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Nokia and Open Source — a Trial By Fire

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the roadmap-to-desperation dept.

Cellphones 205

An anonymous reader writes "The H has a damning piece on Nokia's open source smart phone projects, Maemo and MeeGo, and why they failed. 'They did dumb stuff like re-writing the whole networking stack, duplicating as they went. So instead of re-using NetworkManager and improving it, and getting to market fast – they re-wrote, got something that still doesn't work well, failed to push Linux forward, and failed. Repeat that for every technology pick and you get the idea,' said Andrew Wafaa. 'The N900 was a great product. Immediately [after] it was launched it was announced that it was a dead product, ISV-wise. They announced a Qt re-write/project re-set. Then they merged Maemo into MeeGo, giving another project re-set. Then, when they were coming up to release in September 2010, there was another project reset to switch to a different Qt technology (even the Qt groups in-fight in Nokia). In consequence they have no shipping product.' At the same time, 'both Nokia and Intel were working on separate handset UIs using Qt, the former proprietary, the latter open-source. A better worked example of squandering your leadership role and wrestling yourself to the ground is hard to see. Nokia deserve their trial by fire – and I hope the people who truly screwed up the amazing Linux opportunity that was the N900 get shut down in the process.'"

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lol nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313108)

Anyone who thinks Nokia isn't truly incompetent, and has been for almost a decade, is blinded by stupidity. Let this company die the well-deserved death it needs.

Re:lol nokia (1)

Enigma23 (460910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313178)

They are great at designing, building and marketing dumbphones. Smartphones, however, they they are certainly heading towards rank incompetence at a rapid pace, especially given how badly they've handled the ownership of Symbian, Meamo and MeeGo.

Re:lol nokia (5, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313586)

They are great at designing, building and marketing dumbphones. Smartphones, however, they they are certainly heading towards rank incompetence at a rapid pace, especially given how badly they've handled the ownership of Symbian, Meamo and MeeGo.

They aren't doing dumbphones very well any more either. For example, the Nokia 6600 fold has a bug where if you press the "6mno" key three times in a row during texting then every so often the phone will lock up solid. The only way to get back a working phone is to pop out the battery.

Since the issue was found (and reported on Nokia's forums [nokia.co.uk] ) they've released no less than 6 updates - none of which have resolved the problem.

Re:lol nokia (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314012)

I used to be a Nokia customer, and I use dumbphones, but the last 3 phones I brought weren't Nokia. That was because their competitors were good enough, and way cheaper than anything Nokia had to offer. Don't underestimate their problems, there are some, and they aren't small. Nothing impossible to deal with, but they are real.

That said, I don't think suicide is their best survival strategy...

Re:lol nokia (2)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313346)

I was successfully blinded by the promise of Maemo. I owned a Nokia in the late 90s and hated it to the point that I said "never again" to Nokia. But then the N900 buzz started and I was first in line to get one. It's a great phone, and the platform does have potential. But man, it has been a really depressing ride so far.

Re:lol nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313396)

I was successfully blinded by the promise of Maemo. I owned a Nokia in the late 90s and hated it to the point that I said "never again" to Nokia. But then the N900 buzz started and I was first in line to get one. It's a great phone, and the platform does have potential. But man, it has been a really depressing ride so far.

you guys care a hell of a lot more about your phones than i do

Re:lol nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313488)

You care a hell of a lot more about how other people feel about their phones than I do.

Re:lol nokia (0)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313808)

you care a hell of a lot more about how other people feel about how other people feel about their phones than I do.

Re:lol nokia (1)

Grapes4Buddha (32825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314382)

you care a hell of a lot more about recursive comments than I do.

Re:lol nokia (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314474)

Well, obviously not.

Re:lol nokia (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314250)

I'd care a big deal about my phone if I could ssh my computers through them (currently, I only use them to make calls and sms, and I don't like phones). I was almost about to care about a Nokia phone but now it seems I won't...

Who is laughing now? (4, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313148)

Nokia's former CEO, a lawyer, failed to notice the product groups were in such disarray. How cool must his job have been? He got to fly around the world in his suit spending money, while his product guys are achieving nothing for years, and he didn't even notice!

Re:Who is laughing now? (0)

ktappe (747125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313230)

Nokia's former CEO, a lawyer, ... got to fly around the world in his suit spending money, while his product guys are achieving nothing for years, and he didn't even notice!

