Nokias Linux-based Meltemi platform melts amid layoffs

Nokia logoEmbattled phone manufacturer Nokia has conducted another round of layoffs, reducing the companys headcount by 10,000 employees. The company is tightening its focus and making deep cuts in areas that arent directly tied to its current Windows Phone strategy. In conjunction with the layoffs, Nokia has also reportedly terminated its Meltemi project.

Meltemi was a Linux-based operating system that was intended to be Nokias successor to the S40 feature phone platform. Used in conjunction with the Qt development toolkit, Meltemi was going to be the cornerstone of Nokias strategy for connecting the next billion smartphone users.

The phone giants platform strategy has been moving away from Linux ever since former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop took over as Nokias CEO. He transitioned the company to the Windows Phone 7 operating system, ended Nokias commitment to the Linux-based MeeGo operating system, and vowed to eventually phase out its legacy Symbian platform.

Despite these major changes to Nokias platform strategy, the company has continued to make significant investments in Qt, the open source development toolkit that had once been the key to building a unified application ecosystem across MeeGo and Symbian.

It was widely believed that Qt would continue to be a central part of Nokias ongoing mobile Linux efforts through Meltemi. But now that Meltemi is gone, there is no rational explanation for Nokias continued investment in Qt. Despite that, in a statement today to AllThingsD, Nokias Richard Kerris confirmed that Nokia intends to continue supporting Qt in the near term.

Its worth noting that the Qt toolkit is widely supported by other parties. Nokias decision to relicense Qt under the permissive LGPL has made it possible for other smartphone vendors to adopt it as part of their platform. HP was using Qt in webOS and RIM is currently using it as the basis for the development toolkit in its next-generation Blackberry operating system.

Nokia sold its commercial Qt licensing business to Digia last year, ensuring that other users of the toolkit have a way to continue paying for support and development services. Between Digias contributions and the involvement of a diverse community of independent contributors, Qt has continued evolving at a good pace. Qt 5, a major new version of the toolkit, is expected to release later this year.

Nokias ongoing financial support and development efforts have been helpful to Qt, but the toolkit would have no difficulty surviving even without Nokias help. The reasons for Nokias ongoing involvement remain a mystery, however. Qt is not supported on Windows Phone 7 and doesnt seem to fit into the companys current platform strategy.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: MeeGo, Nokia, Symbian

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