As many people will know I’ve spent around 18 months of my spare time packaging and building the Netbook UX for Moblin/MeeGo on openSUSE. Not on my own, but with a community around me. I would just like to say a huge thank you to that community, you’ve been great and spurred me on when I felt like the whole world was conspiring against me.
Sound a bit morose? Well in a way it is. Basically by all accounts MeeGo is stopping all work on the Netbook UX. Yup, all our hard work is now almost for nothing :-(
The first piece of evidence is the Release Engineering Plans for 1.2. If you look at the bottom, you’ll notice that the Netbook doesn’t get any mention in Features, just bugs. Actually the same is for the 1.1 release. In all honesty, the biggest change between 1.1 and its predecessor is that all refernces to Moblin was replaced with MeeGo. The next piece of info came at the fabulous FOSDEM XI (I’ll do a seperate post on the event later). I spoke to several people directly and indirectly involved with MeeGo, especially the Netbook UX, about the lack of info on the Netbook UX. Each one of them said the same thing – MeeGo is putting the Netbook UX into Maintanence Mode, stopping any further development on it, and only providing bug fixes for major issues. I asked if there was going to be any announcement, basically the answer was nothing official. They’re just going to let it drift away – just like netbooks themselves have.
There are most likely a huge number of reasons, which is fair enough. I was given a couple of reasons – 1: Netbooks arent selling anymore, the Netbook ship didn’t really sail away, but was sunk. 2: MeeGo doesn’t want to invest anymore time or effort in gtk development, and wants to concentrate on Qt. Now I take this last one with a tiny bit of salt, only because both Intel and Nokia employ (or at least did so) a sizable team of GNOME developers. Saying that though, if they want to keep a roof over their heads they have to do what their employer says, and both originally started working with touch devices. So it does make sense as much as it doesn’t.
So, I herby give immediate notice that I am now no longer going to be doing any further work on the MeeGo UX for openSUSE or anyone else. I wont delete the repo for 1.0 but will clear out the 1.1 and 1.2 repos that I had – might as well give those resources back :-) Now if anyone would like to continue what I and others had started, then let me know and I would be more than happy.
I cant say what the other distros are going to do, I’ve spoken to my counter part in Fedora, and they’re having a think about it as they were busting their chops to get things in for the F15 release. Either way I wish all involved luck.
Now before any of you conspiracy theory junkies get worked up – this has nothing to do with the whole MeeGo Trademark issue that Smeegol had with the Linux Foundation. As it happens I was due to have a conversation with the Linux Foundation about the issues between us and them, but have had to re-schedule due to travel constraints from one party or the other. I still intend to speak with the LF about the issues, as they are still present in the other UX’s that they are developing.
So it’s time for me to close off and say, so long and thanks for all the fish! I’ll still be around, I’ll probably start getting back into the GNOME swing of things, and help fcrozat with GNOME3 etc. Oh and I’ve got a lunatic idea for a project which I intend to kick off (stay tuned ;-) ).