Another Mobile Linux Standards Group?
One of the many promises of mobile Linux was that its use as a standarized operating system across many multiple phone vendors would let them tap the wide base of Linux developers to create applications. But although all the vendors are using Linux, they’re having to customize it with their own software stacks and extensions, resulting in non-interoperable implementations of the same underlying OS — holding back the mobile Linux market and the growth of a third-party application development ecosystem in particular. The Open Source Development Labs announced a group a few weeks ago to work on creating a standard mobile Linux platform, on top of which manufacturers could then run their own applications, and now the Linux Phone Standards Forum (going by the cute moniker the Lips Forum) has been announced, with a similar goal. The Lips Forum says it won’t be stepping on the OSDL’s group’s toes, and will focus on creating APIs to make it easier for developers to create apps that run on different manufacturers’ devices. The two groups have no overlapping members, and the Lips Forum says it’s making a big push to get operators on board, while it sounds like the OSDL group is more about the OS vendors and handset manufacturers. Those are two very different constituencies, with very different interests to protect. Clearly fragmentation is a problem with mobile Linux, but simply replacing proprietary implementations simply with a slightly smaller number of incompatible implementations based around different standards groups really won’t help much.