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Operating Systems Cellphones Open Source

Symbian Foundation Sites To Close 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-while-the-gettin's-good dept.
Following news earlier this month that Nokia is taking back control of Symbian platform development, the Symbian Foundation has now announced that its websites will shut down on December 17th. Source repositories will no longer be hosted online, and user-submitted content databases may be available later upon request. "We are working hard to make sure that most of the content accessible through web services (such as the source code, kits, wiki, bug database, reference documentation & Symbian Ideas) is available in some form, most likely on a DVD or USB hard drive upon request to the Symbian Foundation. Preparing this content will take some time, hence it will not be distributable before 31st January 2011. A charge may be levied for media and shipping.
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Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

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  • by rumith (983060) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @11:17AM (#34357834)
    Symbian is dead. No need to wait for Netcraft to confirm it.
    • by colordev (1764040)
      date of death was October 21nd 2010 [colordev.com]; and it died exact the same moment as Nokia announced the birth of symbian as "one constantly evolving platform".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fbjon (692006)
        To be fair, what mobile platforms aren't "one constantly evolving"?
      • by Plug (14127)

        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 Instead of this phone becoming outdated in 6 months when S^4 comes out (it was very unlikely that S^3 to S^4 upgrades would have been possible), it will now receive all the S^4 enhancements in future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 o

        • by colordev (1764040)

          Nokia have publicly stated on many occasions that they expect to sell over 50 million Symbian^3 devices

          yes, I saw that number too and that number confused me even more as that number is an 'official number' for the investors. And as such it must be kind of truthful statement about the Nokia's view of expected symbian^3 phone sales. If Nokia estimated symbian^3 sales totally wrong (too much or too little) investors might sue them ... again.

          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

          • by Plug (14127)

            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

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Long live Qt. At least based on what I have seen so far. QtCreator, model/view classes and the signal/slot connections patterns beats the hell out of developing on Android using clunky XML layouts, adapters and intents.

  • by Chairboy (88841) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @11:32AM (#34357890) Homepage

    How will this affect the high-end adult toy industry?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by donotlizard (1260586)
      My girlfriend will have to get off manually. Oh wait, I don't have a girlfriend.
      • by mangu (126918)

        y girlfriend will have to get off manually

        You got it wrong. Only men masturbate manually, women are more advanced, they have digital masturbation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Android stands a top Symbian's beheaded body: "There can be only one!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by johanw (1001493)
      And considering market share the one is Symbian. doing better than all others. And as long as Android comes only in 2 form factors I both don't like (touch screen only and touch screen with retractable keyboard) I stick to Symbian which brings out devices without fingerprint-prone screens (aka touchscreen) and fixed keyboards like my E51 and E72.
      • by aliquis (678370)

        Market share doesn't matter much.

        How big wasn't the market share for all those AOL CDs? Most popular software ever?

        Profits do, and Apple has them.

        Nokias benefit is brand recognition and selling channels through the whole world.

        If only they used it.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Nokia also has profits (losses you hear now and then were one time write-offs and related to acquiring Nokia Siemens division) - and a bit more strengths apart from brand and selling channels, too - like, for example, how they actually own all their manufacturing facilities, most of them not in China, half of them in the EU, one even quite close to Cupertino...

          Of course, "investors" might not value such stuff... (even though Nokia contributed greatly to 5+ billion mobile subscribers, which is a monumental s

          • by aliquis (678370)

            Yeah, not much of an "investor" myself but I got a bunch of shares but from the beginning I wasn't supposed to buy them until closer to MeeGo release, and this was while I still thought it would get released in the beginning of 2011.

            But then some stupid bank recommended it raising price by quite a lot. So by stupid impulse I bought because I didn't wanted to buy at an even higher price later, stupid. The next day the new CEO stuff came out which would had been an awesome opportunity for sale but I didn't. B

            • by sznupi (719324)

              Yeah, quite popular [ceneo.pl] (it should sort by popularity - but curious what and how is promoted at the "first" position outside the table) - though 1616 (etc.) possibly at the planetary top? ;) (most likely still far from installed base of 1100...oh well, at least it's all Nokia? ;) )

      • And considering market share the one is Symbian. doing better than all others.

        So going from 60+% to just barely 40% in less than 2 years is "doing better"? Symbian's market share is dropping like a rock.

        • by edivad (1186799)

          And considering market share the one is Symbian. doing better than all others.

          So going from 60+% to just barely 40% in less than 2 years is "doing better"? Symbian's market share is dropping like a rock.

          If you are Symbian, apparently yes :)
          Symbian is dead, and rightly so!
          The crappiest development platform and API ever conceived.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Plug (14127)

          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 ru

          • by alvinrod (889928)
            Yes, device sales can be up, but that doesn't mean it's not losing market share. iPhone sales were up year-on-year, but they still dropped in overall share because Android was up even more year-on-year. I even question how many of those people "choose" a Symbian phone. I'd wager that several would prefer an Android phone or iPhone, but lack of availability or affordability prevents them from doing it. Apple will probably maintain the price of the iPhone, but I can easily see the prices of Android devices co
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sznupi (719324)

              Growth in number of units shiped is biggest for Symbian. Everything else is deceiving when players have so wildly different installed bases.

