The largest transition of proprietary code to open source in history has just been completed: all the source code for the Symbian OS is now available for free.
Many Americans aren’t familiar with this operating system, but it’s very widely used around the world in phones from Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and others. It has been at the heart of more than 330 million devices over the years.
However, the Symbian has been facing increasing competition, and the companies who both use it and own it decided to make it more competitive by taking it open source.
This means that any person or company can now use the code for any purpose, or modify it in any way they want. The new non-profit Symbian Foundation believes this brings a greater potential for innovation, and faster time-to-market for new versions.
Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation, comments: “The development community is now empowered to shape the future of the mobile industry, and rapid innovation on a global scale will be the result.”
The foundation predicts that an additional 100 million Symbian-based smartphone will ship in 2010, with more than 200 million expected to ship annually from 2011 onward.
Start Developing Now
All 108 packages containing the source code of the Symbian platform can now be downloaded from the foundation’s developer web site, under the terms of the Eclipse Public License and other open source licenses.
Also available for download are the complete development kits for creating applications (the Symbian Developer Kit) and mobile devices (the Product Development Kit). These kits are compatible with Symbian^3, the very latest version of the platform, which is now fully open source and will be “feature complete” during the first quarter of this year.
Source: Symbian Foundation