PalmSource Helps Launch New Linux Phone Standards

Yet another Linux phone standardization has been created, the third of its kind to address mobile criteria.

The Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum launched today. The consortium of leading companies said it is banding together to accelerate the adoption of Linux in fixed, mobile and converged devices.

The group said it would accomplish this task by standardizing Linux-based services and APIs that most directly influence the development, deployment and interoperability of applications and user-level services.

United Linux Stands

PalmSource, France Telecom/Orange, FSM Labs, Huawei, Jaluna, MontaVista Software, MIZI Research, Open Plug, Arm, Cellon and Esmertec are the founding members.

Michael Kelley, senior vice president of engineering for PalmSource, said becoming a part of the LiPS Forum further demonstrates the company’s belief in the potential of Linux and its plans to developing on Linux. PalmSource, which is being acquired by a Japanese company, is now also adding Windows-based products to its mix, however.

“We believe that by simplifying the adoption of Linux in fixed, mobile and converged devices, and working to ensure that they match the requirements of operators and consumers, the LiPS Forum will play an important part in making Linux a truly mass market proposition,” Kelley said.

Avoiding Fragmentation

With the rapid rise of Linux’s popularity in these markets, LiPS members believe there is an increasing need for industry standards to avoid fragmentation and ensure interoperability of technologies from different vendors.

To date, standardization efforts have focused on the important question of Linux kernel optimization to achieve improved boot time, power management, system footprint and other performance-related factors.

For mass-market telephony terminals, standards that enable key applications and services to be deployed with a high degree of interoperability, LiPS said standards are at least as important as performance characteristics.

Fostering Communication

The LiPS Forum said it intends to support device manufacturers and operators in bringing to market Linux-based devices at a lower cost, while facilitating the programming and development process for software and semiconductor vendors.

Additionally, the LiPS Forum said it plans to foster communication between the open-source community and the telecom industry in order to drive market awareness.

“While there has been growing interest from wireless operators and device manufacturers in the use of Linux for the development of next generation telecommunications, the lack of standards has slowed adoption of Linux,” said Haila Wang, chairman of the LiPS Forum. “By working together, the members of the LiPS Forum will ensure the support of Linux technologies and encourage the widespread deployment of Linux telephony terminals.”

Building on APIs

Burton Group Senior Wireless Analyst Mike Disabato told LinuxInsider that creating standardized APIs is a positive move for Linux on mobile devices.

“LiPS’ target here is to make it easier for people to write applications for mobile phones and if you have a standard set of APIs it does make it easier,” Disabato said. “If I want to write an application, then I want to write it for the broadest possible audience. If I can write it for a standardized platform that’s going to be on a gazillion cell phones, thenthat is a good thing.”

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