstream nokia with maemo.

things are now more complicated, because of meego and transition from maemo to meego. next device will have meego branding but technologically it will be something between maemo and meego (e.g. maemo is debian, meego is fedora, next nokia device will be meego, but based on debian).

Open source is the key? (1)

halfey (1516717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685506)

"a demonstration of support for the open source mobile OS"

but Symbian is also open source

Re:Open source is the key? (3, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685544)

True, Symbian has been open source for a while but it also is an antiquated dinosaur which should've been taken out to the pasture and taken out of its misery long ago.

Re:Open source is the key? (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685706)

It has some things nicely covered - enabling really inexpensive devices, squeezing a lot from what little resources they might have; or power management. And should get more pleasant with the shift to Qt.

Dino? (5, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685898)

As Symbian handsets have amazing low power usage, stableness and performance so they can even work with single CPU, I really want to learn what part of them is "dinosour" besides the famous C: D: drive issue (which dates back to Psion).

UI was problematic and they purchased Qt for it and implementing it in a way that, people will code _single UI_ for both Symbian/Linux which has nothing to do with eachother.

I still think we overrate "mobile developers" and their constant whining but, it is another issue. I mean, Opera/Nimbuzz/Fring can somehow code their best featured stuff for Symbian... I don't hear a word from them.

Re:Dino? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687874)

It got a pretty bad internal API. From what I know, multithreading is horrible. And so is lots of other stuff. Because it’s just tacked-on. It has that Windows ME feeling. You know: When the architecture does not fit the expected feature set anymore, but is used anyway. (Maybe that’s why MEeGo is named that way. ;)

Also Opera/Nimbuzz/Fring are no argument for its quality. Because by the same logic, IE’s Trident must be a great engine, because every major website works in it.

Re:Open source is the key? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686532)

Mandatory car comparison:

Android: All-purpose SUV with some nice features. Works well everywhere, provided you don't put an underpowered motor inside. Average at parking in cities. Comes with many different engines.
IOS: Truck with exactly the same engine in every model. Has a lot of fan-made cranes and tools for various tasks. Sucks at navigating city small streets, isn't very goot in off-road either. But you have to own one to impress the neighbour, even if you're using a sedan for actual shuttling. Don't even try to park it in the busy center without a private reserved space.
Blackberry: The sedan you use for actual shuttling when mileage counts. Is not cool in any way and if you only own a sedan, people with trucks think you're poor.
Symbian: The european-style city car. Small, and of limited utility but runs wonderfully even with underpowered engines and can be parked pretty much anywhere.

Re:Open source is the key? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687704)

That was an utterly useless car analogy, as they always tend to be, and doesn't make any sense at all.

Truck? Cranes? Small streets? Parking in cities?

We're talking phones, better talk about and compare things they actually do.

Re:Open source is the key? (3, Insightful)

saihung (19097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687062)

My Symbian smart phones have been multitasking since, I suppose, 2005? Earlier? My Psion could do real multitasking long before that.

iOS4 has half-arsed multitasking as of yesterday. Colour me unimpressed.

Re:Open source is the key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687102)

But His Holy Steveness shits rainbow turds. That's gotta count for something.

Re:Open source is the key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687176)

but ... but... but the button you press to run that single process is soooooooo shiny!

Re:Open source is the key? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687746)

Meanwhile AmigaOS has been multitasking since 1985(4?)

Oh, the joy to have an Amiga-styled phone running AROS on ARM (more development needed ..) or MorphOS on PPC + built-in UAE for ADF-images ;)

Genesi? Are you listening? We need PPC-phones, or well, I do, can't speak for everyone else ;)

The intention was to post the first sentence as AC, but well, a tinker/hackers phone for fun computing would had been a sweet thing and UNIX-style OSes isn't necessarily my idea of the perfect tinkering/hack-style phone. The nanonote seems like close to the ideal portable computing platform to me, would have needed more ram, wifi, 3g and way more support from it's users though.

