In one of the first posts on the Symbian Foundation’s new blog the following proclamation was made about the future of Nokia’s proprietary S60 mobile operating system:
It’s now almost a year later and I have to ask: What’s taking you so long?
For example, my Nokia N97 is listed as a Symbian^1 device — a bit odd, since there’s no evidence of any open-source software on it. It’s got the same certificate-driven DRM as any other current S60 handset, so it’s Symbian^1 how, exactly?
On the web Andrew Munchbach of Boy Genius has reported that the Foundation is skipping Symbian^2 entirely and bringing Symbian^3 to market later this year. Wonderful. Except that nowhere in the article or the original source is there any mention of when the actual code for the OS will be released.
I had to turn instead to Wikipedia’s short entry on the Foundation, which merely indicates that the Symbian source code will be made public “mid-2010″.
Am I missing something here?
If the Symbian Foundation wants to release the code right now, what’s stopping them? I’m aware that Symbian is designed for other handset makers and operators who want to deliver a carrier-branded Symbian experience. So why are these people standing in the way of making the code public? Are they haggling over the price? It’s supposed to be free, isn’t it?
Are there issues with, say, the licensing of proprietary audio and video codecs? Such things haven’t gotten in the way of a typical desktop Linux distribution — or Maemo, for that matter.
If you ask me, the way in which the Symbian Foundation has operating to date goes against the very ethos of open-source software — that is, get something out there, then let the community help you make it better.
What we appear to have instead is yet another flavour of “open” that, from the steep membership requirements to DRM-friendly applications to an interminable delay for anything of substance, doesn’t really seem that open at all.