In the last months and weeks we have seen increasing amount of announcements of Linux or Open Source projekts for mobile devices. Even GNOME announced such support. Now Nokia overtook Trolltech, the supporters of KDE. And now the scene looks different. It is true that mobile devices are interesting. But its also true that the whole technology industry tries to get a stake of this market. I havent counted all the projects that want to be a common basis for mobile Open Source (including somehow also Googles initiative) – but one thing should be clear: If you think you can get all the free coders by creating yet another mobile initiative you will likely not be successful. Its just plain stupid. All those companies that even decided to lay of smart guys like Dave Neary and think they will make profit at no cost for developers in the future.
Sure, basing on Open Source is a smart move – but sometimes I tend to like those companies more who are willing to pay their developers a fair amount to develop good apps instead of waiting fpr the community to fix and sell crappy devices with customers as beta testers. I think a good mix is possible: Pay Open Source developers and let other companies have somebenefit from your work. But somehow I also like that the increase of projects only leaves the one way open and which is that the mobile initiatives must agree on some more common base than just the Linux kernel. maybe this also means KDE and GNOME have to stick their heads together now that Nokia controls both of them (maybe thats too harsh but still funny 😉 ).
From you Open Source guys I would expect some similar smart move as the kernel developers did with virtualisation – dont support one single mobile initiative – you must keep independent and not make again such fatal choice as GNOME did to endorse Nokias initative so early. The real grassroots Open Source projects have to organize a more non-commercial base which leads to more freedom for the customers. We would not dont want to see developers and users locked in to a specific platform.
I like to see what Nokia will do and I really hope that neither KDE nor GNOME will be hurt by their power – if we are lucky this could lead to more cooperation between the free desktop projects and mayne Nokia is smart enough not to misuse their power but open up more. I wont bet that – the sure need some pressure from the base.And the base needs to organize themselves. It now seems to get more clear that GNOME and KDE not cooperating more made them more vulnerable and potentially also make them irrelevant if they just become part of one commercial initiative of many. And maybe, maybe it would be time to start of a new desktop initiative from scratch who can again collect attention and support from many projects without being attached too much to only one specific company?