#N900 – The Maemo Community Council Elections

The Maemo Community, that is, the community of people using devices like the Nokia N900 and its predecessors is holding elections for its community council. Instead of looking at this like a beauty contest of geeks, I thought, as an old political organizer and blogger, I would look at it from a political standpoint. For my regular readers who are not interested in geek politics, feel free to skip this. However, if you are interested, read more below.

There are currently ten candidates running for five positions on the Community Council. They are for six month terms.

There are several issues that I find interesting in the election that will affect my thoughts. First is about what happens to the Maemo community as Nokia moves over to Meego. Maemo is likely to stick around for some time as people continue to run Maemo on older devices, perhaps even including the N900. As such, the community may shift over time to being more like a CPM users community. How do the different candidates see the future of Maemo and what are their thoughts about Meego.

Another very big issue for me is how inclusive is the community. The Maemo community right now seems to be fairly good at including people who are simply looking to be end users of really cool cellphones as well as people that what to program and get under the covers of how the devices work. I’ve been concerned that the Meego community lacks this inclusiveness and have for the time being left that community.

So, how do the candidates really stack up? In a traditional election, one factor some people consider is how the candidates are rated by various organizations. Within the Maemo community, people have ‘karma’ reflecting their various levels of activity in the community. One simple voting strategy might be to simply vote for the five candidates with the highest karma. To facilitate this, I’m sorting my review of the candidates based on their Karma, as of the time I’m writing this.

However, there is much more than karma that needs to be considered. Personally, I will not vote for people that have argued for too much exclusivity. Likewise, I will seek to find a slate that provides a good balance between developers and users.

Leading the top of the list, sorted by karma is Andrew Flegg / Jaffa. He has a karma of 1610. He indicates that he is interested in Documentation, News, Programming, Promotion, Support, Testing & reporting bugs, UI Design, Web. Jaffa has served on the council before and on his professional page he talks about the election and the concern about the relationship between Maemo and Meego. He has made great contributions to the mailing lists I’ve seen him on, both with the Maemo and Meego community. He seems like a very good candidate.

Coming in second on the list is Ryan Abel / GeneralAntilles. His karma is 1440. He lists the same interests as Jaffa and he cares passionately about many issues, especially about things like the software used for the website and the way emails are processed. He is bright and articulate about these issues. However, I often end up on the other side of the discussion from GeneralAntilles and my personal feeling is that he does not represent the non-geek user side of the community as I would like.

Coming in third on the list is Randall Arnold / Texrat. His karma is 1287. Like Jaffa and GeneralAntilles, he lists the same interests. His email signature mentions that he is on the Maemo community council. He is doing great work with MeeGo and writes a great blog. I’ve corresponded with him on several occasions and I think that he strongly represents the broader community. I liked his post about voter apathy and believe he, perhaps more than anyone else I can think of, deserves to be elected.

Next on the list is Attila Csipa / achipa/attila77. His karma is 845. He lists himself as being interested in programming, specifically Python and Qt. He has made valuable contributions to the developers mailing list, offering suggestions to people running into development problems, myself included, and offering ideas about what can be done to improve the process, especially around the thorny issues of packaging and quality assurance. I do worry that he might not think enough about the non-geek end user in some of his suggestions, but balanced out with Texrat, he is a very valuable member of the community.

Next is Javier S. Pedro / javispedro. His karma is 528, and he lists his interests as News, Programming. It seems like he’s another good programmer. I’ve had little interaction with him online. His comments in the interview all seem reasonable.

Following Javier is Andrew Black / andrewfblack. His karma is 495. He doesn’t have a photo up, nor list his interests. However, clicking onto his personal site there is information about Maemo themes that he has developed. As such he seems to bring something special and unique to the group that otherwise might be missed.

Next is Andrea Grandi / andy80. His karma is 490. He lists his interests as , News, Programming, Promotion, Support, Testing & reporting bugs. He has been helpful and active on the mailing lists, including showing interest in the future of Meego.

Following Andrea is Steven Yeager / YoDude. His karma is 357 and he lists his interests as Promotion, Support, UI Design, and Web. I don’t think I’ve ever interacted with him online, but he comments, “"I believe that the Community Council we elect should have some representation from the average customer/user base”. I like this perspective, but worry that he make take it too far. In his Q&A he makes comments like “IMHO, some things need to be left to professionals. Website design, forum and communication channels should be laid out by the Manufacturers.” He goes on to suggest that the MeeGo web site should not feel committed to using Open Source software: “The best forum and website software should be used regardless of its source.” I tend to disagree on this, but I like his commitment to the average customer base.

Next is Arek Stopczynski / hopbeat. hopbeat’s karma is 342. He does not list any interests. He comments “I don't often get emotional: I believe in listening to others”. Beyond that I don’t really have much to note about him.

Ending off the list is Cosimo Kroll / zehjotkah. His karma is 249 and he does not list any interests. I don’t believe I’ve ever interacted with him online. He comments, “I see myself as an interface between the average user and the developers/advanced user, because I understand, what developers/advanced users say, and can translate this into simple language”. In the Q&A he says, “My goal is to provide a united community with different language support.” He also mentions that he “fluently german, spanish, portuguese and english, and a very little bit patois (jamaican english).” His blog is in German, and although he has the lowest karma of any of the candidates, I believe he brings something very important in his focus on different language support.

So, there you have a brief review of the candidates. You may disagree with me on what the important issues are, or how well I think some of the candidates address these issues, but I hope that if you are a member of the Maemo community, you think carefully about who you are supporting and don’t just vote in a geek popularity contest. I encourage any Maemo community members, whether you are candidates or simple end users to share your ideas here. Generally, I will allow anyone to comment, no matter what their view, as long as they remain civil and respectful and don’t resort to abusive or offensive language.

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