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Open source guru Miguel de Icaza "psyched" about Microsoft/Nokia deal

De Icaza dismisses support for Linux-based MeeGo as "just tiny"

Miguel de Icaza, founder of the open source Mono and GNOME projects, says he is "psyched" about Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 partnership with Nokia.

In a series of tweets this morning, de Icaza said the Microsoft/Nokia partnership will save Nokia and increase the relevance of Microsoft's fledgling mobile operating system.

"Nokia to use Microsoft's WP7 for their phones. Great times to be a C# developer, with all major platforms covered #psyched," de Icaza wrote.

In depth: Microsoft: "We love open source"

"Good move for Nokia. Congrats to the Nokians, they just managed to save the company and Microsoft makes wp7 all the more relevant," de Icaza continued. The open source guru also wrote "exactly!" when agreeing with another member of Twitter who wrote that "WP7 is a great OS needing a major handset maker fully behind it. Nokia is great at hardware but has no viable software."

De Icaza's GNOME desktop graphical user interface is widely used in Linux distributions, including Red Hat's Fedora and Canonical's Ubuntu. While de Icaza is a longtime proponent of open source software, he has also thrown his support behind Microsoft in several cases, and his Mono project is essentially a free software version of Microsoft's .NET Framework.

GNU Project creator Richard Stallman has called de Icaza "basically a traitor to the free software community." My guess is de Icaza's enthusiasm about Microsoft's Nokia deal probably won't change Stallman's position.

Whatever you think, de Icaza is a major contributor to the technology world, and you have to give him credit for his willingness to speak his mind even if it might offend a few people now and then.  

De Icaza today also expressed skepticism about MeeGo, a Linux-based mobile OS project designed for tablets and other devices.

The number of people invested in MeeGo is "just tiny," de Icaza wrote, referring to the project as "me ego." A company endorsing MeeGo "would have had a 3 year uphill battle while iOS and android take over," he wrote.

While that's true, Windows Phone 7 also has an uphill battle, with its market share well behind that of BlackBerry, Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and even Nokia's Symbian. But Microsoft and Nokia will put everything they have into this partnership - and de Icaza is one of its early cheerleaders. 

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter.

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