The GNOME Foundation announced the creation of the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative (GMAE), and a software platform for user experience development across a wide range of device profiles.
"GNOME continues to drive the cutting edge of Open Source and Free Software innovation. With the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative, GNOME expands the reach of Software Freedom to new devices, new markets, and new audiences", said Jeff Waugh, founder of the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative and a director of the GNOME Foundation board. "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."
Mobile, embedded and converged devices comprise one of the most rapidly growing segments of the technology landscape, accounting for sales of billions of units per year. Analysts estimate that by 2010, one out of two smartphones will be based on Free and Open source software, and growth in this space is already faster than that of proprietary devices (Canalys, 2006). The mobile and embedded device space represents an unprecedented opportunity for third-party developers.
The GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative will advance the use, development and commercialization of GNOME components as a mobile and embedded user experience platform. It brings together industry leaders, expert consultants, key developers and the community and industry organizations they represent. The initiative aims to:
* Increase community and commercial visibility of GMAE technology and participating organizations.
* Coordinate investment in the GTK+ and GNOME platform, documentation and developer tools.
* Increase development focus on the "mobile experience", particularly the integration of GNOME desktop and GMAE technology.
* Facilitate healthy development collaboration between participating organizations, the GNOME community and related projects; and between GNOME platform, desktop and GMAE developers.
* Pursue standardization opportunities for the platform, and potentially at the user experience level.
* Ensure that Software Freedom is a reality beyond the desktop, and available in the hands of users around the world.
"This initiative augments a thriving commercial and community ecosystem around GNOME for mobile and embedded applications", noted Bill Weinberg, Principal Analyst at LinuxPundit. "Building on freely-licensed GTK+, GStreamer, and other GNOME software, the GNOME Mobile & Embedded Initiative provides a level playing field for companies and developers, for products and projects, offering a platform for innovation and collaboration."
Founding organizations announcing their participation today 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.
Bridging industry and community, the GNOME Mobile & Embedded 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.
A number of additional participants will announce their involvement at a later date, due to product schedules and other disclosure issues.
The GNOME Mobile & Embedded Platform is a subset of the proven, widely used 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 highly successful 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. This, combined with a thriving open development process supported by industry and community, makes the GMAE Platform uniquely suited to the needs of mobile and embedded developers.
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).
The GNOME Mobile & Embedded Platform is already a key technology component in a wide range of products and projects, including those from GMAE participants such as the Intel Mobile Internet Device (MID), the 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; and the ACCESS Linux Platform.