Mixed signals on the future of MeeGo Linux for netbooks
Nokia announced a partnership with Microsoft this morning to bring Windows Phone 7 to Nokia smartphones. Symbian and MeeGo will continue to ship on devices until WP7 is ready to go, but Symbian isn’t long for this world. So what about MeeGo?
MeeGo is a Linux-based platform that was formed when the teams behind the Maemo and Moblin Linux projects merged. MeeGo isn’t actually maintained by Nokia. The Linux Foundation managed the project. But Nokia is one of the primary backers, and the company had planned to put MeeGo on some upcoming smartphones. Intel is another major backer, and that company has been pushing MeeGo for netbooks and tablets. In a statement, Intel says the company is “not blinking on MeeGo,” and remains committed to the platform.
Now developer Andrew Wafaa says he doesn’t think MeeGo for netbooks and notebooks has much of a future. Wafaa is the developer responsible for building a netbook user interface for the popular openSUSE Linux distribution. That UI is based on MeeGo. But now Wafaa reports that he’s convinced the folks behind MeeGo have pretty much stopped all work on the netbook operating system, and as a result he’s going to stop working on the openSUSE MeeGo project, known as Smeegol.
Wafaa’s evidence comes from discussions with developers and a look at the plans for MeeGo 1.2 which don’t show any new features, just bugs that need fixing.
OK, so MeeGo may be on the way out, at least according to one guy who’s in a pretty good position to know. But I mentioned mixed signals in the headline, didn’t I?
Well, here’s the funny thing: Fujitsu has just announced that it will begin selling a netbook that runs MeeGo Linux in some markets. The netbook is a variation of the Fujitsu LifeBook MH330 which will sell for about $382 in Singapore for some unfathomable reason. CNET reports that you can pick up a model with Windows 7 Starter edition for less than $9 more.
So if MeeGo for notebooks is dead, it sounds like someone forgot to tell Fujitsu.
While MeeGo’s future on netbooks and Nokia smartphones remains uncertain, it is an open source project so I’d be surprised if it goes away altogether. The tablet user interface has also shown some promise, although I’m not aware of any major tablets aside from the German WeTab that user MeeGo.