Lessons from Nokia's CEO: ignore your product & your customers

So, Nokia’s paper-launched their newest flagship phone, the N9.

The N9 is based (well, sort-of, anyway—something many media outlets have gotten wrong) on Nokia’s Linux-based operating system MeeGo, which they’ve been developing in-house for several years. However, in 2010, Nokia decided to switch their flagship mobile phone OS from MeeGo to Windows Phone 7—effectively aborting all long-term plans and products in the pipeline.

This has universally been regarded as a bad move.

The N9 was apparently far enough down the pipeline, and new products based on Windows Phone 7 so far, that Nokia released the device anyway. So far, the N9 is a hit.

The move to the new OS is considered the handiwork of recently-appointed Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. However, an article in the Helsingin Sanomat paraphrases Elop:

In Elop’s words, there is no returning to MeeGo, even if the N9 turns out to be a hit.

So, it doesn’t matter if Nokia’s own products are successful? The business deal made with Microsoft is more important?

I read:

I have taken part in the conversations with the teleoperators and I have been part of the consumer test groups. The feedback has been extremely positive and I am sure that the Windows Phone system will be a great success

And think: teleoperators and consumer test groups are one thing, but what about your own customers and developers?

Lessons learned here: ignore your product, and ignore your customers, and you too can be part of a company as successful as Nokia. Maybe, as CEO, you’ll get your own social media hashtag too.

Following Firefox's New Development Channels with Ubuntu


Shortly after Firefox 4’s release, Mozilla announced the move to a channel development model, à la Chrome. On Windows and Mac, builds from these channels update themselves; what about on Linux, where both self-updating software and software outside management of the package manager (i.e. manually installed) is taboo?

If you use Debian, Mike Hommey and the Debian Mozilla Team’s mozilla.debian.net provides packages for the Firefox Stable, Beta, Aurora, and Nightly channels. Be aware that these packages are still labeled Iceweasel, i.e. they lack the official Firefox branding. These packages work on Ubuntu should you want to use them.

What if you want something more Ubuntu-specific? PPAs following each of the channels exist, but they’re not obvious to find.

Nightly builds of Firefox trunk, formerly known as “Minefield” builds, are available in the Ubuntu Mozilla Daily PPA. Remember, Nightly builds receive little testing (e.g. can they build without errors?) and thus may crash frequently. Start using these builds by pasting the following into your terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox-trunk

Firefox’s new build channel, Aurora, has builds that have had more testing than those from Nightly. Builds from the Aurora channel are available from the firefox-aurora PPA, which you can use with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/firefox-aurora
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox

The Beta channel, containing builds that received more testing than Aurora and are (mostly) ready to be released, is available in the firefox-next PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox

Lastly, if you want to follow the Stable channel, consider sticking with what’s available in Ubuntu’s normal repositories. Ubuntu has a (new) policy to bring stable Firefox updates to Ubuntu releases more quickly. If you really want to be testing the next Firefox release, try the Beta channel above. If you still want the “bleeding edge” of stable, there’s the firefox-stable PPA, which will go away soon, and Ubuntu’s Mozilla Security Team PPA, within which packages only remain until they are moved into the main archive.

Notice that the Aurora, Beta, and Stable channels contain packages of the same name: “firefox”; this means:

  1. You can only install Firefox from one channel at a time.
  2. They all will use the same profile and profile registry. You’ll need to manually switch profiles or alter shortcuts to launch the desired profile if you desire different.

Packages in the Nightly channel, however, are named firefox-trunk and can be co-installed alongside builds from another channel.

To switch to another channel, disable the source with Ubuntu’s Software Properties or delete the appropriate file in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubuntu-mozilla-team-firefox-aurora\*list
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mozillateam\*list

Then re-add the appropriate repository to switch to a desired channel.

Hopefully, with easy-to-use PPAs available for each of Firefox’s build channels, more people, including you, will test these builds. Go forth and test!

Why I use Firefox 4 Mobile


A couple weeks ago, Mozilla released Firefox 4 Mobile (née Fennec) for both Android and Maemo.

I’ve had an Android phone since 2008 and honestly, I’ve never browsed the web on my phone as much as I have in the past few months when I started using Firefox 4 Mobile. It really is that much better! Here are my thoughts (focused on the Android version) on why.

Using my Creative Commons-licensed photos

Since I’ve become a photobug and licensed those photos under the Creative Commons, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for reuse. After all, that’s what CC-licensed content is for!

The “BY” bit in CC licenses, which stands for attribution, means authors/creators must be attributed if you decide to use a work. It does not specify how a work should be attributed or cited (though, there are some guidelines in CC’s FAQ), leaving it up to the owner of the work—which is the way it should be, of course.

Flickr does a terrible job letting people know how to attribute works. If you’re reading this, I’ve probably directed you here asking how I’d like you to cite or attribute any of my photos.

If you’re just using a photo, simple add a line like this somewhere near the photo, with the appropriate hyperlinks:

Name of photo, linked to Flickr photo page © Samat Jain, used CC BY-SA 2.0.

If you’re creating a derived work (that is, you modified the photo in some way), please use:

Derived from Name of photo, linked to Flickr photo page © Samat Jain, used CC BY-SA 2.0.

Summarized in an example:

Hyperthyroidism the morning (with zits!) © Samat Jain, used CC BY-SA 2.0.

Now, a rant on why I ask all for all this. There are just two reasons:

  1. I have a philosophical agenda to promote open source and free culture. I’m hoping the explicit wording and hyperlinks do so.
  2. I’m putting photos I took time to take and process on the web, for your free use… asking for a little credit (in exchange for link-fu) is not much to ask! Linking to Flickr fulfills Flickr’s ToS; linking to my homepage makes me happy; and linking to the appropriate license hopefully promotes free culture, informing users of their rights. To that end, if you can, avoid creating hyperlinks with nofollow.

Lastly, if you decide to use a photo, please let me know! I like to keep track of these things, and may link back to your use of my photo. Thanks!



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