Frequently Asked Questions on Symbian Foundation

1. What does LiMo think of the formation of Symbian Foundation? 

We welcome the formation of Symbian Foundation as it follows behind the pioneering direction of which recognizes that the industry must coalesce on far fewer handset OS’s in order that innovation can be unblocked and far better propositions brought to consumers.

This announcement from Symbian is therefore a welcome step in the right direction, and perhaps an inevitable one. We believe that repositioning Symbian with transparent governance may be the only way to sustain the asset because in the converged world the handset OS is far more about governance than technology. We look forward to seeing the more practical steps that follow today’s press release over the next two years.  

2. How is the initiative different than Symbian Foundation’s?

LiMo was founded at the beginning of in order to bring open and collaborative governance to the mobile industry in order to unlock innovation throughout the value system and bring much better propositions to mobile consumers everywhere. Our simple formula has attracted very rapid industry engagement – 50 companies including 5 tier one operators managing half a billion subscribers and 16 handsets have been shipped to consumers.
The most important difference is LiMo’s unique Collaborative Source strategy, under which the handset OS is developed using royalty free contributions within an IP safe harbor, which protects against hostile patent action, manages fragmentation and allows commercial innovation to thrive on top of the platform.

The key differences are: 

  • LiMo Platform is licensed through Collaborative Source using the FPL license while Symbian OS is licensed through Eclipse Public license. Under the FPL there is reciprocation of defect fixes and optimizations such that fragmentation is managed and quality and performance are continually enhanced for the benefit of all -- while competitive innovation continues to thrive on top of the platform.

  • LiMo uses a spread of best-of-breed contributions from a balanced range of companies. Certain companies will therefore have an advantage based upon a first mover lead of nearly a decade.

  • LiMo Platform is based upon mobile Linux technology supported by a vast base of developers worldwide -- this will inevitably affect future levels of adoption and innovation.  

4.  How does LiMo address the fragmentation challenge?

LiMo’s Collaborative Source model proactively manages fragmentation through reciprocation -- all fixes and optimizations are shared such that consistent quality and performance enhancements occur continually and shared by all.

5. What are the technology differences between LiMo and Symbian with regards to the platform? 

Through our Collaborative Source approach, the LiMo Platform is scoped to enable thriving third-party innovation at the application and content layer -- operators, device manufacturers and content providers can freely shape the user experience and associated business models without intrusion from the handset OS.

In addition, LiMo uses the Linux kernel – a product created by a very large and dedicated Open Source community.

6. Why are some companies members of both LiMo and Symbian Foundation?

Symbian has been in operation for a decade – it is natural that companies that have invested in Symbian OS through this period will maintain their involvement.