My ideal idea of making computing fun again would had been to base the OS of something like Syllable, get the Haiku and AROS developers on-board to do, well, implement whatever was good with BeOS and AmigaOS, like maybe some BeOS compatible APIs or what not, try to convince the developer of SkyOS what a great idea it would be and so on :D. Then finally we could have something like but way better than OS X ;). GCC and Posix compatibility would find its way into the OS as it always does and we'd have a nice platform again =P
(Though I can't say I know shit about the foundations of either of those OSes, their differences and what parts are better than any other. I just know they are small and hobbyist style and each try to bring a somewhat similar experience but all on their own which makes them less likely to succeed.)

Re:Open source is the key? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687888)

I did multitasking on the very first Symbian smart phone. And that was earlier than 2004.
I had a file manager. A MP3 player. A removable storage card. A video player. Instant messaging (IM+). E-Mail. 3D Games. Java. SSH. Lots of other stuff. It was a real computer in every aspect.
The only thing that it lacked, was speed and storage size.

Re:Open source is the key? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685604)

"Symbian will still be used in low-end devices from Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson."

plus it's not going into low-end (that is the space of S30 and, more and more, S40), it takes over middle-range (which was coming for a few years; and is now very clear with devices like, say, Nokia 5230 - touchscreen smartphone with fully free (offline) turn-by-turn navigation for less than $150 without contract as of now; and it's not even the cheapest one)

Re:Open source is the key? (3, Insightful)

edivad (1186799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686212)

Symbian is a dead OS. The kernel code is junk, and the userspace API is just braindead. Symbian is the kind of Open Source path taken by dying companies. Open Source by desperation. Good bye Symbian, you sure won't be missed.

Re:Open source is the key? (3, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686284)

Don't be too surprised by Symbian breaking this year the "100 million devices sold annually" barrier, and generally maintaining quite well its half of smartphone market. Nokia finally really started pushing it in the mainstream class.

So called "junk" also enables this, allowing very modestly priced devices with greast power management. And Symbian^4 has Qt as its main API.

You might call it apocalypse of the undead if you really wish to, but I would be suprised if Symbian won't remain a major player for a very long time. Plus zombies are cool.

Some points (2, Informative)

spectrum- (158197) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685564)

1. Symbian is opensource too! 2. MeeGo is only replacing Symbian on N series Nokia There are E,X and C and numbered SmartPhones also in Nokia'a range 4. Its not clear if Nokia are branchin off N series as a level above N97 style smartphones

Re:Some points (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685814)

Yeah, but we've been fairly fearful that Maemo/MeeGo was being held back by Symbian heads inside Nokia, obviously all the old codgers have been overruled. It's awesome if Nokia merely elevates their N series. In fact, they has well better maintain a clear tech lead over their competitors, as that buys them all their public hardware beta testing. And you just know support for Android apps as second class citizens will arrive shortly.

So, by next year.... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685648)

2011 will be the year of the Linux Smartphone?

Re:So, by next year.... (2, Informative)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685974)

You are thinking 2010, the year when N900 blew everything else out of the water. A (very incomplete) list of software that it runs already includes busybox, bash, GNU utils, apt-get, emacs, vim, texlive, python, gnuplot, ssh -X, mplayer (!), fennec (firefox with full plugin support), midori, lynx, pidgin, conky... Its main limitation is, hands down, the amount of RAM, and even here, with its puny 128M, it performs very similarly to somewhat cleaner and faster Android. It is a fair tradeoff, Android being a toy OS compared to Maemo.

Re:So, by next year.... (0, Flamebait)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686178)

And at the same time managed to be a critical failure because it wasn't usable for the 95% of the population that don't have the technical sophistication to actually use the device in an appreciable manner. The N900 is a nerd's dream phone, but it would seem that the vast majority of people prefer Android phones.

Reuters [reuters.com] has the sales pegged at 100,000 or so tops and say that during the same time 8.75 million iPhones were sold. According to this Slashdot article [slashdot.org] Android phones outsold the iPhone in that quarter. Basic math suggests that roughly 11.6 million Android phones were sold, a full two orders of magnitude greater than the N900. It may be a toy OS compared to what amounts to Debian Linux, but it's actually something normal people can use.

