Friday, August 20, 2010

gPodder running in the MeeGo Handset UX for N900

Three days ago, a new MeeGo Handset UX image has been released for the N900. I wanted to try out gPodder on it to see how far I could come without any coding...

It was quite easy to get things going: Download the image, dd it to a MicroSD card, boot the kernel (detailed instructions) and set up USB networking. After that, I could ssh into the environment (the root password is meego) and have a look around.

Instead of using apt-cache and apt-get to search for and install packages, I utilized yum to search for and install PyGTK. Then, I used rsync to copy my Git checkout of gPodder to the device. There are two additional dependencies for gPodder that aren't yet available in the MeeGo repositories, namely feedparser and mygpoclient, so I just copied the Python modules from my Laptop into the src/ folder of the gPodder checkout. Then, just switch to the MeeGo user (su - meego), make sure that the DISPLAY variable is set (export DISPLAY=:0) and start gPodder from the source folder (with bin/gpodder - it automatically loads the modules from the right path) - gPodder says hello MeeGo.

The basic functions work, it's just that the Desktop UI isn't suited for mobile devices (the MeeGo compositor/decorator also has several problems, but that seems to be a more general problem). Python bindings for Hildon aren't (yet ?) available, so I could not test the Maemo 4 or Maemo 5 UIs, but I would like to do a proper Qt/MeeGo Touch-based UI for gPodder, anyway. Let's hope the PyMaemo or PySide teams are quick to release bindings and make them available in the MeeGo repositories, so Python developers can create usable UIs for MeeGo handsets :) Oh, and two MeeGo-Python facts: It comes pre-installed in the N900 image, and the version shipped is 2.6.

In short: Apart from the UI framework, everything is already in place (and working) for Python on MeeGo. With the recent release of Qt Mobility for PySide, let's hope that MeeGo Touch bindings are not that far away.

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