Tag Archives: Moblin

Maemo, MeeGo, Mango and Me

Ever since the February 11 2011 Nokia event cheekily tagged as #NoWin and known colloquially as The Elopocalypse, I’ve struggled to cover Nokia’s present and abandoned strategies here with equal care.  Don’t be misled by my attempts of objectivity over Linux and Microsoft activities, though– it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve been moderating an internal conflict between a growing invasion of open source love versus a legacy of Microsoft development experience combined with strong curiosity.  Neither side has a clear advantage over the other for me and therein lies a conundrum.

I could have very easily avoided the whole controversy at the start.  When I assumed responsibility for Maemo internet tablet quality in the North American market, I could have taken the easy route and stuck to the basics.  That meant developing test plans, training auditors and inspectors, hosting Finnish and Mexican product teams, and making sure CES 2007 was supplied on time with 200 pristine N800s.  Nothing more.

But no.  I’m a device nut.  An admitted hardware geek.  As I’ve shared many times, laying eyes on the Nokia 770 tablet changed everything for me.  It put what I saw then as the future in my hands, literally and figuratively.  I could not just treat this product line as I did the various and sundry cell phones I also touched.  I took tablets personallyContinue reading

Maemo is Dead… Long Live Maemo

Before I launch into coverage of the MeeGo Conference in San Francisco this past week, I’d like to touch on a touchy and related issue:  the future of Maemo.

As most readers here are already aware, Maemo was Nokia’s enigmatic attempt at a Linux operating system for mobile devices.  I don’t want to go into the history in this article; it’s easy enough to find on this blog and elsewhere and I want to focus clearly on the future.   Continue reading

Seeding MeeGo

Propagating a novel operating system (OS) can often be a frustrating chicken-vs-egg scenario, as many abandoned platforms and even current ones like Linux can demonstrate.  An OS won’t gain many converts without a reasonable stream of ready-made applications as well as the necessary ecosystem support (especially device drivers).  In open source contexts, this is compounded by Digital Rights Management (DRM) and similar sticky, usually legal, bogeys.

Maintaining a compelling closed ecosystem, such as Apple has chosen with its various OS offerings, certainly goes a long way toward solving those hurdles.  On the other hand, Google’s breadth of services, brand recognition and sheer size have quickly carved out secure toeholds for the more open Android and undoubtedly Chrome OS.  And there are already several well-established (although shrinking) platforms occupying the rest of the market slots… so where’s the space for upstart MeeGo?

The recent article here rhetorically asked Why MeeGo and that’s not the point today.  Rather, I want to cover what’s going on in porting and packaging, and what that might mean for MeeGo’s possibilities.   Continue reading

MeeGo on wheels

With few exceptions, the product talk around the upcoming MeeGo mobile operating system has highly-focused on netbooks and cell phones, and understandably so.  Intel’s legacy contribution to the joint effort, Moblin, was designed for the former while Nokia’s equivalent, Maemo, has been the foundation for the latter.

Less discussed is the opportunity in automobiles… but it’s definitely part of the picture.

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Nokia rediscovers America

In December 2009 a New York times opinion editorial asked if Nokia could recapture its glory days (my own assessment is here).  That describes the time, not really that long ago, when the company’s offerings dominated customer desire.  As we surely all recognize by now, Nokia appears to have hit its general market penetration peak in 2008.  Much of its sales decline since then can certainly be attributed to the global economic decline, but that can’t explain why Apple, Google and Research in Motion have been able to grow and even create share in the same period.  I won’t get too deep into the successes of the latter but instead will focus on challenges and recent moves by Nokia.

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MeeGo: the premise and promise

The shock of the Maemo + Moblin = MeeGo development has subsided and I think I’m now ready to offer some analysis as I see it.

Religious battles over application packaging aside, much of the conversation has centered on what this melding means for cell phones… dragging in Apple’s now-venerable iPhone and Google’s up-and-coming Android operating system for contrast and comparison.

But in poring over the OS framework (below) tonight it hit me harder than ever that mobile computing really isn’t just a buzz phrase for Nokia– it’s the real deal.

MeeGo Software Architecture Overview

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From Maemo to MeeGo, now where do WE go?

This morning’s stunning announcement that Nokia’s Linux-based Maemo mobile operating system would merge with Intel’s Moblin to form MeeGo was met with a wild variety of reactions, none of them meek.

Natural fear and anxiety from many of those with longstanding and deep roots into Maemo were countered by fist-pumping exuberance from those new to the ecosystem and encouraged by what possibilities this merger might portend.

I’m excited, too, although that includes anxiety of my own.  As many readers know by now, I’ve been working hard on some maemo.org community initiatives lately, mainly outreach and event coordination.  I’d put a lot of time and even money into the effort.  Of course, this was entirely on my initiative so I’m not looking to recover anything… rather, just expressing a little regret that some really nice materials (and thanks to the maemo.org community for the guidance there) are now going into the trash.

Some have expressed the fear that such a fate awaits maemo.org in toto, but despite my own personal concerns I’m trying to stay optimistic.  That includes already registering for the 2010 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, creating an account at MeeGo.com and preparing to reach out to MeeGo’s Technical Steering group.

While some of my own recent work has been rendered pointless, there are some projects I’m championing that may well carry over.  Chief among them are an effort to bring bug reporting to handheld devices and a better means of brainstorming virtually.  More on those later.  In addition, there appear to be gaps in the MeeGo structure that maemo.org best practices driven by spirited members can help fill.

The last sentences touches on the main gap: community.  Currently Moblin is very developer-centric and this has carried over to the initial MeeGo site.  Missing is the heavy focus on users so deeply ingrained in the maemo.org culture.  Many Maemo developers started as people interested in the product and lacking the background to immediately jump into coding for the Nokia devices– yet maemo.org’s rich support network and history of user growth facilitation have enabled many, many people to quickly expand their skill sets and contribute in ways some never imagined.  Can we integrate that can-do culture into MeeGo?  Well, I know many who will certainly try!

There’s also some trepidation over the fact that MeeGo was launched on a .com instead of .org.  I’m trying not to read too much into that just yet.  It could simply turn out to be a semantics issue, although some purists will argue the point.

I had several articles oriented around maemo.org staged for upcoming publication, and now I have to revisit everything I’ve been doing.  But rest assured that if I’m so empowered I will continue as I have been and add a healthy transition to MeeGo to my goals.  To that end, I will be running for maemo.org council re-election and humbly ask for your vote.

Let’s put worries behind us and rise to the challenge!  If we don’t, who will?