I'm glad you like your phone, but let's not pretend that it's changing the world. Android is something that's actually useful outside of the niche tech-geek market that is Slashdot. If this [cnbc.com] is what the year of the Linux Smartphone is supposed to be, I wouldn't call it good by any standards.

Google has made Android a polished experience that's acceptable for the everyman. It might be a thin strand of yarn compared to what's possible with the N900, but to the majority of people buying smartphones, the N900 is just rope with which to hang themselves.

Re:So, by next year.... (2, Informative)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32686658)

it wasn't usable for the 95% of the population

It is painfully clear that you never used one or know anything about it. It is dead easy to use, with or without unlocking. Installing texlive is not easy. Making phone calls, using SMS, email, chat, web browser, media player, transferring files, using GUI config -- dead simple and very much idiot-proof. It's not FSF we are talking here, it's Nokia.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32686702)

...managed to be a critical failure because it wasn't usable for the % of the population...

...whose carrier uses CDMA. I, and I am sure many others, would sacrifice serious $$$ for an N900 on Verizon's network. But the clash of OSS and Verizon's totally controlled userspace would create a rift in reality no government could fix. sigh

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687464)

I'm not terribly familiar with the cellphone situation outside of the US, but it's been my understanding that the rest of the world uses GSM (And gets better service at a lower cost, but that's another rant for a different day.) for the most part. While the US market is large and nice to have, it's not the be-all-end-all that the US would like to think of itself as. Even if Verizon were to offer the N900, I can't imagine it suddenly joining the millions-sold club.

The N900 is a device made for the /. crowd, which if you were to step outside of /. and take a good look around you would realize is a very small percentage of the population. The take-away from this is that you can't run the world's largest phone manufacturer and be successful marketing a device that only a minority of the world will love or be able to use. Yeah, it's easy enough for you or I to get by with, but a lot of people don't understand the extent to which the majority of the world's population are technically inept or apathetic. Hell, some Linux users are still skeptical about it being ready for the mass market on the desktop. Should we be surprised that it's not going to fly when put on a phone?

The geek crowd needs to realize that the average Joe is incapable of using Linux on a mobile device and absolutely has even less desire to learn. Fun car analogy: how many /. readers actually change their own oil? I suspect it's a minority, even though most of the community is probably able to do it or learn how to do it by themselves. I suspect that the majority of us just take it to a shop and pay someone else to do it just so we don't have to fuss with it. I imagine that's how most people feel about their phones. The want something that's very simple and works without a lot of grief. Anything else falls into the realm of crap with which they prefer not to deal.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

badran (973386) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687640)

Using Linux != Command Line

Re:So, by next year.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687222)

Ummm.. yeah. But Reuters is just quoting Gartner, who made a classic NASA-level mistake of confusing the first five *weeks* with the first five months -- then getting a number so epicly bullshit that anyone a head in the smartphone arena immediately questions it -- anyone except Gartner, that is. Major embarrassment, and retractions have been, as always, kept down to save credibility for everyone involved.

Re:So, by next year.... (2, Informative)

EvilNTUser (573674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688130)

A lot of people in the media seem to want Nokia to fail, but the N900 is in fact highly successful in its market segment. When it was launched, Nokia said Maemo wasn't ready for mass consumption yet, and now say that it is exceeding sales expectations. According to Engadget, it sold 100 000 in the first five weeks, not months.

What Nokia also said is that the next product *will* be ready for mass consumption, so we can safely expect significantly stronger sales based on their surprisingly honest statements about the N900. It does have a real chance of changing the world for GNU/Linux (as opposed to Android/Linux).

And why wasn't the N900 ready for mass consumption? They haven't yet ported 100% of their features from Symbian, and most of the default applications are stuck in landscape mode due to their heritage. Don't trust the mainstream press on this. Despite reporters' bad conclusions about the cause, the UI in general is extremely well designed, and counting the number of apps in the Ovi repository is ridiculous given that the Maemo repository is full of apps.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686258)

I love Meamo. I have a Nokia 770 that, unfortunately, bricked itself a while back. It was probably my all time favorite gadget and to this day, it sits on my shelf in the hope that one day I'll plug in its power adapter and the little blue line at the bottom will make it all the way across the screen.