Worse, Apple had been rumored to be designing a mobile phone as early as late 2002. For the industry (Nokia et al) to not have made any plans to circumvent this (shut them out with some exclusive contracts, start development of a touch screen phone themselves, etc.) was another example of "falling asleep at the switch."

Re:Who is laughing now? (2)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313508)

Nokia had early touchscreen, 3D interface, application store, ... ideas.

And the uhm, "Internet appliances" such as N770, N800, N810.

It was just that they never actually implemented them. And never made the later ones actual PHONES.

Re:Who is laughing now? (2)

segedunum (883035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313574)

I strongly suspect this was the Symbian side of the company trying to shut the obvious Linux path down. I was always suspicious of how the N*** series never developed into a proper smartphone. Qt was probably a logical choice and development direction to go in especially for third parties, but surely it should have been obvious to them far earlier. What then happened with Symbian? We got a half-arsed port of Qt that never amounted to anything. No one was strong enough to stand up to Symbian and the rest descended into a political mess.

Re:Who is laughing now? (4, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313244)

He got to fly around the world in his suit spending money!

He was Super-Lawyer???

Re:Who is laughing now? (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313468)

Yes. Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to chase ambulances in a single bound. Look, up in the sky, It's a bird, It's a rich guy in a three-piece suit and with hair plugs, It's Superlawyer!

Re:Who is laughing now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313290)

I partly agree. With each new version of Symbian you noticed something was different, but couldn't really put your finger on it. But their support with the business-class E-series phones was great and they still got firmware updates some 2 years after their release.

One of the things that really pissed me off with Symbian, though, was that you needed a new phone just to get an updated library of something, such as support for a newer SVG version, and their locked-down aproach where you needed special and expensive certificates to access certain APIs. Maemo and MeeGo would have fixed all these problems and provided the user with the best phone. Constant updates, support for upgrading N900 to MeeGo when it's released, open and hackable, install Android if you want. ... It had it all.

It seems to me they decided that the user has too much freedom with Maemo and MeeGo, so they instead picked WP7 so the consumer remains a consumer where they can be forced upon, app stores and such.

Re:Who is laughing now? (1)

dejaniv (842280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314324)

I see your point but what would be the solution? Flying around the world with nothing on or borrowing suit from someone?

Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smart (3, Insightful)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313174)

Now the in-fighting cannot frequently cripple development of other projects.

Makes me feel a lot less bad for the Nokia employees that walked out. Although likely moving at the whims of management, this report makes them sound more like hobbyists that simply want to build their own and tinker, rather than shipping a good product.

It certainly makes a good case for replacing a lot of the management as well. If employees end up leaving as a result, then they probably weren't great employees anyway, or they did not understand the problems that they were causing to their own development cycle by diligently following those managers out the door.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313192)

Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smart

Yeah, smart in contrast to the disaster that the submission is highlighting. Somehow, I have to think there might have been a third option in there somewhere...

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313296)

By now the 3rd option, of completely reforming your internal structure was too late. They're too far behind in the smartphone wave to internally restructure, then launch a new mobile platform.

One can certainly disagree with their choice of MS as the 3rd party OS, but I think given the circumstances it was pick one of MS or Google, or be facing serious problems in 2 or 3 years. That mountain of cash MS has might help them out for a bit.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (3, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313506)

That mountain of cash MS has might help them out for a bit.

Yeah, I'm sure that didn't hurt too many people in upper management's feelings. Only time will tell if it will be worth it in the long run for the shareholders. Windows Phone 7 is extremely speculative at this point. So far, it little more than an also-ran and that doesn't appear to be on any trajectory for change any time soon. Characterizing it as the "third choice" in the grand scheme of mobile OS's as it is in a lot of the media is just pure dishonesty. I'm sure RIM might have something to say about that.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313544)

I think it would have been interesting for them to see what they could do with WebOS and HP. I wonder if that was even discussed?

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314358)

Is HP Licensing WebOS? I go the impression they wanted it internally so they could make iPhonesqe, "we control the software and the hardware" devices. At the very least I'd expect HP to charge licensing fees for WebOS; as opposed to MS who were willing to go the other way and pay Nokia, or Android which would have been free.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (2)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313552)

Four options, all would probably had been better than Windows Phone 7:

1) Keep on developing MeeGo if they think it's better than Android. Throw in Alien Dalvik, get access to the "eco-system" of Android.
2) Probably better in the current market: Switch to Android base, slap QT on it, port whatever MeeGo applications they had already made over to Android. Sell. Would work both with Android applications for everyone who want to and not abandon QT or QT developers.

