MeeGo was finally killed off this week. The Linux-based OS, initiated at the start of last year by Nokia and Intel, was essentially crippled by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop’s decision to switch his company’s allegiance to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.
Intel’s distaste for this move and the release of the excellent Nokia N9 MeeGo phone were unable to save it. And so the Linux Foundation and LiMo have announced that MeeGo will be folded into its new open source OS project, dubbed Tizen.
Tizen is set to land on a string of devices next year, including smartphones, tablets and even TVs. But the question is, do we really need it? After all, Android operates as an open source OS already, while other key rivals are storming ahead.
And if Windows Phone can’t make a dent, what chance does Tizen have of ever becoming more than a niche product for hardcore tech fans?
In an official statement, the Linux Foundation’s CEO Jim Zemlin said: “Open source platforms such as Tizen are good for Linux as they further its adoption across device categories.
“We look forward to collaborating with the LiMo Foundation and its members on this project."
There’s no denying open source has a place and is important. But it all feels as if this will be another under-the-radar project that doesn’t really yield anything for the mainstream user, in the short term at least.
What will compatibility with Tizen be like? It’s unlikely to be anywhere near as wide-ranging as rival efforts and for that reason it’ll struggle. Then there’s the ghost of MeeGo to contend with. This is an OS that less than twelve months ago still had a future at one of the world’s largest mobile makers.
It wasn’t a bad platform then. And it still isn’t. But with big manufacturers looking to throw their weight behind bigger players, it makes you wonder if Tizen can ever break out.
If MeeGo couldn’t do it with the backing of Nokia, then it’s clearly not going to happen for Tizen. Development of new technologies is vital to creating the operating system of tomorrow.
But with so many of the world’s biggest companies working on their own projects, do we really need another OS? The answer is surely no.