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Mobile Linux Group Releases First Specification 46

Posted by kdawson
from the competition-aplenty dept.
narramissic writes "Google's Android may be getting all the headlines, but the venerable LiPS (Linux Phone Standards Forum), which launched to much fanfare in 2005, is rolling out the specs. The group, comprised of companies including Orange, France Telecom, MontaVista, and Access, announced Monday that it has completed the first release of its mobile Linux specification, adding components including APIs for telephony, messaging, calendar, instant messaging, and presence functions, as well as new user interface components."
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Mobile Linux Group Releases First Specification

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  • Cool (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It only took 3 years to get the standards out? Well, it looks like 2012 will be the year of both the linux desktop and the linux phone.
  • by Firefalcon (7323) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:52PM (#21663103) Homepage Journal
    Orange is a brand of France Telecom, not two separate entities:

    http://www.orange.com/english/access/aboutUs.php [orange.com]
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      And, if I may give an opinion on a troll-generating subject, this entity is well know for its repeated abuses of dominant position in the telephone market. I would be very careful about their specification.
      • I'd be more wary of MS, it seems like they're everywhere ... I mean MontaVista and Access? *shudder*
  • Is it competing, or are they complementary?
  • the tone of the summary seems to suggest that while android is still vapor in terms of real devices, some other group is actually rolling out something.

    except that something they are "rolling out" are specs.

    which android also has plenty of. plus IDE. plus emulator.

    so, well... huh?
  • ... but does this have any relation to OpenMoko?

    Or will the OpenMoko guys have to play catch-up?

    • by DECS (891519) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:20PM (#21664391) Homepage Journal
      OpenMoko is a Chinese manufacturer's plan to outsource software usinghe FOSS community. [1]

      LiPS is a partnership between PalmSource/ACCESS and MontaVista Linux to collaborate on Linux phone development. Open Source Development Labs (OSDL, Slashdot's mom) began its own Mobile Linux Initiative in 2005, involving MontaVista, Wind River, and PalmSource. LiPS seemed to be an outgrowth of that. Trolltech introduced its own Greenphone platform based on Qt last fall. Earlier this year, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone formed their own group called LiMo to develop Linux standards for mobiles. The majority of Linux phones are built by Motorola, which uses MontaVista's Linux. They are sold to the Chinese market and are not open in any sense. [2]

      Google's Android is an Apache-like collaboration that shares Google's plans and implementation rather than forming a group to develop some. [3]

      Apple's iPhone is based around its Mach+BSD+Cocoa architecture, but is just as closed as most Linux phones. It appears Apple will open development in the sense of releasing an SDK that allows commercial development, but it's not yet known how much access developers will have. [4][5]

      One significant difference between Linux on a PC and Linux on a mobile is that it is illegal to expose the core baseband processor architecture to open software, because that would make it trivial to create network destroying devices. So "Linux-based mobiles" are really just mobile phones that have some extra environment to run the user interface and higher level functions. They are not freedom/open/GPL untainted by Big Brother/Capitalism/Corporations.

      That makes it valid to be interested in mobile Linux because of familiarity with the architecture, the availability of low cost software, and a desire to expand the market for Linux based products, but there is little real political GPL-freedom argument for pursuing mobile Linux.

      Google appears to initially be targeting Windows Mobile [6], and offers an alternative to the increasingly creaky Symbian [7]. Some amount of Google's Android seems complementary with efforts to use Linux on the lower levels, but it also competes against the higher level plans of LiPS, Greenphone, LiMo, and OpenMoko, none of which appear to have a very significant future.

      [1] Apple iPhone vs the FIC Neo1973 OpenMoko Linux Smartphone [roughlydrafted.com]
      [2] The Standard Soup Prepared by Linux Mobile's Many Chefs [roughlydrafted.com]
      [3] The Great Google gPhone Myth [roughlydrafted.com]
      [4] Steve Jobs Ends iPhone SDK Panic [roughlydrafted.com]
      [5] Leopard, Vista and the iPhone OS X Architecture [roughlydrafted.com]
      [6] The Spectacular Failure of WinCE and Windows Mobile [roughlydrafted.com]
      [7] Origins: Why the iPhone is ARM, and isn't Symbian [roughlydrafted.com]

      • by pavon (30274)

        One significant difference between Linux on a PC and Linux on a mobile is that it is illegal to expose the core baseband processor architecture to open software, ..
        That makes it valid to be interested in mobile Linux because of familiarity with the architecture, the availability of low cost software, and a desire to expand the market for Linux based products, but there is little real political GPL-freedom argument for pursuing mobile Linux.

        I don't see how that is different from any other hardware that has open Linux drivers but closed firmware (apart from it being mandated by law rather than being a choice made by the developer). Especially when it comes to things like video chipsets and high performance radio / data acquisition cards, who really do have an entirely separate processor running on them that is not directly accessible to the OS on the main processor(s).

        Furthermore, the fact that all the applications running on my computer are F

      • One significant difference between Linux on a PC and Linux on a mobile is that it is illegal to expose the core baseband processor architecture to open software, because that would make it trivial to create network destroying devices.

