MeeGo 1.0 Arrives for Linux Netbooks

After three months of development, the 1.0 release of the MeeGo open source Linux mobile operating system is now available. MeeGo is joint effort led by Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) that was first announced in February.

MeeGo combines elements of Intel's Moblin Linux with Nokia's Maemo Linux effort into a new mobile operating system that can be used for netbooks, handheld devices and other mobile applications. The initial MeeGo 1.0 release is only available for netbooks, with a MeeGoo handset version planned for a June release.

"This release provides developers with a stable core foundation for application development and a rich user experience for Netbooks," Imad Sousou, director of Intel's open source technology center, wrote in a mailing list posting.

At the core of the MeeGo release is a Linux 2.6.33 kernel. Ironically, the 2.6.33 kernel was the first kernel to drop support for the rival Google Android operating system and its associated drivers.

MeeGo 1.0 uses the next-generation Btrfs technology as its default file system. Btrfs is an effort initiated by Oracle and it first appeared in the Linux kernel with the 2.6.28 kernel. The goal with Btrfs is to provide a more scalable and efficient filesystem for data access.

Most mainstream Linux distributions use either the EXT3 or EXT4 filesystems as their default filesystem, as Btrfs is relatively new. The recent Fedora 13 Linux release included Btrfs as an experimental feature.

MeeGo 1.0 also makes used of the open source Qt framework for its user interface. Nokia became the lead commercial sponsor behind Qt, when it acquired Qt's developer Trolltech in 2008.

For the Web browser, MeeGo 1.0 is shipping with Google's Chrome browser, which is also the default for Google's Android devices. Sousou noted that the Firefox Mobile Fennec browser will be included with the MeeGo Handset release. The initial Firefox Mobile release that came out in February of this year was targeted at Nokia's Maemo operating system, which is now being folded into the MeeGo project.

As part of the MeeGo 1.0 release, the project is also providing developers with the tools to build applications for the mobile Linux environment.

"We are now releasing the MeeGo API, which includes Qt 4.6, the MeeGo SDK with an integrated application development environment, and various other operating system tools," Sousou wrote.

While Nokia and Intel lead the MeeGo project, officially the project is run under the auspices of the Linux Foundation. Earlier this year, Sousou told a Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit audience that having the MeeGo project run by the Linux Foundation was important for transparency and fostering contributions.

Among those that have contributed to MeeGo 1.0 is Novell. The default media player for MeeGo is the open source Banshee application which is an effort that Novell helps to lead.

"In Banshee, the MeeGo integration extension provides a panel that integrates into the MeeGo toolbar," Novell developer Aaron Bockover wrote in a blog post. "From the Banshee panel, you have quick access to your music and play queue sources."

Moving forward, the MeeGo project is set for new releases every six months, with the 1.1 release targeted for October.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


open source, Linux, Intel, Nokia, Novell