Why Should the Mobile World Go Open Source?

David Wood

· Keynote
Thursday, 09:00, 50 minutes | Bürgersaal 1


Symbian software veteran David Wood gives his personal reflections on the possible upsides and downsides when open source software systems are applied in the fast-moving helter-skelter world of mobile phones. 

The vision is of faster innovation, lower barriers to entry, deeper collaboration, and (perhaps) improved quality.  But risks along the way include platform fragmentation, new security worries, IPR entanglement, complications with patents, disruption to existing business models, and debilitating culture clashes. 

In short, open source is no panacea - especially in the arena of mobile phones with its own special constraints and requirements.  However, provided first class processes are in place for codeline management and ecosystem management - and provided the overall software system is itself sufficiently mature - there is good reason to believe that a pragmatic mindset can reap very considerable benefits from open source software practices.

David Wood is Executive Vice-President, Research at Symbian. He joined Psion as a software engineer in June 1988, and gradually moved into roles involving software architecture and system integration. He was an early adopter of object-oriented technology within Psion in the late 1980s and saw this come to fruition in popular handheld devices such as the Series 3 and Series 3a. From 1994 to 1997 he oversaw the development of the upper layers of the software system that eventually became known as Symbian OS. He was a founding director of Symbian on its formation in 1998. From 1998 to 2002 he headed Symbian's Technical Consulting department, building and directing teams that worked with Symbian's customers to create the world's first smartphones. From 2002 to 2004 he was EVP of Partnering at Symbian, creating partner programs to foster sustained commercial success for companies in the Symbian ecosystem. As EVP of Research, David is now responsible for understanding and guiding Symbian's response to disruptive trends in technology, business, and society. David has an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University and an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Westminster.

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