Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the get-while-the-gettin's-good dept.

Operating Systems 78

Following news earlier this month that Nokia is taking back control of Symbian platform development, the Symbian Foundation has now announced that its websites will shut down on December 17th. Source repositories will no longer be hosted online, and user-submitted content databases may be available later upon request. "We are working hard to make sure that most of the content accessible through web services (such as the source code, kits, wiki, bug database, reference documentation & Symbian Ideas) is available in some form, most likely on a DVD or USB hard drive upon request to the Symbian Foundation. Preparing this content will take some time, hence it will not be distributable before 31st January 2011. A charge may be levied for media and shipping.

cancel ×

78 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

It's official (5, Funny)

rumith (983060) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357834)

Symbian is dead. No need to wait for Netcraft to confirm it.

Re:It's official (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357900)

If not dead then buried alive.

Re:It's official (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358080)

Nokia made a HUGE mistake by not using and embracing Linux sooner. They missed a great opportunity to have a robust, flexible, modern, and evolving platform. Had they just quickly moved all their phones to what they did with the N770 "Internet Tablet", things could have been different. Now with the single N900 phone, they are in a similar boat as Palm (in some ways)....

Palm made the same mistake- they promised they were moving everything to Linux YEARS before they FINALLY released Palm Linux WebOS. By they time they did, it was too little too late.... Android had already started to gobble up mindshare not already taken by Apple. Terrible delays, then hardware that was just too slow/not enough RAM, then the HP buyout. Too bad, too, since WebOS is really a great design.

Re:It's official (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358410)

blahblahblah

More propaganda gobbldegook. Symbian lives and sells and has good hardware.

Re:It's official (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358444)

What? Palm has a linux os now? Can I download it onto my visor?

Re:It's official (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358572)

Yeah, either they should had gone with Android and everyone else or kept releasing Maemophones. To leave users out in the cold and don't release anything new for like 2 years will suck.

The idea was most likely to get the money from services and application repositories themselves.

But maybe being greedy hurt them more they will ever profit from it. Time will tell.

Re:It's official (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34361786)

You have no idea what Nokia even provides in the first place. Vast majority of their phones are inexpensive S30 and S40 (the most widespread mobile phone platform on the plant) handsets - responsible in large part for those 5+ billion mobile subscribers now.

Smartphones are 20-25% of what they ship (that's still more than for other large non-"smartphone only" makers, more than the average of the market) - most of them Symbian, and getting into price range of S40 more and more (that's why it will be big). Had they just quickly moved all their phones to what they did with the N770 "Internet Tablet" would mean dropping 95% percent of users.

Re:It's official (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362362)

>You have no idea what Nokia even provides in the first place.

You are awfully presumptuous! I do know what they provide, and I am quite aware that most of their phones are not smart phones. However, that does not preclude them from replacing Symbian with Linux on lower end phones. Those 5+ billion you speak of could just as well be using Linux. Linux can deal with slower, and lower memory, if tuned correctly. A single OS for all their phones (under Linux) would have focused all their development efforts in one, forward, compatible, flexible direction.

As an example, watch as more and more lower end phones become Android powered...

Re:It's official (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362416)

Put Meego on some 1280-class device. Or 1616. Or - I'll be generous - 2690. Comparable embedded boards are available and it's all OSS, nothing is stopping you (or anybody - one would think somebody would do such and obvious thing by now, right?)

You don't even know that Symbian is not on their lower end phones - that's S30 and partly S40.

(sure, things will change, but pretending it's a decade into the future, while showing most of their customers middle finger, wouldn't be very productive)

Sticking with the other guy on this. (2, Interesting)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372300)

Series 30 (or Series 40 which is 30 with Java more or less) was a great OS. In fact, there probably never was or will be a telephone OS that can be brought up on a new platform as fast as 30 or 40 could be.

Symbian was a "good, we found something other than Microsoft" solution. A Series 60 phone can run on 33Mhz with 2 megs of RAM. Yes, I know, Linux can theoretically do that too. But Linux does NOT have a good out of memory handling strategy... well neither does Symbian, but the crap design of Symbian otherwise actually makes it quite suitable for these 2 megabyte platforms.

Symbian apps are all designed from the ground up to suck for almost all purposes, but not to crash on low memory. You spend 90% of your programming time on Symbian trying to figure out how to use the string class because just saying String A= String B take 10 lines of code. And that's because every line of a Symbian app is designed to take low memory into consideration.

Linux is NOT suited for that and anyone who would suggest doing such a horrible thing to Linux as has been done to Symbian should be shot just for making such a bad suggestion.

A Nokia Series 60 phone is a phone containing the absolute least expensive components possible. Occasionally you get lucky and they'll use an 8meg RAM chip instead of a 4meg RAM chip because they found out that if they spent $0.04 more for it, they could save $0.05 on a cheaper battery as the 8meg chip was processed at 45nm instead of 65nm.

