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!