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Former Nokia Engineers Fueling Finnish Startups 63

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the funeral-pyre dept.
pbahra writes with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. From the article: "A few weeks ago Microsoft's European chairman told TechEurope that the average amount of venture capital per head across Europe was just $7. ... Finnish blog ArcticStartup has extrapolated figures showing the total average VC investment per capita for the country was $46 in 2010... The question of why this country on the edge of the Arctic Circle should have such active entrepreneurs came up again in a conversation with Wilhelm Taht, the marketing director of Flowd... 'With Nokia changing gear there is a lot of technical know-how all of a sudden which wasn't available even two years ago,' said Mr.Taht, diplomatically, about the savage job cuts at the struggling mobile phone giant. 'There's a culture of technically savvy engineers. Finns are not necessarily very talkative people, but when it comes to what they know about computers and programming it's pretty staggering.'"
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Former Nokia Engineers Fueling Finnish Startups

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  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 04, 2011 @10:23AM (#36985400) Journal

    Maybe one of these companies can start selling MeeGo phones for those of us who want pocket computers.

    • Maybe one of these companies can start selling MeeGo phones for those of us who want pocket computers.

      Yes! Or, even better, Meamo, which I understand is more Debian-like (deb packages, for example), rather than Fedora-esque as MeeGo (RPM packages).

      • Either way, they both have their ups and downs. Keep in mind that Maemo is designed for a separate rootfs which makes porting Debian packages straight in even less likely to work. Presumably MeeGo will do away with this system on newer hardware, in which case I would have preferred if they stuck to Debian packages, even though RPMs are technically more robust - in practice I've had way more trouble with RPM than DEB package management.

        Also MeeGo is actually Debian-based with RPM package management shoehorne

        • by Microlith (54737)

          Maemo isn't designed for it so much as that's how it happened due to the flash layout on the N900.

          Also MeeGo is actually Debian-based with RPM package management shoehorned in. Weird, I know.

          No, it isn't. MeeGo is purely RPM based. The N9 runs Harmattan, which is effectively Maemo 6 and still a DEB based system.

          • True, purely RPM based, but the rest of the OS is still based on Debian, not Fedora.

            • by Microlith (54737)

              No, please stop assuming things.

              MeeGo is built against the LSB, and is not Fedora derived, nor is it Debian derived.

              Harmattan, which the N9 runs, is based on Maemo and offers a lot of MeeGo APIs. Harmattan is Debian derived.

              • After having read this thread I think I understand why neither Maemo and MeeGo will ever make it anywhere.

        • Thank's for the info. I suppose that would allow me to let my guard down against MeeGo, then. Now when someone only makes a phone with this OS and a physical keyboard and high performance and a good battery life, I might actually go ahead and upgrade from my current ten year old phone! Yay!

        • by vegiVamp (518171)

          RPM may or may not be more robust, but how is the documentation? All I can ever find is a decade-old book about RPM v2 or so, while Redhat's packages are at least on v5 by now. Debian's packaging manifest may be complex and unwieldy, but it's at least reasonably up to date, and you can already get quite far with the packaging guide for beginners. The .spec format I dug up didn't even want to compile on a recent RPM system - some keywords had apparently changed.

          • by vbraga (228124)

            Fedora documentation on RPM is fine (I didn't try the RHEL one). Just start from here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_an_RPM_package [fedoraproject.org]

            If you want examples, use yumdownloader --source to get SRPMS for other packes, install the rpm on a dummy account ( "rpmbuilder" or something ) and the look at the SPECS files on the rpmbuild tree.

            It's quite easy to package software for Fedora.

          • by Tanuki64 (989726)

            I don't care too much about the RPM internals. I use CMake as build system. This includes CPack. Set a few variables in the CMakeLists.txt file and you get an RPM or DEB package just by typing 'make package'.
             

    • by cpscotti (1032676)
      Go get yourself one; for free: http://wiki.meego.com/Community_Office/Community_device_program/Nokia/N950_Extended_Program :D
      • by Tanuki64 (989726)

        Unless you are a developer who is interested to start developing for the upcoming N9, believe me, you don't want it.

    • Maybe one of these companies can start selling MeeGo phones for those of us who want pocket computers.

      May you be speaking the truth.

