For those of you living under a rock, I’ll prime this article with the information that you should already know. One, there’s a Linux-based platform called MeeGo. Two, it was formed by a partnership between Intel and Nokia. Three, Nokia bailed on it after Microsoft gave them a billion in cash and resources. Four, MeeGo is still probably the best un-neutered mobile platform out there. Ahem, on with the show.
A lot of people have made the assertion that MeeGo could thrive without Nokia’s presence in the collaboration. And, there’s some potential for traction there as Android lawsuits and patent claims mount. However, as they mount, Google has shown their willingness to acquire as many patents as possible to thwart those lawsuits.
In short, those that think that Samsung and LG will dump Android for MeeGo due to patents and licensing… well, are wrong. It isn’t going to happen, probably even if MeeGo bundles a Dalvik runtime, enabling full Android app compatibility.
So, is MeeGo dead? In its current form, yes, I think it is. But, then there is Canonical. Canonical’s efforts in mobile have had far worse failures than MeeGo, however they are the undisputed champion of desktop Linux today.
And therein, we see a solution. Make MeeGo part of the Ubuntu family, and make everyone happy.
I realize there is a lot of motivation around the Qt community to keep MeeGo as-is. However, these Qt attractions lack one focus; a product to sell to consumers. Qt alone does not sell products. And while Canonical’s market share in desktops is fractional, they get Linux, and they know how to foster a product that rivals Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
I think the future of MeeGo rests on a deal being cut, and sadly, I’d say the odds of it happening are only 50/50. Today, there is not one successful real-time OS that lacks restrictions. iOS is real-time, but trapped in a walled garden. Android and Windows Phone 7 are not real-time, and webOS has suffered from being jailed in HP’s devices… where it has rotted.
MeeGo as a platform, I believe can work, however, I believe just as strongly that it will require the embrace of the entire Linux community to catapult it to success in a mainstream consumer audience. Let’s work together to have one true Linux platform become a success across mobile, desktop, and embedded. The Ubuntu umbrella can be one that encourages all other forms of Linux to thrive, even if Ubunutu isn’t how you roll.