posted April 06, 2011 and revised April 10, 2011
Nokia has pretty much abandoned Maemo, MeeGo, and the Nokia N900. Fortunately, while the hardware is still functioning, there's pretty decent community support around the Nokia N900 (and earlier Maemo-based tablets for that matter). Frankly, my observation has been that the community is much better at fixing bugs than the company, and now might be the best time to get an N900 as the price has dropped significantly, and judging by Nokia N810 prices, won't come down much further even when the successor tablet comes out at the end of the year.
Starting from a new tablet, the best thing to do is to update the software and enable the community repositories. The following are the tasks I would suggest (it's really much quicker than it looks):
Basic Charge battery for 24hours. Install SIM card. Turn on. Configure date/time.
Configure sudo Install rootsh Launch xterm, type ``sudo gainroot'' From the root shell, edit /etc/sudoers adding the line ``user ALL=ALL''. You probably need to use ``EDITOR=vi visudo'' to prevent sudoers from being overwritten later.
Updating the system, configure the MicroB browser Update system from 10.2010.19-1.002 to 20.2010.36-2.002 (87.9MB) (Updating the system will probably take you at about an hour to download and install over a UMTS connection.) After system update, the machine will reboot automatically. Open MicroB (webbrowser) Remove unnecessary bookmarks. Navigate to about:config filter on ``keyword.enabled'', click the ``keyword.enabled'' entry, and hit enter to toggle it to false tap the icon in the lower right corner to show the menu bar, select options select add-ons->plug-ins, disable what you don't need (e.g. Shockwave Flash) return to the options menu, select settings enable ``rotation'', change 'Open pop-ups'' to ``only requested'' Install the Community SSU http://wiki.maemo.org/Community_SSU Launch the Community SSU Installer from the applications menu Install the Community SSU when the Application Manager appears. After installation, the machine will reboot automatically.
Remove unnecessary installers Remove: Documents To Go installer (office suite will be added by OpenOffice in EasyDebian) Remove: Amazon Installer (if only they had a Web site!) Remove: AP News Installer (just use a normal RSS reader) Remove: Facebook Installer (if only they had a Web site!) Remove: Foreca Installer (just install it directly...)
Prepare for eMail cd ~; mkdir MyDocs/home; mkdir MyDocs/home/.modest If you plan on using MailForExchange: mkdir MyDocs/home/.qmf rm -rf .modest .qmf ln -s /home/MyDocs/home/.modest .modest ln -s /home/MyDocs/home/.qmf .qmf (If you plan on using MailForExchange) You may want to reboot just to ensure that nothing is using an old inode (file handle) here.
Install reasonable applications (it might be quickest to install Faster Aplication Manager first) Catorize (sane application hierarchy) Starhash *# enabler (basic phone feature) 3G/2G/Dual applet (basic phone feature) Birthday (standard smartphone feature) BlessN900 (better camera application, but doesn't work with non-stock kernels) Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking (basic phone feature) Browser Switchboard (basic computer feature) Calendar Home Widget (standard smartphone feature) Call forwarding applet (basic phone feature) Cellular Modem Control Buttons (standard smartphone feature) Conversations Inbox Desktop Widget (usability) CpuMem Applet (basic computer feature) Custom ringtones (basic phone feature) Extended Call Log (basic phone feature) Extra Decoders Support (basic computer feature) fAPN (basic phone feature) fMMS (basic phone feature) Flashlight (standard phone application) Foreca Weather Applet (or if you prefer OMWeather) Merge your duplicate contacts (usability) MGutenberg E-Book Reader (if you want) OpenSSH Client and Server (basic smartphone feature) opera-mobile (optional web browser) Outcoming call vibro (usability) Personal photo frame (optional) QCPUFreq (if you plan to overclock) simple-brightness-applet (usability)
When those are all installed, install the following: Enhanced Linux kernel for power users Enhanced Linux kernel for power users (settings) When these are all installed, reboot to ensure that everything is working.
One last download is Easy Debian. This will need to download and extract a large disk image.
Optionally, you can install Mobile Firefox at this point, and AdBlock and other add-ons for either MicroB or Firefox but if you just want a usable web browser on your tablet, Opera seems to do the best job.