Intel’s Developer Forum is now being held in Beijing and the company is seizing this opportunity to show off its latest attempt at entering the mobile and netbook computing industry in a bigger way — MeeGo. MeeGo is the result of a cross-pollination between Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo 5. If you don’t remember this from this years MWC — both companies abandoned their respective nascent mobile OS projects in favor of this joint venture that they call MeeGo.
MeeGo works on a cross platform QT framework that is commonly used for app development in Linux environments. Intel showed of it’s own iteration of MeeGo and it looked like the UI has remained much the same as it was on Moblin. So this makes us wonder if Nokia will also make their version have the same UI as Maemo and only share the framework that ties the two as one. But in that case, the apps that they share in common might look a bit out of place on one or both.
Intel displayed multiple deployments of the MeeGo 1.0 – TV, netbook, mobile phone and kiosk. The demoes reportedly displayed the ability to sync up with each other and pull media files and play them back from the point where they were left off on the other device.
Embedded above is the video of MeeGo running on a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom netbook. The UI uses tabs to separate major zones like real time social networking updates, applications, contacts, etc. The switching looks fast enough for a 1.6 GHz netbook but it remains to be seen how well it performs on less powerful devices under real life conditions.
MeeGo will be tied to both Nokia’s Ovi Store and Intel’s AppUp store based on what kind of a device it is running on. Consumers can get their hands on MeeGo phones later this year with the latest N900 and LG GW990 running on it.
Jolicloud is a special Linux lightweight OS that is meant to run on netbooks. It shares some common aspects of a netbook OS – bare essentials, Internet focused, etc. It aims to be extremely well integrated with online social networks and other online services so that user can have a great experience out of the box.
In fact most netbooks OS’ try to ensure that nothing is missing from the OS that may be required for regular use by the average user. But that also means a lot of development legwork and that requires a strong team and vision.
Google’s Chrome OS team might have a stellar team of engineers and they may have all the press but the Jolicloud OS’ small team of developers have decided that they are not going to be another also ran netbook OS.
The developers have been working hard recently and they now have a video to show for it. As with any netbook OS, boot time is extremely crucial to Joilcloud’s success and they have made significant progress on that count.
The video was shared by the developers through twitter and it shows Jolicloud going from power on to login in 13 seconds flat on an Asus Eee PC 901. This is considerably better than what Chrome OS has been doing. But it is likely that Chrome OS will beat this easily enough.
Remember that Chrome OS is getting rid of almost everything and it will run on hardware decided by Google. So extremely tight integration will allow it to do without a lot of things that usual OS’ need to go through.
However, Jolicloud has been shaping up quite nicely and the OS can become quite a with the mainstream.
Google has finally released the Chrome OS but only for the developers. It is currently available for download for anyone who is interested in building the OS themselves. That’s because the download only provides the binaries and not a ready-installable version. In fact, that will actually never happen.
That’s because Google intends to strictly control the hardware configuration on which Chrome OS runs. The OS also eliminates low-performance hardware components like the hard disk drive. It will use only SSDs instead.
Moves like these are prompted by Google’s overall vision for this new OS, which can be summed up in three major goals – speed, simplicity and reliability.
To achieve extra speed, Chrome OS runs on a custom built Linux environment that is stripped clean of anything but the bare essentials. On top of this we have only one native application running and that is the Chrome browser. So in all practicality the browser is the OS.
Once the users boot, they will be on the browser, ready to get online. Boot time is being targeted as 7 seconds or less. Every application that the Chrome OS will ever run will be a web application like Gmail, Google Docs, Wave, etc. Yes, those are what web applications are and there are many more such sophisticated web apps ones online that replace things like Photoshop, Illustrator, desktop 3D games, etc.
Simplicity is in the minimalist design of the OS. This is something that the OS directly inherits from Google, along with the love for speed. There is nothing that the user has to do except use a Chrome OS device. Everything else, like maintenance, updating, virus protection, etc. is taken care of by Google.
It is coming in the second half on 2010 as pre-installed on netbook devices from Google’s partner companies. Google’s long term plan includes a desktop OS as well.
Lenovo has been quite vocal about their dislike for Linux. It might have stemmed from the fact that they once tried selling cheap Linux systems but failed miserably at it. According to the company statement, the consumer does not understand what Linux is. They buy the system and then when they try running it like Windows, they face the obvious problems. So they send it back to the company thinking that it is broken and the sales are reversed, which is most annoying for any company.
So their ire against Linux is understandable. However, what is hypocritical about this entire thing is their interest in the Chrome OS operating system that is being developed by Google. That’s because Chrome OS nothing but Linux with a custom windowing system on top of it. Its speed, lightness, flexibility and security is all thanks to its Linux foundations.
Lenovo has recently admitted that they are indeed interested in the Chrome OS and they working with Google in order to make it happen. However, they have also said that it is too soon to say anything about whether they will carry products that run the Chrome OS (and only the Chrome OS) out of the box.
What Google is doing with the Chrome OS is something that is logically sound but has not been tested out in public yet. It is going to be an OS that runs everything through web applications and is mostly about the Chrome browser getting its own OS. Hence it will have tight integration with Google Apps like Gmail and Google Docs. It will boot instantly, will have no virus issues and will focus on being online more than anything else.
Moblin stands for Mobile Linux and it was started back in 2007 by Intel to give Atom-based MIDs some traction in the market. The MIDs did not do so well but Intel came out richer by one very light and speedy mobile OS, not to mention the market share that they gained in the netbook segment, which they did not see coming at all.
Earlier this year, the project go transplanted from Intel’s labs to the Linux Foundation. Moblin has been the focus of heavy interest amongst the entire Linux community and they have all been working on derivatives of Moblin. The most noteworthy amongst those working with Moblin have been Novell and Canonical.
Canonical is the company that funds the development of the widely popular Linux distribution Ubuntu and its variants. They have developed a special distribution of Ubuntu that implements the major parts of the Moblin stack. Dell will be using this particular version on its Mini 10v which will be called the Dell Mini 10v Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition.
According to the website, the netbook was designed with Linux enthusiasts in mind, along with developers and early adopters. It however goes on to warn the potential buyer saying that Moblin is still at an experimental stage and is not a completely bug-free and stable operating system. That would of course turn off a lot of people but it is thankfully not enough for the target audience as mentioned earlier. That is because they already know all the risks involved in the equation.