Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Symbian is FOSS

If you for some reason missed the news yesterday: Symbian, the largest mobile operating system, will soon be Open Source. The software will be made available "over the next two years" and is intended to be released under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0.

Looking at the Symbian press release:

Mobile leaders to unify the Symbian software platform and set the future of mobile free

Foundation to be established to provide royalty-free open platform and accelerate innovation

LONDON, UK; June 24, 2008 - Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DOCOMO announced today their intent to unite Symbian OSâ„¢, S60, UIQ and MOAP(S) to create one open mobile software platform. Together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone they plan to establish the Symbian Foundation to extend the appeal of this unified software platform. Membership of this non-profit Foundation will be open to all organizations. This initiative is supported by current shareholders and management of Symbian Limited, who have been actively involved in its development. Plans for the Foundation have already received wide support from other industry leaders.

To enable the Foundation, Nokia today announced plans to acquire the remaining shares of Symbian Limited that Nokia does not already own and then contribute the Symbian and S60 software to the Foundation. Sony Ericsson and Motorola today announced their intention to contribute technology from UIQ and DOCOMO has also indicated its willingness to contribute its MOAP(S) assets. From these contributions, the Foundation will provide a unified platform with common UI framework. A full platform will be available for all Foundation members under a royalty-free license, from the Foundation’s first day of operations.

Many commentators, such as TechCrunchIT, think this is a good move by Nokia. Om Malik has a good analysis of the likely background reasoning.

Personally, I'm a happy Symbian user (Nokia E61i) and certainly welcome the move. Hey, Symbian's market share is already well over half of the mobile market. This is a move in the right direction, at the right moment in time.

Ah, and did I mention that MySQL runs on Symbian?

Thanks, Nokia!


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