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

Hi Matthias!  Exciting news indeed!  I personally would love to see our platform on a phone!

On Sun, Sep 3, 2017 at 8:48 AM Matthias Klumpp <matthias tenstral net> wrote:

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.

So apparently according to this thread - there is an active port to gtk3 for Hildon that might be worth observing.  Frankly though they should be speaking to us as well since I believe there are still people here who have worked on hildon in the past for Nokia.

>> 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.

One possible idea is to create a hackfest and get some of the consultancy companies to help sponsor it and sell it as a way to open a new market for them.  After all, a successful phone means a new application market of which they could make money on consulting because they would know and understand the underlying stack.

Absolutely you should come to the Libre Application Summit and work with us to get the right people there as another alternative.  Finding and attracting developers is probably a good first step.  You might also look at the Tizen stack in terms of toolchain and what not.  It already has a number of GNOME/GTK+ libraries already.

> 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.

That's appreciated. :)

> 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
> things)

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

One possible problem is building GNOME under ARM.  I don't know of any GNOME desktop running on ARM processors.  It might not be a big deal, but who knows what problems occur?  I would start with that first.
> 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).

Providing hardware is essential as Alberto mentioned.  We're good for it too.  Intel donated Chrome Pixels with HiDPI and it took us about year to provide HiDPI support.  Providing one with mostly open firmware would be appreciated.

> 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!

One great thing is that we've split the user experience from the platform and so building your own desktop is doable.  Things that are in conflict you'll probably have to maintain the patches.

Anyways the market is littered with the carcasses of many dead phone projects and it will probably be worth knowing what was the issues that prevented them from being successful and how you will be different.

Looking forward to seeing you involved in the community.

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]