Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones GUI Handhelds Open Source Operating Systems Linux

Nokia Trades Symbian For MeeGo In N-Series Smartphones 184

Posted by timothy
from the unfortunate-name dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nokia announced that moving forward, MeeGo would be the default operating system in the N series of smartphones (original Reuters report). Symbian will still be used in low-end devices from Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. The move to MeeGo is a demonstration of support for the open source mobile OS, but considering the handset user experience hasn't been rolled out and likely won't be rolled out in time for its vague June deadline outlined at MeeGo.com, could the decision be premature?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nokia Trades Symbian For MeeGo In N-Series Smartphones

Comments Filter:
  • As an N900 user... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sethstorm (512897) * on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:36PM (#32685372) Homepage

    I'm just hoping the Maemo phone doesn't get completely locked out of Meego. Yes, there is a Meego image currently available, but does have some missing functionality(unless you want to operate it as an overpowered N810).

    • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:45PM (#32685444)

      The late June release that is expected will have an "open" and "closed" release. The "open" image will run on the N900 but omit some firmware and OpenGL/BME drivers. The closed image will include those, and will require a valid IMEI for the N900, and should provide 100% hardware functionality.

      With luck the BME will be replaced, since it just controls a chip with plenty of publicly available documentation. OpenGL, well... until Imagination stops acting like Nvidia we're SOL.

      • by jrumney (197329)

        With luck the BME will be replaced, since it just controls a chip with plenty of publicly available documentation. OpenGL, well... until Imagination stops acting like Nvidia we're SOL.

        What is needed is for someone to come up with a way to extract the binary blob from the original firmware so the already licensed copy can be reused in an otherwise open source upgrade.

        • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:47AM (#32687638)

          It seems that a volunteer company (some "Nokia" if you've ever heard of them) has already done that [maemo.org] (5th post down). No real need to do it again..

          I'm hoping that they keep the open nature of Maemo/Meego on these new phones. The N900 is the first phone I've had in ages which doesn't crash all the time. Not as slick as an iphone yet, but definitely much more flexible. Nothing quite as fun as controlling your phone from it's web server via WiFi...

  • Hardly premature. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:37PM (#32685386)

    Nokia is moving to MeeGo with their next device, but it will be a strange hybrid between Maemo and MeeGo, featuring the UI and Qt Toolkits prominently, but still using the Maemo backend. Future devices after that will use a pure MeeGo front-end.

    Even then, they're already prepping Qt 4.7 for Maemo5 which means the core toolkit intended for MeeGo devices is available on a released device.

    That said, it can't come soon enough. A well built, fully open and far more stable standard Linux stack is where I wanted devices to be years ago. Better late than never I suppose.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Plus it might be really not such a big deal. After all, both MeeGo and Symbian are moving towards UI based on Qt, and using it as their main API for apps.

      "Heavyweight" MeeGo backend will drive their "mobile computing" devices, while traditionally more lightweight (but also more limited / moving forward more intermittently) Symbian will be on on the mainstream bulk of affordable devices, still offering something pretty close.

      It's what they are doing already. S40 still lives (actually, is the largest part of

    • You and a few more folks on slashdot, but not 99% of mobile phone users. I want my phone to check email, sync my calendar, make/receive call, and most importantly work without me having to tinker with it. While there maybe a hardcore group of hobby hackers that think this is cool, trust me, the vast majority of don't really care about the openness factor.

      • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:21PM (#32685780)

        You and a few more folks on slashdot, but not 99% of mobile phone users. I want my phone to check email, sync my calendar, make/receive call, and most importantly work without me having to tinker with it.

        Which is how it should be, in the end.

        While there maybe a hardcore group of hobby hackers that think this is cool, trust me, the vast majority of don't really care about the openness factor.

        The vast majority, rather, are ignorant of what being totally closed means for them and their data. Of course, that's also what gives us the continued dominance of Windows. The openness -is- good and is totally orthogonal to the concept of the previously mentioned functional system that works without having to tinker.

        We can have both, to dismiss such things (especially on a site like Slashdot) strikes me as a little silly.

      • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:29PM (#32685828) Homepage

        This is not someone's pet project, it is Nokia and its flagship multimedia phone platform (E(nterprise) series stays on Symbian).

        I am sure they will put stability and power usage to first place. After all, this is the company who takes huge beating because they insisted and still insist on "code with discipline" on mobile platform. Most of the parts of Symbian which developers hate is actually a specific way to code for mobile platform to use less power and stay stable. They expect(ed) some company who manages to do "talk" and "smart" on single CPU without problems to let them code like they code for desktop. It doesn't happen of course.