        I've heard that preventing such tampering was the reason much of the firmware is closed, but this is the first time I've seen the assertion of an actual law or regulation requiring the firmware internals be kept secret.

        Can you (or someone) give us a pointer to the law and/or re
  • by bn0p (656911) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:21PM (#21663565)
    Reviewing the member list at the Linux Phone Standards Forum (LiPS) web site [lipsforum.org] I noticed that none of the major handset companies joined this organization. The Open Handset Alliance [openhandsetalliance.com] on the other hand has HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung as members.

    Having a standard is all well and good, but it only matters if someone puts it into a phone.

    Also, how many development platforms can survive in the cell phone market anyway? Besides Android and LiPS (we'll ignore Microsoft for now), there are Symbian [symbian.com], the LiMo Foundation [limofoundation.org] and a la Mobile [a-la-mobile.com] - all Linux-based. The first two or three to get accepted will attract the developers and dominate the market (unless they *really* bring something new to the game).


    Never let reality temper imagination
    • The more the merrier, in my opinion. To survive, a platform must attract device manufacturers, software developers and end users (and keep them). I don't see the market getting crowded--the losers will fade away fairly quickly, especially with how fast end users go through phones. God forbid we wind up with another stagnant monoculture like we got with PCs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DECS (891519)
      Your comment makes it sound like Symbian is Linux based. It is, of course, not related at all. Symbian is based on the EPOC OS used by Psion for its PDAs. It's backed by Nokia and Sony Ericsson in the EU and DoCoMo in Japan, although each uses a flavor of Symbian that is really a different platform. Symbian's backers like to group them all together because that gives Symbian an overwhelming share (~70%) of the smartphone market.

      In reality, Nokia's S60, and Sony Ericsson UIQ, and DoCoMo's FOMA are about as s
  • The nice thing about standard^Wspecification/API is that there are so many to choose from :-(

    OpenMoko, Android, LiPS,.. there's going to be a selection quite soon: there aren't that many phone manufacturers who wants to develop their own applications..
  • Android will win (Score:3, Interesting)

    by realdodgeman (1113225) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:32PM (#21663741) Homepage
    OpenMoko and LiSP are too little, too late. Android is in the works, and they got it all: Branding, a prototype GUI, and the right members (Open Handset Alliance Project).

    Android will be the Linux on mobile phones, and it will be great.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zullnero (833754)
      As a mobile developer, your comment is hilarious. I'd mod it +5 funny, but few non-mobile software developers would get the joke. "Will be great"?

      EVERYONE says that about their new upcoming mobile OS. Then it gets released, and we discover something seriously flawed about it. No APIs for custom hardware. Difficult path for porting pre-existing applications from other platforms over to it. Poor performance. Security flaws. Vendor lock-in. Insufficient API. Nonstandard. If you've ever seriously writ
      • If you did some research you would know that Android is all about the APIs, and that it is open source. It also has an interesting scheduler that I look forward to seeing in action. There are some introduction videos floating around, but I can't remember where.
  • playing catchup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:42PM (#21663861)

    Google's Android may be getting all the headlines, but the venerable LiPS (Linux Phone Standards Forum), which launched to much fanfare in 2005, is rolling out the specs.

    From what I understand, the LiPS had been "stuck in committee" with no real progress until Google announced Android. Then all of the sudden, there was a flurry of activity.

    Specs are nice, and it's good to see progress, but the slashdot summary seems to have a distinct "look at LiPS, it's better, it has SPECS!". That's great, but..here's a prototype device running Android [engadget.com], and let's not forget the OpenMoko people, which have not only got a so-close-you-can-taste it physical device, they've got a pretty sorted software package as well, which runs on a couple of existing phone/pda widgets. The OpenMoko stuff and the Palm/HP/etc PDA stuff (I forget the proper project names, sorry!) is quite open and documented. The Linux-on-handheld boys have had working software out there for *years*.

    Welcome to the party, boys. Beer's been had, chips are gone- there's some frosting left on the cake platter, though. Same thing to Google- it's nice that they have shiny prototypes, but if they're so open-source, why couldn't they work with any of the existing groups? Ah, I love the open source world: why help someone else, when you can re-invent your own wheel (anyone remember the days of Freshmeat's front page being literally FILLED with mp3 players software?)

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Ah, I love the open source world: why help someone else, when you can re-invent your own wheel''

      That's not unique to the open-source world, though. However, in the world of proprietary software

      1. You _can't_ help somebody else, even if you want to
      2. You may or may not have access to the specs without paying through your nose
      3. One or a few big players will push everyone else out of the market

      By contrast, with open source, you know that

      1. You can not only use, but also contribute; you can fix the bugs and
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:09PM (#21664259) Homepage Journal
    Talk about LiPService: Access (of Japan) was the company that basically bought the PalmOS [linuxdevices.com] away from Palm. They claimed (in 2005) that they were going to roll out mobile phones running Linux, with PalmOS GUI and binary compatibility. Where are they? Just now putting out just specs, right as Google and the rest of the world blot them out of existence. Nearly certainly taking chances of a Linux mobile with Palm compatibility (and its library of apps and developers) to zero.
  • I excited for that!!! Java Outsource [kanati.com.ph]

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