MeeGo is a Linux-based operating system optimized to run on low power devices with small screens including smartphones, tablets, and netbooks. The project is backed by Intel, and up until recently Nokia was a big player on the MeeGo scene, but Nokia has pretty much given up on MeeGo and is in the process of switching its smartphone efforts to Windows Phone 7.

Now Digitimes reports that Intel may also be looking to slow down MeeGo development due to lack of interest from hardware makers. Intel representatives say it remains committed to MeeGo, but what exactly do you expect them to say?

On the other hand, if the rumor is true, the timing seems a bit strange. After years without a single manufacturer actually bringing a MeeGo product to market Nokia is getting ready to sell its first (and last) MeeGo phone in select markets. And any day now Asus plans to start selling the Eee PC X101 netbook with MeeGo Linux for as low as $200.

At this point I’d be surprised if Asus simply canceled the netbook, but the company does plan to ship MeeGo and Windows 7 versions. Perhaps if the MeeGo model doesn’t sell well Asus will just phase it out and keep offering the Windows model for a slightly higher price. But I have to wonder whether it makes sense to spend even $200 on a netbook if it turns out that the operating system won’t be adequately supported.

Of course, the X101 could still prove popular wither geeky consumers that are interested in a cheap tinkering platform. After all, plenty of people buy Windows netbooks only to wipe the operating system and replace it with Ubuntu or another Linux-based operating system. Why not buy a machine that doesn’t come with the so-called Windows tax and just replace MeeGo with an operating system of your choice? That’s what people did with the original Eee PC netbooks that shipped with Xandros Linux way back in 2007 and 2008.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard reports that MeeGo Linux was a dying platform. Earlier this year developer Andrwew Wafaa of the openSUSE Linux distribution said he was going to stop working on a version of openSUSE with MeeGo features after he realized that MeeGo development for netbooks was largely stagnant.

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9 replies on “Is MeeGo doomed? (And what does that mean for the Eee PC X101?)”

  1. i just wanna ask if there is a possibility to replace meego with microsoft operating system on asus x101?

  2. There was a review about the X101 which simply concluded that you are much better off if you quickly remove the MeeGo it comes with, and install Ubuntu.

    The MeeGo installation they ship with this netbook is said to be catastrophic. Like nobody at Asus had ever seen a desktop Linux, let alone, actually configuring one. They seem to have stopped every work after they managed to build the hardware support. User experience??? Long-term usability??? Anything???

    ASUS should stop messing around with these half-assed Linux attempts and simply contract Canonical in order to ship these machines with a properly customized and configured Ubuntu.

    ASUS is probably very afraid of releasing a successful Linux machine and loosing their Microsoft OEM licensing deal. This is the only reason I can imagine why they perform so miserably with these products.

    1. MeeGo isn’t controlled by Asus, and they probably didn’t have much choice with the price point they were trying to reach for the X101.

      Remember, MeeGo is backed by Intel and the X101 is Intel hardware!  Canonical would have probably meant a higher price point. 

      There are also other factors like MeeGo is suppose to be better optimized for the ATOM and can better run on low end hardware.  Both features of which Asus needed for the X101, with the N435 clocked at only 1.33GHz, probably also optimized to be more power efficient and that means less responsive in most cases, and only providing the system with a 3 cell battery to reach the $200 price point.

      While Ubuntu is a more developed and more powerful desktop linux distro, but it won’t be as energy efficient and may be a bit slower than some are used to on the X101 unless the system can be clocked faster than the default.

      There’s also more reason than MS for why Linux isn’t on more systems.  Like whether all the hardware has open or closed drivers, among other factors that can make the process more time and cost consuming than just dumping an established OS, with its own support, on the system instead.  Though Intel and MS in their own ways didn’t make it any easier either.

  3. Good point on the tinkering potential possibly stirring up interest in the X101.  Especially if the N435 can be unlocked, or over clocked, to provide full N455 level performance.

    Still don’t know if the SSD is Flash_Con or mSATA but that gives plenty of upgrade options either way. While we need a better look at the motherboard to see how much it can be tinkered with… But the more flexible it is then the more potential interest it may generate.

  4. “After all, plenty of people buy Windows netbooks only to wipe the operating system and replace it with Ubuntu or another Linux-based operating system.”  Can you, or a reader, point me to some voice-of-experience recommendations for inexpensive netbooks that are suitable as “raw materials” for this kind of OS swapout?  Ubuntu has a listing at

    but most of the entries are a version or two behind, and besides, there are annoying hassles involved in the “transplant” even for the machines they rate as “Tier 1.”

    A couple of years back I tried this with an HP Mini 1000; this actually came with a Linux variant installed, HP’s “Mobile Internet Experience,” so I thought its hardware wouldn’t give me hassles with another Linux distribution.  However, Ethernet would only work if the computer was plugged in to A/C power at bootup; to fix this I had to add a kernel argument in /boot/grub/menu.lst, and every time I upgraded the kernel I had to make the change in that file again.  Nothing insurmountable, but it’s a PITA to have to have to track down the wisdom of the Secret Masters of Linux and learn the right incantations for the fix.  So I don’t have a lot of confidence that I can wipe the X101 and install, say, Lubuntu without dealing with more of this kind of voodoo.

    I was debating paying the extra money ($400 base price) to System76 or Zareason for a netbook that would actually be supported by the manufacturer under Ubuntu (and that featured easily upgradable storage), but System76 just dropped the Starling netbook from their lineup, and $400 is a lot of money for me…  Anybody got a suggestion for a compact, lightweight, inexpensive 10″ netbook that you know can run Ubuntu without making me search around to figure out whether I need to apply swampwort or dragon’s tongue to chase out the evil spirits?  Otherwise I’m likely to say fsckitol and take my chances with an X101 — $200 and 920 grams cover up a multitude of sins.

    1. As far as I’m aware, Asus netbooks continue to be pretty Linux-friendly, but I haven’t actually tried installing Ubuntu on any of the more recent versions.

      I’ve reached out to System76 to see if they plan to offer netbooks in the future or not, but ZaReason is still selling 10 inch netbooks with Linux for $399 and up.

      They offer to install Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, or Debian. 

    2. Asus Eee PC’s usually get good user support for porting linux, especially with distro’s customized for Eee PC use.  So you should probably check out the Eee User forum to see how others are handling their favorite distros on the new models.

      The X101’s N435 is basically a under clocked N455.  So shouldn’t be a big problem but you can wait to see how others handle it first.

      They say the X101 won’t give access to the SSD but according to the disassembled images the bottom panel should provide access to the SSD, WiFi, and RAM.  So yet to confirm but only the hard drive version should only give access to the RAM only.

      There are some models being specifically released with Linux but they are only in certain countries so far and we’ve yet to see wide distribution but we’re keeping a look out…

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