3) Buy or co-develop a new OS with RIMM. I've read they asked them but RIMM wasn't interested, or something such. QNX-based OS with QT and Alien Dalvik?

4) Buy Palm and use WebOS as base.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313590)

(All of them would also let you code in native code (well, Android I have no idea, but probably doable) or JAVA/Dalvik, POSIX compliance, use QT, use OpenGL ES, ...

Be somewhat compatible with the rest of the platforms.. Now it will be .NET/Silverlight and Direct X .. Work for new applications but maybe not the most popular for people who want to spread their shit^H^H^H^Happs on all platforms with the least amount of work.

Also I wonder what is really the best for gaming? Since that could possibly had been the thing which would had made people buy a Windows Phone.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

sloomis (1326535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313864)

4) Buy Palm and use WebOS as base.

Make that three options, HP purchased Palm almost a year ago

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314170)

3) Buy or co-develop a new OS with RIMM. I've read they asked them but RIMM wasn't interested, or something such. QNX-based OS with QT and Alien Dalvik?

Make that two options. They clearly pursued and then dropped option three because it was a no-go. You're going to have trouble using the OS when the other company won't let you.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314408)

Make that one option becasue option one was clearly not working. That's what put them in this position to begin with.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314320)

But it _was_ an option.

Hello Mr. Elop. (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313226)

How's the hijacking of Nokia, a good manufacturer of phones before you were there, going?

Re:Hello Mr. Elop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313646)

Yeah, nokia has just had blockbuster success after blockbuster success for the past 5 years, they were just printing money with all their phone models. Shame how everything unraveled only after Mr. Elop took over at the end of 2010.

Re:Hello Mr. Elop. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313666)

Just fine. He bought the stocks after the strategy day and the markets response, and he didn't bought too many so there's still plenty of opportunity.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313336)

> If employees end up leaving as a result, then they probably weren't great employees anyway
Yes, all the rats who are abandoning the ship are clearly unfit.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314080)

Read to the end of the sentence next time.

... by diligently following those managers out the door.

People are clearly free to disagree with the course that the company is taking, and then find a different job. But, if they are doing so because they are following the managers--who will inevitably be let go--making these bad decisions, then they are just as bad for it.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (4, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313602)

Moving to a third-party OS you have no control over is never smart. If history should teach us anything it's that those who give up control of their platform end up dead by the side of the road somewhere. The only right option is to man up and whip the company into shape.

Re:Sounds like moving to a third party OS was smar (4, Insightful)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313990)

HTC, Motorola and Samsung are doing terribly these days.

lol (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314276)

Isn't Microsloft famous for infighting killing their good projects and their partners?

And they ignored the North American Market. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313186)

That is Nokia's big problem IMHO. The US has the biggest GNP of any single nation. It is a large unified market and it is just dumb to ignore it. Nokia didn't adapt the the US model by working with carriers to offer subsidized smart phones and didn't offer CDMA smart phones. Way back when Sprint had no really interesting smart phones I would have jumped on a Nokia smart phone. Now we have Android, IOS, WebOS, RIM, and WP7. I just got an EVO 4g but I would have bought the N900 if I could have for the same price and on Sprint.
Nokia believed that it could live marketing to the rest of the world and it did for a good while. Thing is all the new smart phone OSs are coming from North America.

Re:And they ignored the North American Market. (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313462)

That was Steve Jobs great brilliance. Nokia wasn't going to to play the crappy network game, and basically gave up on the north american carriers as worthless, incompetent, and not worth dealing with.

So Steve Jobs comes along, releases a device that, at launch, was inferior to Nokia's offerings, and was saddled by an outdated network. But suddenly people could see the potential in their phones, if only they had a decent network, and a decent OS. Nokia had (for the time) a decent OS, but no connection to the network, and by the time the network was getting fixed Apple had used off the money they generated to actually build a decent OS. Now you have RIM, Google and Apple all devouring marketspace that in the rest of the world was basically owned by Nokia, because they didn't catch up on innovation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of Steve Jobs or a lot of the nonsense he pulls, but credit where credit is due, he forced the antiquated network providers in the US and Canada to start pulling their heads out of their asses. That should have been done by Jim Balsillie or Mike Lazaridis of RIM, but they didn't get it.

