As it can be read in many places Maemo is based on Debian. The problem arrives when someone asks “which version of Debian?”…
The answer is “oldstable” (etch) + parts from “stable” (lenny) + some updates from “testing” (squeeze). But what does it mean for developer?
1. If you maintain Debian packages and want them to build for Maemo5 prepare to refresh your memory for (officially deprecated) Debhelper v5 (Debian uses v7 since Lenny).
2. If you use Debconf then you are out of luck rather — 1.4.70 is not even from Etch…
3. If you use Subversion then do not even try to touch repositories which you will checkout under scratchbox — 1.4.3 from Etch is too old for working with repos fetched with today’s 1.6.x versions.
For me it looks like they just refreshed Maemo from OS2007 times again and again and again without considering rebasing on newer release. But why?
On #maemo-devel channel I got answer that this was probably due to sticking with crap^Wscratchbox which has that old stuff. But moment…. Maemo is product made by Nokia, big company with big money, so why no one got paid to update it to at least Lenny?
Good that Mer people use quite recent Ubuntu as a base for their distribution which should make development for it easier (ignore fact that there is very small user base). But this project needs lot of love still.