The Symbian mobile operating system is the world's most widely used smartphone platform. On Thursday, the Nokia-backed organization that controls the code took a step to further increase its popularity. The Symbian Foundation said its Symbian OS is now fully open source and open to contributions from developers around the world. As open source software, Symbian can now be used or modified by developers "for any purpose," the Foundation said, "whether that be for a mobile device or for something else entirely."
"The development community is now empowered to shape the future of the mobile industry, and rapid innovation on a global scale will be the result," said Symbian Foundation director Lee Williams, in a statement.
Nokia bought out Symbian for about $410 million in 2008 with an eye to bringing the OS into the open source community. Symbian gives phone manufacturers an alternative to commercial mobile operating systems such as Microsoft's Windows Mobile. Symbian held about 47% of the worldwide smartphone OS market last year. Research in Motion's Blackberry was second, with a 20% stake, and Windows Mobile third with 12.4% of the market.
All 108 packages containing the source code of the Symbian platform can now be downloaded from Symbian’s developer web site (tiny.symbian.org/open), under the terms of the Eclipse Public License and other open source licenses. Also available for download are the complete development kits for creating applications (the Symbian Developer Kit) and mobile devices (the Product Development Kit). These kits are compatible with Symbian^3, the very latest version of the platform, which is now fully open source and will be "feature complete" during Q1 of this year.
Read more about this migration to Open Source on the official Symbian Foundation website, in the News & Media section.