              Pundits in few atypical (but highly vocal) places few years ago, when smartphone market was sitting at around 15%, were making prophecies of explosive growth of smartphone segment - so that we should be at half by now. It's around 20% of total, maybe not even above as of yet.

              Impressive growth percentages of smartphones don't mention the growth of the total mobile phone

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Symbian has the largest increases in number of units shipped ("percentage of growth" is deceiving when one player has much larger share than the rest, or if effectively locked out of some moderately big (but very visible and vocal) markets which were fed locked-down handsets)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They say they won't be hosting the source code online and that some of the user-submitted content databases will be available on request.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this means that Symbian ceases to be free software.

    Okay then, I won't buy the N8 and look for an Android phone instead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CRCulver (715279)
      You could always buy an N900 or the forthcoming Meego phone. They run pretty standard GNU/Linux distributions.
      • You could always buy an N900

        I am not aware of any store in my city that sells the N900. I tried back in May, and zero out of three stores had an N900 for me to try. Nor do any of my friends who live in my city have one so that I could try one before I buy one online.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Stevecrox (962208)
          You must be in the US, in the UK wondering into my town centre I can put my hands on it in a O2 store and a Carphone Warehouse.

          For an idea of it works try the N8, the interfaces are very similar however the N900 is quicker and the interface is better (think the best parts of Andriod added in). I had a quick look online and the video found here [nokia.co.uk] gives a pretty good impression of how it works.

          The only downside is it is a heavy phone. For comparison I have a Nokia 5800 the N900 is slightly larger and noti
          • by tepples (727027)

            You must be in the US

            Correct. The stores were Best Buy, RadioShack, and T-Mobile.

            For an idea of it works try the N8

            If I can find even that phone in stores. All my friends have HTC Evo, iPhone, or some Pantech feature phone.

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          I bought mine online for just 40% of the price, slightly used (3 months), nary a scratch, missing headphones, UK charger instead of an Euro one (the seller was in-country and included a converter).

          I managed to give it a nasty scratch on the display before I learned why you shouldn't put it in the same compartment as your keys without the sheath, but otherwise, it works just perfectly.

          N900 is not as friendly to untechnical users, so it's likely you can buy one barely used for a small fraction of the price.

          • Maybe they've fixed this with the N900; but prior linux-running N-series stuff has always seemed to have one or two critical drivers that are binary only(wi-f seemed to be the popular choice). Not nearly as evil as proper DRM; but it did tend to mean that older devices were more or less toast the minute Nokia lost interest. If you were lucky, you might limp through a few userspace bumps; but largely game over on the kernel side...
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by KiloByte (825081)

              Kernel drivers are free -- not all are present in vanilla kernels, but the patches are available. The non-free stuff that is important includes hardware acceleration for the display (not strictly vital) and a tiny little detail that is battery charging -- both live in the userspace.

              Other non-free bits on N900 are parts of Maemo which is on the way out -- you don't need them if you want a replacement. Any new systems would be most likely based on Meego (like the current Debian project is).

              • by aliquis (678370)

                If I had something to wish for it would be that everything they could would be open-source and everything else would be possible to get anyhow and patch in into the OS image, with no signature of the OS image so you could modify close to everything and update the phone.

                As goes for new OS versions (please keep all old drivers and allow people to build OS images with them.)

                Whatever it will happen who knows? How likely do you think it is?

        • by aliquis (678370)

          This is Sweden [blocket.se].

          Saw one used but new (warranty replacement) for 2000 SEK the first time I searched. Thought about purchasing it but I don't know what I should had used it for.

          Also saw your notice about purchasing without trying. The processor seem to be somewhat behind. On the other hand the resolution is quite nice. Funny how all the Apple fanboys started bragging about the iPhone4 and its resolution which obviously was the most important thing in the world. But no-one seemed to care back then the 3GS had l

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027)
      From the summary:

      the source code [...] is available in some form, most likely on a DVD

      I don't see how this makes Symbian not free software. Anyone can buy a copy of the source code on DVD for $10 or so and host a mirror. Such was the Free Software Foundation's business model in the early days.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Strictly speaking, and assuming that they will host all the source code (and not just some "user submitted" works), this would still make Symbian free software, indeed.

        The problem is that like you said, such was the business model of the Free Software Foundation in the early days, like 20 years ago. Today, if they don't provide access to a repo and are not even able to put a tarball on an FTP server, I fear this simply means that they will use a proprietary development model. They might very well drop the

        • It's going to MeeGo (Score:4, Informative)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @02:18PM (#34358852) Homepage Journal

          One has to wonder if Nokia really knows where it's going.

