Monday, May 18, 2009
Do we really need another OSS mobile stack?There is one reason Linux has been successful as a mainstream server OS: RedHat. It is not the company behind it that made it good, it is the fact that one company made the Linux enterprise distribution. There are few more distros, but one is mainstream. The rest is noise.
The market does not like noise, it likes mainstream. Early adopters are a nice bunch of people, but they are not that many... You need the Early Majority and the Late Majority to step in, to make something mainstream. Crossing the chasm happens when there is a clear leader.
Now look at Mobile Linux today. It is a mess. And I am upset about it because I am one of the big supporters of mobile open source, as you might have noticed. And if I am confused, imagine the rest of the world...
We have Android (open source dictatorship), LiMo (open source oligarchy) and Symbian (open source to be). Then you have Maemo (a Nokia effort for the tablets, which somehow clashes with the acquisition of Trolltech) and Moblin (an Intel effort for MIDs, Mobile Internet Devices, which seems not be going anywhere).
Too many initiatives?
Nope, now we have a new one. Nokia and Intel (wow) announced oFono today. I do not think it is an OS, probably more of a stack. But it is meant to do all the things an OS does on a mobile device (telephony, for once).
The description of the project is a geek dream and a journalist nightmare:
oFono.org is a place to bring developers together around designing an infrastructure for building mobile telephony (GSM/UMTS) applications. oFono.org is licensed under GPLv2, and it includes a high-level D-Bus API for use by telephony applications of any license. oFono.org also includes a low-level plug-in API for integrating with open source as well as third party telephony stacks, cellular modems and storage back-ends. The plug-in API functionality is modeled on public standards, in particular 3GPP TS 27.007 "AT command set for User Equipment (UE)."I mean, the answer to "what is oFono?" is "A plug-in API functionality modeled on 3GPP TS 27.007"... Aahhh, now it is clear ;-)
Anyway, it is just another confusing effort in the mobile open source space. I do understand this is a hot market and everyone is jumping on it, but I think we are trying to do too much and it is not helping anyone.
Or maybe I should just look at it and celebrate yet another success of mobile open source, which attracts the bigger players, committed to make it the mobile platform of the future.
If I just could understand what they do, maybe I could make up my mind...
Posted by Fabrizio at 11:10
Mmh, if I understand well, oFono should be an open source implementation of the GSM/UMTS radio stack needed, for example, for HTC phones equipped with Windows Mobile.
If i remember correctly, Android runs on my Tytn II/Kaiser "on top" of closed source 3GP stack and Haret (a sort of bootloader that runs from inside the main OS), whereas to install a modded WM ROM you have to download and flash separately the OS and the radio stack...
So, an OSS radio stack should be really useful in the process of getting Android/Linux Mobile to work on devices shipped with WM.
But i may be wrong ^_^
Comment Posted at 05:25
oFono will work *on* all the other mobile linux OSes. That's pretty obvious. If you find yourself confused so easily, perhaps you'd be happier working in the food service or hospitality industries.
Comment Posted at 09:10
are you hinting that people in food service and hospitality are stupid?
That's not nice, wouldn't be easier just to tell me that I am dumb without insulting two categories?
Sorry to be dumb anyway, but you should pick on my mom and dad. They gave me the bad genes.
BTW, I have been told that teachers that tell their students they are stupid because they do not get it are bad at teaching. Maybe it is true also in marketing.
Comment Posted at 09:14
I agree with Fabrizio about having too many mobile platforms.
I think some of them will merge in the future.
I own an android phone and I am happy with it but imho when symbian will be free software it will conquer the market due to all nokia phones out there and the popularity of that brand.