Additionally, Nokia can brag to the press that they're the #1 smart phone vendor in the world because 90% of their phones are shipping with a Smart Phone OS. It makes it so people will still believe that one day Nokia might actually be able to make a real smart phone that people might actually not think sucks.

Nokia might want to have the coolest high end smart phone on the planet for marketing purposes, but they're going to sell 100,000 of them at $500 profit (on components) each. On the other hand, they'll sell 100,000,000 series 60 phones at $10 profit on each during that same period.

To make Linux fit on that cheapy device, they'd have to rewrite every single app. The only actual Linux component would be the kernel itself and that will be instrumented from hell to high water to do things like signal when this thing is low on memory. Or shutdown this subsystem when that app needs a little more RAM. blah blah blah.

Linux is the wrong operating system for this. Even if it were the right operating system for Nokia, it's the wrong application for the Linux world in general.

Re:Sticking with the other guy on this. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527702)

...though Symbian phones have a bit more RAM than 4 or 8 megs for some time now (and mostly standardized batteries) - still supposedly often of a type which helped with power consumption, so not going overboard with amounts could be good.

At least it looks like it might get quite nice again (it was initially, IMHO, in times when carrying over UI from S40 was a sensible thing to do - but it outgrew that UI paradigm); considering it's always mostly about a certain core level of functionality being good, it should get there at some point...

imaging radars (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357924)

http://www.google.ca/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT5446461&id=WDQcAAAAEBAJ&oi=fnd&dq=%22concrete%22+%2B%22penetrating%22+%2B%22imaging%22+%2B%22radar%22&printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?hl=en&q=%22ground%22+%2B%22penetrating%22+%2B%22imaging%22+%2B%22radar%22&as_sdt=2000&as_ylo=&as_vis=0

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=%22active+microwave+imager%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22imaging+radiometer%22+-%22infrared%22+-%22thermal%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22ultra+wideband+radar%22+%2B%22imaging%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=%22ultra+wideband+radar%22+%2B%22imaging%22&hl=en&as_sdt=2001&as_sdtp=on

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=%22synthetic+aperture+radars%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22imaging+radars%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22imaging+sonars%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22imaging+lidars%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22laser+telescopes%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22active+optical+sensing%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22active+image+sensing%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=%22active+remote+sensing%22+%2B%22imaging%22&hl=en&as_sdt=2001&as_sdtp=on

http://www.google.com/search?tbs=bks%3A1&tbo=1&q=%22active+remote+sensing%22+%2B%22imaging%22

http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?start=10&q=%22laser+remote+sensing%22+%2B%22imaging%22&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

http://www.google.com/search?tbs=bks%3A1&tbo=1&q=%22laser+remote+sensing%22+%2B%22imaging%22

Re:It's official (1)

colordev (1764040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358010)

date of death was October 21nd 2010 [colordev.com] ; and it died exact the same moment as Nokia announced the birth of symbian as "one constantly evolving platform".

Re:It's official (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358078)

To be fair, what mobile platforms aren't "one constantly evolving"?

Re:It's official (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358092)

symbian.

Re:It's official (1)

Plug (14127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359784)

Speaking as someone who is directly affected by this situation, and as the owner of a Nokia phone, this is a great thing for the Symbian platform. My N8 runs Symbian^3, which reviewers have unanimously summarised as "great hardware, undercooked software". Instead of this phone becoming outdated in 6 months when S^4 comes out (it was very unlikely that S^3 to S^4 upgrades would have been possible), it will now receive all the S^4 enhancements in future firmware updates. Nokia have publicly stated on many occasions that they expect to sell over 50 million Symbian^3 devices.

Also, instead of a different touch UI on top of Symbian, and a different touch UI on top of MeeGo, everything will now be Qt Quick [nokia.com] . This is much better news for developers.

The Symbian platform is not dead, by any means; the mobile landscape is currently such that there were not enough manufacturers to support Symbian's success as a cross-vendor platform. If anyone is interested in hiring some great developers/build/test people in London, drop me a message.

Re:It's official (1)

colordev (1764040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34360814)

Nokia have publicly stated on many occasions that they expect to sell over 50 million Symbian^3 devices

yes, I saw that number too and that number confused me even more as that number is an 'official number' for the investors. And as such it must be kind of truthful statement about the Nokia's view of expected symbian^3 phone sales. If Nokia estimated symbian^3 sales totally wrong (too much or too little) investors might sue them ... again.

So is 50 million really a lot? two weeks ago Gartner said Nokia sold 29.5 million (symbian) smartphones during the third quarter of the year (for a 36.6 percent share of the worldwide market). So how long will it take for the Nokia to sell that 50 million symbian^3 phones. Could that happen during the next 6-9 months? And how long is Nokia really looking forward to be selling Symbian^3 phones? I take that 50 million being a semi-hidden statement indicating a drastic reduction of the strategic importance of the symbian platform.

