Nokia says Symbian: “Not Open Source, just Open for Business”

| April 8, 2011 | 15 Replies

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, left foot in and you shake it all about.

Symbian once closed source through Symbian Foundation became open source now returns again as closed source.


We have received questions about the use of words “open”, “open source”, and about having a registration process before allowing access to the code.

As we have consistently said, Nokia is making the Symbian platform available under an alternative, open and direct model, to enable us to continue working with the remaining Japanese OEMs and the relatively small community of platform development collaborators we are already working with.

Through these pages we are releasing source code to these collaborators, but are not maintaining Symbian as an open source development project. Consistent with this, the Nokia Symbian License is an alternative license which provides an access to Nokia’s additional Symbian development for parties which collaborate with Nokia on the Symbian platform.

Also consistently with the announcement, we are monitoring the registrations and approving the aforementioned platform collaborators only. There is a backlog of registrations which we are processing continuously.

Additionally, Nokia is committed to supporting application developers to leverage the continuing opportunity from Symbian and Qt, they can get that support, including development tools, documentation and other assistance from Forum Nokia.

This was probably a statement in clarification of an earlier post, “We are Open!” from Nokia’s Petra Söderling Head of Open Source Symbian Smartphones.

Via zomgitscj

Here’s an interesting post from February 2010, celebrating the day Symbian became fully open source: Remember the #symbiancountdown -_-

The world’s most populous smartphone platform (330,000,000 shipped), Symbian, is now fully open source. Members of the foundation include Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.

In 2008, Nokia bought the rest of Symbian for $410 million…. and then gave it away. In February 2009, Nokia received $630 million 5-year loan from the European Investment Bank to drive and support Symbian’s R&D.

Symbian Foundation [with S60, UIQ and MOAP under their belt] officially launched in April 2009, becoming its own entity. The intention: becoming fully open source, to speed up development, innovation and attract developers.

In addition, Symbian Foundation aims to reduce Nokia’s influence to Symbian’s development to no more than 50% by 2011. That’s great I guess; accessibility and being free to modify is what open source is all about. Apart from fresh ideas, loosening Nokia’s grip allows greater input from the others participating in Symbian’s development. Plus, there’s always that greater sense attachment/’ownership’/loyalty to something one’s been able to actively contribute to.

Hopefully Symbian foundation can really surprise us when Symbian^3 (and then ^4) arrives. Despite its unrivalled success by sales volume, the public image of Symbian OS, mainly due to S60, has been of “OLD, outdated, unintuitive – uncompetitive” compared to rival experiences with Android, iPhone and now Maemo. Functional? Yes. Easy to use? No. That’s not good when today’s OS on any device is all about pick up and play. Manual? Hell no.

Oh dear. Surprise in a good way we were not.


Category: Nokia, Symbian

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