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Symbian Platform Now Fully Open Source

02.04.2010
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The world's most widely used smartphone operating system, Symbian, is now completely open source.  The Symbian Foundation made the announcement this morning that the entire Symbian 3 platform's source code, which is the result of more than ten years of development, is now openly available to any developer under the Eclipse public license.  Some parts of the platform were available under open source licenses for Symbian Foundation Members in 2009, but now the platform is available to everyone.

The Symbian Foundation planned to complete the open source conversion of its 33 million lines of source code by June 2010, but they beat their own estimates by completing the transition to EPL four months early.  They have also finished open sourcing most of their tool chain.  The Product Developer Kits for Symbian 3 that are currently available contain some packages that are open, and some that aren't.  The fully open source toolkit should be available within a few weeks.

Symbian is a the leading smartphone OS internationally, but in the US there's only one phone (Nokia E71x) running Symbian with a major carrier.  There are 330 million Symbian devices in the world, but the Symbian Foundation wants to have more penetration in the US markets.  The Foundation believes that the release of its platform's source code for widespread development will help drive US growth.  Mike Milinkovich, the Eclipse Foundation's Executive Director, was jovial in his blog post about the announcement.  He is also optimistic about Symbian's future success and he's excited that they chose the EPL for the open source code.

Symbian 3 is expected to be completely finished by the first half of 2010 and available on handsets before 2011.  The Symbian Foundation's work on Symbian 4 is already underway and development kits are planned for the first half of this year.  All 108 packages containing the Symbian platform's source code are downloadable on Symbian's developer web site along with the Product Development Kits.