Image by teoruiz via FlickrI will try to tell the story as my friend mooch told me quite some time ago.
It was the beginning of the internet tablets, it was so beginning that the tablets were just called "devices" and that the 770 was only a prototype. I wasn't there yet but mooch told me he was and he just received his brand new shiny desktop to start doing something.
In the search for a new name for his machine he fired up the good old 'pwgen' utility. Strange and incomprehensible names started to come up on the screen. One of those wasn't really maemo but it was really close to be (pwgen default is to give you 8 chars strings). He extrapolated somehow maemo from the 8 chars displaying on the screen and he dig up in the internet finding out that maemo didn't really mean that much besides something in a dialect on the other part of the world and he decided to choose that as the name of his desktop.
At that time he was the IT guy in the organization and he started to use his desktop to collect packages that developers were sending him over e-mail, ftp... (yeah it was really the beginning).
In few months his desktop was clogged with packages and he couldn't use it anymore as his desktop but it became quite useful as central repository for the developers.
He had to grow it with more disk space and move to another 2x CPU box. When services and needs grew way too much for the little power provided by 2GB and 2x PIII 700MHz, he ordered a new machine that became THE Server.
Someday after some other months somebody came into the room and asked him if Nokia could use that name to register a domain to publish some sdk. Without second thoughts he told "Of course".
Well that was the beginning of maemo.org .
Kudos to mooch ;)