Open to all
The two biggest open source mobile platform projects have bowed to the inevitable and decided to join forces under a new name.
Intel-owned Meego and LiMo, for which Samsung has been the biggest driver, are now merging their operations to develop an open source Linux-based device platform called Tizen, which will focus on mobile and embedded environments. The Linux Foundation will host the project, but the technical steering team will be headed-up by Intel and Samsung.
"LiMo Foundation views Tizen as a well-timed step change which unites major mobile Linux proponents within a renewed ecosystem with an open web vision of application development which will help device vendors to innovate through software and liberalize access to consumers for developers and service providers," said Morgan Gillis, executive director of LiMo.
There will certainly be a wealth of material available to the Tizen team. As well as all the LiMo and Linux Foundation goodness, MeeGo features contributions from Nokia (Maemo) and, presumably, a big chunk of Wind River - the embedded software giant Intel acquired back in 2009. Samsung has its own mobile platform - Bada - which while not Linux-based, will presumably contribute too. And LiMo counts a bunch of other heavy-hitters among its members.
So Tizen has the potential to be a pretty decent platform, but the question remains: who will use it? LiMo has been around for ages and the public rejection of MeeGo by Nokia is well documented. It's hard to see Tizen become a high-end smartphone platform capable of taking on the big four, but maybe it will be used for a lower tier in the way Samsung currently uses Bada. There seems to be a lot more potential on the embedded side of things.
That's not to denigrate Linux, which you do on this site at your peril, and there will always be support for truly open platforms. Tizen combines an HTML 5 application environment with the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), which aims to standardize app development. It's first release is expected early next year, with devices following later in the year.