        N series on the other hand, is flexible and they can say "lets put 2 CPUs", "lets put 512MB RAM" as they are multimedia/high end phones with high price flexibility. I guess that and massive multimedia support already existing on Linux along with developers is the major reason for this decision.

        Don't let their liberal "no app store" fool you. If your app doesn't act fine on Symbian, it is gone. It won't slow down or anything. Flooding memory? "Memory full, please close some applications" and guess what? It closes it before it alerts. I am sure they won't let things like that happen on Linux too.

        So, it is not something like desktop linux fitting on phone. Just like iOS isn't some NeXT/BSD compiled for ARM either.

        • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:36PM (#32685874)

          Except that there -will- be, like there is for Maemo, a community repository where less stable software can be made available.

          Sure you won't get into the Ovi store or whatnot, but you will be able to make your software available without having to pass strict checklists if you really, really want to put it out there. Assuming your carrier or non-Nokia handset vendor isn't being an ass.

          • Ovi Store just demands an actual person (verifiable) to pay some small amount of mone to publish their stuff, it is not controlled by anyone except some generic security checks.

            The key here is "Symbian Signed", I am sure they will (have to) implement it on Maemo too. Or a very funny and joke like thing like actual app store with their string checking interns may happen.

            I think the real deal (talk/sms/emergency call/ring) will run in its own process and/or even CPU and somehow will be untouchable.

            I really do

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Microlith (54737)

              The key here is "Symbian Signed", I am sure they will (have to) implement it on Maemo too. Or a very funny and joke like thing like actual app store with their string checking interns may happen.

              There will be a "DRM" mode, but there will also be an "Open" mode. The goal is to answer the whiny calls of media companies and the like and give them a "secure" platform, but not screw over those who use devices like the N900, which implements zero DRM. I fully plan on ensuring any device I buy can be switched to (

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday June 25, 2010 @06:11AM (#32688378) Journal

          Flooding memory? "Memory full, please close some applications" and guess what? It closes it before it alerts. I am sure they won't let things like that happen on Linux too.

          I have a Maemo device, and it has the same brain-dead out-of-memory behaviour as desktop Linux - when you run out of memory (easy due to the way Linux does lazy allocation), it kills a random process. Somehow, the Maemo kernel manages to always pick the one with the most unsaved data.

          Just like iOS isn't some NeXT/BSD compiled for ARM either.

          Actually, it is at the kernel level, and you get all of the nice mobile features on the desktop too. A couple examples are the new out-of-memory killer and sudden app termination. When the kernel runs out of memory, it suspends programs that try to allocate memory and sends a Mach message to a program that has a little bit of wired memory to handle it. On OS X, this prompts you to kill some apps and then resume the suspended ones. I'm not sure what it does on the iPhone. In both cases, the kernel keeps track of apps that advertise that they have no unsaved state and will kill them itself in low memory conditions.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        You and a few more folks on slashdot, but not 99% of mobile phone users.

        So maybe most people aren't buying N900s - but note they are still mostly buying Nokia phones (including Symbian).

    • Hey, with over 300+ developers at their last conference, it is almost a tidal wave!

  • Some points (Score:2, Informative)

    by spectrum- (158197)
    1. Symbian is opensource too! 2. MeeGo is only replacing Symbian on N series Nokia There are E,X and C and numbered SmartPhones also in Nokia'a range 4. Its not clear if Nokia are branchin off N series as a level above N97 style smartphones
    • by Weezul (52464)

      Yeah, but we've been fairly fearful that Maemo/MeeGo was being held back by Symbian heads inside Nokia, obviously all the old codgers have been overruled. It's awesome if Nokia merely elevates their N series. In fact, they has well better maintain a clear tech lead over their competitors, as that buys them all their public hardware beta testing. And you just know support for Android apps as second class citizens will arrive shortly.

  • 2011 will be the year of the Linux Smartphone?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by melikamp (631205)

      You are thinking 2010, the year when N900 blew everything else out of the water. A (very incomplete) list of software that it runs already includes busybox, bash, GNU utils, apt-get, emacs, vim, texlive, python, gnuplot, ssh -X, mplayer (!), fennec (firefox with full plugin support), midori, lynx, pidgin, conky... Its main limitation is, hands down, the amount of RAM, and even here, with its puny 128M, it performs very similarly to somewhat cleaner and faster Android. It is a fair tradeoff, Android being a

      • by oakgrove (845019)

        I love Meamo. I have a Nokia 770 that, unfortunately, bricked itself a while back. It was probably my all time favorite gadget and to this day, it sits on my shelf in the hope that one day I'll plug in its power adapter and the little blue line at the bottom will make it all the way across the screen.