But let's not get carried away. I also happen to be the very happy owner of a Motorola Droid running my own special custom version of Android. It's not a toy. It runs every one of the command line apps you listed with aplomb and will run all of the thousands and thousands of others you didn't mention. I have rtorrent, elinks, vim, bash, ssh, and the list goes on and on. It can run X apps too as I can just start the vmc server and a viewer on localhost. But, for many X apps, there is a more or less equivalent Android app that is suited to the small capacitive screen so, I don't usually bother. I run my web browser with a desktop user agent so I get the same internet including full javascript that support on it that I get on my desktop and since the screen is 854 pixels wide, it is the great exception that horizontal scrolling is necessary.

I want Maemo/Meego to succeed. As a matter of fact, I want all the Unix based mobile systems to thrive even iOS. I don't really care about Winphone 7 as I think MS has made enough money on the desktop but that's just my bias creeping in. My point is, Maemo is great, Android is great. Neither are toys and the year of Linux on the cellphone is right here and now so we should all be happy.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687820)

Except that Android is neither Linux nor GNU anymore, and feels more closed than open.
I want a real Linux phone, not some Java mutation.

Re:So, by next year.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686516)

Basic fact: the N900 has 256MB of RAM.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687388)

Oops, sorry about that. You are right.

Re:So, by next year.... (2, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686632)

I am thinking 2011. Nokia didnt put a lot of love supporting and expanding the N900 (btw, have one), plus is the only cellphone featuring maemo, not even other from the same company. In a lot of areas still beats badly any competitor, but need more support from app makers (and, btw, as already was pointed, is 256M what have of ram)

With MeeGo, being in netbooks, cellphones and maybe other devices maybe more cellphone makers join the platform, plus all the N models that could release Nokia next year.

And Android is gaining big momentum too (probably more now with the iOS4 debacle) and still have Linux somewhere down there.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32686692)

Weren't there some Chinese "clones" already? Which might be the idea, and even more so for Symbian actually - it's probably the easiest and least expensive way, for many Chinese manufacturers, to have a full smartphone instead of weird sofware they offer now.

And shouldn't be that much of a problem - from what I heard people like to buy "original" anyway, if they can. But effects of scale might get interesting.

Re:So, by next year.... (1)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687784)

It has 256MB not 128MB.

iPhone NeXT/BSD but doesn't change anything (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686282)

Lets say Nokia makes sales records with this "Maemo" thing, would anyone bother? I mean will it change that idiot device manufacturer/game programmer mind?

iPhone minus SJobs/App Store gives you NeXT/BSD with frameworks comparable to GNUStep. Guys who didn't give a sh*t to OS X/Mac which exists for long time bought Macs to run XCode, live all that torture at app store hell and code pretty advanced stuff. What happens on Mac Desktop? I can tell as a Desktop user: Nothing. Games/desktop apps don't magically appear and in fact, mac game market is even shrinking even with the Intel switch ending the endian/sse/altivec madness.

What I mean is, the Windows platform dominance doesn't change, the respect to the "real OS" doesn't go higher, products doesn't jump from mobile to desktop, companies doesn't say "so, lets support this neat OS".

If anyone thinks this will somehow increase Linux support, my bet is Maemo will work flawlessly with Windows Desktop _first_. It will be the reality until Nokia (and partners) get rid of the idiots who has World's least problematic and truly multiplatform SDK (Qt) in hand and still manages to ship Windows only apps _coded in Qt_.

Re:iPhone NeXT/BSD but doesn't change anything (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686368)

Well, while Qt dev environment for Maemo is available for Linux - if you want to target also Symbian (which generally will be a very good idea), it's...Windows only so far. So, yeah.

OTOH some of the targets might get interesting. There's a nice video of MeeGo tablet floating around, "netbooks" aren't out of the question. It might get some people away from their Win machine for a while; and so on.