But yes, there will probably be need for the symbian skills for the many years to come. Especially IF Nokia will be announcing more symbian phones.

If anyone is interested in hiring some great developers/build/test people in London, drop me a message.

Sorry about the symbian situation in London, hopefully the EU commission backed symbeose project will widen the industrial interest for the platform. The press announcement told mentioned at least ~26 non-named companies being involved, thus there might be big consumer electronics companies looking for symbian information and expertise. Maybe you can better sell the symbian expert skills as a symbian team, and as such you might also get some EU- funding for the pilot projects. Ask the EU commission for details.

Re:It's official (1)

Plug (14127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34360920)

So is 50 million really a lot? two weeks ago Gartner said Nokia sold 29.5 million (symbian) smartphones during the third quarter of the year (for a 36.6 percent share of the worldwide market). So how long will it take for the Nokia to sell that 50 million symbian^3 phones. Could that happen during the next 6-9 months? And how long is Nokia really looking forward to be selling Symbian^3 phones? I take that 50 million being a semi-hidden statement indicating a drastic reduction of the strategic importance of the symbian platform.

That prediction was made when they were going to be making Symbian^4 phones. Now they're merging the S^4 features into future S^3 releases, I would expect it to be revised steadily upward. As for now, Nokia are still selling a large number of Symbian^1 phones, and they will be included in the count.

Re:It's official (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358056)

Long live Qt. At least based on what I have seen so far. QtCreator, model/view classes and the signal/slot connections patterns beats the hell out of developing on Android using clunky XML layouts, adapters and intents.

Open sores is a joke (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357842)

Thus proving that open sores doesn't work without corporate sponsorship for anything but toy projects.

Wait a minute... (3, Funny)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357890)

How will this affect the high-end adult toy industry?

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Funny)

donotlizard (1260586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357942)

My girlfriend will have to get off manually. Oh wait, I don't have a girlfriend.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34360478)

y girlfriend will have to get off manually

You got it wrong. Only men masturbate manually, women are more advanced, they have digital masturbation.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34369694)

If I ever register for Slashdot, I'm coming back here to give you all my mod points.

Mobile: The Gathering (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357936)

Android stands a top Symbian's beheaded body: "There can be only one!"

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (2, Insightful)

johanw (1001493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358270)

And considering market share the one is Symbian. doing better than all others. And as long as Android comes only in 2 form factors I both don't like (touch screen only and touch screen with retractable keyboard) I stick to Symbian which brings out devices without fingerprint-prone screens (aka touchscreen) and fixed keyboards like my E51 and E72.

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359268)

Market share doesn't matter much.

How big wasn't the market share for all those AOL CDs? Most popular software ever?

Profits do, and Apple has them.

Nokias benefit is brand recognition and selling channels through the whole world.

If only they used it.

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362132)

Nokia also has profits (losses you hear now and then were one time write-offs and related to acquiring Nokia Siemens division) - and a bit more strengths apart from brand and selling channels, too - like, for example, how they actually own all their manufacturing facilities, most of them not in China, half of them in the EU, one even quite close to Cupertino...

Of course, "investors" might not value such stuff... (even though Nokia contributed greatly to 5+ billion mobile subscribers, which is a monumental shift for the world / will bring plenty opportunities for new investment)

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362858)

Yeah, not much of an "investor" myself but I got a bunch of shares but from the beginning I wasn't supposed to buy them until closer to MeeGo release, and this was while I still thought it would get released in the beginning of 2011.

But then some stupid bank recommended it raising price by quite a lot. So by stupid impulse I bought because I didn't wanted to buy at an even higher price later, stupid. The next day the new CEO stuff came out which would had been an awesome opportunity for sale but I didn't. Bought more like around three weeks ago when they where lower again but didn't sold while I had a profit then either and now they are even cheaper again :D

But I don't want to get even more just in case.. I think. Because I don't trust they will ever become _TEH AWESOME_.

Could have had one part which I would keep into the future and one part which I eventually swing-traded in case the price will keep on doing what it does now. If it would start to go up I would still had some and if it would had dropped down then I could just had bought more for the next movement upwards. Anyway, boring stock :D

Sure MeeGo may work but on the other hand I wanted the price to drop enough because everything would be so much fail, which it is, but it's not as good now when I own them ;D

And last I heard MeeGo 1.2 was supposed to have all applications and come by April so that mean phones then? Summer 2011? H2 2011?

I've got no problem keeping them into end of 2011-2012 but Nokia is really superior at screwing up :D

Release _ONE_ phone with their new OS?
Keep developing Symbian?
Don't get into Android to?
Delay N8 by like half a year?
Delay (?) MeeGo to?