        But let's not get carried away. I also happen to be the very happy owner of a Motorola Droid running my own special custom version of Android. It's not a toy. It runs every one of the command line apps y

        • Except that Android is neither Linux nor GNU anymore, and feels more closed than open.
          I want a real Linux phone, not some Java mutation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gmuslera (3436)
        I am thinking 2011. Nokia didnt put a lot of love supporting and expanding the N900 (btw, have one), plus is the only cellphone featuring maemo, not even other from the same company. In a lot of areas still beats badly any competitor, but need more support from app makers (and, btw, as already was pointed, is 256M what have of ram)

        With MeeGo, being in netbooks, cellphones and maybe other devices maybe more cellphone makers join the platform, plus all the N models that could release Nokia next year.

        And Andro
        • by sznupi (719324)

          Weren't there some Chinese "clones" already? Which might be the idea, and even more so for Symbian actually - it's probably the easiest and least expensive way, for many Chinese manufacturers, to have a full smartphone instead of weird sofware they offer now.

          And shouldn't be that much of a problem - from what I heard people like to buy "original" anyway, if they can. But effects of scale might get interesting.

      • It has 256MB not 128MB.

    • Lets say Nokia makes sales records with this "Maemo" thing, would anyone bother? I mean will it change that idiot device manufacturer/game programmer mind?

      iPhone minus SJobs/App Store gives you NeXT/BSD with frameworks comparable to GNUStep. Guys who didn't give a sh*t to OS X/Mac which exists for long time bought Macs to run XCode, live all that torture at app store hell and code pretty advanced stuff. What happens on Mac Desktop? I can tell as a Desktop user: Nothing. Games/desktop apps don't magically ap

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Well, while Qt dev environment for Maemo is available for Linux - if you want to target also Symbian (which generally will be a very good idea), it's...Windows only so far. So, yeah.

        OTOH some of the targets might get interesting. There's a nice video of MeeGo tablet floating around, "netbooks" aren't out of the question. It might get some people away from their Win machine for a while; and so on.

  • Aww shit, throw down (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weezul (52464) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:12PM (#32685696)

    Yes, it's an OSS mobile dream come true, but also :
    (1) Nokia ships more advanced hardware than any other phone maker.
    (2) Nokia is the biggest phone maker in the world.
    (3) Nokia has maintained user interface loyalty since before Apple even rehired Jobs.

    We've been bullshitting about "the year of Linux on the desktop" here since the beginning, but well this might actually be the year of Linux on the mobile. Maemo/MeeGo require special apps for UI purposed, like all mobile devices, but unlike iPhone, Android, and Palm they don't require those apps be owned by Apple or be rewritten in Java or whatever.

    N900's are currently fairly raw, but they are fucking bad ass. I'd assume that Meego will bring rotation, after that, the only shit that annoys me is :
    (1) the integrated aim and msn suck, although sms, skype, and sip are solid,
    (2) few games dispite being the only phone with solid GL, and
    (3) no cups/gs printing.
    On what other phone would you bitch about the lack of fucking printing?

    • by oakgrove (845019)

      On what other phone would you bitch about the lack of fucking printing?

      You can always pull one of these [docucrunch.com]. Hehe.

    • by 21mhz (443080)

      the integrated aim and msn suck

      That's because there is no integrated AIM and MSN as far as Nokia is concerned. These are installable as open source libpurple plugins to work with telepathy-haze, but no official support is provided, besides occasionally noticing that something is wrong in working with the framework, when it is only exposed by these add-ons.
      An officially supported solution would need an agreement with the proprietary service providers; and you can bet they won't allow reverse-engineered protocol stacks.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        These are installable as open source libpurple plugins to work with telepathy-haze

        That's false, two native telepathy backends for MSN are available: pecan and butterfly.

        Both work fine as far as I can tell. Butterfly is the most feature-complete one and is the one linux desktops use, but it's quite more heavyweight than the other.

  • by mirix (1649853) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:24PM (#32685798)
    Open maemo/meego, Qt, symbian (which is kinda long in the tooth, but still has a place, and sells a ton). Polar opposite of what some phone outfits do. *I* own the fucking phone, not some guy in Cupertino.

