Groups unite to fight mobile Linux fragmentation

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OSDL puckers up for LiPS.

The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Linux Phone Standards Forum (LiPS) announced today that they will "actively collaborate" in a bid to reduce the fragmentation of mobile Linux.

Both organisations said that the move will maximise the benefits of their complementary approaches, in that OSDL focuses on the kernel and operating system levels and LiPS works on applications and service enabler layers.

The collaboration framework includes cross-organisation representation at member meetings, two-way sharing and referencing (rather than duplicating) of requirements and specifications, and cooperation in the creation of common requirements and specifications for mobile Linux-based devices.

"The success of mobile Linux requires a cross-organisational effort without duplication of efforts by our members and other industry participants," said OSDL chief executive Stuart Cohen.

"Collaboration among vendors, users, developers and the organisations that support the goals of these constituents will produce a fully functioning mobile Linux platform capable of increasing its competitive position vis-à-vis other mobile OS providers."

Mobile Linux has experienced impressive growth in recent months. Analyst firm Diffusion Group predicts that this growth will continue and that Linux market share will surpass Symbian OS-based smartphones by 2010.

This opportunity is garnering attention from handset manufacturers which want to leverage Linux and open source software to drive cost savings, performance, technology enhancements and flexibility.

"No one questions that Linux and its applications can deliver more capable mobile devices, increase flexibility, speed time-to-market and lower costs. It is a matter of how we get there," said Haila Wang, president of LiPS.

"Collaboration and cooperation are key to avoid market fragmentation, and LiPS is working with OSDL and other organisations and companies to build consistent, complementary specifications for making open source software a key component in mobile devices."

Mike Kelley, senior vice president of engineering at Access/PalmSource, added: "We believe that Linux has a great future in the mobile space.

"Reducing fragmentation to work together towards a common platform will accelerate Linux adoption even further. Cooperation between OSDL and LiPS is an important step in this direction."

OSDL announced its Mobile Linux Initiative in October 2005 with an emphasis on kernel-level gap analysis and requirements.

The initiative is focused on identifying gaps and finding solutions for kernel-level and operating system requirements. OSDL provides a central location through which Linux kernel and operating system collaboration can be maximised.
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