N900 and Installing Maemo SDK on Ubuntu x86_64

Well, this is my first post on my new blog. It have been a while since I blogged and I really want to do it again. I think that with this new tool which is simpler and is text based I will be able to get more easily the thoughts out of my head.

Around mid-February I bought a Nokia N900 (see video below) from a local Ebay-like Web. The N900 is a Linux based "Internet Table" with phone functionality. Others prefer to call it a Linux Smartphone. In any case is a device that gives you the basic functionality of a phone plus the experience of a desktop Internet experience providing you among others things:

  • Mozilla-based web browsing with full flash support
  • Common IM platform supported integrated into one (Conversations)
  • Skype support
  • Music, Video, and Radio receiver and transmitter.
  • Mail for exchange with Calendar sync.

And given that it is a Linux-based device, porting applications is somewhat easier, so with minor efforts you can get Gimp, Open Office and a extra bunch of application running smoothly on this device.

The SDK for this device is free of charge and the supported Languages are C,C++ and Python. I would have liked support for Java, Ruby and Mono. I thing the lack of support of Java is one the grey spot of this device.

In general I am happy with the device. It pretty much fulfill all my expectations, however here some things I believe could be improved:

  • More applications: The lack of commercial application could hurt badly this device.
  • Battery life: Life duration really suck. I will have to get an extra battery.
  • More documentation and support for developers.
  • Support for multiple accounts in mail for exchange.
Installing the SDK on Ubuntu x86_64

I am planning to code some application for this device (while learning some Python) so I decided to install the sdk on my Ubuntu 9.10 box. I ran into problem using the GUI installer that is related to the vdso32 kernel option. In order to install the "Maemo 5 SDk" you should put "vdso32=0" in your kernel command line. As it is common in Ubuntu, wich each realease a lot of stuff changes so I couldn't find where to put this option. But doing it could be more easy. Look for the file /etc/default/grub and append "vdso32=0" to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX variable. Mine looks something like this:

bc. # /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`

After that reboot and the installation is just a matter of clicking "next" :-).


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