[Loadstone] BBC News - Symbian phone operating system goes open source

Adhimoolam Vetrivel Murugan vadhimoolam at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 18:26:40 GMT 2010

Wondering if the following news will help Loadstone to develop even
further. See the news item below.


BBC News - Symbian phone operating system goes open source


Symbian switches to open source

By Jonathan Fildes
Technology reporter, BBC News

The group behind the world's most popular smartphone operating system
- Symbian - is giving away "billions of dollars" worth of code for

The Symbian Foundation's announced that it would make its code open
source in 2008 and has now completed the move.

It means that any organisation or individual can now use and modify
the platform's underlying source code "for any purpose".

Symbian has shipped in more than 330m mobile phones, the foundation says.

It believes the move will attract new developers to work on the system
and help speed up the pace of improvements.

"This is the largest open source migration effort ever," Lee Williams
of the Symbian Foundation told BBC News.

"It will increase rate of evolution and increase the rate of
innovation of the platform."

Ian Fogg, principal analyst at Forrester research, said the move was
about Symbian "transitioning from one business model to another" as
well as trying
to gain "momentum and mindshare" for software that had been
overshadowed by the release of Apple's iPhone and Google Android
operating system.

Evolutionary barrier

Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia bought the software in 2008 and
helped establish the non-profit Symbian Foundation to oversee its
development and transition
to open source.

The foundation includes Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT Docomo,
Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and

" It's useful for them to say Symbian is now open - Google has done
very well out of that "
Ian Fogg

The group has now released what it calls the Symbian platform as open
source code. This platform unites different elements of the Symbian
operating system
as well as components - in particular, user interfaces - developed by
individual members.

Until now, Symbian's source code was only open to members of the organisation.

It can be downloaded from the foundation's website from 1400 GMT.

Mr Williams said that one of the motivations for the move was to speed
up the rate at which the 10-year-old platform evolved.

"When we chatted to companies who develop third party applications, we
found people would spend up to nine months just trying to navigate the
property," he said.

"That was really hindering the rate of progress."

Opening up the platform would also improve security, he added.

'Mind share'

Symbian development is currently dominated by Nokia, but the
foundation hoped to reduce the firm's input to "no more than 50%" by
the middle of 2011, said
Mr Williams.

"We will see a dramatic shift in terms of who is contributing to the platform."

However, said Mr Williams, the foundation would monitor phones using
the platform to ensure that they met with minimum standards.

Despite being the world's most popular smart phone operating system,
Symbian has been losing the publicity battle, with Google's Android
operating system
and Apple's iPhone dominating recent headlines.

"Symbian desperately needs to regain mindshare at the moment," said Mr Fogg.

"It's useful for them to say Symbian is now open - Google has done
very well out of that."

He also said that the software "may not be as open and free as an
outsider might think".

"Almost all of the open source operating systems on mobile phones -
Nokia's Maemo, Google's Android - typically have proprietary software
in them."

For example, Android incorporates Google's e-mail system Gmail.

But Mr Williams denied the move to open source was a marketing move.

"The ideas we are executing ideas came 12-18 months before Android and
before the launch of the original iPhone," Mr Williams told BBC News.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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