    Qt's cross platformness is awesome.

    Meego is a horribly lame name though, I liked maemo a lot better, name wise. Now if only I could afford a phone with maemo/meego on it. I currently have a couple symbian phones, and an older maemo tablet, which is pretty neat, but hurting for ram and a keyboard.
    • Now if only I could afford a phone with maemo/meego on it.

      For me its not so much about money, its about availability. There's the N900 and that's it.
      Hardware wise it's not good enough anymore. If i change phone I want the hardware to be at least as good at the N8 and record 720p and things like that.

      In fact.. Meego (yes the name sucks) on the N8 would be sufficient. By sufficient i mean it would be an awesome device :P

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Careful what you wish for - N8 has ARM11 CPU. Which is fine for Symbian, but Meego... (I suppose it will change only in a year or so - S^4 basically breaks binary compatibility anyway; and even then many devices might be on, say, Cortex A5, I guess)

        Plus, this news seems to mean that the next N device, and that means N8 successor, will be on Meego, no? ;p (also, weren't there some Chinese clones already? ;) )

  • N800 Symbian?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kabloom (755503) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:36PM (#32685870) Homepage

    What's the article talking about when it says "the last N-series phone to feature Symbian is the N800?" I thought the N800 was a Maemo device.

  • Android (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:41PM (#32685914)
    If Nokia had any brains left, it would switch their smartphones to Android, like their old competitor Sony Ericsson has been doing. Qt is nice for what it is, but the technology is old hat. Where is garbage collection and sandboxing?
    • Re:Android (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Microlith (54737) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:57PM (#32686028)

      If Nokia had any brains left, it would switch their smartphones to Android

      Yes, to an OS wholly controlled by Google, not developed in anything resembling an open fashion, and forcing a pseudo-Java runtime with kernel extensions, a filesystem that were never meant to be open source in the first place, and a custom framebuffer system that isn't compatible with anything that already exists on Linux.

      No thanks, I'd rather go for a system that has more in common with modern, open Linux distributions.

      Garbage collection? Code better if you're using C/C++, or use Python. Sandboxing? Can be done without a pseudo-Java VM.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dysonlu (907935)
      If Nokia had NO brain at all, it would switch to Android, abandoning their still dominant platform (~40% worldwide marketshare), giving up control on the OS and becoming just another me-too phone manufacturer, just another Sony Ericsson.
    • Re:Android (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:09AM (#32687292)

      Slashdot can be very hypocritical sometimes.
      eg. People in this thread are saying the n900 sucks because it's currently running the open source GTK toolkit instead of the open source QT toolkit. People are being modded to +5 for pointing this out. In the meantime Android runs neither! It uses a propriety toolkit that only supports Java. Androids Google application stack is closed source. There's tutorials out there on how to get root on an Android (requires a warranty voiding re-flash). Root on the Nokia means getting rootsh from the official maemo repository.

      Despite this, it would seem people here hate Maemo and love Android. I don't get it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kangsterizer (1698322)

        it's easy. Like people support their country of origin team in the soccer world cup, they're going to support their company of origin (= the one they own a phone at).

        Stupid, but predictable human behavior.

        Sense is only secondary, as long as it sounds "logical enough" on the moment to boast your "team" and diss the "other teams", they're going to post it. I'm sure i'm doing that mistake too from time to time, but I hope not too often, at least I certainly try to take things with criticism from every directio

    • Re:Android (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spugglefink (1041680) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:17AM (#32687320)

      As a commercial Maemo developer (go ahead and laugh) I have to say I agree that Nokia should just give up and switch over to Android. They don't know what the hell they're trying to do with Maemo/MeeGo or the N900. The whole experience has been bitterly disappointing, like sitting around on a waiting list for months to get my new super exotic sports car, only to discover they neglected to install three of the pistons, and the transmission doesn't shift into reverse. It's really beautiful, but it doesn't run worth a damn, and it's basically useless.

      However, as an experienced C++ and Qt developer trying to grapple with Android for the sake of taking my product to a platform that doesn't have its head shoved completely up its own ass, I find there' s just nothing to love about Android at all. Qt kicks this thing's ass all over the place, and this feels like trying to build a skyscraper out of LEGO instead of concrete and steel. It's just a damn shame Nokia have fucked all of this up so completely, and they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever competing. We're all stuck playing with Tinker Toys if we want to make any money. Or giving Apple a shit ton of money.

