Jamie McCracken (jamiemcc) wrote,
Jamie McCracken

Why Android and Meego should merge

I have to say there is quite a lot I like about Android but there's always a few things that are done better in Meego (like not needing a constant Internet connection to use GPS maps and of course tracker integration!).

Meego is also more open to different developer languages of course so it occurs to me that merging Android and Meego would be an ideal scenario for both developers and end users.

With the recent Oracle suit, a merge would provide a good deal of insulation from a possible negative outcome in the case and at the same time provide a means to move away from Java completely if needed. Whilst I cant see Intel or Nokia objecting, given that it will propel them into market leaders, the big question however is would Google stomach such a move and give away some of the power and influence it has achieved to date?

Whilst Google proclaims its "do no evil" stance, it should not be forgotten that absolute power corrupts as well and were Google to knock out Apple and steal Microsoft's crown as well (Android + Chrome could be a killer in the enterprise desktop), who can possibly say Google would not become evil or at least a shade of grey in that department. A safeguard against that is to make sure power is shared and distributed such that no one company can take matters into their own hands. Thus a merge now is not only potentially good for everyone but vital to safeguard the future

On technical matters, a merge should not be a big deal. Whilst Android does not use X, it should not be hard to port Android to use it. Sandboxing is best done in the kernel IMO and there is already a neat JIT available for most lanaguages (LLVM) so portability wont be sacrificed either. I cant see Android losing anything and Meego would acquire a java platform in addition to its native platform

And last but not least, a merge would create a more friendly name too - Ameego :) (At least thats better than MeegoDroid!)

P.S. Yeah I know it will probably never happen but if Google is smart enough not to repeat the mistakes of Microsoft, it will know the value of sharing its power with friendly companies who can help it fend off patent attacks (the more defensive patents you have the better) and more importantly stop itself from acquiring too much power for its own good

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August 22 2010, 23:41:47 UTC 11 years ago

It seems very unlikely - what does Google stand to gain from this? In Android, they already have one of the most successful mobile platforms available today. I can see them taking a few select features from Meego, but I can't see how it could possibly be in their interest to make major changes to merge their successful techstack with one that, to be honest, is a zero in the market.
As I said, they might if Oracles patent attack goes against them. A ready made alternative might be attractive


August 23 2010, 01:21:27 UTC 11 years ago

But it's *not* a ready-made alternative - adopting large parts of Meego is still a lot of work for them, along with de-stabilising their existing successful platform.

Much more likely that they just stop calling their system 'Java', and go their own way with Dalvik. And even more likely that they'll settle this with Oracle - Google is one of the biggest contributors to the Java ecosystem these days, and it's certainly not in Oracle's interest to force them to abandon it.
Google needs Android at large to make people go to web, to get ads, to use Google services at large. Android leverage in short two corner points that define as a platform: Android Market which is full of Google based applications and the Google service integration. Meego on the other hand does not leverage in a locked in the same thing. I cannot think the Android as being open more than being OpenSource. The carriers do lock the platform out, the market that is just from one vendor (Google), and so on.
At the end, porting from Android to Meego is impossible technically: Android is mostly a Java SE based framework with a very custom Linux distro. LLVM just mentioned before is really too slow to work on a mobile phone (that's why Froyo made their own JIT). In fact LLVM is too slow for a desktop configuration, as Miguel de Icaza said for the Mono JIT replacement with LLVM in desktop usage., so most probably a lot of technologies have to be reinvented just to work fairly equivalent on Meego.
The way I hope Google to contribute, is Summer of Code. To let as many projects to apply as they are under the sun. At least this part is more honest than other ones.
But joining forces with meego would not hamper its app store and web ads

A number of carriers do their own app stores - they are not forced to offer googles one. Google makes really cool free apps which carries the ads and if they are installed its because people want the apps. None of this would change with a Meego merge. Dont forget that google ports its apps to non-android including iPhone (although they are usually not as full featured as Android versions)

WRT LLVM, thats the first I heard thats its too slow (IIRC its alleged to be really fast but maybe there are other problems?).

WRT LLVM, thats the first I heard thats its too slow (IIRC its alleged to be really fast but maybe there are other problems?)

My understanding is that while LLVM is reasonably fast as a straight C compiler (compared with gcc), it doesn't compare all that favourably to dedicated JIT engines like the one Mono already has. I don't know if that's inherent, or if it will improve with continued development.


August 23 2010, 03:17:55 UTC 11 years ago

"Whilst Android does not use X, it should not be hard to port Android to use it."

I look forward very much to the day when Ubuntu does not use X either, and I sure as heck am not going to tolerate it on my pocket computer.
>I sure as heck am not going to tolerate it on my pocket computer.

And I will not tolerate anything other than X on a pocket computer.
I'd love to see some sort of compatibility with Android in MeeGo, by porting Dalvik and whatever else is necessary. That shouldn't even need the participation of Google... or does it?
Yes - one could port the calls to android's framebuffer and screen to use X and integrate it with the meego window manager

My interest in MeeGo, and that of many others is based on it being a Linux an ordinary distro, just meant for mobile phones and other small devices. I have no interest in running a bunch of Java apps from a closed app market on my desktop machine, and I don't have interest in doing so on my phone.

A merger of the two would subvert both their goals, and optional one way compatibility on MeeGo wouldn't really do anything at all.
Android will not move away from Java, period. The single most valuable asset in today's smartphone market is a thriving developer community that produce attractive 3rd party apps. Android is slowly catching up to Apple, they won't do anything to disrupt that community. Moving away from Java would shatter that community.

And no, MeeGo's developer community is nowhere near what Android has accumulated.
You don't need an internet connection to use GPS and maps, you need it for Google Maps, you know that you can install another maps app, don't you? ;)

Some of them stores maps on disk.