The Hidden Benefits of Open Sourcing the Kernel…
November 5, 2009 2 Comments
I am jumping on the van-wagon of blogging about the Kernel Open Sourcing 🙂 Following William’s blog , I wanted to highlight some of the hidden or less publicised benefits that open sourcing the Kernel has brought to the Symbian community. So let’s go!
Public Product Development Kits
You now can download the PDK and PDT (yes, for free!). We could have waited until the whole platform was EPL, but we were very keen to enable the community to work with the latest releases. We achieved this by releasing some SFL code (mainly header files and build scripts) under a dual license. If you are a member – you still receive it under SFL, if you are a non-member – you will receive it under our new EULA license.
The result is that all PDKs from now on will be open to the general public!
A Better PC Development Environment
The release of the Kernel kit also brought us a step closer to replacing the current emulator. QEMU and its matching baseport (Syborg) are now distributed in both S^2 and S^3 kits. The substantial diference is that QEMU can run the same ARM binaries that you would use in a real device, hence you don’t need to compile twice the code! It also means that the stuff you are testing on your PC is the real deal, and increases the value of validating embedded SW in a pc environment. We are still far from deprecating the current emulator, but with your involvement we can accelerate the transition period.
A free compiler from ARM (with disclaimer)
In order to allow the community to start playing with the Kernel, we needed to provide a compiler that everyone could use for free. Step1- ARM help us by providing the RVCT4.0 production compiler under really friendly terms and conditions that allows the community to work with the KTK. In step2, Nokia contributed an upgrade to the build tools that enabled SBSv2 (Symbian Build System) to work with RVCT4.0.
Cheap hw that developers can afford
One recurrent snag with the Symbian Platform has been the lack of support for affordable hardware to develop and test new solutions. This is nomore! The Kernel kit (and now the PDKs) include the base port to bring up the Beagle Board for S^3. The cost of a BeagleBoard is $149 (as advertise in the beagleboard.org website)
Great Team-Building Exercise!
Yes, we would have got there eventually but the Kernel EPLing has given us the focus we needed to speed it up. In a year’s time, we will still reaping the benefits of these community enablers but also the stronger relationships built within the Symbian team and community members. Getting the Kernel Kit required support from the Legal, IT, Marketing, Technology and Delivery teams in Symbian and DoCoMo, SEMC, TI, Beaglebord.org, ARM and Nokia in the community. Not a smalll feat to deliver it all in time for SEE09!
Clearly the next challanges are in sight! EPL the whole platform!