This is going to seem odd coming on the heels of an article covering the 2011 Texas Linux Fest… but bear with me.
When Forum Nokia informed its Champions that we would be granted free access to Microsoft’s 2011 MIX event, I greeted the email with a smile. I understood the motivation: the new partnership between Nokia and Microsoft. But I didn’t know how I would personally fit into the event. Yes, the bulk of my professional experience has been with Microsoft development tools, but more recently I’ve been supporting the open source Maemo and MeeGo communities. Not only that, but there was no way I could come up with the funds for the trip to Las Vegas.
Then I received an email from Nokia’s Ashley Walker suggesting that Champions could be sponsored. In an amazingly short time I found myself with paid airfare and hotel. I would have been crazy to turn it down.
Unfortunately I was not able to make it out early enough for Monday boot camps. I would have liked to have checked out one or two. I also missed (regular readers, brace yourselves) Microsoft’s open source competition because the Nokia VIP party was held at around the same time. I really, really wanted to see how the competition went, but socializing took precedence.
At Mandalay Bay hotel’s EyeCandy Lounge I got to meet and chat with several co-Champions, notably Kirk Ballou of Touch Titans (and also a local Mobile Monday organizer)… who is from my neck of the woods in North Texas but whom, amazingly, I had not yet met in person. Ashley did an outstanding job as host, making sure everyone had an opportunity to meet everyone else and making a true mixer of the small party. There was a good mix of attendees, too, with people from various businesses and backgrounds with the common interest of mobile development as a focus.
Many who learned of my connection with MeeGo reacted with mild amusement, but one gentleman was genuinely interested in how I saw MeeGo’s fortunes given Nokia’s change in their own focus. I acknowledged that there was still some lingering uncertainty, but that Intel was stepping up strongly to reassure the community. I expect the May 2011 MeeGo Conference will offer us all some sense of MeeGo’s viability going forward. Of course, we’re still waiting on that handset…
One thing made clear to me in tonight’s mixer is that even as some are optimistic over the Nokia-Microsoft alliance, there’s still a great deal of head shaking over very recent business actions… and inactions. But such ruminating is typical in a pre-conference social setting. I’m interested in hearing Nokia and Microsoft provide more information about their collaborative plans in the mobile space, and how they intend to steer hordes of nervous Symbian programmers around Android and over to Windows Phone 7. I’m especially curious after reading about Intel’s upcoming Encapsulator tool that will migrate web apps into native MeeGo or Windows wrappers.
I’d like to ask more about MeeGo, too, but that will have to wait for another conference. ;)