Awesome :D

It's like the opposite of Apple ;)

They got quite a bit of cash though so I guess they can survive doing lots of stupid things for a while. But they better do something right to ;)

Atleast the N8 is rather popular here.
#3 http://katshing.se/ [katshing.se]
#2 http://www.telia.se/privat/produkter_tjanster/mobilt/produkterocherbjudanden/ [telia.se]
#2 http://www.prisjakt.nu/kategori.php?k=103&o=lokal_rank [prisjakt.nu]
#2 http://www.phonehouse.se/Mobiltelefoner/Mobilvaljare [phonehouse.se]

I assume the Telia and phonehouse links is in order at least.

So after iPhone4 + Nokia 1616 (250 SEK = 36 dollar with no subscription) on the first one, HTC Desire HD on the second and third and HTC Gratia on the last one.

If only it had MeeGo, or was the E7 at least ;D

Time will tell :)

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527670)

Yeah, quite popular [ceneo.pl] (it should sort by popularity - but curious what and how is promoted at the "first" position outside the table) - though 1616 (etc.) possibly at the planetary top? ;) (most likely still far from installed base of 1100...oh well, at least it's all Nokia? ;) )

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359306)

And considering market share the one is Symbian. doing better than all others.

So going from 60+% to just barely 40% in less than 2 years is "doing better"? Symbian's market share is dropping like a rock.

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

edivad (1186799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359568)

And considering market share the one is Symbian. doing better than all others.

So going from 60+% to just barely 40% in less than 2 years is "doing better"? Symbian's market share is dropping like a rock.

If you are Symbian, apparently yes :)
Symbian is dead, and rightly so!
The crappiest development platform and API ever conceived.

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (2, Insightful)

Plug (14127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359866)

Or, look at it this way: Symbian device sales were up 61% year-on-year in Q3 2010, and 320,000 people per day chose a Symbian smartphone in Q3 2010.

Market share isn't everything - look no further than Apple. The market as a whole is clearly growing - in Symbian's case, the lower hardware requirements mean the smartphone experience is being pushed down the market to what would previously have been considered "feature phones".

Pick the right tool for the right job. Symbian was designed from the word go to run on battery-powered devices. UNIX and Linux were not, and consequently power management is largely bolted on. Given the same battery, Symbian will run a phone for longer than iOS or Android. The tradeoff to this is that you must write your code in a very esoteric way. That is not what the "app console" market wants today, which is why Nokia brought Qt to Symbian.

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34360294)

Yes, device sales can be up, but that doesn't mean it's not losing market share. iPhone sales were up year-on-year, but they still dropped in overall share because Android was up even more year-on-year. I even question how many of those people "choose" a Symbian phone. I'd wager that several would prefer an Android phone or iPhone, but lack of availability or affordability prevents them from doing it. Apple will probably maintain the price of the iPhone, but I can easily see the prices of Android devices coming down over the next few years and completely destroying Symbian in that market segment.

Low market share works best when it's the most highly profitable portion of the market, something which Apple has been known to target. Nokia, however, isn't looking as good. Their stock was around $40 in 2007. It's down to $10 now. They may be selling a lot of phones, but they're not making a lot of money off of them and they're mostly stuck in a segment of the market that will eventually go away.

Even if Symbian yields better battery life (And ignoring all other disadvantages of running Symbian instead of Android or iOS.) eventually the battery life on iPhones and Android phones becomes good enough so that any additional capacity doesn't matter for 95% of consumers. iPhones and certain Android phones can already go for an entire day with moderate to heavy use. The battery only needs to last long enough such that it doesn't need to be recharged at an inconvenient time.

Nokia needs to make sure that MeeGo is a big hit and has at least a portion of the success that the iOS and Android operating systems have had, especially with developers. Otherwise they're sitting on another failed platform and will be so far out of the game that they may have to start using Android or Windows Phone 7.

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362382)

Growth in number of units shiped is biggest for Symbian. Everything else is deceiving when players have so wildly different installed bases.

Pundits in few atypical (but highly vocal) places few years ago, when smartphone market was sitting at around 15%, were making prophecies of explosive growth of smartphone segment - so that we should be at half by now. It's around 20% of total, maybe not even above as of yet.

Impressive growth percentages of smartphones don't mention the growth of the total mobile phone market. Also $20 phones. So called "feature phones" mostly (many with more capabilities than iPhone for most of the time...) - and while I can see efforts to redefine Symbian as "not really smartphone", it doesn't change how it will be widely used.

Daily (often bi-daily, for Androids, from what I can see...) recharging of phone is not so straightforward for a lot of people BTW.

Regarding developers - so, tell me, how many of those thousands apps are UIs for single web pages, single e-books and audiobooks or UIs for radio stations? Look at what is used on the desktop. There is something like "enough" here...

Re:Mobile: The Gathering (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362124)

Symbian has the largest increases in number of units shipped ("percentage of growth" is deceiving when one player has much larger share than the rest, or if effectively locked out of some moderately big (but very visible and vocal) markets which were fed locked-down handsets)

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357944)

If they want to keep the work done until now available, why don't they just "freeze" the website as it is now, in stead of preparing a USB-HD/DVD?

