03 October 2012

Jolla's Sailfish: MeeGo resurrected

Looks like today is mobile OS day. A little earlier I posted about my kindling interest in Firefox OS, and now I just read stories on Slashdot and Engadget  about Jolla's pending release of their MeeGo-based Sailfish operating system.

While sources claim Jolla's efforts are open source, I'm concerned about a line from a source linked to in the Slashdot article that states, "Jolla's plans will not include open sourcing [Sailfish's] user interface layer that it is building on top of the operating system platform." Which, of course, means that whatever Jolla ships won't be FOSS. At this point I have no idea if the non-FOSS UI layer is simply widget styling and branding (not a deal breaker) or something more crucial (potentially a deal-breaker). I hope to see this clarified soon.

An interesting difference/similarity between Firefox OS and Jolla is their marketing strategies. While Firefox OS seems to be targeting Sino-centric markets only obliquely (by targeting low-end hardware), Sailfish is targeting Chinese handsets directly. Just how this plays out globally will be interesting to watch.

Penguin meets canine: Firefox OS

I was originally somewhat dismissive of Mozilla's Firefox OS (née Boot to Gecko) as just a Google Chrome OS wannabe, but I've read a few things recently that suggest it's a platform with some good ideas that might actually gain some traction. While there seems to be limited buzz about it in $illyValley, and some are predicting very low penetration next year, I want to be optimistic that it will develop into a platform with some relevance.

I'm attracted to Firefox OS because unlike Google Chrome OS or Android it's all open all over the place, and unlike webOS it actually has institutional backing.*

FfOS's strategy is to target low-end smartphones and featurephones--a place that iOS will likely never go and where Android is going with only limited usability success. In addition to phones, I am wondering if FfOS might also be applicable to general embedded device development. Qt+QML seems to do nicely in this space, but I am more than slightly concerned about the future of Qt since being dumped by Nokia. webOS seems a good candidate for embedded work as well--as long as you subscribe to the webOS UI paradigm.

In any case, it's always nice to have viable alternatives, so I'll be rooting (!) for the ruddy canine.

*Looks like I might be wrong about this.