Skip to main content

Symbian Foundation Open Sources Microkernel

Symbian Foundation has announced that it has made the microkernel, a crucial component of Symbian OS, the world’s renowned mobile operating system, available to the open source developer community nine months before it was planned.

The Symbian development team has confirmed that it has now released the microkernel, along with the development kit, under the Eclipse Public Licensing (EPL) project.

Incidentally, the UK’s Symbian mobile operating system has seen a significant decline in its market share, primarily owing to new entrants, including Google Android and Apple, and henceforth seems to be more than interested in opening the software for developers to lure a broader range of companies and more catchy apps.

The foundation noted in a blog post that it wasn’t modifying the licence notices in the source code, but instead stitching a developer environment equipped with an ARM simulator, and creating an entirely open source base port for a rather cost-effective Beagleboard.

The microkernel from Symbian offers symmetric multiprocessing as well as multitasking, and developers can start with text shell builds by downloading a “kernel taster kit” for the purpose.

The Symbian development team is looking forward to shift their focus on to the GCC compiler and the ARM CPU’s power-saving Thum2 Technology in the future.

Our Comments

Symbian OS is tightly linked to the ARM platform which is something quite interesting, especially as Intel is trying to get into that market as well. Symbian needs to act fast it if wants to maintain its status as the most popular mobile operating system. LiMo, iPhone OS and Google Android are all shaping up to be pretty badass platforms that will make Symbian's life quite miserable.

Related Links

Symbian kernel finds freedom ahead of schedule (opens in new tab)

(The H)

Symbian kernel goes open sauce (opens in new tab)

(The Register)

Symbian opens source microkernel, ahead of schedule (opens in new tab)

(EE Times)

Symbian opens microkernel software to developers (opens in new tab)


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.