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358006)

Unless they serve it from a ROM based source there's always the chance of the server getting hacked and the content altered or defaced.

Re:I don't get it (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358422)

I'm pretty sure that this is the software-industry equivalent of taking a body home for a closed-casket funeral.

So how is Symbian free software? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358034)

They say they won't be hosting the source code online and that some of the user-submitted content databases will be available on request.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this means that Symbian ceases to be free software.

Okay then, I won't buy the N8 and look for an Android phone instead.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358076)

You could always buy an N900 or the forthcoming Meego phone. They run pretty standard GNU/Linux distributions.

Where can I try N900? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358172)

You could always buy an N900

I am not aware of any store in my city that sells the N900. I tried back in May, and zero out of three stores had an N900 for me to try. Nor do any of my friends who live in my city have one so that I could try one before I buy one online.

Re:Where can I try N900? (2, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358348)

You must be in the US, in the UK wondering into my town centre I can put my hands on it in a O2 store and a Carphone Warehouse.

For an idea of it works try the N8, the interfaces are very similar however the N900 is quicker and the interface is better (think the best parts of Andriod added in). I had a quick look online and the video found here [nokia.co.uk] gives a pretty good impression of how it works.

The only downside is it is a heavy phone. For comparison I have a Nokia 5800 the N900 is slightly larger and noticeably heavier.

Re:Where can I try N900? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358802)

You must be in the US

Correct. The stores were Best Buy, RadioShack, and T-Mobile.

For an idea of it works try the N8

If I can find even that phone in stores. All my friends have HTC Evo, iPhone, or some Pantech feature phone.

Re:Where can I try N900? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34362300)

Canadian here, I just bought a N900 on ebay for ~350 USD. I haven't gotten to use it yet but I am very excited about Meego. I've got Meego on this netbook and it is for all purposes a decent linux distro.

Re:Where can I try N900? (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358356)

I bought mine online for just 40% of the price, slightly used (3 months), nary a scratch, missing headphones, UK charger instead of an Euro one (the seller was in-country and included a converter).

I managed to give it a nasty scratch on the display before I learned why you shouldn't put it in the same compartment as your keys without the sheath, but otherwise, it works just perfectly.

N900 is not as friendly to untechnical users, so it's likely you can buy one barely used for a small fraction of the price. And unlike even Android, you get a fully programmable subnotebook instead of a toy with a few "apps" and DRM that prevents you from replacing the system.

Re:Where can I try N900? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358506)

Maybe they've fixed this with the N900; but prior linux-running N-series stuff has always seemed to have one or two critical drivers that are binary only(wi-f seemed to be the popular choice). Not nearly as evil as proper DRM; but it did tend to mean that older devices were more or less toast the minute Nokia lost interest. If you were lucky, you might limp through a few userspace bumps; but largely game over on the kernel side...

Re:Where can I try N900? (2, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358868)

Kernel drivers are free -- not all are present in vanilla kernels, but the patches are available. The non-free stuff that is important includes hardware acceleration for the display (not strictly vital) and a tiny little detail that is battery charging -- both live in the userspace.

Other non-free bits on N900 are parts of Maemo which is on the way out -- you don't need them if you want a replacement. Any new systems would be most likely based on Meego (like the current Debian project is).

Re:Where can I try N900? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358960)

If I had something to wish for it would be that everything they could would be open-source and everything else would be possible to get anyhow and patch in into the OS image, with no signature of the OS image so you could modify close to everything and update the phone.

As goes for new OS versions (please keep all old drivers and allow people to build OS images with them.)

Whatever it will happen who knows? How likely do you think it is?

Re:Where can I try N900? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358930)

This is Sweden [blocket.se] .

Saw one used but new (warranty replacement) for 2000 SEK the first time I searched. Thought about purchasing it but I don't know what I should had used it for.

Also saw your notice about purchasing without trying. The processor seem to be somewhat behind. On the other hand the resolution is quite nice. Funny how all the Apple fanboys started bragging about the iPhone4 and its resolution which obviously was the most important thing in the world. But no-one seemed to care back then the 3GS had lower resolution than the N900 ;)

(N900 resolution is higher than the new N8.)

Re:Where can I try N900? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372222)

I wonder what it's like in Sparta...

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34359104)

There is no point in getting a N900. Just look at the specs:

600 Mhz ARM A8
256 MB RAM
800 x 480 screen
Resistive touchscreen (puke)
$350 or so on Ebay, if you're lucky (I know, it's ridiculous considering you can almost buy a brand new one for that)

Then compare to the tons of Android phones on Ebay that you can get for $100 to $200 or so. They all have the same or better 600 Mhz ARM A8 that can be overclocked to 1.2 Ghz or more, the same or more than 256 RAM, the same or better 800x480 screen, many (all?) have better capacitive screens, etc.

