The Nokia N900 is more targeted to the mass market than any of the Nokia Internet Tablets before. This means that Maemo will see new users, with different levels of knowledge, and involvement.
Some will just use their device and will not be interested in contact with other users.
Some will ask questions on mailing lists or on maemo.org Talk (I myself started getting involved in Open Source by asking for a feature on a mailing list back in the days). As most people out there are used to Microsoft Windows this might also bring up some basic Linux questions.
Some people will file a feature request or bug report for their very first time as they have never used a bugtracker or brainstorm before, not knowing the difference between bugtrackers and support forums.
Some people will develop new software for the Maemo platform or port their application.
So, what can we do?
The maemo.org community should be welcoming by being helpful, friendly and patient. Open-source culture is different compared to “normal”, closed-source corporate companies, both in positive and negative terms.
Nokia should help making the Maemo platform successful by improving working in the community instead of just with the community.
Nokia developers should not only be allowed, but encouraged (keep in mind that many Nokia developers don’t have an open-source background) by their managers to spend a few minutes every day on the public mailing lists, in the maemo.org forum, in maemo.org Bugzilla.
At the beginning some might think that this is a waste of time, but sharing technical knowledge that Nokians have, plus talking directly to users and 3rd party developers is crucial for the success of the platform.
And Nokia should provide good public API documentation, of course – in the past, time for this has been missing sometimes due to tight schedules.
maemo.org is a nice vibrant community, ready to grow.
Maemo is a platform with great potential.
Let’s welcome new folks and give them a good reason to stay with us.