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Comment: Re:It's official (Score 1) 78

by Plug (#34360920) Attached to: Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

So is 50 million really a lot? two weeks ago Gartner said Nokia sold 29.5 million (symbian) smartphones during the third quarter of the year (for a 36.6 percent share of the worldwide market). So how long will it take for the Nokia to sell that 50 million symbian^3 phones. Could that happen during the next 6-9 months? And how long is Nokia really looking forward to be selling Symbian^3 phones? I take that 50 million being a semi-hidden statement indicating a drastic reduction of the strategic importance of the symbian platform.

That prediction was made when they were going to be making Symbian^4 phones. Now they're merging the S^4 features into future S^3 releases, I would expect it to be revised steadily upward. As for now, Nokia are still selling a large number of Symbian^1 phones, and they will be included in the count.

Comment: Re:Mobile: The Gathering (Score 2, Insightful) 78

by Plug (#34359866) Attached to: Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

Or, look at it this way: Symbian device sales were up 61% year-on-year in Q3 2010, and 320,000 people per day chose a Symbian smartphone in Q3 2010.

Market share isn't everything - look no further than Apple. The market as a whole is clearly growing - in Symbian's case, the lower hardware requirements mean the smartphone experience is being pushed down the market to what would previously have been considered "feature phones".

Pick the right tool for the right job. Symbian was designed from the word go to run on battery-powered devices. UNIX and Linux were not, and consequently power management is largely bolted on. Given the same battery, Symbian will run a phone for longer than iOS or Android. The tradeoff to this is that you must write your code in a very esoteric way. That is not what the "app console" market wants today, which is why Nokia brought Qt to Symbian.

Comment: Re:It's official (Score 1) 78

by Plug (#34359784) Attached to: Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

Speaking as someone who is directly affected by this situation, and as the owner of a Nokia phone, this is a great thing for the Symbian platform. My N8 runs Symbian^3, which reviewers have unanimously summarised as "great hardware, undercooked software". Instead of this phone becoming outdated in 6 months when S^4 comes out (it was very unlikely that S^3 to S^4 upgrades would have been possible), it will now receive all the S^4 enhancements in future firmware updates. Nokia have publicly stated on many occasions that they expect to sell over 50 million Symbian^3 devices.

Also, instead of a different touch UI on top of Symbian, and a different touch UI on top of MeeGo, everything will now be Qt Quick. This is much better news for developers.

The Symbian platform is not dead, by any means; the mobile landscape is currently such that there were not enough manufacturers to support Symbian's success as a cross-vendor platform. If anyone is interested in hiring some great developers/build/test people in London, drop me a message.

Comment: Re:So how is Symbian free software? (Score 1) 78

by Plug (#34359644) Attached to: Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

A partial summary of one of the freedoms of Free Software is "anyone to whom you give a binary, you must also give the source" (and various rights as permitted by the license you choose).

The Symbian Foundation makes available two relevant things at present:

The former can be taken by anyone at present; at worst, they will be forking the platform on a dead codeline. Nokia, the primary code contributor to the Symbian platform and owner of most of the copyrights to the code, will continue developing Symbian in their own repositories. Some points of note:

  • Nokia are looking at an alternate open and direct model for making the platform available to the community in future. The aim is that the model "will be no less open, free and flexible" than today's.
  • No decision made as yet regarding whether EPL will be retained or an alternate license adopted. Petra indicated that terms will not be more restrictive than EPL.

The PDKs are the only Symbian binaries that we (the Symbian Foundation) have released. Each PDK includes the source that was used to build it. Therefore, the obligation to the EPL is met, and anyone can get those PDKs - either off our web site, while we're still around to host it, or by ordering it from the Foundation after Jan 2011, as per our announcement. At present there is a click-through license to which you must agree to to download a PDK, but, at least for the parts under the EPL, you can do what you wish with that PDK subject to that license.

So, as far as the Foundation is concerned, Symbian is, and remains, free software. We are under no obligation to give you the source if we stop giving you the binaries.

Other people also distribute it, chief amongst them Nokia, in the way of phones. (Nokia also note that they are on track to sell >50 million S^3 devices - that is a lot of distribution. Don't think this platform is going away.) The product ships with a notice saying it is built from open source code, and I can confirm that if you send an e-mail to Nokia, they will post you a DVD-R with the "Nokia N8 OSS Code" on it. It's similar to what we distribute, but not identical, as they have made internal changes. So, as far as Nokia are concerned, Symbian is free software.

There are lots of reasons for and against buying any device, but don't use the excuse that the platform is no longer free. Once the genie is out of the bottle, that's it. The bottle was very deliberately uncorked.

Comment: Re:The FAQ warns about software patents... (Score 1) 189

by Plug (#31032662) Attached to: Symbian Completes Transition To Open Source

Unfortunately, the Symbian Foundation doesn't own any patents, so can't give them away to everyone. Certain patents are owned by SF member companies.

Membership of the Symbian Foundation costs a flat $1500 USD (+ VAT) per year, which grants your company access to the patents contributed by other members. The Eclipse Public License grants patent rights to software and software combinations only; the member patent policy additionally grants patent rights for software-hardware combinations. It's a drop-in-the-bucket cost for anyone making a device.

There is a copy of the patent policy available, for the lawyery type.

Comment: Re:Article already out of date (Score 1) 347

by Plug (#29976828) Attached to: Android 2.0 — Competition Against the iPhone and the Rest

Oh please, stop trolling!
http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/business/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=219200384

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) said it remains strongly committed to the Symbian operating system for its future smartphones.

The company was responding to a report in the German version of the Financial Times which said the world's largest handset maker was thinking of moving away from Symbian because it was too "cumbersome." The report, which relied on unnamed sources close to Nokia, said the handset maker was more interested in its Maemo platform for future smartphones.

"We remain strongly committed to our current open OS software strategy for cellular devices, which is based on the world-leading Symbian OS," Nokia said in a statement.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 1721

by Plug (#29691869) Attached to: Barack Obama Wins the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

Read Robert Naiman's opinion, including the tale of Desmond Tutu winning in '84:

The Nobel Committee gave South African Bishop Desmond Tutu the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his leadership of efforts to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid wasn't fully abolished in South Africa until 1994. The committee could have waited until after apartheid was abolished to say, "Well done!" But the point of the award was to help bring down apartheid by strengthening Bishop Tutu's efforts. In particular, everyone knew that it was going to be much harder for the apartheid regime to crack down on Tutu after the Nobel Committee wrapped him in its protective cloak of world praise.

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"

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