The Android phones run Linux just like the N900 but they have better hardware for a cheaper price. There is nothing saying you have to run the high-level Android crap, it can run anything ported to it (even Nokia's Maemo in theory).

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359736)

But Android is on important parts not OS and even less compatible with the mainline kernel.

The N900's 256MB RAM plus 768MB virtual memory is ample, as I write Conky tells me I use 153MB, that's with mail, a game and a couple of browser windows open.
The standard 32GB storage is op to scratch and although the touch screen does not support multi touch it is sweet and more accurate than a capacitance screen.
And you can easily overclock it to at least 900MHz.

For those that can't live without Google, an Android port is on its way :)

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34359822)

You're talking like you're trying to prove the N900 is at least as good as typical Android phone. It's close but my whole point is the Android phones are half or less expensive and often that's with more features. I know you have to justify your purchase but facts are facts, the N900 is outdated and not widely used.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34360986)

Show me a GSM Android handset with specs that match or beat the N900 (including physical keyboard) where I dont have to jump through all kinds of unauthorized hoops to replace the kernel and software. Unless such a phone appears, my next phone will be the N900.

The N900 is the most "open" phone you can buy (more open even than the Nexus One). The FreeRunner doesn't count as its hardware was 5 years out of date before it even left the production line (it doesn't even do quad band GSM, let alone 3G)

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34386908)

I'm jumping into this conversation a few days late, but I need to comment :)

I looked heavily at the N900 earlier this year, read the reviews, did the research and followed the discussions here on Slashdot. The N900 was looking promising.

My wifes contract was up before mine, so I talked her into getting it so I could see how it was - sure enough we were both impressed and two weeks later I ordered mine.

After using it for 3 months, I switched back to my iPhone 3G - the N900 was slow, buggy, crashy, it had poor response times to clicks and the interface felt icky. Wifi was spotty, calls kept getting dropped and sometimes the screen would not allow you to accept incoming calls.

Now, I would have written most of that off to a faulty handset, except when my wife had spotted that I had gone back to my old phone, she also commented on the same things (both handsets came from different networks, so were not part of the same batch). She hates her N900 - not only does she have much the same complaints as me, but now 8 months on (she got hers in March this year), the handset is actually coming apart - the keyboard is losing keys, paint is scraping off, the screen needs to be pressed hard to get it to respond.

Theres no way I could actually recommend an N900 now that I have used one, and have someone else that has used one for longer!

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34360096)

N900's ARM is a Cortex-A8 which is a bit different than Qualcomm's ARM's (in terms of clock-to-clock performance) and can be overclocked to 1.15GHz (like mine is), screen had the highest PPI until iPhone 4, what do you need capacitive touchscreen for anyway? I find multitouch gimmickish...

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358178)

From the summary:

the source code [...] is available in some form, most likely on a DVD

I don't see how this makes Symbian not free software. Anyone can buy a copy of the source code on DVD for $10 or so and host a mirror. Such was the Free Software Foundation's business model in the early days.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358258)

Strictly speaking, and assuming that they will host all the source code (and not just some "user submitted" works), this would still make Symbian free software, indeed.

The problem is that like you said, such was the business model of the Free Software Foundation in the early days, like 20 years ago. Today, if they don't provide access to a repo and are not even able to put a tarball on an FTP server, I fear this simply means that they will use a proprietary development model. They might very well drop the license at some point and say "We replaced all the third party code with our stuff, kthxbye" instead of "send a patch (...on a USB stick?)".

IMHO the announcement doesn't bode well and a clarification would be more than welcome. One has to wonder if Nokia really knows where it's going.

It's going to MeeGo (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358852)

One has to wonder if Nokia really knows where it's going.

It's going to MeeGo. As I understand it, Symbian is just the legacy system that Nokia uses on "feature phones" until MeeGo matures.

Re:It's going to MeeGo (2, Informative)

|DeN|niS (58325) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359654)

As I understand it, Symbian is just the legacy system that Nokia uses on "feature phones" until MeeGo matures.

Where would you get that idea? Even +3 informative?

Symbian is not going anywhere. Feature phones run S40. MeeGo is high-end and beautiful and wonderful, but it will not run on the same class of hardware. The large part of Nokia's market is still going to be Symbian.

However, you shouldn't confuse Symbian with its S60 UI. Now it goes back in-house where they can start to kick around the needed changes to make it a proper Qt platform without the bureaucracy of a committee.

Nokia's smartphone platform is Qt, and you won't care if it runs Symbian underneath or MeeGo

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1)

asvravi (1236558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358684)

Yeah, they just went from a sucky low bandwidth pipe to an ultra high bandwidth connection. Never underestimate the.... and so on.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358460)

Ummm, a policy of distribution, on request, for no more than a reasonable cost recovery fee, is actually explicitly GPL compatible(and I'm not aware, offhand, of any reasonably common "free software" license that does specify http rather than fedex). Legally, a change from having a website to distributing dumps of the backups on request makes no difference at all.

