Tthe Symbian Foundation announced a significant milestone in its plan to move the entire Symbian platform into open source: the release of the platform microkernel (EKA2) and supporting development kit under the Eclipse Public License (EPL).
The kernel release is nine months ahead of schedule and reflects the positive momentum behind Symbian's ambitious platform migration plan, which began with the release of security code under EPL.
16 out of a total 134 platform packages have now been released into open source since the code was first made available on the Symbian Foundation servers in April 2009.
"The release of the microkernel demonstrates three vital, guiding principles of the foundation: first, the commitment of many community members to the development of the platform - in this case, Accenture, ARM, Nokia and Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) all made contributions; second, progress in fulfilling our commitment to a complete open source release of Symbian; and third, a tangible example of providing the most advanced mobile platform in the world" said Lee Williams, Executive Director, Symbian Foundation.
"I would like to congratulate Symbian for not only making the source code of its kernel open source, but also the compiler and simulation environment,' said Andrew S. Tanenbaum, author of global bestsellers and widely regarded computer science texts including, Operating Systems: Design and Implementation and Modern Operating Systems. 'The code will be of great interest to programmers and enthusiasts of the Symbian system. It will also show many people that microkernels are widely used in important commercial environments, where both reliability and high performance are essential."
As the 'heart' of the platform, Symbian's real-time microkernel – comprising robust, fully multi-tasking architecture - manages all system resources and frameworks necessary for the co-existence of the processes and applications that make up the complete system.
To enable the community to fully utilise the open source kernel, Symbian is providing a complete development kit, free of charge, including ARM's high performance RVCT compiler toolchain.
The provision of the kit demonstrates Symbian’s commitment to lowering access barriers to encourage the wider development community – such as research institutions, enthusiast groups and individual developers – to get creative with the code.
The complete kit, which can be downloaded from http://tiny.symbian.org/SymbianKernel, consists of:
* Open source kernel and other complementary packages
* High performance ARM compiler toolchain (RVCT4.0): free to developers and companies of less than 20 employees
* Open source simulation environment based on QEMU
* Open source base support package for the low cost Beagle Board
* Supporting binaries
* Hardware execution environment
"We are delighted to see Symbian Foundation achieve this milestone in its migration to open source. Symbian has always taken full advantage of leading edge ARM processors increasing the performance and feature set of mobile handsets", said John Cornish, Executive Vice President and General Manager, System Design Division, ARM. "It is essential that developers have access to the best tools which is why we have partnered with Symbian to enable widespread development using the ARM compiler toolchain. We are also pleased to join the Architecture Council of the Symbian Foundation and contribute to the long term success of the Symbian platform."
"TI continues its long history of supporting Symbian with its multiple solutions available within the Symbian Foundation, including code for connectivity as well as parts of our base support package (BSP)," said Pierre Garnier, Vice President and General Manager in TI's wireless business. "Our customers have access to a variety of open solutions from TI and other open source communities, such as beagleboard.org and omapzoom.org, that make it easier for the Symbian developer community to create applications on the OMAP 3 platform. We believe access to such resources will spark innovation and help developers advance the next generation of media-rich devices."
Accenture will be leading hands-on developer workshops on the kernel running on the Beagle Board and QeMu Simulator at SEE 2009 in the "Hands-on Lab-2" on Tuesday, 27 October: http://www.see2009.org/page.cfm/Action=Seminars/CategoryID=6 for more details.