Ms. Jen and Qt, The Short Synopsis

I have been trying to develop a Qt mobile app for the Nokia N8 since October, except there is one not so small problem: There is no symbian module for Qt for Mac OS X or Linux. There is also the not so small problem that only half the Mobility API has been released, but that is another issue.
It is very hard to build a Symbian^3 mobile application for the Nokia N8, when the only platform that has the full Qt SDK to develop for Symbian is Windows.
Right now, I have only my MacBook Pro and an old Dell with Ubuntu Linux, I don’t have a Windows machine nor to I have a version of Windows that will both activate on a Bootcamp partition and will run the full Qt SDK*.
I have installed and re-installed various versions of Qt from various download places to both my Mac and to my Ubuntu install and each time have run into many walls of frustration and still no Symbian module.
Nokia, why does this have to be so hard? I want to develop apps for Nokia Nseries phones, but at this point I have spent more hours trying to get the dev environment running than it would have taken to code an alpha version of the app.
Please release the full & equal Qt SDK for all three major computer platforms**.
Please do release a full Mac & Linux SDK with Symbian, as well as the rest of the Mobility API, soon – before Feb 15, 2011, so there is still at least six weeks to develop & test an app before the March 31st Calling All Innovators deadline.
Thank you.
* And the truth of the matter is that when I converted the Dell to Ubuntu in 2005, it was because I was completely and utterly over Windows in any shape or form. That was a bit more than five years ago. Every time I have to deal with Windows, my chest tightens and I feel my blood pressure raise. Nokia, I love you, but not at the expense of my health & well being.
** Calling the Mac SDK ‘Beta’ and leaving out major bits but having the docs in the SDK as well as the docs on Forum Nokia act like it is the full version equal to Windows is an evil little mind f*ck.

7 thoughts on “Ms. Jen and Qt, The Short Synopsis

  1. Why don’t you just virtualize windows? With Virtualbox ( it’s both open source and fast. It’s what I use for all my windows testing since I’m like you and only have a Macbook Pro and a linux box.

  2. Hey Ms Jen,
    Whatley suggested I comment here rather than being stupid and just posting on Buzz 🙂
    so.. duplication away…
    While I COMPLETELY agree with that (I prefer to develop on Linux – or Mac), there IS a way to build for symbian (the SDK now has the remote compiler option which essentially gets your stuff compiled on Nokia servers and send it back to you).
    I believe the problem is basically the gcc build chain for symbian isn’t currently working for Linux / Mac. Also I think the mobility stuff is now available ? not 100% sure about that though.
    Muchos gracias

  3. Hi Emmanuel – Does Windows not try to Activate through Virtual Box? The Windows disk I have is from my discontinued-it-went-off-to-recycling Dell and when I install a Bootcamp partition Windows complains that it can’t activate as my current machine is not the same OEM as the last machine.
    At this point, all finances are going towards SXSW not purchasing more software to be able to enter a contest.
    Hi Kirk – Yes, I tried the Remote Compiler, but it has been discontinued sometime in late Oct/early Nov. The notice of discontinuance is buried deep in the Nokia docs and I didn’t find it until I tried it and got a failure to remote compile on Linux. Then I searched the ‘net and found that it had been discontinued. Now the Symbian toolchain module ONLY comes as an .exe.
    When I say I have spent hours on this, I mean hours and hours.
    The announcement of the remote compiler in summer of 2010 and then in the discontinuing of it very quietly in the autumn of 2010, is yet another maddening bit.
    I really wish that both Forum Nokia & would have a big red link that said, “Known Mac & Linux Issues”, and on that page be HONEST and keep it up to date with each release and dev preview. I think this is particularly important as to a newbie to Qt the fact that you can download Qt from both Forum Nokia AND is confusing enough without competing claims and outdated or expired information.
    As Iain Wallace and I discussed on Twitter last week, they are losing dev mindshare in the US & UK, esp amongst the young & current iOS/Android devs, by not having a full working toolchain for Mac & Linux, esp given that the two new Sexy phones are Symbian^3 (N8/C7).

  4. One point I would like to highlight is the fact that at both Qt / Nokia Developer events that I attended this fall, they were heavily pushing for how easy Qt is, not just for iOS & Android devs but also for web devs. And they were heavily pushing for folks to make a mobile app for the Calling All Innovators contest using Qt.
    The Forum Nokia marketing folks have now followed up twice with mommy-esque emails that say Hey we gave you an N8, where is your application? By email number 2, they nearly got a blast back from me that said, Would love to, rather than nagging me, can you just give me a working toolchain? Which instead of sending it to a bewildered well-meaning marketing person, I blogged about instead.

  5. Hi Roland,
    My Boston trainer, most likely the same as yours, was *actually* angry at the folks who showed up to the Austin Qt training with Macs. I am sure that by the time he & his compatriot made it to Vancouver a month later that he settled down when he realized that there are many North American developers with Mac & Linux machines and to be angry was a losing battle that would only make ICS and Nokia look bad.
    Thus, no, when I attended the Qt training in Austin, Texas, I was not offered any help or suggestions, which only fed my frustration – as you can imagine given that at the San Francisco CTIA Dev Day we were told that there were options for Mac and I paid for my own plane ticket to Texas & hotel in Austin.
    The fact that I keep trying to make this work is a testament to my love of the camera on the N8 and wanting more mobile apps for the camera.

  6. i think i know which boston trainer you are referring to 🙂 (in Vancouver he kept talking about how it doesn’t work with Vista!) ! Amazingly he had it working in Virtual Box and so did one of the student attendees. I forgot the student’s name but said it “just worked”. I tried for 30 minutes to get it working in Virtual Box Windows 7 on my Mac and then gave up and just partnered with a fellow student how had a brand new Windows 7 netbook that “just worked”

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