Michael Hasselmann

Postings by Michael in June 2011

So there are people who say that Nokia's N9 isn't MeeGo ...

... and those people are right, if we followed the MeeGo Compliance Spec to the letter.

But at the same time, Nokia's N9 is one of those devices that the MeeGo community has always been waiting for.

Nokia's N9

If "This is not MeeGo!" is the only thing that comes to your mind whilst reading about all the N9 excitement then you still haven't realized MeeGo's biggest problem: No. Compelling. Devices. And if - at the same time - you are one of the MeeGo project leaders, then you should do yourself and everyone else involved with MeeGo a favor and simply resign.

We need more visionary leaders than you.

Brave New World

Today, we managed to get out the first release of Maliit as an independent project. As far as possible without API break, we started to use our own Maliit naming convention for installation paths, library names, etc.

During that cleanup, Jan Arne did a tremendous job improving our build infrastructure. Instead of Qt's .prf files, Maliit now uses pkg-config everywhere. Plugin developers don't have to think about install paths - they can simply read it from the .pc files, for instance:

pkg-config --variable pluginsdir maliit-plugins-0.80

The version number at the end indicates another nice improvement: versioned libraries and plugin interfaces, which means several Maliit versions can be installed in parallel (although you never want to run more than one server per session).

To install the Maliit framework into a custom directory (say, $HOME/install), simply use:

qmake -r M_IM_PREFIX=$HOME/install

Afterwards, set your PKG_CONFIG_PATH to $HOME/install/lib/pkgconfig and compile the Maliit plugins. Quite honestly, it has never been easier to develop input methods for Maliit than with this release.

Input methods and Wayland in Qt5

I was attending the Qt Contributors' Summit 2011. During the key note, it was promised that everything is up for discussion so I took my chance to discuss about improving input methods support for Qt5.

Maliit Architecture Overview

After some initial discussions with Kristian Høgsberg (Wayland, of course) and Jørgen Lind (who works on Qt Lighhouse), I also addressed Wayland. It became clear that one needs some kind of input method interface directly in Wayland. Kristian immediately started with a small prototype, in order to explain better how a Wayland compositor can provide a much better window management policy than what we currently have with Maliit and X11.

I think the session itself was really successful. I was surprised at the strong interest in this topic.

It became apparent that we should do something about Qt's input context API. For instance, add more input methods hints, come up with a better interface that describes the focus widget, preedit handling, orientation support and so on.

Now we only need to agree on how to make it happen :-)

Decent examples, at last!

Jon spent a lot of time in the last weeks improving our documentation for Maliit. However, while documentation is good (and necessary), Jon thinks that examples are better. I can only agree with that.

I am planning to use Jon's example material for an input method workshop at one of the upcoming MeeGo Freedays (German only) here in Berlin, just to see how useful it is for newcomers.

Maliit starts to feel more and more like a real open-source project, and I am proud of that. Just compare our wiki from end of February with the current, information-packed version, or take a look at the steady traffic on our own mailing list (started only in March this year). Or perhaps just try googling it!

I am really happy to eventually see real contributions and input method plugins from others, which makes me think that we are on a good way.

But this is still only the beginning, and more interesting news will follow soon.

Maliit Session at MeeGo Spring Conference 2011

I was attending the MeeGo Spring Conference as an invited speaker, talking about Maliit - the MeeGo Input Methods - and how to develop custom input method plugins for it.

Maliit Architecture Overview

We had more people going to the talk in Dublin than to this one, but at least the slides and the recording are available online now.

Questions for MeeGo

The MeeGo Spring Conference in San Francisco was nice, perhaps not so much for the press folks (uninspiring key note, no product announcements). As a speaker, I was fortunate enough to receive sponsorship from the Linux Foundation (special thanks to Brian Warner for the unbureaucratic approach to this). I got to meet a lot of people face-to-face and the hallway track spawned interesting discussions, circling around questions such as:

And, of course the poisonous:

(I am going to be mean and won't answer the questions for you, as I am too opionated here, sorry.)

Other than that, San Francisco was of course great. I also spend some time travelling through California; the country side is simply gorgeous.