And now we have phones that are basically computers that can make phone calls. Nokia understood the phones that can do other stuff model, but it doesn't get computers that can make phone calls, and RIM is in the same boat. MS, Apple and Google all get it, it's a matter of how well they can execute and any number of other factors for them.

Re:And they ignored the North American Market. (3, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314138)

but it doesn't get computers that can make phone calls

They got it better than anyone else, but only after it was basically too late.

Re:And they ignored the North American Market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35314196)

Why was Nokia so busy playing the "crappy phone experience" game if they were so amazing and US carriers were the ones at fault? Face it, Nokia might have good hardware, but the "phone" part is shit, unless it's just a phone. That might satisfy the luddites around here, but (as the last three years have shown) it didn't cut it in the real world at all.

USA is a small disunited market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313680)

USA is a small disunited market. 4% of the planet's population with "home grown" (leaving aside they don't give a rats ass about USA) giants MS and Apple playing hardball (cf Xbox doing "OK" in the USA but tanking everywhere else), with a millitantly (and proudly) technophobic idiocracy, a foreign company trying to get a novel product with a "hippie product" (Linux) would get nowhere fast.

Re:USA is a small disunited market. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314308)

Funny but Apple and Google are totally taking Nokia's market share and they had to go Microsoft. Yes just ignore that US market and look what you get. The US market really only has one language to deal with, one currency, and one set of governmental rules. It also has the largest GNP. The XBox doing OK is a multibillion dollar system.
That is technophobic? Yes that is why Nokia had to come to Microsoft. Just at is stupid for a major US company to ignore markets like the EU, Japan, and China you can not be a world wide company and ignore the US.

Re:And they ignored the North American Market. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313752)

I don't think they ignored the US market. The story I've heard was that they pissed of all the carriers back in the 1990s by rejecting to deliberately criple their phones. They have since warmed up and produced the cripled phones necessary for the US market, but the carriers still doesn't like them.

Actually they tried to get into the US market (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313764)

Pretty much constantly.

Their phones are already subsidised everywhere, and the US market isn't unified. It's owned by the carriers who have carved it up into fiefdoms, you can't be exclusive with them all.

They also totally missed the boat with touch screens. Even now, the touch screen phones don't quite match up with the iPhone. That may be a cultural thing, Europeans are less "consumers" than Americans, so keyboards matter.
 

Re:Actually they tried to get into the US market (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314214)

The US market is unfied in that there is one language, one currency, and one set of regulations to deal with. And you only have four major carriers to deal with.

the final paragraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313188)

Wafaa's preferred solution was that Elop "should have forked Android, and done it better, made some of it open source, and wrestled the ecosystem away from Google. Can't be that hard. That would have been my strategy."

That doesn't give me a great feeling of confidence in the business/project management experience of that particular developer.

Regarding the N950 successor (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313190)

I'd hope that they don't screw it up further by throwing out the QWERTY slider form factor. Failing that, I would only hope that a keyboard can be hacked on to address such a deficiency.

An onscreen keyboard not only takes up screen space, it also is worse off versus an actual keyboard. That, and the hinge is fine enough on the N900 to transfer to the N950.

Re:Regarding the N950 successor (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313718)

Re:Regarding the N950 successor (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313910)

Then Nokia can save a ton of development costs and just port Meego to the E7, then slap the N950 label on it.

Make it the same color as the N9-00 or N900, and you have a damn good phone.

Re:Regarding the N950 successor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313782)

The keyboard on N900 was one of the worst made by Nokia.
I hope they adopt a form factor like one of the newer models, or preferrably E63-E73, why hide it?
And a touch screen is really just a glorified waste of money, it could do without it.

Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313194)

I don't get it. How can a company that has made some great phones, and made one of the most successful phone OSs around, fail so hard at trying to recreate their success?

Oh, wait, that's right. Management.

Re:Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313234)

Well it's partly management for not keeping the developers from in-fighting and thus causing no product to be released. But it's also the devs who can't seem to get their head around working together rather than fighting amongst themselves. There's plenty of blame to spread around for Nokia's bumbling of things.

Re:Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313318)

devs who can't seem to get their head around working together rather than fighting amongst themselves

How is that not management's fault? They are the ones creating conditions that lead to the "us against them" mindset in which you have to compete with your coworkers instead of ... you know ... the actual competition.

Re:Seriously... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313442)

No, it's entirely a management problem. Devs infighting is a management problem. Management is responsible for hiring devs. Management is responsible for setting objectives. Management is responsible for motivating devs to work together. Management is responsible for firing devs that can't work as part of a team.

