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Open Source: Why Maemo-Meego is the way to go?

8 July 2011Entry by

When I was younger, I never quite understood the concept of open source.  Sure, it was great getting free games, but how does that make something better? It wasn’t until I experienced the Maemo open-source platform that I truly understood why open source was this amazing entity, rather then simply a concept.

Open source, it is the very thing that has let Maemo continue on, even after the maker abandoned it.  The very thing that lets my 19 month old device still be relevant and even desirable to me against new releases even today.  By why does simply being open, create so many more opportunities for a device?

To me, openness is the biggest appeal towards the N900, and the biggest disappointment towards Nokia apparently moving away from Meego. Openness, the very thing that has allowed my beloved device to do things Nokia didn’t intend (read: couldn’t be bothered doing).  Simple things like changing my operator name to amusing quotes, to the more complex like adding MMS, and even letting me use my N900 vertically for the first time.  Now that’s what I call freedom.

Open Source

What open source now means to me is I can make my device do whatever I want it to do, and apparently the Maemo community agrees with me.

But where do we go from here?  There is only so long Maemo can really crawl through the desert.  When even the community moves on in time, where do those of us go who have come to cherish their little open source paper weights? In a market that moves toward closed source more and more, the choice is becoming something akin to the choice of punching oneself in the head, or in the guts.  Both options hurt, but which one is slightly less painful?

In relation to closed source, iOS undoubtedly gets top spot as Fort Knox, Windows Phone 7 being close behind, and even Android becoming more and more locked up with each release.  I always had high hopes for Maemo leading the charge into openness, and have the same hopes for the legacy it leaves to Meego.

I do of course wish Meego well, and that the openness continues, but I can’t help but taste only ash in my mouth when I think how Nokia treats Meego, and how it treated Maemo.  Is there something that I’m missing perhaps?

But still, I am confidant that Meego will flourish, even without the help of Nokia for such an open system will attract an amazing community, and we the community will work to make Meego something great.  It is the openness of the system, and not the system itself, which makes it an amazing platform for the future and it is why that at the end of the day, open source is the way to go. Openness, the biggest reason why I have loved my N900 since the day it was born, and will continue on until the day it dies.

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