> There is no denying that mobile is top-priority target for the Linux
> community. Android, webOS, and ChromeOS fans may perceive MeeGo as a
> threat, but when one looks beyond the brand names, the playing field is no
> different than that on which desktop and server Linux distributions
> compete: all have access to the same kernel, the same graphics subsystem,
> utilities and toolkits. No competitor is at a technical disadvantage.
To Open Source/Free Software zealots (read, myself) there is "free as in freedom". The handset war between MeeGo and everyone else will play out the same way the desktop war between Linux and Microsoft/Mac played out. People like Randall Munroe will praise Android for being a great product and "ooh, it runs Linux", where people like me and rms will refuse to run proprietary apps and go with MeeGo. Add to that Google's rampant and uncontrollable forking when compared with the "upstream first" policy of MeeGo, and you have that subset of linux devels that will prefer MeeGo, even if it isn't as polished.
In that way it doesn't compete at all like other Linux distros. There is no distro that I know of that comes with a shiny proprietary "value add" stack with all the associated costs of devel and maintenance. And if you write an app for one Linux distro it is almost always portable with others. Not the case for WebOs or Android. (Interestingly enough, if you write an app for one distro it's probably portable to MeeGo, to say nothing of UI). Of course, the field is level in the sense that Google or Palm could at any time adopt MeeGo for their OS, but that would be like Microsoft adopting the Linux kernel for Windows 8.