Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meego Conference First Impressions

I am grateful for the opportunity to have gone to MeeGo Conference this week.

As has been discussed, the keynote was a let down. I very much appreciate Jaffa's analysis of the keynote.  The only thing I have to add is that there were rumors that the keynote was reworked at the last minute for various reasons and if this is the case we should be somewhat understanding, it is difficult pulling off a change like that.

So what were my favorite things about MeeGo Conference?

First, spending time with various members of the Maemo and MeeGo communities.  It was a lot of fun spending time together whether in sessions, meals, trips around town, or playing werewolf together.  It was great to see GeneralAntilles, Jaffa, Qole, sjgadsby, fiferboy, texrat, timsamoff, wazd, and many more.

My second favorite aspect of the conference was the collaboration.  I caught word of an QA lunch BoF which was good as I don't remember if there were any other community app developers at the table to provide input from that perspective.  It was great to see the collaboration between geekygirldawn, xfade, lbt, bergie, and others.

The main problems I see with where we are at with extras is (1) the monotonically increasing version numbers between repos, causing pain if you have a "1.3" in extras-testing but need to push through a "1.2.1" due to say Google changing an API making the app in extras completely worthless, (2) the friction in the workflow for providing both testing and user feedback, (3) noise in extras-testing due to lack of cleanup, and (4) use of extras-devel rather than a PPA.  (3) and (4) are resolved, so hopefully we also get (1) and (2).

Another aspect to the collaboration that I participated in was thp's Python presentation.  During the Q&A we had a bit of a discussion on viability for Python for various instances of Meego.  I'll cover this more in another post.

The final part to collaboration which I got to observe was thp et al taking the loaner Exo PC's and creating a multi-touch pong game.

The third and final of my favorite parts of the conference was the sessions.

Arjan Van De Ven's presentation was the best I saw due to his passion, his call to action, and audience (particularly Jaffa) raising issues with the internal communication within Intel being at friction with keeping MeeGo open.  A couple months ago he announced replacing several pieces of key software with other variants.  People took issue with no previous open discussion, few if any bug reports regarding Intel's complaints, possible NIH syndrome, and how much of this was spite towards Nokia for the switch.  Some interesting tidbits from what little I caught of that flame war were that some of the software being reverted to (evolution) has the same problems as what it is replacing (tracker) and the suggestion that software shouldn't be accepted until it is ready being at odds with the call to use innovative technologies.  Add on top of that last one the risk of "ready software" being more likely to be announced through unilateral big-reveals, shunning the in-the-open from-the-beginning software (here is looking at you MeeGo QML Components which I'll discuss more in a follow up post).  The main disappointment were a couple of potshots made at Nokia during the discussion.

I do understand that there is a conflict between always-innovative/always-beta software and getting quality releases out now using tried and true software.  I think the main thing people take issue with is how this was done and how much more this will be done with Nokia taking a backseat role.

The presentations on the future of Qt were also great even if they did raise my eyebrows on a few points (again, in a follow up post).  I got to see the Qt5 plans, Lighthouse, and QtQuick 2 presentations.  Unfortunately it wasn't until after-the-fact that I found out I should have also gone to MeeGo UX Components presentation (again, that promised follow up post).

As I've previously mentioned, thp's Python presentation was great.  I also expect wazd's presentation to be good but forgot to go (and he even used some of my programs, shame on me).  I also have to say I was impressed with hopbeat's use of Prezi and would wish to never see a traditional power point again.

Despite the let downs, MeeGo Conference was great.  It was also good to get some time dedicated to programming and to see more of San Francisco compared to my last visit (I was a lot less lost thanks to a real GPS).