The Symbian Foundation has announced that the Symbian OS software designed for mobile devices and smartphones will be offered to the developer community as an open source platform under the terms of the Eclipse Public License and other open source licenses.
The foundation, which administrates and oversees the development of Symbian OS, said that the open source release of the OS will include applications, middleware and the Kernel programming language.
Larry Berkin, the head of global alliances for the Symbian Foundation, commenting on the release of the open source code, said in a statement that “We're open-sourcing 108 packages that will be available at the source code level. You can download it, you can modify it.”
Berkin said that device manufacturers will be able to modify the code of the operating systems to create differentiated handsets that might result in incompatible versions of the OS but the manufacturers will have to tune the OS to work properly with their device.
As of now, they are approximately 330 million mobile and smartphone devices that run on Symbian OS, with most of them being manufactured by Nokia, Samsung, Fujitsu, Sharp and Sony Ericsson. The Symbian Foundation is partially owned by Nokia, which acquired Symbian in 2008.
Android, unlike Symbian, is still firmly under the control of Google. This might cause some manufacturers to shift their allegiances over the forthcoming as the threat of Google delivering more Nexus One's increases as we approach Christmas 2010.