Nokia has long promoted Symbian as an open-source OS. Since partnering with Microsoft, however, changes to policy have made some question any use of the word "open."
has a big Symbian announcement planned for April 12, but it is already
receiving heavy criticism regarding its treatment of the mobile operating
a March 31 blog post titled "We are
on the Symbian blog, a Nokia official announced that the
company is making the latest version of the Symbian source code available to
development partners, and that almost all of the source code is now uploaded to
in February Nokia
committed to making Microsoft's Windows Phone its primary smartphone OS
the official reiterated in the post that the company still plans to ship
another 150 million Symbian smartphones and to keep supporting updates to the
achieve all of this, we need the collaboration with our platform development
partners and continue to value an open way of working," Petra Soderling,
head of Open Source Symbian smartphones for Nokia, wrote in the post.
the source code is available for downloading, there are new restrictions that
are out of sync with the open-source nature of Symbian that Nokia has long
an unsigned April 4 post on the Symbian blog titled "Not Open Source, Just
Open for Business," a Nokia official clarified:
we have consistently said, Nokia is making the Symbian platform available under
an alternative, open and direct model, to enable us to continue working with
the remaining Japanese OEMs and the relatively small community of platform
development collaborators we are already working with.
these pages we are releasing source code to these collaborators, but are not
maintaining Symbian as an open source development project. Consistent with
this, the Nokia Symbian License is an alternative license which provides an
access to Nokia's additional Symbian development for parties which collaborate
with Nokia on the Symbian platform."
added that it is monitoring registrations and "approving the
aforementioned platform collaborators."
an April 11 report, Ars Technica suggests the "Japanese OEMs" comment
refers to Fujitsu, and writes that it is "disappointing that Nokia doesn't
seem to care anymore. After spending hundreds of millions of euros and many
years of effort to be able to distribute the code under the [Eclipse Public License],
it seems absurd to throw it all away and revert to a license that imposes
bizarre restrictions on source code access."
taking issue with Nokia's use of the word "open," highlighted some of
the fine print in Nokia's Symbian-related documents in an April 2 post,
pointing out, for example, that instead of a patent grant there's now a new
copyright license, as well as a no-reverse-engineering clause and a
can do whatever it wants with its own stuff. But please don't use the word
'open' for this," Groklaw added. "Partnering with Microsoft may make
you start to talk like Microsoft, I guess, and keep promises like Microsoft
too. But I don't think this is an accurate use of the word 'open.'"
open-source analyst Carlo Daffara, on
, describes Nokia's bungled handling of Symbian, which "could
have been a contender," as "a pity."
long list of confusing announcements and delays, changes in plans, and lack of
focus on how to beat the competitors like iOS and Android clearly reduced the
willingness of commercial partners to invest in the venture," writes
Nokia's latest move, he added, the announcement "sounds like a death
knell. Obtain the source code through a DVD or USB key? You must be kidding. Do
you really think that setting up a webpage with the code and preserving a
read-only Mercurial server would be a too much of a cost? The only thing that
it shows is that Nokia stopped believing in an OSS Symbian."
is known about Nokia's
planned April 12 event
, which will take place in London. Invitations, sent
to the media earlier this month, said only, "Discover what's new with
Symbian smartphones." Nokia has made previous promises of a dual-core 1GHz
processor smartphone, which it's possible Nokia will make good on.