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MeeGo Review

As we evaluate various technologies that might be applicable in embedded systems, MeeGo is the subject of this article.  MeeGo is a collaboration between Intel and Nokia, and is replacing the Moblin and Maemo efforts.  For this review, MeeGo was installed to a USB flash disk and booted on a Asus EEPC.  This was quite trivial to do, and the instructions on the MeeGo website are very good.  The following video (can be viewed in Firefox) provides a quick overview of the MeeGo Netbook UI.

Overall, MeeGo looks interesting.  Hopefully with the collaboration between Intel and Nokia, there will emerge a number of components that become “standards” for embedded systems such as ways to manage wireless networks, cell phone radios, etc.  It would also be nice to have better options for implementing GUI’s on embedded devices with small screens.  While the MeeGo user interface is nice, it is not a radical departure from desktop applications.  Maemo (used on the Nokia N900) is more advanced in that it has optimized widgets for a small screen.  With Maemo, all applications run in a true full screen mode, which is generally desired for devices with smaller screens, or industrial devices where we want to keep user confusion to a minimum.  MeeGo applications seem to run full screen, but you can still drag them around, and some applications like the terminal do not start full screen.

It seems there is considerable interest in providing distributions based on MeeGo.  Novell has announced it plans to provide MeeGo based distributions for netbooks, and Intel claims there are a number of other companies planning to build on top of MeeGo.