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What’s next for MeeGo? “Join openSUSE”, says Jos Poortvliet

by Jos Poortvliet

openSUSE community manager, Jos Poortvliet, shares his thoughts on the recent creation of Tizen and offers a new home for the MeeGo project…

A while ago Intel and Samsung announced a new initiative under the Linux Foundation umbrella: Tizen. Tizen is a Linux OS for embedded use building on HTML5 and CSS. Cool? Well, maybe. If you’ve been involved with MeeGo, the Linux Foundation’s previous embedded Linux OS, you’re probably not too happy right now. Yes, MeeGo will have to go. For them, as Richard Dale wrote, it’s ‘Tizen or Tizen’t’. The MeeGo community had no say in the merger of Moblin and Maemo to MeeGo, nor did they in the birth of Tizen. Surprised?
Don’t be. Remember MySQL, Solaris? Large companies have shown time and time again that they change direction easily.

I’m not talking about companies like Red Hat or SUSE. They depend on the communities behind their products. But that’s not always the case. Some companies build community around something, but drop it on a whim. At a MeeGo meeting in Tampere (Finland), Aaron Seigo told the attendees to man up. If you want something, you simply have to make a plan and do it. If a big company wants to help, fine. If they don’t – that’s fine too. Aaron explained that this is how KDE’s Plasma Active project is set up. By building on both openSUSE and MeeGo and partnering with five or six smaller companies, their project will continue, even if some partners back out.

MeeGo teaches us the same lesson as the debacle did. You need an independent entity if you want to make sure your community lives. Unfortunately, the Linux Foundation is a collaboration of companies and has clearly proven not to be a community-owned organisation. If you are involved in a community, think about continuity. If your community is crucial for a company, you’re reasonably safe. They might make decisions you don’t like, but so do other community members sometimes. If you depend on a company which has no real stake in what your community does, however, things are different. You need to start thinking about the future!

So what’s next for the MeeGo community? They can of course keep working on MeeGo. The Linux Foundation has said it will stay around for a while longer. But it’s not in the interest of Tizen to have a vibrant and active MeeGo. It probably won’t be. So either the community finds a new place (with or without forking the MeeGo codebase) or MeeGo will disappear.
As I love MeeGo and what they do, I asked the MeeGo community to join openSUSE. We’re a community much like MeeGo – young, flexible, innovative, open. Continuing to build MeeGo on top of openSUSE would be possible, especially now there is an openSUSE ARM project (started after the openSUSE Conference last month).

We did build MeeGo on openSUSE before, with Smeegol, and MeeGo uses the Open Build Service as well as openSUSE tools like Zypper. A perfect match, I would say. I’m sure our work on an openSUSE Foundation would be reassuring for them as well. But I’d also be quite happy to see the MeeGo community build their own place and openSUSE would be happy to work with them wherever they go.

I just hope they’ll find a place where they can keep doing the awesome work they have done in the past years!

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    • Pingback: What's next for MeeGo? “Join openSUSE … – Linux User & Developer | Maemo Meego()

    • Ben

      I wholeheartedly agree with this! developers, join forces , there are many people who want to have meego powered devices.

    • Rupert

      Not being nasty, just curious. when you say “keep doing the awesome work” what would that be?

    • roberto enderleone

      >I’m not talking about companies like Red Hat or SUSE.

      Funny, no one is talking about these two companies in the same breath; their fortunes have been heading in different directions for a while now.

      And Red Hat succeeded without having to sign a deal legitimizing MS claims as well.

      >Large companies have shown time and time again that they change direction easily.

      >The MeeGo community had no say in the merger of Moblin and Maemo to MeeGo, nor did they in the birth >of Tizen.

      You can actually crap on other communities and their corporate masters with a straight face?
      Impressive. That s a great gift if you ever plan to be a lawyer.

    • Gerard R.

      Beware of UEFI/EFI Secure Boot in the longer run…

    • Rupert: I mean that they should continue working on things like the N900 and N9 and other mobile devices. And focus on tablets and stuff.

      The ARM port of openSUSE is really cool and could be very good for the MeeGo people. SUSE doesn’t really care much about it but doesn’t obstruct it either – as is their usual way of dealing with openSUSE.

      Which by the way sets us apart from Red Hat/Fedora and Ubuntu/Canonical, which are owned AND controlled by their respective ‘masters’.

      I’m not really sure what Roberto is trying to say, but if it is that I shouldn’t criticize companies screwing their communities because I happen to work for a company which works with a community, well, that’s not exactly a rational argument. And if he’s trying to suggest SUSE screws openSUSE, ha. You tell me how Canonical or Red Hat would respond if the Ubuntu or Fedora communities would want to switch to KDE as default. Or change the release numbering. Or start a port to a new platform. Tell me.

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    • Maxim

      Thanks, Jos!

      As always, you make me proud of how our openSUSE community interacts with other open source communities! Spread the World!

    • Mike

      What i don’t get is that first there was Moblin which later became Meego still there’s a website on the web to be found:

      Now there was Meego and they are turning it into Tizen….. again there is a Meego website and the Tizen site has to be build up.

      Why not just change the name instead of creating new sites all over again when no one does anything with them at a later point….? It’s useless imho….