Aww shit, throw down (5, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685696)

Yes, it's an OSS mobile dream come true, but also :
(1) Nokia ships more advanced hardware than any other phone maker.
(2) Nokia is the biggest phone maker in the world.
(3) Nokia has maintained user interface loyalty since before Apple even rehired Jobs.

We've been bullshitting about "the year of Linux on the desktop" here since the beginning, but well this might actually be the year of Linux on the mobile. Maemo/MeeGo require special apps for UI purposed, like all mobile devices, but unlike iPhone, Android, and Palm they don't require those apps be owned by Apple or be rewritten in Java or whatever.

N900's are currently fairly raw, but they are fucking bad ass. I'd assume that Meego will bring rotation, after that, the only shit that annoys me is :
(1) the integrated aim and msn suck, although sms, skype, and sip are solid,
(2) few games dispite being the only phone with solid GL, and
(3) no cups/gs printing.
On what other phone would you bitch about the lack of fucking printing?

Re:Aww shit, throw down (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686312)

On what other phone would you bitch about the lack of fucking printing?

You can always pull one of these [docucrunch.com] . Hehe.

Re:Aww shit, throw down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32688006)

4) No Ovi Maps v3 (the free, complete, spoken directions Satnav that comes with all other Nokia high end phones)

5) Bad battery life.

I bought one, and sent it back when I found out about 4). And I use Linux all the time at home, work with Linux, and and very keen on it.

Re:Aww shit, throw down (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688094)

Not even "high end" - look at the 5230, below 150 bucks without contract. Not that much more expensive from dedicated GPS units, but with free & easy map updates. Plus, even if Ovi Maps can work completelly offline, it's nice to have the possibility of traffic updates, et al; smartphone, media player, etc. virtually thrown in for free.

It's firmly in middle segment now; don't be surprised by some interesting numbers at the end of year.

Re:Aww shit, throw down (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688112)

the integrated aim and msn suck

That's because there is no integrated AIM and MSN as far as Nokia is concerned. These are installable as open source libpurple plugins to work with telepathy-haze, but no official support is provided, besides occasionally noticing that something is wrong in working with the framework, when it is only exposed by these add-ons.
An officially supported solution would need an agreement with the proprietary service providers; and you can bet they won't allow reverse-engineered protocol stacks.

So what about the upcomming N8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685714)

I would guess they are talking about the Nxxx series because the N8 is going to be released with Symbian 3

The specs don't look to bad for a "low end" phone.
http://www.nokia.co.uk/find-products/all-phones/nokia-n8/specifications

Re:So what about the upcomming N8? (2, Interesting)

spectrum- (158197) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685934)

N8 is nothing all that dramatic. Symbian ^3 is just an evolutionary rather than revolutionary departure from Symbian ^1 (aka S60 v5). Symbian ^4 is due towards the end of the year which is apparently much more advanced. Also bear in mind Nokia isn't the only brand using Symbian. Sony Ericsson and Samsung both use it. So Symbian is in acurrently somewhat transitional phase. I wouldn't bank on it not remaining very popular in the medium to long term. Symbian certainly dropped the ball on interface and GUI innovation but it's code is tried and tested and considered rock solid at the back end. I wouldn't write it off yet nor consider its future based on N8 or some current phones with a few issues. Lets also not forget that despite some bad press the N97 has sold really well.

Re:So what about the upcomming N8? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686510)

Far more interestingly, symbian is used in japanese phones as well, and those literally wipe the floor with anything west has to offer when it comes to functionality and usability, albeit japanese cell usage patterns are known to be quite different from western (they use them more for mail, chatting and paying with what essentially amounts to NFC).

Symbian as an OS is perfectly fine. The epic whine of mobile devs has very little to do with modern incarnations of the OS, and far more with just the need to vent that they have to program for the platform that has such tight rules and regulations on how to code for it. You can usually tell that this is the case when whining focuses on problems that are long gone from modern symbian.

