Novell unveils Suse MeeGo Linux for netbooks

The company expects its flavour of fully-supported MeeGo to be preinstalled on netbooks from a variety of manufacturers over the next year

Novell has announced a fully-supported Suse version of MeeGo, the new Linux distribution for mobile devices that is backed by Intel and Nokia.

Novell said on Wednesday that Suse MeeGo will be pre-installed on netbooks from a variety of manufacturers over the next year. Novell did not name which manufacturers would use Suse MeeGo. Companies that preinstalled MeeGo's predecessor, Suse Moblin, included Samsung and MSI.

"Our commitment to ship Suse MeeGo further extends our position as the leading OS vendor in the desktop Linux market," Novell's director of client preloads Guy Lunardi said in a statement. "Novell is passionate about providing users with a better computing experience, and MeeGo will deliver on that promise."

The basic operating system, MeeGo v1.0 for netbooks, was released on Thursday last week. The software development kit (SDK) for the operating system (OS) is currently only for subnotebooks, but the next version of the SDK will support handsets and tablets as well.

The OS, announced in February at Mobile World Congress, is a hybrid of Nokia's smartphone-centric Maemo — including Nokia's cross-platform application framework, Qt — and Intel's Moblin, which focused on netbooks and mobile internet devices (MIDs) such as tablets. It can run on both x86- and ARM-based devices.

According to a statement on Wednesday from the analyst house Ovum, MeeGo represents "the first concerted effort to create a complete, robust and scalable device and application platform that spans an array of device categories while offering original equipment manufacturers and service providers complete freedom to modify the platform and user experience as desired".

Suggesting that MeeGo's flexibility would make the OS commonplace in a short space of time, Ovum analyst Tony Cripps said MeeGo devices would nonetheless have to sell well if developers are to focus on it instead of rival offerings from Apple, Google and Microsoft.

"For the wholesale leveraging of Qt to become a reality, developers must ultimately be persuaded that it is a better cross-platform, cross-device application and [user experience] platform than the alternatives," Cripps said.

"This is a big ask. From the perspective of most third-party developers, MeeGo remains an unknown and unproven quantity that is entering an already highly competitive and crowded landscape."


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