It's the devs' fault that they couldn't work together. It's management's fault that they were employed.

Re:Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35314144)

And above all, it's managements fault for not only encoraging said in-fighting but even instigating it. Nokia management has to be the biggest bunch of idiots "since king Otto the Incredibly Stupid ordered 8000 viking helmets with the horns on the inside."

More specifically Elop and his MS sponsored hijack (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313258)

I'd rather take the Maemo / Meego stacks over the more locked-down Android. But Elop wants to kill a perfectly good phone with a more-open-than-Android stack.

Then replace it with an SD card mangling, homebrew-co-opting WP7 platform.

Re:More specifically Elop and his MS sponsored hij (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313920)

Android is not locked down. It is completely open source.

You might as well say "linux is locked down, just look at the tivo"

Nothing is stopping Nokia from making an Android phone that is as open as the Maemo/MeeGo phones they have been making.

Motorola can lock their phones all they want, what does that have to do with Nokia or Android in general?

Thanks for making my point. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314108)

Then see how far you get versus the Maemo/Meego platforms on Android. That Dalvik baggage kind of gets in the way when doing things that are a given on Nokia's Linux platform.

Maemo and Meego are what Android really should have been - a phone with a very accessible and usable Linux stack.

REWRITE BECAUSE IT WAS CRAP !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313220)

Open sores is all crap or it would not have been lanced like the puss-filled boil it almost always is. Nokia did the right thing for the wrong reason. It wasted all that effort polishing a turd. HIRE the best, not the cheapest.

Re:REWRITE BECAUSE IT WAS CRAP !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313240)

Open source != cheapest

Troll logic failed.

Re:REWRITE BECAUSE IT WAS CRAP !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313340)

Open source != cheapest

Exactly. Open source is usually far more expensive than most other options and with usually lousier quality.

Writing was on the wall for N900 before it began (3, Interesting)

blindbat (189141) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313256)

It didn't take seeing all this happening with the N900. I had a N800 and developed for it and saw that stuff then. That's when I bailed to iOS. At least with that you had some OS maturity and a platform that knew where it was going. I liked the N800--an open linux *computer* for my pocket. But the disarray of Nokia...

You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313362)

From a relatively free Maemo platform to a walled garden is not an improvement. That, and unlike the iDevices, you can do all the things that Apple decrees that you cannot do and have all the things that Apple decrees that you shall not have.

Some of the things you're missing:

Non-carrier dependent tethering
Out-of-the-box root access
A mature, true-to-form Linux stack
OS upgrades that dont obliterate your personal data
Integrated QWERTY keyboard
Removable / expandable internal batteries
A standard USB connector
Non-proprietary screws

While you're waiting for the next upgrade to be jailbroken, many others are doing things with the phone that would be breakthroughs for the iDevice. With the current release of software.

Re:You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313580)

From a relatively free Maemo platform to a walled garden is not an improvement.

So says you. The 30 million iPhone 4 owners seem to disagree.

Re:You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (4, Insightful)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313818)

From a relatively free Maemo platform to a walled garden is not an improvement.

So says you. The 30 million iPhone 4 owners seem to disagree.

aka "Eat shit, 50 billions of flies can't be wrong"

Mod parent insightful *and* funny. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314166)

N/T

Re:You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35314112)

Really, I'm curious - what "breakthroughs" are you accomplishing with an N900 that are impossible with a standard Android or iOS device? Have you cured cancer with it? Launched a manned space mission? Explored the depths of the Marianas Trench? Single-handedly brought peace to the Middle East? Because last time I checked, I could check email, browse the web, and make a phone call on an Android or iOS device just like you can on an N900.

So enlighten us - what amazing breakthroughs has your N900 made possible? (Other than "being a pretentious asshole about my phone preferences on Slashdot," I mean?)

tl;dr - let's tone down the hyperbole, eh?

Re:You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314188)

Yep those were the good ol' days. RIP, openness on mobile devices.

Re:You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314242)

That list of things the parent is missing apparently are important to you, but not to him. Welcome to the real world, son, Your opinion isn't the only one. It's not even that important, overall.

Re:You don't have to jailbreak an N900. (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314460)

From a relatively free Maemo platform to a walled garden is not an improvement.

I'm not going to speak for the parent here, however, going from Maemo to iOS is a huge improvement if you're trying to pay the bills with your work on that particular platform.