Re:So what about the upcomming N8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687968)

ar more interestingly, symbian is used in japanese phones as well, and those literally wipe the floor with anything west has to offer when it comes to functionality and usability, albeit japanese cell usage patterns are known to be quite different from western (they use them more for mail, chatting and paying with what essentially amounts to NFC).

I see this a lot. The only thing I hear that the japanese phones do that my Droid can't is watch TV and be used to pay for stuff. Well, I don't even watch TV on my big screen at the house, I'm not about to watch it on my cell phone. And while the payment thing is mildly interesting, I'd hardly call it wiping the floor with my phone. Every Japanese phone I've seen that was supposed to be so great had a ridiculously confusing ui and lower resolution that what I have. I'm really not impressed and I think you may be overstating your case just a bit.

Nothing happens to N8 (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685952)

N8 will be running Symbian 3 right? A lot of models of middle end devices will be running Symbian 3 too. And by a "lot", I mean some unheard numbers in industry. It is not just Nokia either, as Symbian can be implemented by _anyone_, a lot of stuff will come from Asia too.

So, you are some Asian manufacturer stuck with J2ME and some weird OS. You use Symbian 3, have ultra modern UI, multi tasking, applications and also World's most customisable (ask any operator) operating system.

The problem here, as usual is "The Register" which was/is British but hasn't got a slightest clue about British based/invented Symbian which has roots in Psion. They became some kind of "reverse iFanboys" too. They only watch iPhone scene, just to bitch about it.

I don't want to feed the trolls but, it is Symbian who will have the majority, not MeeGo.

I really like the way Nokia has been going. (2, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685798)

Open maemo/meego, Qt, symbian (which is kinda long in the tooth, but still has a place, and sells a ton). Polar opposite of what some phone outfits do. *I* own the fucking phone, not some guy in Cupertino.

Qt's cross platformness is awesome.

Meego is a horribly lame name though, I liked maemo a lot better, name wise. Now if only I could afford a phone with maemo/meego on it. I currently have a couple symbian phones, and an older maemo tablet, which is pretty neat, but hurting for ram and a keyboard.

N800 Symbian?!? (2, Interesting)

kabloom (755503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685870)

What's the article talking about when it says "the last N-series phone to feature Symbian is the N800?" I thought the N800 was a Maemo device.

Re:N800 Symbian?!? (3, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686012)

It's being confused with the N8-00, which was (for obvious and sane purposes) renamed the N8. It's the flagship Symbian^3 device.

Android (2, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685914)

If Nokia had any brains left, it would switch their smartphones to Android, like their old competitor Sony Ericsson has been doing. Qt is nice for what it is, but the technology is old hat. Where is garbage collection and sandboxing?

Re:Android (5, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686028)

If Nokia had any brains left, it would switch their smartphones to Android

Yes, to an OS wholly controlled by Google, not developed in anything resembling an open fashion, and forcing a pseudo-Java runtime with kernel extensions, a filesystem that were never meant to be open source in the first place, and a custom framebuffer system that isn't compatible with anything that already exists on Linux.

No thanks, I'd rather go for a system that has more in common with modern, open Linux distributions.

Garbage collection? Code better if you're using C/C++, or use Python. Sandboxing? Can be done without a pseudo-Java VM.

Re:Android (2, Insightful)

dysonlu (907935) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687216)

If Nokia had NO brain at all, it would switch to Android, abandoning their still dominant platform (~40% worldwide marketshare), giving up control on the OS and becoming just another me-too phone manufacturer, just another Sony Ericsson.

Re:Android (3, Insightful)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687292)

Slashdot can be very hypocritical sometimes.
eg. People in this thread are saying the n900 sucks because it's currently running the open source GTK toolkit instead of the open source QT toolkit. People are being modded to +5 for pointing this out. In the meantime Android runs neither! It uses a propriety toolkit that only supports Java. Androids Google application stack is closed source. There's tutorials out there on how to get root on an Android (requires a warranty voiding re-flash). Root on the Nokia means getting rootsh from the official maemo repository.

Despite this, it would seem people here hate Maemo and love Android. I don't get it.