De-facto, of course, seeing as web pages(along with things like torrents if you really have no bandwidth money and big files to move) are by far the most convenient and cheap means of distributing code and facilitating its open development, pulling the site down typically announces an intention to quietly move to a "legally open, in practice closed consortium that the unwashed can visit if they fill out a request in triplicate six months in advance" or (as is not wholly implausible with symbian) just take the project out back and shoot it. From a "free software" perspective, a move away from the overwhelmingly easiest way to run a project openly certainly doesn't scream "team player"; but it isn't a legally salient move.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (2, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358898)

No it doesn't. Just that they won't host, administer and pay for all the functionality around it if no-one is going to use it anyway.

You can still get the source code. Obviously.

Lots of work for nothing.

Regarding Android I have no idea how accessible it is. Most of the phones seems rather locked down anyway.

Wait for the Nexus Two in that case. Personally I want a MeeGo phone. And if I had to get something now I guess it would be either a cheap second hand (eventually still new) N900 or the E7 once released but I'd much rather wait for MeeGo. But it will most likely take forever.

Not like I've got anything to call anyway.

Something with no voice possibility and all wireless network and portability would do to. People could phone by over IP.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1)

Plug (14127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359644)

A partial summary of one of the freedoms of Free Software is "anyone to whom you give a binary, you must also give the source" (and various rights as permitted by the license you choose).

The Symbian Foundation makes available two relevant things at present:

The former can be taken by anyone at present; at worst, they will be forking the platform on a dead codeline. Nokia, the primary code contributor to the Symbian platform and owner of most of the copyrights to the code, will continue developing Symbian in their own repositories. Some points of note [symbian.org] :

  • Nokia are looking at an alternate open and direct model for making the platform available to the community in future. The aim is that the model "will be no less open, free and flexible" than today's.
  • No decision made as yet regarding whether EPL will be retained or an alternate license adopted. Petra indicated that terms will not be more restrictive than EPL.

The PDKs are the only Symbian binaries that we (the Symbian Foundation) have released. Each PDK includes the source that was used to build it. Therefore, the obligation to the EPL is met, and anyone can get those PDKs - either off our web site, while we're still around to host it, or by ordering it from the Foundation after Jan 2011, as per our announcement. At present there is a click-through license to which you must agree to to download a PDK, but, at least for the parts under the EPL, you can do what you wish with that PDK subject to that license.

So, as far as the Foundation is concerned, Symbian is, and remains, free software. We are under no obligation to give you the source if we stop giving you the binaries.

Other people also distribute it, chief amongst them Nokia, in the way of phones. (Nokia also note that they are on track to sell >50 million S^3 devices - that is a lot of distribution. Don't think this platform is going away.) The product ships with a notice saying it is built from open source code, and I can confirm that if you send an e-mail to Nokia, they will post you a DVD-R with the "Nokia N8 OSS Code" on it. It's similar to what we distribute, but not identical, as they have made internal changes. So, as far as Nokia are concerned, Symbian is free software.

There are lots of reasons for and against buying any device, but don't use the excuse that the platform is no longer free. Once the genie is out of the bottle, that's it. The bottle was very deliberately uncorked.

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34360778)

The sources "will be available upon request on a DVD or USB stick ... (as requested by the EFL)". I take that to mean that they would have shut it down completely, but can't because of the license. But they're not saying when or at what price. In the meantime, they are indeed in breach of the license, because merely announcing that the source will be available is not enough.

This is indeed a gap in free software licenses. Licenses should require that the source be available for free and in an online repo, but I don't know of any license that does. Why?

Re:So how is Symbian free software? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34362316)

Android has strong NIH syndrome / releases sources only after official debut of each version, anyway. As of now, its kernel is essentially forked from Linux mainline.

Simple solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358300)

All they need to do is to make a few torrents and then let the community re-host the content.

There are several sites which offer the Yahoo Geocities archives - so there are undoubtedly more than enough people willing to share hosting resources.

Sad news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358408)

Time to download the PDK whilst I still can, would love to see someone fork Symbian OS and develop some of the research projects e.g. X86, minimal ARM builds. Perhaps some of the ex-Symbian engineers will do this as a hobby project now that Nokia are sacking many of the OS developers.

On a purely technical basis Symbian is still light years ahead of Android, it's just Nokia's decision to run on slow hardware and have crappy apps, UI. If you don't believe me compare N97 and Samsun Omnia which share a common baseline/Symbian OS.

Re:Sad news (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358974)

Where's the need for a fork?

Re:Sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372590)

A fork would probably be necessary because Nokia never appeared to be interested in open source contributions. Open sourcing Symbian OS seemed to be a means to an end (of removing licensing costs) than a real desire to be open source. I'm worried the new "open model" will be like Android i.e. open source, but not open governance.

There may be other reasons such as improvements to euser for performance, better integration of P.I.P.S, that would break compatibility otherwise. A Symbian OS PVR would be an interesting project but I'm sure there are many others.

