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Nokia Opens the S60 Browser Source Code 103

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the open-for-business dept.
segphault writes "Nokia has released the source code of it's S60 WebKit browser for mobile devices. Based on the HTML rendering components used in Konqueror and Safari, the S60 WebKit has a multitude of advanced features designed specifically for web navigation on devices with small screens. Nokia decided to release the source code under the permissive BSD license in order to promote adoption by other mobile device companies. From the article: 'the power and scalability of WebKit-based browsers and the highly permissive license under which the S60 WebKit source code is available make it a good choice for companies that want to add mobile web browsing to their devices. I think it will be particularly interesting to see how this affects Opera, whose revenue primarily comes from distribution of its own virtually ubiquitous embedded browser.'"
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Nokia Opens the S60 Browser Source Code

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  • Hmm. I could be wrong about this, but are they not leagally bound to relase the source to their browser? It looks like it is based on Konqueror, which I believe has a GNU license. Why are they even allowed to release it under a freebsd license?

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  • Since Apple already likes khtml... this could be a perfict fit for the fabled Apple iPhone... think iPod + phone done Apple style... get some high speed internet, like that EV-DO (or whatever its called - brain fart) and this could be a sweet little handset.

    why wouldn't they?
  • by S3D (745318) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:01AM (#15407618)
    As the Nokia s60 became effectivly closed platform with introduction of Symbian Signed and Developer Cerifications in Symbian 9.1 this is open sourcing of the browser mostly irrelevant. And so called "self-signing" for less essential capabilities still require developer certificate to test/debug application on the real phone.
    • I was working in S60 when Symbian 9 was in the development stream. I had the exact same concerns you just expressed: how is the little guy going to write apps for this? As a day-dreaming software developer I've always wanted a shot at that "killer app", so it was kind of depressing. But it is a depressing marketplace where Operators run the show and define what users can and can't do with their computing device. For operators, Symbian 9 seems like a dream - lock out whole sets of APIs to apps signed by
      • by Anonymous Coward
        At least for S60 platform, 3rd edition (based on Symbian 9.1) imposed limitations seem reasonable to considerable extent. Even completely unsigned applications can access many parts of the device by explicit installation-time approval of the user. One reasonably interesting "capability" (as they're called) is missing from this and needs signing, though: the Location API, which provides either network-based, or more often, GPS based location data. (Direct access to Bluetooth GPS module is available, though,
    • It might be irrelevant to people with Nokia thingies, but if it means that some nice changes can get merged back to Konqueror/Embedded and make my Zaurus more useful, I'm all for it!
    • So I can't run Python code on Symbian 9.1 through Nokia Python ?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You won't be able to access the restricted APIs without a certificate regardless of what language you use. If you are just making a simple game then you probably not concerned about this.
        Earlier versions of symbian didn't have this restriction. Because Symbian allows you to access all parts of the phone software, including call data and sms's. It is possible to write applications that do useful things like monitor your call costs and block spam SMSs.
        The operators did not like their customers to have these f
        • bah, they only recently added access to those APIs to the Python stuff, I hadn't even got round to looking at it yet. At least I have a heads up now to try and find my next phone model sans Restricted APIs
      • So I can't run Python code on Symbian 9.1 through Nokia Python ?
        On the latest 9.1 phones Python interpreter is not included into installation. And you will not be able to install it yourself without Symbian Signing or having developer certificate on the phone.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You can install a self-signed version of the Python S60 interpreter on a Symbian 9.1 device. The only visible effect of self signing are a few annoying confirmation dialogs during installation.
      • Not yet, since Python for S60 3rd edition hasn't been released yet. We're working on it.
  • What is Opera to do? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:08AM (#15407643) Journal
    If they wanted to hedge their bets, they could begin developing a S60 based web browser.

    Opera got its start as a phone company spin off [opera.com]. It's still a reasonably small company, and might be nimble enough to navigate the changes from open source software and adapt their business model accordingly.
    • Opera already has an S60 based browser. It even shipped in some of Nokia's earlier S60 phones. It was very nice, better than the stock S60 browser, but also a lot slower and bigger. You could basically run it if you wanted to exit everything else. But this was some three years ago.
    • Opera recently released something called Opera Mini (Google for it) which trounces the browser on my S60.

      It's fast, and not only that, it pre-prepares the content via a server, so that if you visit a page, you aren't getting all sorts of stuff that the browser can't render, speeding up the operation.

    • I have a Nokia N70, which is a Series 60 'phone. The browser it came with is a version of Opera. I suspect that a lot of Nokia's interest in WebKit came from a desire to cut costs by not having to pay Opera for every 'phone they ship.
    • Opera for S60 is kind of their main product they make money from. It looks like they lack publicity somehow in USA or wherever you are?

      http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/products/s60/ [opera.com]

      As I don't have a S60 handset now, I didn't see the Nokia product. I had 7650 (s60) handset with ~3MB of RAM and it was running Opera fine. That made me say "wow". As reports coming that the open source product can't run on such devices, my "wow" continues.
    • Latest build of Opera for S60 passes the Acid2 test [operawatch.com] and it does support AJAX, so Opera Software certainly won't let be beaten easily.

