Friday, 11 February 2011

the bomb has hit... we need to let the dust settle.

So, unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably heard about the Nokia news by now. I of course have thoughts and opinions about this, not all of them clear. So I'll just stick with what I think about the future for Qt and MeeGo for now.

A lot of people around the Qt development community (some users, some contributors, and some Nokians) have been worrying. There have also been a few people asking about forking, and to them, I would say: not yet. Let the dust settle. Right now, Qt themselves don't know exactly what the future holds, but I would expect this to be clarified in the near future. Thiago has also clarified that open governance of Qt is still an ongoing project.

I don't personally see too much changing here, because despite news of Symbian's perhaps timely death, MeeGo still needs Qt, and I don't think MeeGo is in any imminent danger. Here's why.

  • MeeGo is not just Nokia

    Intel is also involved in MeeGo, and in addition to that, there are other partners and OEMs.

    This will not change.
  • MeeGo is open

    This means that anyone who wants to continue the work and contribute, can. There's no barriers, no licensing fees, and no patent worries. This is attractive to hardware manufacturers. Thanks to (trying) to reuse upstream components, it's also a less expensive alternative than Android.

    This will not change.
  • Nokia did, right at the outset of the announcement say, they are continuing work on it

    Yes, it is true that they also announced that they are reducing their R&D spending on it, but perhaps this isn't such a bad thing. Perhaps lower spending will enable them to spend on what really matters, and focus on getting something out the door.
That's not that I think today's news is great, or even good - but I'd like to encourage calmness. Let's all have some time to digest the information and think about what exactly it means.

I might write more about this once I've had a chance to collect my own opinions a little more. I'm certainly concerned, and interested, but there is no need to panic.


  1. Random notes:
    * The fact that Trolls themselves don't know what's going on ... scares me. What kind of company makes such a big move and leaves a whole division without knowledge on what's happening?

    * "Intel is also involved in MeeGo", right, but I'd like to hear something from Intel. Are they going to look for another big partner? To drop MeeGo? Or what?

    In the meanwhile, I can only remember all the nice words spent in October about the MeeGo thing, and the huge investment Nokia was making into it...

    I don't think Qt is in danger (at least on desktop it'll continue to rock), but I really fear that Qt on mobile is in danger. Hearing no words from the qt-mobility devs makes me sad.

    In the meanwhile, are you able to find only one user or developer who's truly excited about this move? :)

  2. Words of calm wisdom. Thank you. These felt good amidst my feelings of out right panic due to the feeling that MeeGo might be going away.

    But its true, Nokia is only one of the players involved in MeeGo. My only worry is, that Nokia was the most substantial smartPHONE MeeGo platform developer, so will the phone side of MeeGo develop as fast and with the same expertise as before?

    But then, all this time Nokia has been working on one of their own versions of MeeGo, the "Harmattan-MeeGo" ´, which some have doubted to be compatible with the MeeGo we see out in the open.

  3. @Peppe

    Fear not Intel's point of view!

  4. Well something will tell me that qt future will not be so bright.

  5. @peppe: With announcements this big, you can't tell people - or ask all the questions you should - well in advance. To do that invites leaks, which could (at a minimum) harm the share price, or the deals themselves, which is not a good thing.

    Intel have publically announced that they are not dropping Intel already:

    In terms of MeeGo, I'd of course like to see it prosper, and ship - and I still hope that I will - what I'm emphasising here is mostly that I think it's too early to call it dead, and panic.

    Qt on mobile has *a* future, it runs on WebOS, and there are community ports to both iPhone and Android. It would, of course, be nice to see someone ship a phone with Qt on it, but let's see what the future brings...

  6. I just did a blog post in German that says "hands off Nokia!" from multiple perspectives, but from the Qt and MeeGo point of view, I think it's best too wait for a bit and let the dust settle. Don't put a lot of more investments into it if you depend on Nokia delivering devices (but do if you're doing devices yourself, you might be faster to the market than Nokia now and have a good community longing for those things) but don't pull back any investments from those areas right now. Contrary to Symbian, there's a broad and open community and there is possibly even a future engagement from Nokia, so DON'T PANIC! ;-)

  7. * MeeGo is not just Nokia
    Android runs over a Linux distro.
    All Intel needs is a virtual machine on top to totally switch.

    * MeeGo is open
    So is Maemo.

    * Nokia did, right at the outset of the announcement say, they are continuing work on it
    Nokia also said that it would support Symbian 3.0.


  8. If nothing is clarified for a meego, I'll switch from my N900 to WebOS in a near future. I just can't choose the Google's monopoly over consumer data.

  9. Carrypad has a nice post on the subject with some insight from Intel.

    At this point what is known is that Nokia will ship one MeeGo device by the end of the year, it seems this will be a tablet device, ironically the guy that pushed for tablet computing was Bill Gates.

    As for Qt, I don't know what to think. The last couple of years my opinion of it turned 180 degrees, as I'm GNOME user for the last 15 years and liked GTK+ far more back in the day.

    I do hope there would be a manufacturer who will ship MeeGo phone sized device with hardware keyboard. I also do hope that MeeGo will have kick-ass future in ConnectedTV & IVI. I aslo hope to see the input from AMD because they announced they will join the effort. There is Linaro also, and they seem to think Qt is the obvious choice too.

    My first reaction was disgust from the announcement, as I love all things Linux and true Open Source for that matter, and I like Symbian very much in the forms of S60v3, UIQ and S^3. But really the dust should settle. After MWC11 the direction will be more obvious, I think.