The last vestage of Psion (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358608)

I am not much of a programmer; so, this is not too relevant to me. However, I am saddened to see the last vestiges of Psion go.

I had several Psion PDA's and they were great. I used the early, and later generation palm devices, the windows CE and windows PDA devices along with the Psion. The keyboard on the Psion 5 series could not be beat in that form factor. It would have been interesting to see what they would have become if they had made it into the current era of wireless internet communications.

The PDAs are pretty much all replaced by smartphones. I even have a smartphone. I have discovered that they are not as good as the old combo of having a dedicated PDA and a dedicated cellphone. The simple fact is that smartphones are not that good as a phone. Further, they, needing to also be a phone are not optimized for use as a PDA. They are a classic example of a compromise device; or a multi-tool, they are not great ant any given function.

Re:The last vestage of Psion (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358906)

I'm pretty happy with my N97 mini (slide-out QWERTY keyboard). I just wish Opera wouldn't crash every so often (phone runs out of memory).

The Psion was pretty cool back in the day, even the second-hand monochrome one I had was useful, but I think it's a stretch to generalise that smartphones aren't that good as PDAs.

Finally, there's no alternative to having a compromise one-for-all device. Who wants to carry separate devices? Besides which the functionality all does interact (contacts - phone, file system/viewer - camera, web browser - network connectivity, etc.) We just need further improvement of designs and software. They are not that great at a given function? That may be true for individual features on particular phones (i.e. in general) but I do not accept that you cannot find some devices that excel at some of the functions despite having the kitchen sink.

Sad, but we could see it coming (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34359956)

I was one of a series strategic consultants hired when Symbian was considering conversion to an Open Source project. Unfortunately, what I told them was not what they wanted to hear. One element I pushed was that nobody was going to be interested in their kernel, regardless of what they did, and that conversion to Linux would eventually be necessary if they were not to continue to expend millions on re-inventing the wheel. Another element was licensing and strategy so that the project would continue to make money, which, amazingly, was rejected as Symbian's customers were also its owners and didn't care for it to continue as a for-profit project. Rather than the direction they took, I would have preferred to see them continue to operate as a profitable proprietary software company, because they very obviously weren't going to make it in Open Source.

But in truth, this project started too late to have much hope.

Re:Sad, but we could see it coming (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34360586)

The foundation already had membership fees which got in the way and phones are not an area where people can hack away in a completely unrestrained manner anyhow, in general, since it is possible to make devices behave illegally and damage/DOS networks if they are modified. People do this of course but I can't imagine a device manufacturer sanctioning it or indeed aiding it in any way. So it's not an area that's particularly amenable to open source. Also look at how long it took Linux to even establish it's ecosystem - I was using it in 1992 when I left school. The Symbian Foundation had barely any chance.

Android et al have non-phone applicability at the moment (which Symbian actually has too but it's unexploited e.g. it can run on X86) and share software that is not phone-specific so there are more avenues for it to pick up outside changes from. I wonder how many people successfully submit things that get into the core of Android outside normal fixes to packages from upstream?

The Symbian Kernel is actually the most worthwhile bit of it - it's very nicely designed and is good at power management - something that Linux is still primitive at. *All* OS calls are asynchronous and that's just something that really makes me love it as a programmer - Linux is shit in this sense that a mere file IO command is guaranteed to block your process. You are a Linux fan so it seems like it has all the answers to you but you must intellectually admit that that isn't likely and that in OS kernels as in science, different people have parts of the answer. I'm writing this on my Linux laptop, I am ready to give everyone their due.

The real issue is that open source stuff doesn't just suddenly happen, and Nokia, the biggest contributor of code, didn't work in a very open or agile way inside and didn't use the SF in the way it's supposed to be used - as the master repository. So the level of interaction wasn't there. But this kind of thing happens when you get a whole lot of people who might have read open source books but have not actually tried any of it out before, try to "do open source". They just make all the obvious mistakes and 75% don't change the way they work at all since they don't understand how.

Despite all this there were modders like HyperX who produced updates for the Samsung i8910 long after they gave up on it. This trend will only increase. Symbian Foundation or not, the code is still there and AFAIK will still be offered openly.

Re:Sad, but we could see it coming (1)

Bud (1705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34367768)

One element I pushed was that nobody was going to be interested in their kernel, regardless of what they did, and that conversion to Linux would eventually be necessary if they were not to continue to expend millions on re-inventing the wheel.

Not a good thing to push because the kernel is the interesting part of Symbian. It's power-tight and has real-time features, both of which are very nice features in a mobile communications device. Unfortunately it only runs on ARM. Linux on the other hand runs on everything. With Qt on top of both Symbian and MeeGo, there's nowhere Nokia can't go. (There's no guarantee they'll actually go there, but they *could*.)

--Bud

Re:Sad, but we could see it coming (1)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34397496)

It runs on X86 too.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>