Wednesday 16 June 2010

Open Letter / Proposal to allow Maemo on the MeeGo Community OBS

This is an open letter to the whole MeeGo community and on behalf of the Maemo development community. The purpose of this letter is to ask the MeeGo community for their permission to bring Maemo build targets (currently Fremantle eventually Harmattan, Diablo, Chinook?) to the MeeGo Community OBS and to ask the Maemo development community for their support in this project.

*Please discuss on meego-community mailing list*

I would like to emphasise that this is a Maemo Community initiative and is not being pushed by Nokia.

At this point we are not aware of any similar initiatives related to the Moblin community but we would fully support any that arise.

The Maemo community has built up around Nokia devices which, in many ways, are amongst the most open devices available in their class. There is a passion for openness in the Maemo community and we know that the future for this family of devices lies with MeeGo.

Many of us are looking forward to MeeGo and are keen to transition as smoothly as possible.

However our devices are not fully open and developing for them has dependencies on vendor proprietary binaries which would need to be available on the build service. This would mean putting closed binaries on the MeeGo OBS and having a part of the MeeGo Community OBS functionality being 'restricted' to Maemo developers.

Naturally we recognise and respect that MeeGo is an open source project and there may be ideological issues in allowing closed binaries into the ecosystem (even though they're just for build/linking). We also recognise the risk of "opening the door" to closed binaries and suggest that this arrangement could be agreed as a one-time "grandfathering in" ( situation for the Maemo community.

However we also feel that the benefits of supporting a smooth transition for the vibrant Maemo development community would be worthwhile both for MeeGo and Maemo:

  • developers would be able to use the OBS' natural ability to target Fremantle, Harmattan and MeeGo from a single location. This would bring more developers and their applications to MeeGo sooner.
  • many of the same people in the Maemo and MeeGo community teams look after the Maemo Autobuilder and the MeeGo application OBS. Our limited volunteer time would be used more effectively on a single platform instance.
  • resources earmarked for Maemo could be added to the MeeGo estate and would naturally be used at peak efficiency as Maemo demand decreases and MeeGo demand rises.
  • new Maemo community Quality Assurance processes would evolve around the shared OBS and could assist the development of MeeGo QA processes.

and perhaps most important of all:

  • users of existing devices could expect a significantly longer maintainable life from products built on a consolidated build service and could look forward to their applications being available on MeeGo as soon as devices become available.

The buildservice already has a 'proof of concept' instance of the OBS which allows the Fremantle target to co-exist with a MeeGo target and we already intend to use this as a basis for the MeeGo community OBS.

The proposed solution *must* allow MeeGo community users to use the MeeGo Community OBS without any reference to Nokia closed binaries; this facet of the service should be entirely optional.

Equally the legal issues around the closed binaries require an EULA related to demonstrated possession of a relevant device. This can be handled in a similar manner to the Maemo Autobuilder service; ie registration of a serial# to a developer account.

The proposal therefore is:

  • To provide the closed binaries as a build-target repository (probably DoD for those who know and care) on the community OBS.
  • To grant ACL based access to this repository based on acceptance of an EULA
  • To *not* require any such EULA for 'MeeGo-only' accounts on the service

I've run this by Tero Kejo in Nokia and he's very supportive of the idea.


David Greaves / lbt
   Community Member and build systems guy.
Niels Breet / X-Fade webmaster and autobuild owner
Carsten Munk / Stskeeps distmaster
Andrew Flegg / Jaffa
   on behalf of the Maemo Community Council