Symbian smart phone platform completes largest open source software release

The Symbian platform, which has been developed over more than 10 years and has shipped in more than 330 million devices around the world, is now completely open and the source code is available for free.

The transition of this market-leading platform from proprietary code to open source is the largest in software history. The move has been completed four months ahead of schedule and provides the basis for unlimited mobile development based on innovation and openness. Any individual or organization can now take, use and modify the code for any purpose, whether that be for a mobile device or for something else entirely.

IDC Analyst John Delaney remarks: “It’s increasingly important for smartphone platforms to offer developers something unique. The placing into open source of the world’s most widely-used smartphone platform emphatically fits that bill. It will be exciting to see where this takes the industry.”

Peter T. Brown, Executive Director, Free Software Foundation says “The FSF welcomes today’s news, and appreciates the Symbian Foundation’s continued efforts to release the Symbian platform as completely free software. There is still work to be done, particularly to ensure that Symbian’s kernel can be compiled with free software, and we look forward to working with the Symbian Foundation to make that happen.”

All 108 packages containing the source code of the Symbian platform can now be downloaded from Symbian’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 Q1 of this year.

The smart phone space has been seeing a lot of action of late, with Google, Nokia, Apple & Blackberry jostling for control. The open source release of Symbian is expected to lead to an increase in its adoption from smart phone vendors.

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