In a blog post titled Not Open Source, just Open for Business, Nokia has announced that Symbian will no longer be open source. As one might’ve expected, the post was met with a slew of angry and confused comments.
The meat of the post reads: “As we have consistently said, Nokia is making the Symbian platform available under an alternative, open and direct model, to enable us to continue working with the remaining Japanese OEMs and the relatively small community of platform development collaborators we are already working with.”
It continues: “Through these pages we are releasing source code to these collaborators, but 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.”
So it’s open to existing developers, but not Joe Public. New developers might be able to gain access to the code, subject to Nokia’s approval.
One disgruntled Symbian user, posting anonymously, wrote: “I was excited about symbian going open source. It had a name of a good pedigree and such. I even bought a symbian phone in hopes of being able to roll my own OS image and tinkering with it. You know, make it dance as only open source hackers can.
“Turns out that just wasn’t in the works. A hundred million handsets Out There and this “open source” was perfectly unusable for any of them. What a deception. What an utter letdown.”