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June 30, 2008

Symbian Foundation: have your say

GLOBAL – Now the dust has settled on the hullabaloo (and rightly so!) surrounding the Symbian Foundation, Conversations has trawled through the bulging comment boxes of various sites, including our very own, to gauge the public’s reaction to the new open source Symbian OS. The world’s press and tech experts have had their two penneth; now it’s the turn of the tech community to speak up.

Let’s kick off with a positive ‘stick it on the poster’ sound bite from Conversation regular Antony Pranata

“After reading news and digesting the press release, this is really huge… much huger than I thought.”

Fellow Conversation visitor, Gomcoite, was similarly upbeat but does question the complete freedom afforded to developers. Is this really a good thing?

“I feel this is a strategic step to go on for a better future considering the open source Google Android is on its way. I feel Symbian would evolve better when free, but I’m not sure if the total freedom would help..!! This means that all Symbian software available now would have free counterparts, good for the public and mobile phone companies, bad for developers…!!”

Once he had recovered from the groundbreaking news, Antony Pranata was back, remaining positive but his still concerned over a conflict of interests for Nokia.

“Personally, I think this movement was great news. The OS will be open and there will be only one UI platforms (instead of 3). I have written my opinion on my personal blog as well.
The only concern that I have is “conflict of interests”. Nokia is the hardware manufacturer as well as the company behind the platform. Google and Microsoft are not device manufacturer; so there is less of “conflict of interests” there.

Over at The Register, the Symbian open source scenario wasn’t attracting such favourable comments. Adam T was pretty scathing, citing the move to open source as having no impact on the mobile industry and how he’s always seen the Symbian OS as shackling mobile development.

“Symbian, for all its popularity, has been both an Achilles heel and a burden on progress. Making it Open Source means nothing, I think the term has become a buzz word used to justify (and even glorify) reckless roadmap planning. R.I.P. Symbian.”

Similarly, fellow Register follower, Edward Rose, ignites the argument of fragmentation in the mobile OS market. Is five OS platforms too many? Edward doesn’t believe so, seeing open source Symbian preventing a healthy dose of competition.

“By throwing it open source you remove a level of competition. If everyone is using the same software, then it no longer becomes a deciding factor in purchasing a phone (ok, very simplistic I know, but it boils down in this direction).”

Signing off this comment round-up, oldsm1320 from USA Today keeps it short and sweet but Microsoft mobile fans might want too turn away now.

“Looks like another reason to dump Microsoft.”

Ouch. But what’s your take on thus public reaction? Let us know.

Photo by Striatic