  • by grahamsz (150076) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:10AM (#15407653) Homepage Journal
    The built in browser on my Nokia seems rather poor. It's way better than what samsung build in, but it falls a long way short of Opera IMHO.

    The quality of the built in browser isn't exactly a deal-breaker for most phone consumers, so it's probably not worth the money that Nokia invests in it. By opening it, they will get more development for their money and possibly a browser to rival opera.
    • The built in browser on my Nokia seems rather poor.
       
      Which Nokia handset do you have? You've almost certainly got something that isn't running S60 3rd ed. Even if you do you might be using the WAP browser not the WebKit based one.
      • Nokia S60 3rd edition's browser is completely different story. It is easy to use, fast and intelligent. While you try it on E60, E61, E70, 3250, N80, N72, N73, N93...etc, you can experience the power of it. Opera is nothing before this version.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > Is it really that good?
      Yup. It renders pages just like Safari does. If you think that Opera's Java based browser is better than the Nokia browser then you are not using the one they've just open sourced.
      • I'm comparing the Opera S60 browser that I bought last year, to whatever came with my Nokia 6600 last year.

        On closer inspection it seems that my phone can't run the latest browser, that's a little disapointing.
    • It is! (Score:2, Informative)

      by xNstAble (254212)
      As other pointed out, it's likely you are not using the browser discussed here. It is available only on the S60 3rd edition, it is based on KHTML and it is a real breakthough in the mobile area.

      • Very true.

        Where can I download this from? It seems like an opensourced S60 browser should run on my 6600, but I can't find the sis files anywhere on the site.
        • 6600 is an underpowered POS by todays standards. There simply isn't enough ram to fit the browser, nor enough raw cpu power to make it usable. And the screen resolution is halved in both directions, so no sharp text rendering either.

          On E60 it's a very pleasant experience, beats Opera on my old N90 hands down.

    • You're not using the S60 3rd edition khtml browser then. Which is very good, the best I've ever used on a phone.

      I got my Nokia N80 last week, here you can see a sample screenshot [friendlyhamster.com] I took of the BBC website using the phone's khtml browser. It's running at a fairly decent resolution, although it appears much smaller in real life as it's on a 2.1" screen.

      I mentioned it indepth with more photos here [gamesasylum.com] and here [blogspot.com].

      Basically, it's a very good browser that renders web pages pretty much perfectly, and has functions

      • Oh, and the neat thing is, it resizes all text columns to fit within the phone's screen. So although a web page might span twice the phone's screen resolution, the actual text column you highlight will span to fill the screen perfectly, making it very easy to read.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We're really starting to see the versatility of KHTML show. Besides being a very solid web browser in the form of Konqueror, it has also been adapted by Apple for Safari, and by Nokia.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens when KDE 4.0 is released. KDE 4.0 should theoretically include support for Windows, due to the availability of a free Windows port of Qt and an emphasis on portability during the development of 4.0. We might even see Konqueror rival Firefox and Opera as the main competitor to Int
    • Perhaps as interesting as this, is if you hang around on the kde-promo mailing list, there is talk of someone offering money for a "proof of concept" port of KOffice to Windows. (originally to have been KOffice 1.5 - but I think the KDE developers have persuaded the donor to shift to KOffice 2.0)
    • I wonder the impact to Helix Platform (not using the name of product on /.) as their Helix stuff will need a HTML engine later for "rich media on 3g".

      As Nokia is in Helix board recently https://helixcommunity.org/ [helixcommunity.org] , this thing will be ported into Helix player too. It is just a guess.

      It means Symbian gets some amazing 3G stuff later. It also means this is news for Microsoft Win CE and Media Player divisions.

      Opera will keep going, if I had a $1000 Symbian S60/S80 phone, I would pay that $29 for it.
    • I hope that someone at Google is reading this... So they finnaly add suport Konqueror with Gmail.

      Hell, if they support Safari, why can't do the same for Konqueror?
    • WebKit is likely to come out with a Windows version before Konqueror does.

      It will probably be pretty broken though (because WebCore is fitted to OSX capabilities and needs), but it will be first.
  • I believe that /. should be the premier source for technological news today: that includes, of course, that proficiency in English so required of thine common nerd. Hence, my blood started boiling as soon as I read this:

    of it's S60

    The difference between its, it's and such is taught from first grade to the 12th; is it not unreasonable, then, to expect such nerds of such intelligence that, undoubtably, fill the roles of the editorships of /. know such basic English?

  • What I'd really love to see is a port to Palm OS or Windows Mobile, so I could use it on a Treo. Does anyone have the background in mobile platforms to say how feasible such a thing would be (especially the PalmOS, with it's antiquated and hacked/extended design).
    • WebKit now has backends for X11/Qt, Quartz, and Series 60. At the very least, this shows that the rendering code is nicely abstracted and portable. Getting the HTML rendering engine to work on another platform shouldn't be too hard. Porting the browser, however, is another matter. Fortunately, most of the hard work is done by WebKit, and it's fairly easy to write a browser from scratch once you have WebKit ported.
  • The open source Nokia browser could mean trouble admits Opera's marketing manager in a comment in this article [andwest.com].

