Maemo and Moblin "merge" to form MeeGo
On Monday, just after the release of our third issue, Nokia and Intel held a joint press conference to announce that the roadmaps of Moblin and Maemo were converging. The resulting operating system, MeeGo, would target phones, tablets and netbooks and be held under the stewardship of the Linux Foundation as a fully open source OS: We are taking the best pieces from these two open source projects and are creating the MeeGo software platform. Both teams have worked for a long time to support the needs of the mobile user experience - and MeeGo will make this even better. We want it to be fun, focused, flexible, technically challenging and ultimately, something that can change the world. We all use mobile devices every day. The power and capability of handhelds has reached astounding levels - netbooks have been a runaway success - and connected TVs, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment, and media phones are fast growing new markets for devices with unheard of performance. Our goal is to develop the best software to go with those devices. The teams behind Maemo and Moblin have plenty of experience and even more ideas on how to make things better - and together we will create something special. The announcement dealt with the technical and governance aspects but the large Maemo community was thrown into turmoil. What was the impact on Maemo 6, due out later this year with pre-release SDKs expected shortly? What about the Maemo Community Council and the summit? What about talk.maemo.org; was MeeGo just for "techies"? The timing was unfortunate for our issue, but we never claimed to be timely - just to try and encompass the broadest range of news about Maemo! So, the last week has provided many of the answers:
* All the community aspects were left to the community to thrash out, this left us scratching our heads as to who was in each of the communities and how they could work together. This has started to solidify with the people involved having discussions and a website scope meeting planned. The March Community Council elections will continue as planned, with a large scope of work ahead of them.
* Maemo 6 will be released under the "MeeGo" brand and the official answer of "we don't know" for whether or not Nokia will be releasing Harmattan officially for the N900 is still up in the air. However, given MeeGo's open source base, the chances of it being ported to the N900 are higher than perhaps they were before.
* MeeGo will use RPM rather than the deb package format Maemo has used to date. Indeed, most of the implementation of the lower parts of the platform (which are common in architecture but obviously subtly different in code) seem to be coming from Moblin. One of Moblin's targets is the five-second boot which, although of limited direct use in an always-on ARM device, can only bring benefits elsewhere in the system in terms of performance.
* OBS, as used by Mer, and provided by Novell, will (almost certainly) be the local and remote build system; replacing Scratchbox and the maemo.org autobuilder. However, with cross-platform and cross-compiling development tools like Qt Creator and MADDE (or its cousins) continue, such low-level details will be hidden from most end-user application developers (unless they choose to get stuck into them).
MeeGo is the single most important thing to happen to Maemo since the 770 was announced. There are still many questions and the future of the Maemo community will be whatever we make it. As such, this issue of MWKN will have as the top stories in each section the most applicable and important MeeGo news for developers and the community.