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Linux phone industry groups should talk, blogger says

Dec 18, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

In an interesting blog post earlier this month, Wind River's GM of mobile phones called for cooperation between two mobile Linux industry groups. There are potential synergies between the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) and the LiMo Foundation, and ample reason to join together, Jason Whitmire suggested.

In his December 3 Wind River blog, Whitmire suggests that having several dozen phone stack/OS combinations to choose from creates challenges to adoption, reduces innovation, and raises costs. Whitmire thus encourages OHA and the LiMO (Linux Mobile) Foundation to find common ground.

22 flavors of mobile Linux — and nothing on?

In his post, Whitmire links to an article alleging there are 22 flavors of mobile Linux confusing the market. He then counters the notion that an 800 pound gorilla like Google is needed to stop fragmentation, suggesting that handing the keys to the kingdom to a single company is not in the spirit of open source.

“Google has the muscle to help rein in fragmentation forays from OEMs and operators, and has chosen the Android platform as they key vehicle to accomplish this ambitious goal,” writes Whitmire. “At the same time, the mobile market-based backing of LiMO is needed to keep the 'open' in open source.”

One problem with a collaboration scenario may be that Wind River is the only major mobile Linux software company signed on to both the OHA and LiMO. Rival MontaVista Software belongs to LiMO only at the “Associate” level, and is not yet an OHA member.

On the other hand, the two groups do share quite a few members, including Java supplier Aplix, chipmaker Broadcom, Japan's largest mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo, and handset makers LG, Motorola, and Samsung.

Whitmire is relatively new to the embedded Linux market, having joined FSMLabs one month before that company sold its real-time Linux technology and transferred key associated employees to Wind River. Prior to that, Whitmire worked for many years in the European and U.S. telecom markets, most recently heading up wireless software business development at semiconductor supplier Infineon Technologies.

Whitmire's blog is available here.

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