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GNOME initiative eyes mobile phone, embedded apps

Posted: 24 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GNOME platform mobile phones? GNOME Foundation GMAE initiative? GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative?

To expand the development and use of open source software in mobile phones, the GNOME Foundation announced the creation of the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative (GMAE) and a software platform for user experience development across different device profiles. GNOME is a free-software project that aims to develop a complete range of desktop applications for Linux and Unix-based operating systems.

The initiative, announced at the Embedded Linux Conference last week, specifically aims to coordinate investment in the GTK+ and GNOME platform, documentation and developer tools and increase development focus on the "mobile experience," particularly the integration of GNOME desktop and GMAE technology. The initiative also aims to pursue standardization opportunities for the platform, and potentially at the user experience level.

Reflecting on the goals of the initiative, Jeff Waugh, founder, GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative and director, GNOME Foundation board said, "Developers will not only have the means to create great mobile and embedded software, but the freedom to envision and create fundamentally new kinds of devices, for entirely new markets."

The initiative involves Open Source projects such as Avahi, BlueZ, Cairo, GNOME, GPE, GStreamer, GTK+, Hildon, Maemo, Matchbox, OpenMoko, Telepathy and Tinymail; and industry organisations CELF, the Linux Foundation and LiPS.

Founding organizations for the project include GNOME Foundation supporters ACCESS, Canonical, Debian, Igalia, Imendio, Intel, Nokia, OLPC, OpenedHand and Red Hat, and GMAE contributors CodeThink, Collabora, FIC, Fluendo, Kernel Concepts, Movial, Nomovok, Openismus, Vernier, Waugh Partners and Wolfson Microelectronics.

Advancing open source
The GNOME Mobile & Embedded Platform is a subset of the GNOME platform. In addition to the core user experience toolkit (GTK+), the platform includes crucial functionality such as multimedia support (GStreamer), instant messaging and presence (Telepathy), Bluetooth (BlueZ), contacts and calendaring (E-D-S), and network service discovery (Avahi). APIs are available for developers using C, C++ or Python.

Following GNOME's licensing strategy, the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Platform is distributed under the terms of the LGPL, which allows for royalty-free use in proprietary software products, but encourages contribution of platform code changes back to the community.

The platform definition announced today represents components that are currently shipping in production devices, but GMAE participants are planning to grow the platform aggressively in the next twelve months, to enable new technologies and functionality. Components already under consideration include the Java Mobile & Embedded platform (Java ME), a geolocation service (GeoClue), a hardware information system (HAL), an audio management service (PulseAudio) and a mobile email framework (Tinymail).

At present, the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Platform is incorporated as a key technology component in different products and projects. Such products include Intel's Mobile Internet Device, Nokia N770 and N800 Web tablet, the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop, the OpenMoko Neo1973 mobile phone, the Vernier LabQuest; the Sugar, Hildon and GPE user interfaces, as well as the ACCESS Linux Platform.

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