A Brief History of Nemo Mobile

I've been working on open source MeeGo for about year. When I first got involved in MeeGo most of the people developing it were either Nokia or Intel employees. This meant that even though bugs and source code was open, a lot of the communications and decision making happened behind closed doors. Sometimes there were business reasons for this, but many times it just happened due to old bad habits.

Last spring we formed MeeGo Developer Edition for N900 -project from Nokia's people that were contributing to open source software in MeeGo. Since company's strategy had changed there was no longer business reasons for secrets. We wanted to work in fully open way. We decided to have all the meetings in the public IRC, have the discussions in IRC, promote contributions from community, and be as responsive as possible in public bugzilla. We wanted to have community involved.

I have to admit that it was hard at first to get rid of old bad habits. I had gotten used to the ways in you communicate within big corporation. It took some time, but I got used to using IRC, wikis, bugzilla, and mailing-lists as main communication channels. In fact, now it feels quite good that all the information is out there and anyone with good ideas can improve the stuff we have done and are planning to do.

In the summer community was participating in the project more and more. Our new attitude must have played a big part. Project was now more easily approachable. Contributions happened in all around the project. People were testing the releases and filing bugs, fixing bugs, developing apps, maintaining wiki's, and many other things. This was one of the reasons why we decided to rename the Developer Edition to Community Edition.

In the fall it was time for Nokia's project managers to step down from the driver's seat. We opened the governance. Community proposed members for steering group and based on merit's of candidates they were appointed. I got a seat as Nokia representative, since the company is still supporting the activity.

After Intel's Tizen news the steering group decided that it would be better to find a new name for the project, and to make sure that the community can work on the project even without big corporations backing up meego.com. Steering group chose name from proposals in the mailing list. Nemo Mobile was born.

We have now been working on Nemo for almost two months. We had to do quite big changes in the beginning so that project could be developed independently from MeeGo.com. We did a lot of changes on infrastructure. We also rebased Nemo on top of a small meego-dervived base distribution called Mer. The most disruptive changes should now be behind and we can again concentrate on how to improve system so that real users will see benefit.

Now the progress is becoming visible again. Latest release contains a lot of good stuff: SMS, Dialer, and People apps are again included, Flickr and maps are promising new apps, and I really like the Darko theme you can now choose from theme control panel. I see increased interest toward the project. There are also new people contributing to the project. After some rougher times things are starting to look good again.