Thursday, February 24, 2011

MeeGo / Qt - Alive and Kicking

What's going on around MeeGo now? Nokia goes for MicroSoft, and Intel does what?
Signals are fairly mixed for all of us working on MeeGo, and even more for the people following the development from the distance. Here is some background information first: last 6 months I have not only traveled around the world and met some 150+ companies to discuss about MeeGo and Qt, but also worked in a tight collaboration with Nokia's MeeGo people, such as Valtteri. I can say that I have fairly solid understanding about the MeeGo status and where the things are moving.

During the last week in MWC Barcelona I had countless meetings, and even larger number of phone calls after that, always starting with an equally blunt question: "what is happening, is MeeGo dead now?" After "buckets of cold water", and the following chaos, the dust seems to be settled now. Follow MeeGoers are getting themselves reorganized. Personally I got an excellent excuse and decided to start this blog to shed some light for the current development, and to do my duty for the community and the business.

First, back to the basics. During the last 6 months we've seen tremendous pull on the market for MeeGo, being just Intel and Nokia thingy at first, but now for different platforms and different manufacturers. The main driver is very clear, always the same, the market dominance of Google Android. Operators and manufacturers have equally ended into the situation where the options are either Android or Android, the other alternatives seem not to be viable. The starting point of the Android was Open Source – true, in theory it is OS, but the plain fact is that it is fully controlled by Google. It is their internal development, with their agenda. And the agenda is very plain and clearly fully focused to deploy the Google services and move the money of all the others to Google. This gives you nice overivew for their cocoon strategy. The difference here to understand: MeeGo is not really anything new, it is the same stuff as Canonical's Ubuntu, especially now when Ubuntu goes for Qt based UX. It is the same stuff that most of the companies have been using before MeeGo already, just without any clear statements (you cannot really see what's in the box, unless there is a sticker, and OSS does not require a sticker, unlike some others). The differences are just the tools and ways to differentiate MeeGo. Idea is not just to download and install one and the same software, it's that the UX can be easily fitted for your purpose, combining the app level compatibility and different looks. The biggest thing we are expecting to see now is Qt, Qt and Qt, the absolutely outstanding Qt tools, no matter if it is Ubuntu or MeeGo. This is the first time ever to have unified OSS developer story that is the same for handsets, tablets, netbooks, settop / TVs, and cars (IVI). This is something we have never seen before. One thing to mention here is QML, which the thing making the creation of small apps really easy and fast. Remark here on Qt, after the announcement even Nokia made a series of announcements on Qt, by Rich Green (Nokia CTO). It is alive. The arguments about MeeGo being not mature are not true, these things are all over already. All pieces are in place, and the integrated next release of MeeGo 1.2. will give very solid basis for the products now.

Now, what's happening behind the curtains? Intel is now recruiting heavily to build even better MeeGo execution organization. New companies are stepping in to take over the space that Nokia is leaving behind. A hint, wait for the news from different places in Scandinavia and Asia. We at Nomovok are now working our heads off, in collaboration with another companies, to come up with a clear story for all the OSS developers, Qt - everywhere, to be precise QML. I already know a half dozen of major global companies that have MeeGo teams working on a range of products, out of limelights. All MeeGo activies are now converging nicely towards Qt (MeeGo 1.2, is now dropping GTK+ / Clutter), making the overall story even better. All in all, MeeGo is now becoming a nice umbrella of OSS usage in huge variety of embedded devices, while focusing more on API level and Qt issues, meaning less focus on the actual distribution issues, so it's not really competing with Ubuntu and others, it's supporting them. A true platform to innovate new services and apps easily, while retaining the control of your own products. This is exactly what OSS has always been the best in, with a proven track record. What I am expecting to see
in the next few weeks are some announcements from manufactures, as well as vivid discussion within many car manufacturers, Genivi.

