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Linux in the limelight
|12 февраля 2008|
Linux enters Mobile World Congress 2008 with all the momentum in the world. First the open source platform reshaped the U.S. software market in late 2007 via web services giant Google's introduction of its Linux-based Android operating system.
Next, in the waning days of January 2008, Nokia bid $153 million to acquire Norwegian Linux-based software provider Trolltech, a move the handset kingpin said will galvanize its cross-platform software strategy for mobile devices and desktop applications, enabling development of third-party apps optimized for the Internet, across its device portfolio and on PCs. Just days later, European semiconductor firm NXP and French mobile Linux components supplier Purple Labs announced their joint development of a 3G Linux feature phone boasting video telephony, music playback, high-speed Internet browsing and video streaming--the first of its kind with a price tag under $100. And finally, industry consortium The LiMo Foundation said it will release its first mobile Linux platform in March.
In other words: Watch out, Microsoft and Symbian. The most buzzworthy is the Trolltech deal, which makes Nokia the favorite to dominate mobile open source standards. "[The acquisition] gives the developer community the tools and culture to use [mobile Linux] in a wide range of designs," says Trolltech CTO Benoit Schillings. "For years Linux development has been fragmented, but now we are at a critical mass. Some very interesting pieces are combining here, and the growing adoption of Linux truly opens up the role of the developer." At the same time, Schillings says the excitement and speculation generated by Android in the U.S. market has so far failed to translate overseas: "There are still a number of question marks over what will come out of it, and I don't think there's been a clear answer," he says. "Everybody in this industry knows how long it takes to go from demo to device to a framework that you can build on for the future. It takes a long time for a platform to grow and go through the mistakes to become a safe choice."