A Growing Garden - Retrospective of MeeGo Conference San Francisco 2011

Photo courtesy of Thomas Perl via Flickr.com

I put off writing this post as I wanted to be sure I have absorbed the conference well enough before I posted. For a quick summery we saw some innovative progress with MeeGo and realized there is an unstoppable force with the MeeGo community.  However lets get something out of the way, there was no handset announcement that the community had hoped for. I think early in the conference that started to let the winds out of the sails, however there was much more going on which set a broader MeeGo story for us going forward.  I cheekily think a lack of handsets news might have been exactly be what MeeGo needs. I tend to express time and again that MeeGo is not exclusively a handset OS. And this is the first time, we collectively saw the MeeGo forrest thru the handset trees. It is as if many stood looking at an unwavering bud a garden, then disappointed as it didn't open, stood back and shockingly realized they were knee deep in a blooming field of flowers.  Granted it is a key bud, and talking to the Nokia guys as well as others there is a commitment and excitement to bring handsets forward.

So lets talk about the blooming MeeGo garden. 


Free Hardware & Application Labs.

Its not an event without some cool new free hardware.  No exception here. To start off on the weekend, preconference event, Intel hosted a number of Application Labs where we discussed the MeeGo architecture and introduced our set of tools called the Appup SDK suite for MeeGo.  This tool set included the MeeGo SDK, AppUp SDK, AppUp developer clients, and testing and tuning tools.  And for those who stuck around for these 2 hours sessions they walked away with an ExoPC tablet with the MeeGo tablet UX running. Later in the week we held additional labs for those who wanted to get the info minus the hardware.  They got a different treat, thanks to Vincent Yau's excellent sense of humor and humility:-)

MeeGoConfSF-applab MeeGoConfSF-applab (5) IMG_1523 by rsuplido
Images courtesy of Bob Duffy, and Reggie Suplido via Flickr.com. Roll over images for source info on each



Attendance-wise we heard in the keynote that this event was more successful than the Dublin event, i.e. more registrants.  That is saying something, as anecdotally I suspect the largest MeeGo fan base is in Europe. I don't think any will argue that this event definately showed a strong and vibrant interest in MeeGo.



On the TV side there was a great floor demo of the Amino IP TV platform in a product called CuboVision.  You can see this at mark 6:53 in the Netbook News video in this post.  It is smooth, fast and with access to video on demand or local video content allowing for 500 Gigs of stored media.



On the netbook side, our own Intel AppUp booth showed off the AppUp store for MeeGo where you can already see a library of apps coming into the the developer version of the store.  Apps can be searched, or browsed by category, purchased and launched from the AppUp store.  MeeGo netbook is looking really solid and looks like as Computex is getting underway more good news on the Netbook front as ASUS just announce the X101 ultra thin netbook shipping with MeeGo. See the PCMag.com article.



Tablets were making their way with MeeGo as well, lots of demos and some new hardware.  At the Intel booth we showed off the i-Buddie demonstration tablet device running Oak Trail tablet, Intel's latest Atom processor  We loaded MeeGo 1.2 tablet UX on it and it showed well for a demonstration device.

Right next to our i-Buddie at the Intel booth was Indamixx 2 portable studio MeeGo tablet.  This is a custom hardware software combo to create a professional portable sound sequencing machine running on a tablet and powered by MeeGo. Check out a demo from at 4:17 in the video

We also saw a custom touch UI skin from Nomovok that offers a completely different look and experience for MeeGo (see 1:48 in video), as well as the Intel AppUp tablet client running and demoing apps live on an ExoPC.  



And for IVI the biggest stuff was probably, Tsuguo Nobe, Chief Service Architect from Nissan who made an appearance at the keynote and said they have chosen MeeGo, and that we should look forward to MeeGo powered experiences in our cars in the near future.  

