MeeGo and Bada, sitting in a tree

M-e-r-g-i-n-g?

Many people are questioning the future of MeeGo, after its primary commercial sponsor Intel was rumored to be stopping all tablet and smartphone development.

Intel has denied such rumors, publicly affirming its commitment to MeeGo, but that hasn't stopped people from speculating about what's going on. But a lot of that speculation isn't as gloomy as you might expect. In fact, some of the guesses are pretty optimistic.

MeeGoNews' Steve Paine, an active commentator in MeeGo space, pointed out over the weekend that at the recent Intel Developer Forum (IDF), it was the absolute lack of mention of MeeGo at the conference that got him thinking.

"No-one in Intel that's involved with MeeGo is talking MeeGo. There's no MeeGo conference planned yet, there was no MeeGo representation in the IDF technology showcase and I even heard a 'watch this space' comment in one of the technical sessions. Everyone is keeping their mouths shut tight. Something is going on."

Paine, who likely knows this space better than I, is definitely intrigued by the lack of apparent activity in the MeeGo project. Where others might see this as validation that the recent industry rumors are correct, Paine sees this as a potential clam-up while Intel plots its next MeeGo move.

Paine's theory? That MeeGo will end up being the core for a new, open source version of Bada, the mobile operating system owned by South Korean electronics maker Samsung and currently selling better than Windows Phone 7.

"MeeGo has been well designed as a smartphone core. How about the Bada brand and [user interface] on a MeeGo core? Remember, MeeGo really is just a core with a UI framework," Paine wrote.

That theory has some interesting potential, and it fits will with some of the news that's been coming out of South Korea lately. On Sept. 5, the German site Netbooknews.de reported (English translation) that Samsung could be moving in to take Intel's place as the primary commercial driver for MeeGo.

Then, this week, Dow Jones News via the Wall Street Journal reports sources have indicated that Samsung "is planning to make Bada software an open source platform next year." Not everyone is buying this particular bit of news, and Bill Ray over at The Register makes a strong case on why he doesn't think there's an advantage for Bada to go open source.

The rumors are flying: we've heard Intel is dropping MeeGo and Samsung is buying MeeGo and Bada is going open source... all rumors that, when taken individually, don't seem to hold up well. But, if all of these rumors are pieces of a larger puzzle, Paine's theory fits pretty well.

What may be happening is that Samsung is about to become a major contributor to MeeGo, enabling Intel to relinquish some or all of its development control of MeeGo. This is easily done, since MeeGo is still an open source project stewarded by the Linux Foundation. Samsung, meanwhile, may be planning on replacing the Nucleus real time operating system that runs at the core of the Bada platform with a MeeGo-based platform (an idea, by the way, shared by Unwired View).

From the outside looking in, wouldn't this look like Intel was dropping MeeGo? That Samsung is "buying" MeeGo? And that Samsung is going open source? It would if the sources for these rumors were only getting glimpses of what was going on.

This is all, admittedly, a bit of a leap. Intel might be tight lipped about their MeeGo plans because they aren't ready to announce any news, good or bad. Corporations don't like leaks like this, and it takes a while to spin up the PR machine.

Personally, I hope the theory holds true, because it gives MeeGo a chance to move forward in all of this uncertainty.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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