Open Source

MeeGo encroaching on iPad turf with new Linux-based mobile OS?

Intel and Nokia teamed up to form the open source project MeeGo, a new Linux-based mobile OS aimed at smartphones, netbooks, and yes, tablets.

In the midst of Apple's iPad tablet mania, Jack Wallen asked the question, "Where are the Linux tablets?" An announcement this past week might provide part of that answer. Nokia and Intel have created a Linux operating system called MeeGo that is designed for portable devices from smartphones to netbooks — and would seem to be a good candidate for an iPad-like tablet. Sarah Perez (MeeGo: A New Linux OS to Fight iPhone, iPad and More) reports:

The new OS is a combination of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin, both Linux-based computing environments. This partnership is notable not just for combining two different Linux platforms under one roof, but for its cross-platform support of both Intel and ARM chips, the latter currently popular in mobile devices like Apple's iPhone thanks to its low power consumption needs.

The Linux Foundation jointly announced that it will host the MeeGo OS project aimed at devices "including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems."

The Linux Foundation's MeeGo project welcomes contributors and encourages developers and others to get involved at the site or find out more about joining the Linux Foundation at http://www.linuxfoundation.org/meego. Moblin and Maemo contributors are encouraged to participate at MeeGo.com.

Of course, no one is actually saying that they're going after the Apple behemoth, but the implication is that this OS would be perfect for a tablet. Om Malik at GigaOm pours a little cold water on the sizzling excitement, however, pointing out that there are only so many developers to go around on all of these mobile projects:

I'm not sure if this is going to really impact Apple.... Why? Because the merged OS is coming to the market at a time when there is already increased demand on an increasingly precious resource: developer attention. The lack of developer attention is one of the reason why Maemo and Mobilin have not been able to get any serious traction outside their own organizations. The developers - who have multiple choices - decide which platforms succeed and which ones become roadkill. For now, developers are betting on Apple's iPhone OS and Google's Android.

So MeeGo will either be an iPad killer or just roadkill, depending on who you ask. Do you think this project sounds promising? Is it intriguing enough to pull developers away from the iPhone and Android?

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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