Nokia will silently disappear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313268)

ditto.

Nokia should be very concerned... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313370)

I think Nokia's Elop now has what is known as buyer's remorse. [wikipedia.org]

Here's the most troubling starememt from Nokia's Inverstors page [nokia.com]

"Nokia and Microsoft have entered into a non-binding term sheet. The planned partnership remains subject to negotiations and execution of the definitive agreements by the parties and there can be no assurances that the definitive agreements would be entered into".

(Emphasis mine).

On the whole, Microsoft has a probable benefit. For Nokia on the other hand, I am not so sure given Microsoft's past.

Should Nokia fail to dance to Microsoft's tune, Microsoft will drop it like a plague leaving Nokia holding the bag. At that point, it will be 'over' for Nokia in the smart-phone space. Sad indeed.

Re:Nokia should be very concerned... (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313448)

"Nokia and Microsoft have entered into a non-binding term sheet. The planned partnership remains subject to negotiations and execution of the definitive agreements by the parties and there can be no assurances that the definitive agreements would be entered into".

That's normal. About half of announced major business deals don't close.

Re:Nokia should be very concerned... (1)

joesteeve (2002048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314070)

On the whole, Microsoft has a probable benefit. For Nokia on the other hand, I am not so sure given Microsoft's past.

Its a BIG win for Microsoft. All of a sudden, they get to compete with the other big guys (iOS, Android, etc.) :P

Such a waste (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313382)

Intel would have been better off keeping Moblin by itself. Even the name Meego sounds retarded. Now the whole brand is damaged goods.

Re:Such a waste (1)

joesteeve (2002048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313966)

I had the opportunity to try MeeGo on one of their devices (I am not sure which one that was). It was pretty good actually. They could have gotten somewhere if they had not been shifting from one technology to another like changing underwear. :-/

Iterative development FTW (3, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313408)

It's weird how many engineers fall into the trap of trying too much when settling for good enough would be the right solution. You can always improve stuff in the next version, even if part of the code is ugly. I think the Hurd project has shown how well it works when you insist on getting it "just right".

There are exceptions (Blizzard for example), but often Good Enough is just what you need. Especially with OSS, where the user base doubles as QA and a feedback channel for new ideas.

Re:Iterative development FTW (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313862)

Am I misreading this, or are you suggesting Blizzard only releases when it's "just right"? Because I've seen a lot of patch notes and hotfixes that would suggest otherwise. :)

Re:Iterative development FTW (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314044)

Yeah, definitely Blizzard is not a reference here. Blizzard used to be a top-notch quality developer, but some of the stuff they did previous to the release of Cataclysm was downright outrageous, especially if you consider you are paying monthly for that stuff. Oh, and don't forget those maintenance days where you don't get to play but still get charged the same fee over and over. Blizzard still has cool graphics and ideas in their games, but that Activision partnership or whatever it is that made them forget their "no release till ready" rule, really sucks.

Re:Iterative development FTW (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314158)

Yep, considering they now have daily hot-fixes, it looks like they rushed Cataclysm out the door for that Christmas cash, and now the players get to sit there as their classes are "re-balanced" a few times a week.

Now they are in bed with M$ (2)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313420)

HEADLINE: The two kids that couldn't get dates to the prom decide to dance together. RESET one more time.

Sounds familiar (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313436)

Did George Broussard go to work for Nokia or something?

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314178)

No, they've actually released software since the invent of Windows 95.

That is not how it works (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313490)

and I hope the people who truly screwed up the amazing Linux opportunity that was the N900 get shut down in the process.'"

That is not how it works. The people responsible for this mess will blame Linux and tell it's not ready for "prime time" and go with Microsoft's Windows Mobile instead.

Re:That is not how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313650)

Ha ha. WP Ready for primetime.

1) Doesn't multitask
2) The HTC I've seen needs 500MB RAM
3) Built as ARM (not THUMB code) otherwise, presumably, it'd be too slow.
4) Doesn't seem to offer USB mass storage!!!!!

One could go on. This deal is not about the OS particularly.

Re:That is not how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313802)

That is not how it works. The people responsible for this mess will blame Linux and tell it's not ready for "prime time" and go with Microsoft's Windows Mobile instead.

My secret hope as one working for MeeGo at Nokia is that all the useless meddling managers and VPs will scramble to transfer to the WP7 organization and leave us to work in a more engineer-driven mode as we did in pre-N900 times. If Elop is as good as he promises, the fools could even start feeling too much heat before they do a lot of damage there.