Re:Android (5, Insightful)

Spugglefink (1041680) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687320)

As a commercial Maemo developer (go ahead and laugh) I have to say I agree that Nokia should just give up and switch over to Android. They don't know what the hell they're trying to do with Maemo/MeeGo or the N900. The whole experience has been bitterly disappointing, like sitting around on a waiting list for months to get my new super exotic sports car, only to discover they neglected to install three of the pistons, and the transmission doesn't shift into reverse. It's really beautiful, but it doesn't run worth a damn, and it's basically useless.

However, as an experienced C++ and Qt developer trying to grapple with Android for the sake of taking my product to a platform that doesn't have its head shoved completely up its own ass, I find there' s just nothing to love about Android at all. Qt kicks this thing's ass all over the place, and this feels like trying to build a skyscraper out of LEGO instead of concrete and steel. It's just a damn shame Nokia have fucked all of this up so completely, and they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever competing. We're all stuck playing with Tinker Toys if we want to make any money. Or giving Apple a shit ton of money.

Re:Android (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687856)

Hahaha. You’re right about garbage collection and sandboxing. But you’re still silly.
In case you don’t know: They are the ones developing Qt. They invested tons of money into it and Linux.
I want a real Linux OS. Not some Java abomination. And so do they. :)

And Qt is a widget toolkit. Not a programming environment. It’s not responsible for those things. The language is. If you want those things you can still write it in a non-C/C++ language.

Hell, just install a JVM on it, and you can have all the Java, garbage collection and sandboxing you want. Also there are lots of Java apps so you can stay all-Java if you want.

The other way around is not possible. And this freedom of choice is exactly why they chose Linux with Qt.

Well, duh! (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686038)

Try this: develop on Symbian for a while. Then develop on Qt for a while. See?

Re:Well, duh! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686124)

Why not both? [nokia.com]

Beware Astroturfing in this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32686680)

I joined #meego on freenode on the day it was announced.
I have went back there a few times, but I don't think I will again.

For awhile they had people in there who I assume were paid to
foment positive sentiments about the platform.

Any constructive criticism about Nokia or Intel or (esp Nokia's)
failures in the past to engage the developer community were
drowned out in a chorus of irrational praise.

It was downright weird. It gave me a small glimmer in what it
must be like to live in a country like North Korea.

Re:Beware Astroturfing in this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687620)

I get the same feeling from a lot of the posts on both sides of this slashdot discussion. And a lot of the posts attack Nokia on issues on which they are no worse (or even better) than Android or iPhone, which is just absurd. I wish people could discuss phone technology without treating it like a religion.

meeGo = Mi-go? (2, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687016)

how about R'lyeh OS?

Great (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687170)

I got a N97, and although happy with the hardware, is really unhappy about the Symbian OS. Slow response, bad UI (whether you are comparing to iPhone or the new Android or N900). Hopefully, they remove the ridiculous C/D/E drives and just use the unix unified file layout. If they hadn't done this, my next phone probably wouldn't be a Nokia phone.

Looking forward to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687566)

well, judging from my N900 perspective (which mainly needs more RAM for better multitasking) I'm looking forward to MeeGo. I just hop gtk will be supported for a long time, so I will still have OpenOffice and Gimp. The N900 UI is great, and I guess the Meego handset UX will be pretty similar.

It was the official strategy since Day 1! (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687798)

The whole story behind Nokia "abandoning" Symbian for MeeGo is just plain stupid. This was supposed to happen since day one and it was well documented [nokia.com] for some time now. Why is it breaking now?!

Anyway, the point is moot since it won't matter much for developers. This is the genius plan of Nokia and it strikes me that many here haven't quite understood it. By combining Symbian and MeeGo under the same development toolkit (the fantastic Qt) it won't matter much for developers since with minor tweaks of their code they will eventually target both platforms.

No other platform provides such capability right now, except for the awfully weak JRE.

Bad name.. (2, Funny)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687840)

Well, bad phonetically for those of us that've read the Lovecraft books.. Somehow having a Mi-go [wikipedia.org] in the phone may not be such a great thing!
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