    • Trouble, or Nokia including a browser forces everyone else to include a browser as well, which means that someone is bound to pick Opera. And then you have the choice: Pay Opera once to get the browser ported, or hire your own developers to do the job. What's easier for most companies? Probably not developing one's own browser.

      And competition isn't necessarily a bad thing :-P

  • Well, I'm going through the code base and some of the things which I recognize as being class Symbian things can be interesting to rag on ....

    If you look at KWQString.h and KWQString.cpp, code just gets duplicated for who knows what reasons.... for example, just search on __OOM__

    You'll find lots of places where OOM (Out Of Memory) handling is handled for two separate cases. Now, from what I can tell, at least in the circumstance of KWQStringData::initialize(), memory is allocated for the buffer within the s
    • Symbian... especially Series 60 development classically has been known as an #ifdef hell. Symbian developers add #ifdefs everywhere even if they're not necessary. In this case, Nokia had the opportunity to actually fix out of memory or constrained memory handling for all platforms but instead chose to write code that was specific to themselves and simply label it something else.

      The reason Symbian code uses #ifdefs is because one bit of source code is often designed for many different devices and they'r

      • I know I've ended up with ifdef's in a lot of code on Symbian devices, mostly to work round bugs in the OS.
      • When writing an OS kernel for multiple devices... often #ifdef is nearly impossible to get around. Sometimes it is in fact the cleanest method of dealing with issues. A good example is in Qt from TrollTech, possibly the most object oriented windowing toolkit I've ever seen, in the case Wid which is a native window system window handle, at least up to the 3 series of the toolkit, it was normal to have an #ifdef that would direct the type to WINDOW, HANDLE, etc... depending on the platform...

        But while still u
    • The original code does not check _unicode to see if it has been allocated, it just copies the source to the _unicode variable using memcpy.

      I bet you it does check. MemoryManager::Alloc() no doubt leaves (SymbianOS exception) all the way back to the application event loop. Which will result in the application displaying an out of memory message, and not performing that particular user action, but still leave the application running in a consistent state. This is far better than the virtual memory system yo
  • AFAIK KHTML is licensed under the LGPL. If the S60 Webkit is based on it, shouldn't Nokia then propagate the limiting terms of that license?
    • I was thinking the same thing! If it is based on something GPL, then it also has to be GPL and could not be kept closed, nor could it be released under a BSD license. Something is fishy.

      Besides, what we want is Linux to run on their phones, just like the 770. I think that might be their long-term plan. Someone mentioned the Treo/Palm. Verizon JUST released the Treo 700p, running PalmOS and Palm's plan *is* to convert PalmOS over to an emulation/UI on top of Linux. Should be quite interesting. I can't
  • by nnos (977229) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:12AM (#15408267)
    This must be a misunderstanding. Nokia has not open-sourced their browser. They have open-sourced a port of WebKit to their own proprietary S60 platform. The usefulness of this for other developers is limited. The UI of their browser is closed source and Nokia -- being a strong lobbyist for software patents in Europa -- are probably patenting it. Here is a quate from an article that at least asks some critical questions:
    • What they have released is thier wrapper of WebCore and JavScriptCore. The S60 browser UI is still propreitary. Which means that someone wants to change his UI, he'll have to build a new UI himself.

      Another point is how are they mixing BSD with LGPL? Is that leagal?

      • This was covered at least twice earlier. It's absolutely possible: the whole point of the LGPL is to let it be linked to things under other licenses without causing those other things to be GPL. In this case, they're releasing their previously proprietary code, which uses LGPL code under the terms of that license, under the BSD license. Why do people have such a hard time getting that? This is what the LGPL does. Any changes they made to the LGPL licensed code were od course already available under LGPL.
    • The BSD lisence was never intended to promote open source. It's intended to promote standards, which is exactly what Nokia has said they're trying to do here. As for whether it will work or not, beats me. Only /. said their open sourced the browser.
    • Actually it seems Nokia has a patent on the port of WebKit. They have added a free license for GPL software, but not for LGPL like WebCore is.
  • Now, let's hope that someone in the Nokia Maemo community will handle this source and port it to the Nokia 770 platform. Would be ironic !

    A browser was the main free and open source component lacking on Nokia 770.
    If good enough, it could definitively take place of Opera, so the price of N770 could be cutted down a little bit, ironicaly, improving this Nokia product.

    Anyway, for anybody: porting an app from Symbian platform to something like Qt/pe or Gnome over POSIX or win32 platform is a rather hard and lon
  • I think it will be particularly interesting to see how this affects Opera, whose revenue primarily comes from distribution of its own virtually ubiquitous embedded browser.

    Thing is, the average consumer (talking about the more average joe majority type rather than the techno savvy slashdotter) doesn't know one browser from another. ESPECIALLY when it comes to their mobile devices. Should something cause them to begin to actually learn what differentiates one browser from another, they will likely hear it
  • by meridian (16189)
    Submitted this story 48 hours before this one was submitted but mine didnt make it up. I guess they just dont like me.

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