Open Source will be topic Number 1 on the operator agenda in 2009.
One of the contrasts between the computer-based internet and the walled gardens based world of mobile telephony was the difference between open vs. closed approaches. This has always made mobile developments, despite their greater popular acceptance, somewhat of a less enthusing developments, because it was not a true peer to peer infrastructure.
But two things are changing. First that devices are getting more and more interconnected, using the internet as their common basis, and second, that the mobile operators are themselves moving towards open standards, open platforms, and open access to internet-based content. That makes mobile into a more important participatory tool.
I’m not in a position to judge with confidence how open the different layers of the mobile infrastructure are or will be, but the following assessment from an industry expert bodes well.
Jason Whitmire in the Wind River Blog;
(on the occasion of the Mobile World Congress number 13, set to take place in Barcelona in February)
“Whether it be the proliferation of phone development activity around Google’s Android stack, the phenomenal operator gravitation toward the LiMo Foundation, or Symbian’s intriguing announcement to open source its end-of-life cycle stack, the mobile industry is breaking out of the traditional controlled development environment to favor collaboration that accelerates innovation. The use of open source software in mobile is exploding from the operating system all the way up to the user experience, and Linux-based open source stacks are moving well beyond alpha stage with backing by industry heavy weights.
Indeed, the ubiquity of open source is causing not only a fundamental shift in proprietary OEM software deployment, but also accelerating the opening of the operator walled garden. As VisionMobile’s Andreas Constantinou – arguably the industry’s most astute pundit of open source in mobile – has pointed out, strategic “shared” core software platforms are “in” (versus supporting and maintaining up to ten proprietary stacks in an operator portfolio).”