HEY HEY 16K, Need To Know, Thursday (Big K) — Nokia, through the Symbian Foundation, has made the code for the Symbian smartphone OS open source, putting several aging geeks in raptures of delight.
“The Symbian OS will delight those of us who fondly remember EPOC on the Psion NetBook,” said Larry Berkin, Symbian’s head of global alliances. “God, that was an OS. Best PDA ever. Finest of British engineering. Sixteen whole kilobytes! You could run a truck over them. I bet an open source Symbian OS will let you run a truck over your phone.”
The Foundation hopes to pit Symbian against Windows Mobile. “There’s no way it can compete against our superior features, like WAP browsing, infrared connect to your laptop and, of course, the serial port.” It also hopes to set the stage for a march on the USA. “The Americans will fall before our superior engineering! Psion worked on the ZX81, you know.”
There are currently about 330 million Symbian devices in the world, at least fifteen of whose owners can actually use the web browser without wanting to throw the phone through a window and just get an iPhone. “Just think,” said Berkin, “now anyone can improve their phone! Well, they could if Nokia made phones the user could flash. But still!”
The Foundation issued a press release about how the open-sourcing of Symbian was welcomed by free software advocates and other aging hippies. “Developers everywhere will want to study Symbian,” said Eben Moglen, “to hack on it, and to write applications for it. This could be even bigger than the Amiga.”