    Btw, Breaking News: Mubarak resigns, Stephen Elop soon to follow! :D just joking :)

  10. The MeeGo project is not dead, but there seems to be no hope for real GNU/Linux-smartphones. There won't be hardware for MeeGo Handset, there won't be customers, so there won't be developers for it (or for Qt on smartpones at all) and, well, it is over.

  11. The only bad thing is that Meego/Moblin seem to be all talk. Meanwhile Android and (probably soon) ChromeOS are getting the headstart. It'd be nice to see SOMETHING! Otherwise you just keep falling behind in the apps race

  12. Agreed.
    There's nothing to worry about. Development didn't stop.

    It's very likely to slow down a bit, though : as I've been saying since the beginning of this shit, Nokia is digging is own grave betting on Windows Phone.

    Not that Microsoft can't do anything right, but Windows Phone 7 is clearly not part of what they did right. They had some great ideas for this project, but the main result is a failure. WP7 is not going to work out pretty good.
    And investors seems to understand that... for it seems they don't trust Nokia no more.

    No worries about Qt and MeeGo, of course.
    I don't fear for them. I just fear for Nokia. By settling with Microsoft, they just made it very clear that Nokia is a dying company... and the most sad part is that the deal with Microsoft will only make Nokia die faster.
    Microsoft's guys must have no hearth at all ! They're ready to eradicate a company as big as Nokia only so WP7 won't be as a huge failure as it should've.

  13. "Intel have publically announced that they are not dropping Intel already"

    I would hope so ;)

  14. About qt on mobile, to get to lots of people a big company is needed, so either qt is ported to android(I heard this is almost done), wp7(Not possible AFAIK), or to webos(don't know about this).
    I think the efforts should be transfered from meego/maemo to android, kde mobile can prosper in there, and as android has more market share than maemo/meego, it will get to much more people.
    But then there is the problem of qt development, nokia will lose interest, but this is not the end.
    Qt is still a really good platform, and it won't die just because nokia goes away, someone else will buy it and in the midterm, kde and the community will have to keep it alive and going.

  15. Qt on the desktop will continue to thrive on linux systems, it is a great fit there. Also, to a lesser extent, on Mac and Windows. However, we all know that desktop development is not as hot a development platform as mobile is right now. Qt needs a focused direction in the wake of this new announcement.

    Continued improvements to QML for the desktop environment are important to me, but if Qt has any chance to glom onto another viable mobile platform I think it should do so, if only to recapture the hearts and minds of its loyal developers working in that arena. I'm not sure Meego can be that platform any time soon and what worries me most is the idea of Nokia contributing to Qt in a lackluster manner just to hedge its bets.

    I think Qt needs a new home and focus soon, so that it does not just sit around and stagnate under Nokia. ithout

  16. Qt IS my development tool. From the first day I tried it, at the end of the Qt3 version, I was hooked. I will remain hooked.

    When KDE was first written one developer complained that it was not built using a GPL toolkit, and wrote Gnome to counter it. That led to the formation of a foundation which guarantees that a GPL version of Qt will always be available. Since Qt4 is under the GPL/LGPL its future is NOT threatened now that Nokia has decided to follow in the footsteps, and perhaps share the fate, of Novell.

    Qt4, with QtCreator and Qt-SDK, is a world class software development tool, and will remain so. The very developers that Nokia exploited, shamelessly it now appears, will see to it.

  17. I am really looking forward to see what comes forth from Meego.
    I absolutely love my N900. I have allready had the chance to change it for a new sell with my new abbo but i am simply still very satisfied with my N900. Even though there are not much good apps for me it is still the most practical and ingenious device out there.
    I absolutely love it.
    Hopefully we'll see more of the meego device at the show next week.

  18. Why wouln't it be possible to develop for Meego and Windows mobile with Qt?

  19. It seems it's time to NITDroid to fully develop itself. I really wished this announced was about porting Qt to WP7, but my darkest nightmares came true.

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  21. Robin, I agree QT is needed for meego (and also IS a great devframefork.

    BUT! Problem is this: and I am 100% u know this too even if yout still hope and can't say it straight out...

    * QT is now owned by Nokia, Now let us be realistic about this, do you think Microsoft would accept this "multiplatform framework" at the end? Do you think pro app developers will use this framework when Nokia already says WP7 is primary platform? (dont forget highend today is midend tommorow!! That means in a year E7 == higend == WP7)

    I mean CMON get this straigth this is the fact: Intel is a HW company for them Meego is NOT that important, as soon as Microsoft/Google says they will use Medfield or nextgen Intel CPU Meego is not important for intel == the Meego platform will slowly die.

    Intel==just playing a game to make the manudfactors go Medfield instead of ARM they dont give a shit what platfor they use as long as they make money on the CPU/GPU!

    So the only opion for QT development in long run is that some more open non Microsoft owned company buys QT and still make it continue to be "as open as possible"

    I hope this happens fast now cause I know YOU and others working with qt/quoick are great people!!! Qt IS great devframework!!! problem is you didnt get the people at the directors board understand this facts :-(

    So Again do NOT take this as fud or personally cause QT enginners is not the problem behind Nokis strategy dissaster :-(

    No I Only hope someone buys QT back from Nokia. Even If I dont hav that much moeney I would mind to send some small fee to the QT COmmunity cause I KNOW Qt GOOD platform!!

    There is three companys who can make this happen!!!

    * Canonical Ubuntu)
    * Redhat (Ubuntu)
    * HP (integrate with WebOS)

    Problem is non of this is european. Too Me as an europeen I see its important its an europeean company(Please Americans, dont get offended by this! but Qt was infact Northerupean company at the beining sooo let us have SOME softwarecompany left in europeean now when you have taken Nokia from US :-(

  22. Well lets Poll at