Nokia’s secret love for linux

Something like one week ago, reuters reported a Ukko Lappalainen quote, collected during “Nokia world” in Barcelona stating that Nokia is considering linux as an OS alternative (to symbian/S60) in high end mobiles.
During the same week Nokia completed the acquisition of Symbian Limited.

When I was in Symbian smartphone show in London, at the end of Andrew Cloke’s presentation, , I asked directly if we should expect big architectural changes in Symbian during the migration period from SFL (Symbian Foundation License) to EPL and code disclosure.
I was meaning kernel changes or big changes regarding User Experience concepts and, actually, the answer was: no.

Lots of talks I had, both virtually and f2f, with other mobile tech. experts, seem to confirm my impression that thinking about a port of symbian on top of a linux kernel seems impossible.

I can see three reason to prevent this merge:
– the kernel is one of two important parts of a quality mobile os: kernel manages to run the phone consuming less resources as possible and depending on kernel code quality will be more easy to integrate different HWs.

– UE concepts are the other foundamental part of a mobile OS: they define how user interacts with applications and how the applications interact among themselves.

and both of them are way too different if you look at Symbian and, for example, as the optimal linux powered OS, Android.

Moreover, Nokia’s ecosystem is roughly based on SymbianC++ and MIDP java developers, both unsupported on Android.

Some months ago, Nokia was not invited to participate to OHA-Android initiative being this initiative clearly hostile, at least, to Nokia’s dreams of being the mobile market allrounder leader, from manufactoring to services.

Nokia, now that Symbian acquisition has been closed, must face a very hard situation: with an asset like symbian that is loosing value as the time passes and aggressive competitors like korean Samsung backed by the most revolutionary mobile project in years.

Creating a competitive, open source, OS was one of the possible moves one year ago, but now is time to understand what to save about Symbian.

In Nokia’s war against the Others, Symbian (the code, the company, the ecosystem) must be an assett, not the injured soldier to be carried on top of your shoulders.


About meedabyte

Strategist, Consultant and Collaborative Pathfinder


  1. Pingback: Is democracy any useful in mobile open source software? « Meedabyte

  2. Pingback: Nokia and Intel to party with the penguins «

  3. Nokia choose linux as OS. hmm…. may nokia have the reason. symbian may be strong and durable, but slow development. it may be a reason

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: