Some time ago, I created a petition asking WhatsApp Inc. to bring WhatsApp to the Nokia N9, the first (and last) mobile phone running MeeGo-Harmattan (now discontinued by Nokia). The petition was signed by more than 14000 people, with blogs such as MyNokiaBlog (shout out to @MFaroTusino for the support), Nokia For Us, MeeGoExperts, and N9 Apps backing it up, aiding the petition gain significant momentum.
Once the petition had reached 5-digit signatures, I’d sent tons of emails on behalf of the community of my facebook Nokia N9 page called Nokia N9 Lovers, to WhatsApp, kindly prompting them to give an official response to the petition. After 3 months of trying to contact WhatsApp, the efforts were fruitless. Official responses on the petition were.. zero. Unacceptable.
However, the community decided to take matters in their own hands. @tgalal ported WhatsApp on MeeGo-Harmattan and called it Wazapp. After a couple of beta closed-source releases, Wazapp was open-sourced and released to the community. From there on, through the TMO community, more developers joined the project (props to @knobtviker and @negrocepi) and started bringing additional functionality to the table, polishing the user interface and enhancing the user experience; you can have a look at the result, which is quite stunning, at the Wazapp Wiki (thanks to Brkn).
All of a sudden, a community port of a closed-source commercial program had reached more than 200000+ downloads and thousands of people around the world owning a Nokia N9 (or were hesitating to buy one due to lack of WhatsApp) had finally the ability to chat with their friends through Wazapp. Not WhatsApp, Wazapp.
What does this show? It shows what communities can do. It shows determination. It shows that some people are willing to spend endless unpaid hours to create an open-source program that will ease the life of thousands of people worldwide without asking anything in return. But most importantly, it shows the advantages of belonging in a community where nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing. Cheers to the developers who took matters in their own hands. Cheers to the Wazapp Heroes.
Donation links have been set up for the three “official developers” of Wazapp, you can donate to any (but I urge you to do so for all) of the developers at the following links:
- Tarek Galal (@tgalal): http://bit.ly/NHs6rb
- Matias Perez (CepiPerez on TMO, @negrocepi): http://bit.ly/UhmEjH
- Bojan Komljenovic (@knobtviker): http://bit.ly/NC6CC3