August 16, 2010

MeeGo: Where Are We Now?

Moblin and Maemo equals MeeGo, it sounds like such a simple equation. What could be easier than taking two open source projects, each driven by a large organization, and combining them under a third organization as a single project with one big happy community? What? Doesn't that sound easy to you?

OK, so we didn't really expect it to be easy, but we do think it was the right choice despite the difficult road. First, a little background about MeeGo. MeeGo is an open source Linux operating environment for small form factor devices like netbooks, handsets, in-vehicle infotainment, tablets, connected TVs and more. On February 15, Intel, Nokia and the Linux Foundation jointly announced that Moblin and Maemo were joining together as MeeGo, a Linux Foundation project. At that point, we started the difficult road of merging the two projects, which involved a lot of hard work from many people to get the new code published as an open source project. Merging these two large projects resulted in a number of challenges ranging from project and governance, to technical, to social and community challenges.

We established a robust governance structure led by our Technical Steering Group with people leading all of the various aspects of the project: program management, architecture, maintainers, community and more. While we have quite a few of the people identified for key areas, we are still in the process of continuing to add more details and beginning to define how the working groups and compliance efforts will be structured.

The technical and architectural details were also quite challenging during the merge, but we are making great progress on this front. The underlying technical architecture has been finalized, and the development on the code is happening in the open as a result of our phased release process designed to get the code out in the open for developers to start working on it as soon as possible:

The social and community challenges take a little more time to resolve. We had different audiences using different tools, and we've tried to accommodate most people with a combination of collaboration tools including mailing lists, forums, Bugzilla, wiki, IRC and more. This has required adjustments on all sides to different ways of working, and we are seeing some progress, but it is still an ongoing issue as the community members work to build trust and rapport with each other. As a result, we are continuing to work with people to get comfortable in the new community. In first months of the project, we had quite a bit of frustration with the time required to resolve technical and governance challenges, but with the code available and most roles defined in the governance structure this frustration has starting to decline over the past month or two. My personal focus is to continue to work through these community challenges.

Now that I've covered some of the challenges we have been overcoming, I'd like to encourage you to contribute to MeeGo! Technical people can develop MeeGo applications, submit bugs, write patches, help with technical documentation and more. For those of you who want to contribute in other areas, we can always use help with documentation, helping with questions in the forums, localization and much more. We have a wiki page with more details on other ways to contribute to MeeGo.

Finally, you can also get involved in MeeGo or meet other people who are contributing to MeeGo by attending the MeeGo conference in Dublin Ireland November 15-17. Registration is free, but it will be capped at 600 attendees, and we are accepting proposals for sessions until August 23 if you want to present at the MeeGo conference.