      Mind you, if they're pouring out of the Nokia engineering team, they participated to Symbian, which leaves me full of doubts as to their actual skill...

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      Or even better: Make possible to disable the android userspace and install the Maemo userspace on android phones.

  • by bre_dnd (686663) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @10:28AM (#36985450)
    ... this confirms my bitter suspicions that it wasn't the engineers running Nokia against the iceberg, but the captains.

    Innovation could have happened, if only they didn't try to "manage" all the fun out of the job. Oh well.

    • by RingDev (879105)

      Microsoft iceberg aside, the Nokia leadership managed to keep Nokia as the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world. They're not looking so hot right now, but they still push more phones into the market than any other company. Just saying, they've been exceptionally successful thus far, and it'll be interesting to see how they go on in the "post iceberg" state.

      -Rick

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        but it appears that they lose focus once they were the biggest - sure, they had Maemo as a strategic plan, but they didn't keep it small and tight. Meanwhile the rest of the company went on a spree of managers and bloat while the times were good, thinking they could never end.

        That's probably what killed them, taking their eye off the ball. If they had released Maemo (or MeeGo even) then I think they would still be the number 1 phone manufacturer and we'd possibly be talking about the 3-way split of phone OS

      • by sjbe (173966)

        Microsoft iceberg aside, the Nokia leadership managed to keep Nokia as the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world.

        Never mind that its market share is plummeting...

        They're not looking so hot right now, but they still push more phones into the market than any other company.

        Which doesn't matter a spit if they aren't profitable [google.com]. You can generate tons of revenue giving away $2 for $1 but you'll be out of business faster than you can say Chapter 11. The reason to not immediately press the eject button as an investor in Nokia is that they have about $10 billion in cash.

      • by bre_dnd (686663)
        > but they still push more phones into the market than any other company Loads of low-end phones that don't make much profit.

        In it's heyday Nokia pushed out over *50* different, new phone models a year. Roughly 30% of those were Symbian phones. Apple pushes out *ONE* model with minor variations. Even with significant re-use, juggling several source trees, porting patches back and forth between them, building multiple releases of the OS with different feature sets is more of a headache than razorsharp f

      • In the higher-end market Nokia went from being the nonplus ultra of phone manufacturers to a minor player with options barely worth considering. Down-market the situation looks a little better, but whether that's enough to sustainably support a tech company like Nokia is questionable.
        While Nokia might be able to push the biggest volume of phones onto the market, they have failed in one key segment: the market of the trendsetters.

    • by pavon (30274)

      To me it appears that what killed Nokia was lack of focus.

      Mameo was very promising, and instead of focusing on polishing it, they decided to make a huge side-step with MeeGo. From my outsider perspective, that sounds like exactly the sort of thing that an engineer would do - decide to refactor code rather than focus on user-facing features. The same thing happened between Gnome 1-2, and KDE 3-4 (projects run by engineers), breaking all sorts of things for the sake of cleaning up the codebase. Such things mi

      • by ras (84108)

        From my outsider perspective, that sounds like exactly the sort of thing that an engineer would do

        Well from this engineers perspective it sounds exactly like the sort of thing an engineer wouldn't do. Mameo was their invention, their baby. All their home grown hard work was thrown out, and replaced by something a bunch of outsiders developed.

        It had all the hallmarks of a high level business decision. "We need to get closer to Intel - how do we do that? Oh, we could just throw away what our phone enginee

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Personally I think it was inevitable they'd be crushed eventually. I have sympathy, having lived in Utah at the time when Novell and Wordperfect were doing really well there, and it appeared we might be a real player. But the market grew and they were crushed. As industries mature, only 1 or 2 behemoths survive. The odds of any particular company making it, even if they get off to a good start, are slim.
    • isn't this the usual case?

  • by hey (83763)

    Wonder what's happening with those layoff RIM employees?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    VC has traditionally been scarce in Finland, as is evident in the Finnish proverb:

    A bird in the hand is better than ten in the bush.

    No American would walk away from a tenfold ROI no matter how unlikely the success...

    • I have a prospect for a 10-fold return on investment.

      However, the odds that it will pay out are very unlikely.

      Will you invest?

      What if I say please? :-D

  • Is that a shutdown?

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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