 Reggie Suplido

Jim Zemlin (Linux Foundation) and Tsuguo Nobe (Nissan) on stage. Image credit: Reggie Suplido  



Also ICS, who provide consulting and technical services for Qt development, did not disappoint.  At Dublin they showed off an amazing IVI demo, taking a layed Photoshop* file and turning that into a working car dashboard app.  This year they showed how professional game development is fairly quick and easy using Qt+ QML by demoing a version of Dance Dance MeeGo revolution that ran off a MeeGo netbook, with a Dance Pad connected.


Tej Shah (ICS) on stage demoing Dance Dance MeeGo Revolution coded in QML. Image credit: Reggie Suplido 


During the Keynote we were treated to a demo by community leader Robin Burchell, who showed us a project he is working on, that allows you to automatically synch contact information between devices, and Robin explains this doesn't need to be limited to contact info. I tried to find a video of this but no luck.  Short of it is, he added, deleted contacts on one device and a device across the room instantly changed the contact information on its device.  You got me real interested Robin, cause this is the future.


Jim Zemlin (Linux Foundation) and Robin Burchell on stage. Image credit: UMPCPortal



The sessions also were very exciting.  From the future of Qt5 and the potential of MeeGo porting to Wayland as early as 1.3 in October, there was a lot of cool new things to get excited about for MeeGo.  More on Wayland and MeeGo see this article about the session 

I'm a geek, so one of my favorite sessions was something geeky on pixel density.  MeeGo APIs are helping manage graphics to work across various devices with various pixel per inch densities.  This is a bigger issue and nut to crack than you think, as 72PPI to 330PPI is now a common divide between devices. The answer is MeeGo.UI Units, which allows developers to specify a graphic's image size in inches, mm or virtual pixels, thus allowing a UI to maintain its functionality across devices types.  I found this Wiki on MeeGo.com that provides more context

Intel also hosted a session on the AppUp encapsulator, which allows you to package web applications to the AppUp store for MeeGo. The demo showed a very quick and simple solution for auto integrating the store SDK and automating the creation of an RPM.  Read our FAQ on encapsulator or feel free to drop us a question.



IMG_0412.jpg by GeekyGirlDawnBut the real story of this conference is the community.  I have to take my virtual hat off to Dawn Foster (http://twitter.com/geekygirldawn), the Community Manager for MeeGo.com.  She managed a very very warm, welcoming and community focused event.  Now I know Dawn didn't organize the event, but I know that Dawn's ever presence, gracious engagement and attentiveness to werewolf games in the hackers lounge were a big part of what made the community feel connected and engaged with the spirit of the MeeGo open source project.

The hackers lounge was a main hub of activity if you were not in a session or at a planned dinner or event.  You could always count on Dawn, Julien (http://twitter.com/jfourgeaud), Leinir (http://twitter.com/Leinir), Randal(http://twitter.com/texrat), Dave (http://twitter.com/nearyd) and the rest of the die hard community enthusiasts to be there and make you feel part of the MeeGo family.  I missed the real live Angry Birds competition that happened the weekend before, but there was always a werewolf game or willing victim for foos & ping pong :-)

For Intel this carried over to our MeetUp event which was more of a hackers lounge meets cocktail party. And that got us away from the werewolfing and ping pong just enough to have some face to face conversation before we went back to play-time.  But aside from the fun and games the community activities were meaningful.  Most of us work at a business and represent some portion of the ecosystem.  The connections made at a global event like this recharge us and make stronger connection between players in the ecosystem.  Randall ran a Birds of Feather session that I think exemplified this.  This session talked about how we get community content pulled together from the disparate sources that make up the broader MeeGo conversation. There was a real sense of the community owning and driving change to move pieces forward.

Meego Conference Werewolf Hackers lounge at the #meegoconf by Vaibhav M. Sharma IMG_0388.jpg by GeekyGirlDawn

MeeGoConfSF-KW-meetup (7) MeeGoConfSF-KW-meetup (9) MeeGoConfSF-KW-meetup (8)
Images courtesy of UMPCPortal, Vaibhav M. Sharma, Dawn Foster, and Kelly Woods via Flickr. Roll over images to identify each source.

In the end the event was nothing short of vibrant. Go MeeGo!