Contacts on Maemo

After the Maemo Summit the details on the address book application and framework in Maemo 5 are finally completely public so I can openly talk about what I worked on during the past year and, even better, I actually have a smartphone that runs this software! (Thanks to Nokia that gave out 300 N900s, but I will talk about this in my next post)

Contacts on the N900
Contacts on the N900

Contact details
Contact details

As you can see from the screenshots, the Contacts application has everything you would expect from a normal phone address book but it also tightly integrates IM. Your local, Jabber/GTalk and Skype contacts will appear in the same address book and, if you have a friend on multiple IM protocols, you can easily merge all the contacts into a single entity.

My main task has been making the component responsible for the IM part of the address book work properly, this component is an evolution-data-server backend (recently released under LGPL) that acts as a bridge between the Telepathy IM framework and evolution-data-server. See the README file for more details.
Sadly the library on top of evolution-data-server that does the magic contact merging and contains the widgets used on Maemo is not open, but there is some hope for it.

Address book components
Address book components

At the Maemo Summit I also gave a talk on Telepathy and how it’s used on Maemo, both for messaging/VOIP and for the contacts integration. The slides are available in PDF or in format (but for some reason colours look wrong in some recent versions of OpenOffice).

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Reader Comments

I thought Maemo was an open platform? :(

Arggh, too many different contact storages. Bring on storing contacts as individual vCards in a folder.

Most of the architecture is open, but parts of the UI are not. See

evolution-data-server is the same storage system used in GNOME…

Tell the truth.
The only reason you wrote this post is to show you wonderfull avatar that I DID! :p

anyway, i hate you!
i want a n900 for free too :(

Alessandro: Don’t hate him too much. It’s only lend. He has to give it back after six months.

@ Robin: Nokia is not interested by Free (as freedom) Software, but by the technical and financial advantage of community development of Open Source. Nothing more.

That is why I will not take N900 before have a porting of Mer on this device and I think helping the Mer project.

But on reflection, I dont’t know if I want to give money to people who are for software patents and against the Net Neutrality.

So which phone are you using?

For this moment or in the future?

Now and in the future.
I heard lots of people saying the same and then ending up saying “so I use an iphone”.

korbé: You do unjustice to the people at Nokia’s Maemo department. Most people I’ve meet in that department are free software enthusiasts.

You also seriously underestimate the effort needed for changing a huge giant like Nokia. You also seriously underestimate the legal problems in mobile phone market: Regulation authorities all over the place with their funny rules. Competitor controlling trademarks on important services you want to support. Liability: Phones must not explode when being used.

No excuse for keeping libosso-abook closed. Like pointed out in the Maemo Wiki it simply is closed because it was started as closed source years ago. Lawyers created quite some barriers for opening such projects. The team simply decided to first implement the features and then to fight with lawyers and management. Maybe not the most idealistic, but definitely a reasonable decision when you have an ambitious schedule, high expectations, and finally also write that code for a living.

Well, now the ball is rolling, let’s see how management and lawyers decide.

@barisione: Indeed. Those are the most funny people. Complaining about devices not being open enough, and then take the most closed and DRM encumbered device man ever made. :-)

@ barisione: Good amalgam, it gives really want to continue the conversation.

Now I use a hold Sony Ericsson. I bought long time ago, before I’m interested in IT (Information technologies).
But I rarely use it: because it’s not equipped with an 100% Free (as freedom) operating system and his SAR is too high.

In the future? I have not decided yet. Either a FreeRunner of FIC, or a N900 when Mer can use on it. (But I hesitate even to the N900, because Nokia is for software patents and against Net Neutrality, the SAR is the N900 is still high and even with Mer, some drivers remain proprietary.)

Mathias Hasselman says:
“You also seriously underestimate the effort needed for changing a huge giant like Nokia. You also seriously underestimate the legal problems in mobile phone market: Regulation authorities all over the place with their funny rules. Competitor controlling trademarks on important services you want to support. Liability: Phones must not explode when being used.”

Ho, when a software become Free (as freedom) detonated the device that work with this software?
If so, my home now as dangerous as a war zone. O_o (If you do not understand, this last sentence was ironic. I precise, because my English level is not very good)

Now, Now, you explain better than some people on
There, if you have the misfortune to criticize acts of Nokia, you get insulted. And if you defend yourself with good arguments, either you are ignored, be the meaning of your arguments are diverted and then arguments diverted are criticized.
Impossible to have a debate there.

“I thought Maemo was an open platform? :(”

Dont get this post wrong but:

People must stop cry about “freedom” ofcourse I also want everything too be Open. But problem is this is NOT possible!

Some of the reasons is hardware manufactors and also big software companies like Microsoft. So please dont start this war on the Maemo platform too I have seen this in Linux for years and I am very sick of some of the GPL fanatics out there. Infavt it stops the fun with open source.

Think of this in a different way instead:

Maemo is the most open platform soo far. So we should help support it and make great apps so it have a chance in the future to be a big, stable competitor too Winmobile and IPhone and Android.

Nokia will for sure dump the idea too be more open if people will cry all the time.

Dont forget the fact that there is four other OS out there that will compete with Maemo. So its up to the OSS people to make Maemo succe not only for geeks also for “normal people”.

Let us make quality apps for Maemo both open and halfclosed(nokia or similar companys)

@ Mikael Hermansson: The Nokia will to keep its customers in some form of submission on always keeping proprietary software is more important for the World than the freedom of this “World”?
Nokia make Open Source, not Free Software. And that’s what I reproach them. (Well, they do what they want, but their current acted which I don’t support them.)
The problem is:
– Proprietary software: Closing for the only benefit of those who make this software.
– Open Source Software: Opening for the only benefit of those who make this software. If opening don’t give benefit for who make this software, it’s still closed. The only reason for this openness is the advantage of collaborative work. The respect of the freedom of users is absolutely not the intent of the Open Source.
– Free (as freedom) Software: Opening for the benefit of all peapole. (Who make this software, users, community member, etc…). The reason for its existence is ethical and socially. The respect of the freedom of all peapole is the intent of the Free Software. Technical and financial advantage of collaborative work are what allows the Free software is possible.

Defending the freedom of all people, as in free Software, is not a “fanaticism”. Would you say than defenders of democracy, justice or freedom of expression are “fanatics” ?

Nokia is not perfect, but it’s a huge closed source company that started doing open source and to do this hired/subcontracted a lot of free software developers. As a result of this more and more people inside Nokia seem to be aware of what free software is and push to make Memo more and more open and free.

By the way, I’m really not interested on this kind of discussion on my blog as this never end up in anything useful. I would like if it could just stop…

A very nice piece of work. I remember reading about it when Telepathy was first announced and thinking “meh”. Now I see the end result possible with it and am very impressed by it. Sweet!

Phenomenal job, Barisione. (bow)

[…] heard of GNOME are getting the benefit of Telepathy with (for example) the new N900 smartphone. One example is in the addressbook—it combines the different ways you can contact a person on the same screen (such as XMPP, SMS, […]