The impact that MeeGo will have on the mobile computing world should not be underestimated. It is a shot across the bow from two of the biggest names in computing. The message is simple: those who can develop, deploy, and market the best, win.
Why would Intel and Nokia bundle up some of their most crucial “intelectual property” and give it away to the Linux Foundation? Why else would they let in fierce competitors? Why else would they let in applications and frameworks and not keep complete control? The reason is that these companies feel they can compete with their competitors on a level playing field and win. They may in fact be right.
There are some losers in the whole switch from Moblin and Maemo, specifically those who have a lot at stake with keeping things as they are. As someone who’s worked with Maemo technology, the move from a debian environment to a rpm environment is a big move. I’ve worked with rpm previously however and have been working with the Moblin toolchain for a couple months now so I don’t feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. Community and governance issues will be big though – there is an established Maemo community that just does not exist in Moblin. Moblin is software mostly, designed to run on Intel’s Atom chipset, there are not many devices that have inspired a loyal following like the Maemo devices have. It remains to be seen if Intel, the Linux Foundation, and Nokia can handle this community transition. I suspect they are not so interested in the community per se, as long as they can attract developers who in turn attract hardware buyers.
I am impressed to see a lot of the Maemo community joining in MeeGo immediately, they have sort of swamped the MeeGo infrastructure, but what role the Maemo council and the Maemo paid staff, such as myself, will play is going to be interesting to see. I think our role will be greatly diminished because I think the focus of the MeeGo project is going to be much more technical. I think sites like talk.maemo.org will live on but separate from the more developer-centric MeeGo.