Last week at the Handsets World conference in Berlin, Dr. Ari Jaaksi who is the VP of Software & Head of Open-Source Operations for Nokia may have gone to far when making an address to the Linux open-source development community. Jaaksi suggested that open-source developers need to obey certain business rules that apply in the mobile industry such as DRM, IPR, SIM locks, & subsidised business models. Jaaksi suggested that that the open-source community needed to be ‘educated’ on how the mobile industry works since this industry has not moved beyond the old business models.
Jaaksi made some valid points about code forking that if not well managed can result in code fragmentation. However valid his points about code fragmentation, the open-source community did not respond well to his approach on ‘educating’ them.
Nokia’s N800-series tablet devices are running Maemo, a Linux-based operating system. If Nokia wants the community to accept this device & continue developing applications, enhancements, for it then Nokia needs to embrace the community & the philosophy that the open-source group is charted by.
When our subsidiary, Jaduka, made its first API available for use they were very in tune with the open-source community & what that community demanded. By embracing this community, rather than trying to change the community’s approach to sotfware development, we believe our approach helped contribute to the success of that first API & the many APIs Jaduka has since released.
It’s my opinion that companies doing business today must embrace the open-source community. Companies must understand that the primary focus of the open-source community is to improve quality, reliability, make things more flexibile, lower costs, & put an end to vendor lock-in. Many of the comments by Mr. Jaaksi this past week were completely opposite of this philosphy & if not careful Nokia stands to loose the many benefits of having such a large & powerful community supporting their devices.