I managed to get my hands on the N900 after a long long wait. But the path to getting the device was long and tragic. Here’s the story.
Back at foss.in (Dec 1st week 2009), I heard of a contest held by the Nokia maemo-bangalore team. The sexy 3d pic on the blog got me all excited. So, at foss.in, including all my customer commitments, I worked 3 days/nights at a stretch to write a youtube video browser, cilantro (anagram of the irc nick of a good friend and lead of qt/webkit team to whom the app is dedicated to ). In all honestly, I put myself under some pressure to participate in the contest – I was already overloaded with work but I thought that if I can get my hands on the device I can improve QtWebKit Flash performance since I was working on that at that point. So, you can understand my excitement when awaiting for the results.
Except it was not announced (we were told informally that it will be announced at end of foss.in). We were told it was postponed to be on the 8 Dec 2009. Minor disappointment. But, fine. That didn’t happen either. After a few tweets and poking a nokia friend, the results were announced on 11 Dec 2009. No mail to winners, no notification on when we will get the devices. Just the blog. I mean no “thanks for participating, we will announce winners on xx date” even. Oh well. I forgive, only because I won. But my joy wasn’t long lived.
To my shock, the winners had folks who had not written their app for the contest. Atleast following the links on the blog suggests that the apps were published way back. Surely, one expects code to be written around the time of the contest? I must be wrong, so to make a more judicious decision, I went around looking for the source. Except, with all my googling powers, I cannot find the source for any (except one which had a commit long before contest announcement). Still convinced that my assumptions were just wrong, I left a comment on the blog asking for the code. No response. I sent a mail asking for the code. No response. So, I poked the Nokia friend yet again. This time I got a response saying they *cannot* publish the code and they will send a mail to just let people upload code to maemo garage if they care. HUH!? So, here we have a contest for foss.in where the winners have been adjudged with no published code. Sad, really sad.
On dec 18, I was told it *might* take a month for the device to arrive (and only after I asked them). 1 month!? I mean I wrote this app to get my hands on it immediately. Maybe I am expecting too much. I wait. On Jan 8, I asked them what the status was. No response (see the trend?). So I poked Nokia friend again and I got a response on Jan 14, saying they will intimate me by phone. As, you can guess, nothing was heard from them ever again. On Feb 3, I mailed them again. No response as usual. This time I didn’t ask my Nokia friend. I had given up on the people running the contest and I was going to take this outrageous behavior public.
Amazingly on Feb 16 2009, I got contacted by the maemo team for the first time ever (i.e first time initiated by them). And I did end up getting the N900 but the whole thing was such a sorry experience that I will never enter a contest that involves the maemo-bangalore team. I am not even sure if I deserve the award and if the contest was a FOSS contest (we can never know until we see the source). I had given them the link to my source but they haven’t bothered updating the blog post.
@maemo-bangalore – you need to learn to communicate and in the least, atleast respond when asked questions. You should be ashamed of treating the community and contest winners this way. If you don’t have resources to do a good job, just don’t run contests. What you have done is a mockery of FOSS. I am not actually upset with the late delivery of the device but the way you ran the contest.
If I were Nokia, I would fire the incompetent person who ran the contest.