          It's going to MeeGo. As I understand it, Symbian is just the legacy system that Nokia uses on "feature phones" until MeeGo matures.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by |DeN|niS (58325)
            As I understand it, Symbian is just the legacy system that Nokia uses on "feature phones" until MeeGo matures.

            Where would you get that idea? Even +3 informative?

            Symbian is not going anywhere. Feature phones run S40. MeeGo is high-end and beautiful and wonderful, but it will not run on the same class of hardware. The large part of Nokia's market is still going to be Symbian.

            However, you shouldn't confuse Symbian with its S60 UI. Now it goes back in-house where they can start to kick around the needed chang

      • by asvravi (1236558)

        Yeah, they just went from a sucky low bandwidth pipe to an ultra high bandwidth connection. Never underestimate the.... and so on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ummm, a policy of distribution, on request, for no more than a reasonable cost recovery fee, is actually explicitly GPL compatible(and I'm not aware, offhand, of any reasonably common "free software" license that does specify http rather than fedex). Legally, a change from having a website to distributing dumps of the backups on request makes no difference at all.

      De-facto, of course, seeing as web pages(along with things like torrents if you really have no bandwidth money and big files to move) are by f
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aliquis (678370)

      No it doesn't. Just that they won't host, administer and pay for all the functionality around it if no-one is going to use it anyway.

      You can still get the source code. Obviously.

      Lots of work for nothing.

      Regarding Android I have no idea how accessible it is. Most of the phones seems rather locked down anyway.

      Wait for the Nexus Two in that case. Personally I want a MeeGo phone. And if I had to get something now I guess it would be either a cheap second hand (eventually still new) N900 or the E7 once released

    • by Plug (14127)

      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 m

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Android has strong NIH syndrome / releases sources only after official debut of each version, anyway. As of now, its kernel is essentially forked from Linux mainline.

  • Simple solution (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    All they need to do is to make a few torrents and then let the community re-host the content.

    There are several sites which offer the Yahoo Geocities archives - so there are undoubtedly more than enough people willing to share hosting resources.

  • Sad news (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Time to download the PDK whilst I still can, would love to see someone fork Symbian OS and develop some of the research projects e.g. X86, minimal ARM builds. Perhaps some of the ex-Symbian engineers will do this as a hobby project now that Nokia are sacking many of the OS developers.

    On a purely technical basis Symbian is still light years ahead of Android, it's just Nokia's decision to run on slow hardware and have crappy apps, UI. If you don't believe me compare N97 and Samsun Omnia which share a common b

  • I am not much of a programmer; so, this is not too relevant to me. However, I am saddened to see the last vestiges of Psion go.

    I had several Psion PDA's and they were great. I used the early, and later generation palm devices, the windows CE and windows PDA devices along with the Psion. The keyboard on the Psion 5 series could not be beat in that form factor. It would have been interesting to see what they would have become if they had made it into the current era of wireless internet communications.

    The PD

    • by zoney_ie (740061)

      I'm pretty happy with my N97 mini (slide-out QWERTY keyboard). I just wish Opera wouldn't crash every so often (phone runs out of memory).

      The Psion was pretty cool back in the day, even the second-hand monochrome one I had was useful, but I think it's a stretch to generalise that smartphones aren't that good as PDAs.

      Finally, there's no alternative to having a compromise one-for-all device. Who wants to carry separate devices? Besides which the functionality all does interact (contacts - phone, file system/v

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:11PM (#34359956) Homepage Journal

    I was one of a series strategic consultants hired when Symbian was considering conversion to an Open Source project. Unfortunately, what I told them was not what they wanted to hear. One element I pushed was that nobody was going to be interested in their kernel, regardless of what they did, and that conversion to Linux would eventually be necessary if they were not to continue to expend millions on re-inventing the wheel. Another element was licensing and strategy so that the project would continue to make money, which, amazingly, was rejected as Symbian's customers were also its owners and didn't care for it to continue as a for-profit project. Rather than the direction they took, I would have preferred to see them continue to operate as a profitable proprietary software company, because they very obviously weren't going to make it in Open Source.

    But in truth, this project started too late to have much hope.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The foundation already had membership fees which got in the way and phones are not an area where people can hack away in a completely unrestrained manner anyhow, in general, since it is possible to make devices behave illegally and damage/DOS networks if they are modified. People do this of course but I can't imagine a device manufacturer sanctioning it or indeed aiding it in any way. So it's not an area that's particularly amenable to open source. Also look at how long it took Linux to even establish it

    • by Bud (1705)

      One element I pushed was that nobody was going to be interested in their kernel, regardless of what they did, and that conversion to Linux would eventually be necessary if they were not to continue to expend millions on re-inventing the wheel.

      Not a good thing to push because the kernel is the interesting part of Symbian. It's power-tight and has real-time features, both of which are very nice features in a mobile communications device. Unfortunately it only runs on ARM. Linux on the other hand runs on everything. With Qt on top of both Symbian and MeeGo, there's nowhere Nokia can't go. (There's no guarantee they'll actually go there, but they *could*.)

      --Bud

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