MeeGo is a Linux-based open source operating system and represents an unstoppable force that speeds up mobile device developers’ time-to-market. That was the ultimate message delivered at the MeeGo OS Conference in San Francisco a few days back by the executive director of The Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin.

He added “Companies from all over come and go all the time, then people come and go, and things change a lot, and one year it’s this, the other year it’s that, but the fundamental principles still remain the same no matter how you look at them,” Zemlin told the audience, explaining the real value of open source initiatives such as Linux and MeeGo.

He then added “And over a period of time you can just see how large Linux has become, and just how projects like MeeGo become these absolutely unstoppable forces that no single entity controls, that no single group dominates, and that really is the benefit of this collaborative development model, and this is what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

“Money really is fundamental to MeeGo’s advantage as an open source operating system. If you base your product development on MeeGo. As an app developer or device manufacturer you’re dramatically expanding your opportunities. You own the platform, right? You can create your own app stores. You don’t have to pay royalties to anyone for it,” added Zemlin.

Demonstrating the unique versatility of Linux, Zemlin pointed to its use in air-traffic control systems. “So your life is literally in Linux’s hands. And nuclear submarines. So your death is in Linux’s hands, as well, potentially, plus other applications such as the CERN supercollider, the digital effects in Avatar, and its role in powering the majority of the world’s equity trading markets, along with about 95 percent of the globe’s banking system.”

“And today, you’re in a totally new game, and you’re in a much better game – a game where you can control your future. And that is the fundamental advantage that projects like MeeGo have, he was quick to point out.”

“This is why MeeGo will be successful over the next couple of decades, just like Linux has been successful since its birth, and why it will be around for the next decades as well,” he said.

And although most every moment of the MeeGo Conference keynote was sweetness and light, Zemlin did allow himself one pointed poke at the head of the mobile market’s most-closed company. After a brief hesitation in a wireless-syncing demo by Collabora engineer Robin Burchell, Zemlin said “I was about to pull a Steve Jobs and just blame the Wi-Fi, like ‘All right, if you want to see this, everybody turn the Wi-Fi off’,” a reference to Jobs’ embarrassing demo glitch when launching the iPhone 4.

In March, China Unicom said that it is planning to launch its own mobile operating system, taking on Apple and everyone else in a market presently dominated in China by Symbian and Ovi.

The new OS will be Linux-based and called Wo-Phone. The Wo-Phone handsets will be manufactured by ZTE, Huawei, TCL, Samsung, Motorola and HTC. The new mobile platform will come with its own application store, and is intended to transition the wireless operator’s 150 million customers to its existing 3G network.

For now, Nokia’s Ovi store dominates in China, and fresh new numbers from iResearch report that a litte over 65 percent of Chinese app store users regularly peruse Ovi’s shelves, which is second only to China Mobile’s store which attracts visits from almost 58 percent of all mobile users.

The Chinese wireless industry is rapidly growing and many observers say it will continue for at least the next two to three years. The Android Marketplace lags well behind with less than 14 percent of users taking the time to visit, while even the Windows Marketplace manages to come close to the iTunes store in popularity, with 11 percent.

So the question isn’t why not Android, but why not Symbian…

But the answer remains pretty much the same: control over the platform and application distribution if you really want to succeed in a market that is getting more and more competitive.

Source: The Linux Foundation.