Linux set to make mobile splash

Executive director of Linux Foundation speaks at conference; obstacles to mobile Web also aired

"There really isn't any major player from a corporate point of view who doesn't have their foot in some way in the Linux camp," other than Microsoft, said Zemlin.

Other efforts involve development of Linux mobile devices such as notebook systems. "You're going to see 50 of those companies launch next year," Zemlin said.

Grigsby, meanwhile, emphasized that the mobile Web is coming, but Web developers are not ready yet.

There are 3.3 billion mobile devices on the planet, he said. "That's one for every two people," and more than the number of PCs, cars, televisions, and credit cards, he said.

He lauded the capabilities of Apple's iPhone and what it has done for mobile computing. "The iPhone is really the Mosaic of the mobile Web," opening people's eyes to opportunities on the mobile side the way Mosaic did with browsers, Grigsby said.

But the mobile Web is being held back by UI issues and access to the device characteristics on the phone. Standards and performance also are issues.

Grigsby predicted more fracturing, proprietary extensions, and a return to the browsers wars on the device side. There are many different browsers, he said. A lot of mobile browsers are designed around WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) rather than featuring full desktop rendering technology such as JavaScript, Grigsby said.

Web developers, he said, have become bandwidth gluttons, spoiled by high-speed broadband connections they won't have on mobile devices.

In other developments at OSCON:

  • Microsoft later this week plans to discuss plans for the upcoming IronRuby 1.0, which is a version of the Ruby programming language compatible with the .Net software development platform.

  • Canonical officials said they would introduce version 2.0 of the Launchpad hosting platform for software development projects. The 2.0 version includes a beta Internet services API enabling external applications to authenticate, query, and modify data stored in the Launchpad database programmatically. The Bazaar distributed version control system featured in Launchpad has been enhanced to improve handling of larger code bases.

  • The makers of Icecore, which is an open source collaboration platform, are changing the name of the technology to Kablink and adding functionality for workflow. The name change was inspired by the addition of workflow and also is intended to avoid confusion with first-generation technologies, the company said in a statement.

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Paul Krill

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