      • by AlXtreme (223728)

        The whole experience has been bitterly disappointing, like sitting around on a waiting list for months to get my new super exotic sports car, only to discover they neglected to install three of the pistons, and the transmission doesn't shift into reverse. It's really beautiful, but it doesn't run worth a damn, and it's basically useless.

        Well, Nokia clearly stated that Maemo was a work-in-progress (step 4 out of 5), I expected the N900's APIs to be the running target that they are (although the device itself

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nokia knows exactly what they're going to do with Maemo/MeeGo. They're going to make as much community-driven software stack as possible, this will drive down development costs for non-core applications. Meanwhile, they will, for example, roll out Ovi-services on top of that to bring in extra cash. Kind of what Apple is doing with their iTunes and AppStore and other content selling services. And don't think only music, videos or e-prints, it will be much more than that.

        It's really a beautiful win-win situat

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        They don't know what the hell they're trying to do with Maemo/MeeGo or the N900.

        Move from Maemo to Meego + move from GTK+ to Qt is what has been breaking apart the platform.

    • Re:Android (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hurricane78 (562437) <.gro.todhsals. .ta. .deteled.> on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:58AM (#32687856)

      Hahaha. You’re right about garbage collection and sandboxing. But you’re still silly.
      In case you don’t know: They are the ones developing Qt. They invested tons of money into it and Linux.
      I want a real Linux OS. Not some Java abomination. And so do they. :)

      And Qt is a widget toolkit. Not a programming environment. It’s not responsible for those things. The language is. If you want those things you can still write it in a non-C/C++ language.

      Hell, just install a JVM on it, and you can have all the Java, garbage collection and sandboxing you want. Also there are lots of Java apps so you can stay all-Java if you want.

      The other way around is not possible. And this freedom of choice is exactly why they chose Linux with Qt.

      • Hell, just install a JVM on it, and you can have all the Java, garbage collection and sandboxing you want.

        Not to mention you'll have an actual Java JVM with a mature implementation of JIT and not the Google re-imagining that is Dalvik.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Znork (31774)

      That's about equivalent to saying Redhat should dump their distribution and try to sell Android instead.

      Android may have a place on the Meego/Maemo platforms, but that would be as a port of the vm so it can run Android apps as well as, and alongside, everything else.

    • Sony Ericsson have a finger in each pie and are still very much involved in Symbian - posted from a Vivaz running ^1

  • Well, duh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:58PM (#32686038) Journal

    Try this: develop on Symbian for a while. Then develop on Qt for a while. See?

  • meeGo = Mi-go? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:11AM (#32687016) Journal
    how about R'lyeh OS?
  • The whole story behind Nokia "abandoning" Symbian for MeeGo is just plain stupid. This was supposed to happen since day one and it was well documented [nokia.com] for some time now. Why is it breaking now?!

    Anyway, the point is moot since it won't matter much for developers. This is the genius plan of Nokia and it strikes me that many here haven't quite understood it. By combining Symbian and MeeGo under the same development toolkit (the fantastic Qt) it won't matter much for developers since with minor tweaks of their

  • Bad name.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by malkavian (9512) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:52AM (#32687840) Homepage
    Well, bad phonetically for those of us that've read the Lovecraft books.. Somehow having a Mi-go [wikipedia.org] in the phone may not be such a great thing!
  • Does this mean I'll be able to upgrade my N97 ? I love the hardware, but I'm sick and tired of crappy Symbian.
  • by janimal (172428) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:36PM (#32694304)

    What's with this Linux thing and the n900? Sure, it's a linux netbook that fits in a pocket, but it's an AMAZING phone! Why is everyone ignoring this? I have one, and the Skype, google talk, contact list all-in-one is the most useful functionality I can imagine. I use it all the time. The QWERTY keyboard is great for texting and emails, it has a real browser, it DOES have useful regular user type apps, like Foreca Weather, Facebook, and less useful ones, like Latitude and n900 Fly :)

    What else? It integrates with my google calendar, it lets me share video live, upload pictures to social networking sites, and even tell me, where I need to go. I also own an Android phone (v1.5), and Maemo kicks Android butt. I'm sure Android 2 is better, but Maemo on N900 is polished. What is boggling my mind is why Nokia doesn't seem to see it. Why did they dilute it with MeeGo? And why aren't they screaming about it from every ad?! It's Linux on mobile, it's ready, for chrissake!! Oh, yea, and give it a bigger battery.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

Working...