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Gnome board gains embedded advisors

Oct 5, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Three small companies involved in hacking on the Linux-based software environment that will power Nokia's forthcoming 770 Internet tablet have joined the Gnome Foundation's advisory board as corporate members. New members include Matchbox maintainer OpenedHand; Imendio, which contributed GnomeVFS, D-BUS, and GConf hacks; and Fluendo, which adapted GStreamer to Maemo.

The Nokia connection

Nokia sponsors the Maemo project, and sponsored all three new Gnome Foundation advisory board members in their contributions to the Maemo project.

Additionally, Nokia has in the past supported the Gnome Foundation directly. Near the end of May, it announced a Gnome developer discount program on 770 development hardware, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to the Gnome Foundation.

Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone company, is more often associated with the Symbian OS than with embedded Linux. Nokia owns nearly two-thirds of Symbian, an OS originally developed from the ground up for mobile devices by UK handheld vendor Psion, and now found on 76.2 percent of smartphones, by Gartner's numbers, and 55.9 percent of smartphones, by IDC's numbers, which include PDAs with mobile phone capabilities.

Nokia has shipped carrier infrastructure equipment based on Linux in the past, but the 770 Internet Tablet is expected to be its first Linux product targeting consumers — although the company did develop a Linux-based media terminal some years back that failed to reach market.

The 770 is not expected to be Nokia's last Linux-based product. The company has said it plans to base a range of consumer devices on Maemo, including VoWiFi phones. Nokia has not tipped any plans to use Linux in a mobile phone, but the company would not be the first Symbian devotee to make the switch. Nokia has recently shown considerable interest in open source, for example taking part in the recently fashionable trend of granting software patent usage to the open source community.

A complete list of Nokia's many contributions to open source projects, as well as specific details about Maemo contributions from OpenedHand, Imendia, and Fluendo, can be found here.

The Gnome advisory board

The Gnome advisory board provides organizational, financial, and legal support to the Gnome project, helping to determine its vision and roadmap. It was founded in 2000 by Eazel (creator of Nautilus), Helix Code (developers of Evolution and a host of productivity software, later became Ximian before being acquired by Novell), Sun, and Red Hat.

About the new Gnome Foundation board members

OpenedHand is best known for the Matchbox window manager it maintains, and which will be used in the 770. Imendio is a Swedish software development service provider focused on cross-platform library and API development, targeting platforms ranging from embedded devices to desktops. Fluendo employs several lead developers of GStreamer, described as “the defacto standard multimedia framework” for GNU/Linux. The Spanish company specializes in Linux multimedia product development and consulting.

OpenedHand's director, Matthew Allum, said, “We strongly believe that Gnome technologies give advantages on today's mobile and embedded platforms.”

Imendio CEO Mikael Hallendal said, “Our developers have been involved both professionally and personally in Gnome since the beginning of the project. We see this as a great opportunity to also support Gnome financially.”

Fleundo CEO Julien Moutte said, “With GStreamer as Gnome's multimedia framework, we were happy to be invited to join the Gnome Foundation advisory board. Through collaboration with the Gnome and GStreamer communities we hope to provide a first class multimedia experience for Gnome users.”

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