Nokia moves Symbian to closed licensing

Symbian Open Source

Finland’s Nokia is betting the farm on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, but the company still needs to support its Symbian ecosystem until that transition is complete. Although argument in favor of developing for Symbian largely vanished with Nokia’s platform commitment to Microsoft, another shoe dropped today: Symbian is no longer available to developers on open licensing terms. Instead, Nokia is restricting Symbian development to a handful of approved collaborators.

“We have received questions about the use of words ‘open,’ ‘open source,’ and about having a registration process before allowing access to the code,” Nokia wrote in its Symbian blog. “[We] are not maintaining Symbian as an open source development project. Consistent with this, the Nokia Symbian License is an alternative license which provides an access to Nokia’s additional Symbian development for parties which collaborate with Nokia on the Symbian platform.”

Nokia’s collaborators include a handful of Japanese OEMs—most notably Fujitsu, which continues to build Symbian feature phones in Japan—along with a “small community” of other partners, although Nokia says there is a backlog of developer registrations they are currently processing.

The move is likely the final nail in the coffin for the Symbian development community. Back in February 2010, Symbian proudly launched itself as an open source platform under the Symbian Foundation; the idea was to foster an ecosystem of developers and device makers that would grow the platform and enable it to compete effectively against the likes of iOS and Android. (And remember, at the time of the announcement, Symbian was the world’s leading phone platform, thanks to millions of Nokia handsets around the world.) The move was the result of nearly two years’ of work on Nokia’s part: the company had worked carefully to acquire portions of Symbian it didn’t own and then set the whole thing free. However, the effort was going sour as soon as October with the unexpected departure of Symbian Foundation executive director Lee Williams as platform backers (like Samsung and Sony Ericsson) increasingly jumped ship in favor of Android—and by November 2010 Symbian was back in Nokia’s hands.

Nokia is still maintaining its Qt development environment, and both Qt and the basics of its MeeGo platform tools are still available under open licenses. However, as Nokia transitions to Windows Phone—a deal which still hasn’t been finalized—the company seems to be turning its back on substantial investments in its own platform and open software.


Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Product Review

Glas may be gorgeous, but this spendy thermostat is no smarter than the rest

A stunning OLED screen tops the prettiest thermostat we’ve reviewed in years. But GLAS lacks the brains required to justify its premium price. Read more about it in our full review.

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.

Get ready for more V-series phones: LG trademarks names up to the V90

It looks like we should get ready for more LG V-series phones. LG has trademarked names for the LG V50 all the way up to the LG V90. We may have to wait some time before we see these phones; the next LG flagship is expected to be the LG G8.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.