Re: GNOME Mobile, or "GNOME on Purism's Librem 5"


2017-09-03 17:27 GMT+02:00 Alberto Ruiz <aruiz gnome org>:
Did anyone try to use GNOME on a smaller, phone-sized display already?

Well, yes, Nokia did Maemo 10+ years ago and it was all Gtk+ based:

The TL;DR of that story is... messy. They created a set of separate
widgets, hildon, that didn't have a good story as to how they would
make it upstream. Maemo's shell was stylus and keyboard driven and
once the iPhone appeared everything changed...

One thing they got right was making a product widely available to
GNOME developers (N770, N800, N900...).

Is there interest in the community in actually making a "GNOME Mobile"
a reality (of course, Purism would help with that)?

I think many of us would love to see that happening. But my take on it
is that it will only happen if people step up to do the work.

Yeah, I remember that good old times :-) Reviving Maemo is not really
an option, fortunately ;-) GNOME is much different now, and phones are
as well.

I am looking forward to your replies!

I am not sure what you are trying to achieve with this email. Are you
just trying to assess if the community would welcome a GNOME Mobile
initiative? Because the response depends a lot on the specifics of how
you want to do things.

Yes, pretty much that was the intent. At the moment, we do not know
yet how many resources we will have (if any at all, depending on the
crowdfunding) to make the phone and GNOME Mobile a reality, but
figuring out what would need to be done and how any such effort would
be received by the community is very valuable to know in advance.

For example: are you going to be setting up a wikipage in or are you going to have an in-house
documentation/development process?
Are you going to start writing
mobile friendly widgets/apps in git(lab) or are you going to
host/bugtrack things yourselves? Are you going to start writing GNOME
Shell extensions and patches for a mobile shell and contributing them
upstream? Are you going to start profiling and improving GNOME Shell's
performance on slow I/O?

If we do anything, it will be done upstream, as per Purism's vision.
So, developing an inhouse solution based on the GNOME stack wouldn't
be an option for us.

These are a few ideas on how you might want to procede:

- Communication: start communicating your vision of what a GNOME
mobile is and document it on and be vocal about it on as you make progress
- Design: engage your designers with the design team early to see how
we can create certain continuity between the desktop and the touch
GNOME experiences
- Planning: I would try to assess what are the specific technical
challenges of the platform as of now, and start sketching a plan on
how to overcome them
- Iterate: I'd start trying to write a simple app (say, the messaging
app) on a standard GNOME Shell session, look at the shortcomings, list
them and have your developers start proposing patches and/or
strategies to overcome those (at first, Gtk+ and GNOME Shell I'd say,
but in the future flathub and GNOME Builder are other projects that
you might want to engage wrt the developer experience aspect of

This is exactly the reply I was looking forward to, thank you! :-)

There is another thing that would help Purism a lot, and it is the
availability of the form factor itself. It would be great if we could
have, say, a cheap (~100 USD) Intel based tablet that we could use as
a reference and figure a way to make it available to the upstream
developers willing to help and test. The 300 USD prototyping board is
already expensive enough that prolly many people are not even thinking
pledging for it (in my case, it'll be just another pile of circuits
lying around my drawer.

Yes indeed. At this years Debconf we had a "Debian Mobile" BoF and the
inavailability of affordable boards for testing was pretty much listed
as the #1 issue to get more developer interested in mobile. The same
problem is plaguing the Plasma Mobile developers over at KDE. It would
be awesome if we could do something about that (but I can't promise
anything yet).

Another approach could be running GNOME Shell on your laptop and
access it remotely with an Android app, Jonas Adahl has been working
on the GNOME Shell infrastructure for remote access and this is
something that will certainly be feasible in the near future.

That's an interesting idea!

Long story short, if you guys want to pull this off, you need to lead,
with code, communicating a clear vision of what you want to achieve,
and engaging on concrete items to start figuring out how to do this
without conflicting with the ongoing plans of the GNOME platform.

That for sure :-) Thank you for your detailed reply!

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