Speaking as someone who works there (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313510)

Part of the problem is that the egos are waaaay bigger than the IQs. And they have some smart people. They do however know that they are geniuses and everyone else is an idiot, so there is a huge case of "Not Invented Here"... LOL, now it isn't.

There is also this habit of a 6 monthly reorg. Any project which is longer than 6 months is likely not going to happen, the reorg will change all the priorities as the next batch of geniuses move into position and try to make a name by re-inventing the wheel, this time in a shade of green.

Then there is the "healthy antagonism" (again, LOL) between organisations within the company which generate money and those which are set up as cost sinks. The money generators don't have to pay the costs of their wish lists, so they have very big, and regularly changing wish lists, and the cost sinks are squeezed to reduce their budgets causing bottlenecks, delays and frustration. Semi-open warfare ensues regularly.

The word "DOH", could be applied to Nokia's management structures.

Here's the thing, change was badly needed, but they just jumped into a burning fire with Windows, MS can brick Samsung's Windows phones at will, same now for Nokia.

Fire the Divas (sorry, "Architects") and management who are making dumb decisions and get back to actual engineering. i.e. Make organisations pay for their decisions and costs, and when they fuck up, no more money.

or screw it all. Just install windows on everything.

Gave up... (2)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313686)

I gave up on Nokia back in the mid 1990's. Their phones always seemed like they would be awesome on paper, and then when you actually tried to use them you realized what a giant piece of shit they are. It wasn't because the phone was a piece of shit, though, like you usually find with products that look good on paper - the phones hardware is solid. It's the UI. Nokia has never been able to develop a usable UI. This was true in the 90's and several years ago when the N95 was the rage, I figured they'd had time to fix their mistakes. I bought an N95. Again, the hardware was awesome, but guess what? The UI was total garbage.

Nokia simply can't develop a UI that people want to use. In the 90's, long before smart phones, the UI was simply too slow. I literally had the problem of dialing too fast on Nokia phones. The UI couldn't even keep up with dialing a phone number. In the late 2000's, again the UI couldn't keep up with input, but add in the quasi-featurephone/smartphone hybrid that is Symbian and you have a graphically intensive, slow UI that is cumbersome to use. Another recipe for disaster.

I wish Nokia would pull their head out of their asses and take a step back to assess the fact that they have nothing to offer in terms of quality when it comes to the software end of things. Everything they have been doing up to know is complete fail; they need to realize this and look at successful software applications. Android, iOS and yes, possibly even WP7. Their new alliance with Microsoft is a step in the right direction, but it probably wasn't the best choice. Nokia could have dug themselves out of the giant hole they are in by going with Android (since I doubt even they could license iOS), simply, easily and quickly. Then again, they may feel the need to modify Android so much and re-write whatever they can that they'd make a mess of that, too. So perhaps the stern hand of Microsoft might let them put out a phone that's actually usable. Time will tell.

N900 Owner. (2)

orlanz (882574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313780)

So I got a N900 a year ago. My first Nokia phone (I was a Sony man before). It was and is almost exactly what I am looking for. I was even impressed by the way Nokia did the whole repository thing. I am basically a PM. And as I looked into the processes that Nokia employeed, I slowly became disappointed.

They had initiatives for :
- code refactoring for better UI/responsiveness
- Meemo to Meego migration
- Ovi Suite
- Better front camera software stack
- Qt in the works
- voice recognization
- Android compatibility
- etc.

What I see are a lot of "initiatives" but no project plans or defined deliverables. It just seemed to me that there was no direction or focus. The second something became almost, it's direction changed. I don't mean to be rude, but this is what in-experienced programmers do. I am not talking about good/bad programmers, but about immature/mature programmers. Mature programmers are the guys who also write the good help docs & APIs along with the code. In-experienced programmers reinvent wheels, lose focus on the big picture, and get too much into their super optimized code. And I am not placing the blame on them, but rather the PMs. It is their duty to notice this, put them back on the correct path, and keep the big picture in mind. It is the PM's duty to define and focus on the deliverables. They need to make sure they aren't wasting time on useless optimizations that give you 50% gain a module, but a meer 1% in the overall process.

