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Linux crashes the mobile party

Very few people lie awake at night fretting over their choice of mobile operating system. In fact, very few people even know what operating system their handset uses.

Yet, despite this (probably healthy) level of ignorance, a quiet revolution is taking place in the mobile industry. Linux, the platform of choice for servers and geekier desktops the world over, is slowly winding its way onto the high-end smartphone, although no-one is really certain what it will look like when it gets there.

Part of the problem — although some would no doubt view it as a strength — is the number of organisations pushing mobile Linux. There are two main industry groupings dedicated to the cause: the Linux Mobile (LiMo) Foundation and the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum. Some companies are members of both. Others belong to one of the groups, but are implementing their own flavours of mobile Linux. It is little wonder that mobile Linux’s chances of making inroads in the enterprise space have been played down by some very vocal critics.

Symbian, which does have a foothold in enterprise, thanks largely to its work with Nokia, took aim at the open-source operating system in July, when its head of enterprise business market development, Andrew Moran, dubbed mobile Linux “fragmentation city” and claimed it was “completely unfeasible” for business use. But then, Symbian is hardly likely to welcome Linux with open arms.

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