We at Nomovok are now working heavily to push our MeeGo prototype forward to the product level. Our steelrat, see here, is now running on 4 different ARM (cortex A8/A9) and IA platforms. First time ever it has the latest Qt lighthouse and scenegraph with nice OpenGL shader stuff running on it. Check also our mission here. More things coming soon.

To summarize, MeeGo and Qt are strongly alive, gaining momentum to move to the next phase. I see great things happening in the main event of the MeeGo year of 2011, MeeGo conference in San Francisco. Join us to unify the developer story of Qt and QML. Please, feel free to add your comments here and throw in your ideas or challenge me, make yourself heard.

Stay tuned for updates!


  1. That's right! MeeGo is not dead, not even here in Finland. MeeGo Network Finland is still very active and alive community which has over 250 members :) We have monthly meetups in Tampere and Helsinki. Furthermore we are organizing national (yet international nature) MeeGo Summit FI in Tampere 15-16th Apr 2011. The event is currently fully booked but additional seats might be available. The Summit is packed with hot MeeGo and Qt speakers just to mention a few: Carsten Munk , Valtteri Halla, David Greaves, Dave Neary, Ville Ilvonen, Kate Alhola, Jan Krebber, Justin Noel and more. More information about the summit: In brief, the Finnish MeeGo community has not thrown the towel in. Instead we continue to go forward with fighting spirit (similar to spirit of Winter war).

  2. meego is for sure not dead.
    but until there is at least one major device avaliable, it is not alive, yet.

  3. Ok but why nokia choose microsoft instead of meego if meego is better ........ by the time meego comes with stable and full fleshed user experience the mobile industry would have changed......

  4. MeeGo también esta vivo en Argentina.

  5. From Nokia perspective, MeeGo is far from ready, hence the decision to go with WP7. Unfortunate yes, but a must decision.

  6. but wp7 is far from beeing ready too. first device will ship end of 2011 or early 2012, the next meego device (nokia harmattan) will ship "later 2011", so it will come at the same time or earlier then a nokia wp7 device. i dont understand nokia...

    @pasi: do you know any company who is working on a meego smartphone? or will meego only be relevant for bigger devices?

    in addition: thx for your article, great!

  7. Many thanks for all the comments. Let me be very clear here, I really cannot share any confidential stuff, naturally. But few things that I can share. First thing in MeeGo is really much about Qt, tools and APIs, not really about the distro itself. The most common misunderstanding it is some distribution that you simply download and install, it is not the idea. Yes, you do have reference UX, such as handset, but it is really reference, not really expecting anyone to build too many products with it. The thing is the leading developer story, which, yes, is still in the works, but already for us in inner circle very nice, and expecting to get this right for all in couple months. This is the key of everything here. The results that we have received from our internal development are absolutely fabulous, new Qt/QML, scenegraph/lighthouse etc. Concering Nokia, they have mostly been looking MeeGo from handset perspective and evolutionary continuation of maemo. Same applied in many ways to Intel as well, Moblin there. Now even Intel is now moving to Qt/QML, finally making the dev story very unified, simple and powerful. The situation is really evolving as maemo approach carried plenty of legacy stuff, going back to 2005. Other companies jumping into MeeGo are actually getting nice clean cut right now, learning form past projects. I have been doing embedded Linux since 2002, and the difference in maturity is huge. Still 2005 people were saying that they do not expect to see Linux at mobiles, ever. If you say that MeeGo way is not mature enough, feel free to email me privately and lets dig into details, I really would like understand how you see the things here, and more than happy to go these through. MeeGo does not really differ from any other Linux phones, except by having Qt, which is ready for deployment now. Coming to business case of MeeGo approach for operators, the story is about open platform that enables them to innovate their services without dependency of anyone, paweing the way to cloud services and more. Now moving to other categories, Tablet/Netbook/IVI really nothing missing here. Products can be done as of today, many companies are right now working already on tablets. Someone was asking if I know any companies working on handset today, the answer is briefly, yes, more than two companies are on it right now. Once again, thanks for the comments.

  8. Does your assassement still hold in the light of today's announcements?