Going with Microsoft may give Nokia the ability to quickly draw a common big picture, but it does really nothing to address the issues underneath. Even within that big picture, the issues will just resurface and you will end up like you did with the N900. I really like the N900, but it can be so much better. Before this whole Microsoft thing, I was going to buy another N900 and was recommending it to 2 others in my office as PDAs. But after almost convincing my wife to buy my phone, I dropped it at the last minute. Along with my recommendations in the office environment. A good product is more than just hardware or even software, and I don't think Nokia gets it.

Re:N900 Owner. (1)

jlowery (47102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314244)

It's not only optimizations that an immature software process will get bogged down in (optimization increases complexity, for sure); but the tendency to be enamoured by the current fad development stack (as noted in the article) because it will somehow magically make all the cruft built into their current stack go away. It's like calling 'do-overs' instead of going back and working in the small to make incremental simplifications of process, configuration, data models, and api. That's just too unsexy for most young developers, but we mature guys know that new tools != better outcome.

Re:N900 Owner. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314318)

Going with Microsoft may give Nokia the ability to quickly draw a common big picture, but it does really nothing to address the issues underneath.

I have a N800, and was looking forward to buying a N900. Then I saw the news about Maemo -> Meego. And then the news that Ari Jaaksi was leaving Nokia . . . well, that put it down for me.

My takeaway (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313800)

Every other story in TFA basically goes like this: "Our platform started on X, and then we changed it to Y, using Z UI library but the developers from Y used some of their own." As far as MeeGo and Moblin go, there didn't seem to be any attention to creating the minimum specification and just choosing what they were going to support and refine.

Nokia seemed to have completely outsourced their technology strategy to their open-source community process, and things stagnated over the sort of squabbles people in OSS know and love. Unlike Apple or Google, which took off-the-shelf OSS software that the community had written, made it their own and now act as BDFLs for their own brands and make their money off supporting and extending the OSS core; Nokia did the exact opposite, putting a ton of effort into reduplicating OS work, and then leaving support and extension to the community. It seems like their community process was completely dysfunctional and nobody working on MeeGo ever knew where the platform was going next. Nokia and Intel were very tight-lipped, so the people in the community would do their own thing and the platform would drift and work would be done on all kinds of stuff that didn't benefit Nokia. And then Nokia would come in one day and drop Gtk. You don't see the sort of high-level coordination that Google nominally does through the OHA, and you don't see the sort of commitment Apple makes to promoting their platform to end-users and keeping the platform as consistent as possible.

Open Source is good for a lot of things. People can write your software for you! But Nokia seemed to have the idea that if they just kickstarted an OSS phone OS, they could just sell handsets and the software platform would take care of itself with magic bazaar pixie dust, while assuming that at any time they could completely drop or add whatever technology they chose and the community would go along for the ride.

They did not fail (1)

simpleguy (5686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313866)

Maemo and Meego did not fail. Its just that Android succeeded better.

Failed? For Nokia maybe.. (3, Informative)

xnpu (963139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314002)

Fujitsu has released a MeeGo netbook and I'm sure more will follow. MeeGo isn't just Nokia.

I've heard this story before. (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314206)

The rewrite of Firefox as told by Spoksly [joelonsoftware.com] - features never solidifying and nothing ever shipping. To show it's not an open source thing, the whole MacOSX post System7 Taligent/Pink/Copeland fiasco.

770 - N900 (1)

popsensation (1405041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314370)

I've owned from the 770 up and have always been a bit dissapointed with each device (software) but always with a sense of goodwill to Nokia for the concept. As a stockholder (thankfully not a lot) and a avid linux developer the N900 was exactly what I wanted. I bought it about a year ago after I retired the G1. The N900 still rocks and is one of the better hardware platforms available. Problem is, development is halted, flash is no supported fully, and I got tired of waiting for 20 minutes to list out applications, and Nokia has spat in my face one too many times with this phone. I had planned to grab up a N8, but I am over Nokia for a few years. Now I am back to Android (T Mobile MyTouch G4) but I keep my N900 as my skype/grandcentral/sip/music/travel/calendar/stereo. Mostly because I came to realize the (maemo) project was drying up and I'd be better off doing some Android development anyways. I hope Nokia can get their heads out of their assets and get us MeeGo or something great with the MS partnership. Until then, its Android.

over engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35314418)

I see it every single day. Mr Dev I am happy that you are the master of object oriented programming. I do however wonder why you thought it was a great idea to use 25 inherited php classes to print hello to the screen. No don't be busting my chops I am a programmer also.

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