Moreover, Rivas said what Nokia is talking about has not been done before. "Our development process will take place in the open-source mode, and we'll be accepting contributions from the entire industry."
And the foundation's development priorities will be driven by member contributions. "We will encourage and enforce contributions with the Eclipse license," he said, noting that the foundation will use the Eclipse Public License as its primary licensing vehicle.
The fee to join the Symbian Foundation is $1,500. But the foundation itself is funded by its original equipment manufacturer board members. The 10 founding foundation members are Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, Vodafone, AT&T, NTT Docomo, Texas Instruments and ST-NXP Wireless.
"The act of taking 40-plus million lines of code and turning it into open-source software will take some time, and we don't want to wait," Rivas said. "So on Day One we're making it all free for members. The assets will be delivered as open source with an aggressive schedule starting at the foundation's launch."
Meanwhile, Rivas said the foundation is applying more of a carrot than a stick to encourage members to use the standard Symbian OS and S60 platform rather than to fragment the software.
"The foundation will run a fairly broad set of tools to deal with fragmentation and run a strong branding program," Rivas said. "We hope to keep you from forking by having a high value system. But if you want to fork you can fork; we have a license for that called the EPL."
Rivas had generally positive things to say about the Android offering, but he was much less effusive about Apple's iPhone, despite carrying a Mac. "They do everything for themselves and see no value in an open platform," he said. "We believe in product differentiation, and this platform has to make it possible for folks to make it unique. We believe there's a lot of value in more than one manufacturer driving the development."
That said, Rivas noted that the foundation as it stands has the support of seven device manufacturers, 225 million devices, 250 device models, 250 operators, tens of thousands of applications, and 4 million developers.