‘Lips’ Forum For Linux Lovers

Several companies have banded together to facilitate the proliferation of
phones equipped with Linux.

The Linux Phone Standards (Lips) Forum
launched today with an oath to write open Application Programming Interfaces and create new services to spread the use of Linux
in smartphones, handheld computers and other mobile devices.

The founding members of Lips include a mixed bag of operators, device
makers, chipmakers and software specialists: PalmSource, France
Telecom/Orange, FSM Labs, Huawei, Jaluna, ARM, Cellon, Esmertec, MIZI
Research, Montavista Software and Open-Plug.

Lips members said in a statement that while efforts to improve the
performance of the Linux kernel have been afoot for sometime, standards
that allow disparate applications and services to run on phones are crucial
to spreading Linux in the telephony market.

Lips is posing itself as an open mobile software alternative to products
from Microsoft and Symbian, which account for about 70 percent of the mobile
OS market, according to research firms like Canalys.

“By standardizing the Linux-based system services and Application
Programming Interfaces, we will help to simplify the creation of
fully functional Linux phones, ensuring they match the requirements of
operators and increasing their appeal to consumers,” said Lips Forum President Haila Wang in a statement.”

Lips is planning a few deliverables to spur Linux adoption: open APIs that
define Linux-based services that run on phones; standards for extensions to
the software development kits that help programmers develop products
using Lips; and a testing methodology to certify Lips implementations.

Lips will also support requirements defined by the Open Mobile Terminal
Platform, an association of mobile operators worldwide focused on
defining the functional requirements of mobile phones.

There is money to be made pretty much everywhere in the market for products
using Linux.

IDC estimates the worldwide Linux business will grow 25.9
percent annually, doubling from $20 billion in 2005 to more than $40 billion
in 2008. Gartner said Linux use on smartphones grew 5.7 percent to 25.8
percent year over year.

The concept of open mobile phone specs has been tackled.

Last month, the Open Source Development Labs announced a Mobile Linux Initiative to jumpstart the adoption of Linux-based
mobile devices. Intel, British Telecom, PalmSource, Motorola,
Montavista, Trolltech and Wind River lead that charge.

Meanwhile, new Linux-focused groups have been sprouting with regularity.

Last week, IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony formed
the Open Invention Network to acquire patents and offer them
royalty-free in order to extend open source operating systems worldwide.

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