Pick a Free OS

User login


The Linux Foundation's vision is misguided

Earlier this week, HP's proprietary Linux-based operating WebOS was hailed as the coming out party for Linux by Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. Zemlin said WebOS was the death knell for Windows, and that HP would make Linux a desktop contender.

That was a good day for Zemlin, who is one of the open-source visionaries. 

But a few days later, Windows struck when Nokia announced it was moving away from MeeGo -- a mobile Linux distro being developed by The Linux Foundation -- in favor of Windows Phone. 

Zemlin perhaps felt a pinch, and he hasn't blogged about it yet, which is no surprise. He perhaps was caught on the blind side by Nokia's news, and that Windows was still a threat in the mobile space.

Zemlin's dubious promotion of HP's proprietary OS in the name of Linux is a sham.  Instead of moving developers to proprietary OSes, he should be keeping them honest to open-source software. There's no difference in promoting Windows Phone 7 or WebOS, both are closed source.

Zemlin perhaps had the right idea in mind when he said WebOS would help Linux, but isn't that tantamount to HP taking advantage of the open-source development community to fit its agenda? Well, Nokia's atleast being honest and adopting for a closed platform.

MeeGo was a melding of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin, and Nokia had hopes it would ultimately be used as a replacement to Symbian.  Meego is as good as a write-off for Nokia, and The Linux Foundation will receive less funds from Nokia, though Intel will continue to pour resources into development of Meego.

Part of Meego's failure to take off with Nokia could be laid on The Linux Foundation, which perhaps did not manage the effort well enough. There could be many reasons -- one could be the heavy focus on development of Meego to work closely with Intel hardware, when most of the mobile devices use Arm processor.  An Arm version of Meego is offered, but more effort is being put into the x86 builds.

Nokia's decision doesn't affect The Linux Foundation, which will go on as the central organization for Linux development. I hope they put more effort into promoting Linux as a true open-source OS platform, and moves developers in that direction. The organization has the strength and ability to do that, and Zemlin has to lead the way.