At AppUp Elements in Seattle the Linux and LiMo Foundation combined their platform, meaning MeeGo just rolled in Limo’s decades of development and code curation into a new project called Tizen. This platform will have the full support of co-chairs Intel and Samsung.
Tizen will have an open governance model and a close alignment with upstream developers—characteristics that MeeGo shared. The opportunities offered by a truly open platform developed in a vendor-neutral environment are promising, but Tizen being the third iteration of this Linux platform has its development community in a state of confusion.
Looking at this community the only people who are really upset by the announcement are the Qt developers. Meego adopted Qt because of its relationship with Nokia and its community, when Nokia backed out of MeeGo in February Intel did the best they could to carry the community. With out Nokia there is really no reason to continue to support for what is essentially a Nokia centric community in favor of HTML which allows for cross platform development.
The general impressions from the over 400 attendees was in general positive. Most developers I talked to had an open mind about shifting over to HTML5. Intel’s push to develop for HTML5 is not a unique one in the ecosystem as the industry generally acknowledges that HTML5 has its issues but it one of the coding languages of future. Qualcomm actually has a similar message for encouraging developers to adopt HTML5.
There was some flashback on Intel for essentially dropping Qt when they had been cultivating this community with Nokia for nearly two years. Nokia was the one that walked away from the MeeGo project back in February. The anger felt at the conferences was left over from Nokia’s departure. Many commiserate together in their wasted months creating apps for the Nokia, but generally the grumbles were treated like white noise by everyone except those at Intel who were earnestly apologetic.
Ultimately why this open source community didn’t miss a beat when it came to switching their developing language is that HTML5 has greater potential for the future of the Internet the Qt ever did. Talking to those working in technology much longer then I have been C, C++ and Qt were a popular programming language of the 90s. Everyone always says that the community is one of the largest online, but I’ve always wondered how many of those programmers are living with a legacy language. Agreed there are some things that you just can’t do with HTML5, but in my view that might apply to 5% of the programs out there. Its time to move on to a more modern programming language, one that allows you to develop across platforms and doesn’t lock you down. Its a hard pill to swallow but Intel threw a wild party to help it go down.
For those with a chip solidly on their shoulder, they should dig deep and ask themselves why so few people at conference of Qt supporters had real issue? Imad Sousou, Director, Intel Open Source Technology Center, wrote a blog post that seemed to appease the masses, if you haven’t taken the time to read it, here it is below.
Why not just evolve MeeGo? We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment.
In addition when it came to picking HTML5, from a performance perspective, it provided a clear performance boost. I’ve heard rumors that they’ve already got a Tizen handset running at 60fps while the N9 is only capable of 30fps.
Its easy to be optimistic about a developing platform being widely pushed through out the ecosystem. At this stage in the game its hard to tell if they are merely positive about HTML5 or if they actually believe in the future of Tizen & distributing apps on AppUp! There is always a pause, a nodding approval of Intel’s new direction and an acknowledgement that even if it doesn’t work out, HTML5 opens doors to all the platforms.