I recently bought a Nokia n900, which I soon discovered manifested the last release of Maemo, which would be superceded by Meego. As I understood it, there will be no official support from Nokia for Meego on the n900, and no future development of Maemo. My understanding is that Meego will fuse Maemo and Moblin development. Although people knock Maemo, I think it is more Ovi and the lack of Flash/Air support that is the problem with the n900. I actually quite like Maemo, it is well put together, and quite a substantial operating system for such a small device – once you get into it.
I also have an Advent 4211, which is a rebranded MSI Wind, and XP was getting a bit flakey with it – slow, lots of updates, and it kept shutting down as soon as it was switched on unless the mains lead was unplugged. I managed to flash the bios, and re-fit the battery/power supply, and started building usb bootable disks for Moblin and Meego.
Moblin is Intel’s linux derivative built for the Atom processor, because they were fed up with Microsoft’s lack of support for the Atom. Moblin looked OK, it sensed my wireless network, asked for the SSID, but failed to connect – even though I have done this with other devices numerous times.
Then I tried Meego. I certainly liked the interface, especially the wobble when you select something in the top bar. Very different from the debian and ubuntu gnome linux I am used to. However, the WiFi was even less accessible – no WiFi option was even visible, and the button to select a network was disabled. Nice though. Can’t wait to see how this develops, as it would be nice to have a system that works on the netbook as well as the n900.
I was impressed by the improvement in performance over XP, and found that Ubuntu netbook edition now ran on the MSI wind (last I looked it only ran on the Asus eee). Built the usb boot disk, and found that did work fine with WiFi. I liked that as well, and decided to install it – and it worked like a dream; it resized the Windows FS and installed itself on its own partition. Doesn’t seem as fast as Meego – but being ubuntu, there are loads of apps in the repository – of which firefox and thunderbird are two of my ‘must haves’. Flash 10, Air & BBC’s iPlayer Desktop runs on it (just).
So, it looks to me that ubuntu have set the bar quite high with NBE 10.4 – they have come a long way, and it is looking like a professional product now. However, I was taken with the way the Meego interface looks quite playful, and yet is clearly professional and seems pretty robust (Wi-Fi issue aside). I couldn’t get online wirelessly (I guess I could ethernet-wise, but no point without wireless). I don’t think it can be a broadcom issue, as I had that with my compaq laptop and ubuntu 8.4, and had a right game figuring out ndis wrapper to get it going on that – but the NBE 10.4 just worked. My understanding is the MSI Wind rebrands have realtek wireless cards.
It does look very promising – but the system is too opaque for me to figure out what might be preventing Meego from seeing my wireless card, and I’m not finding answers online. I’m keen to try it out further. If I can get my hands on a cheap Nokia n810, I’d certainly put a copy on that to play with, but I am reluctant to break my nice new n900.
Anyway, a bit of ramble – it inspired me to have a play with a netbook I was ready to toss out, and have come out of that with quite a usable little computer now – so even if it isn’t running Meego, that was the inspiration. It has been a while since I spent a day playing with a PC like this, and it is nice to have a bit of fun with a computer again. I much prefer being able to breath new life into something I already have than going out and buying something new – especially if it means avoiding Windows, Apple (and now Google’s Android as well, I’m afraid, which appears to be the most locked-down linux outside of a Tom-Tom).
All this in a week when my reading up on Nokia’s Symbian OS led me to the realisation that was a development of Psion’s EPOC OS. Makes sense why I like Nokia phones now, I do miss the old Psions, and have never had a handheld since that came anywhere near them (neither the iPAQ running Windows CE, nor the Clie running the Palm OS). That isnpired me to fetch out my old Psion 5 and stick a couple of duracells in it – and blow me if the thing didn’t only work still!
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