A new mobile Linux project is starting to take shape that combines the efforts of the LiMo Foundation and the Linux Foundation. The new Tizen project is set to be hosted by the Linux Foundation, which has been the home of the Meego project. LiMo is home to multiple vendors, including Samsung and Panasonic.
Tizen is set to leverage HTML5 to promote the development of an open Linux-based mobile platform. The first release of Tizen is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012.
“LiMo Foundation views Tizen as a well-timed step change which unites major mobile Linux proponents within a renewed ecosystem with an open web vision of application development, which will help device vendors to innovate through software and liberalize access to consumers for developers and service providers,” said Morgan Gillis, Executive Director of LiMo Foundation in a statement.
The Tizen project is coming to market during a period of intense change and challenge for the mobile industry and mobile Linux in particular. For one, the effort will take over from the Meego project, which failed to take flight.
Meego was formed in February of 2010 as a merger of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo Linux efforts. Nokia crippled the effort a year later by partnering with Microsoft for mobile phone development.
For Intel’s part, the move away from Meego to Tizen is also a shift toward HTML5.
“Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been,” Imad Sousou Meego’s technical steering group co-leader wrote in a blog post.”Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment.”
The Linux Foundation, which has hosted the Meego project, is also taking a positive tone about the migration to Tizen. Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, noted in a blog post that open source is all about choice.
“Tizen will also incorporate the same principles and open source philosophies as the MeeGo project,” Zemlin wrote. “Importantly, the upstream first philosophy will remain a key tenet of Tizen, allowing everyone in the Linux community to benefit from the work being done on the project.”
Looking at the other half of the equation with LiMo, there have been similar migrations and challenges. LiMo (Linux Mobile) merged with the LiPS (Linux Phone Standards) group back in 2008. While LiMo has managed to survive, Samsung, one of its leading members, has strongly embraced Google’s Android operating system, which is a separate effort.
The Android ecosystem –which Samsung participates in — is in transition, thanks to Google’s planned acquisition of handset vendor Motorola for $12.5 billion. Tizen could potentially yield a new alternative to Android that Samsung and other LiMo members will be able to benefit from.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.