Linux will be mobile OS of choice – Shuttleworth
Speaking in an interview with Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, Shuttleworth said: “If you look at the mobile telephone market, we have a couple of very, very powerful companies who control either big chunks of the handset manufacture or the billing and sort of customer management side of things and the operators, the networking side of things.
“And as a result, it’s very difficult for folks to work in an open way across the industry. If you look at the PC industry, that’s not true at all. It’s hugely competitive; you’ve got all the major providers, but then you also have this long tail of folks who are just waiting to step up.”
Shuttleworth goes on to highlight the many Linux-based efforts in the mobile sector including Google’s Android, the OpenMoko project and the standards body LiMo Foundation, but cautions again that too-close alignment with corporations may be detrimental to the openness of the sector: “I think at this stage each of them, and including possibly our own, are too strongly aligned with a particular company or a particular product or a particular brand.”
“They [the Linux-based operators] generally all have a big corporate sponsor who may well be trying to create a community, they would call it, around their platform, but the folks who are aligned with their competitors would be hesitant to jump into that community,” says Shuttleworth.
To counteract this, he says, it will be important to find “neutral forums”. “I think the Ubuntu mobile forum is fairly neutral. You know, obviously that it’s aligned with Ubuntu and it’s aligned with Canonical, but we’re not a significant player, you know, either in consumer electronics or in the nature of operator or in the handset manufacture thing.”
Shuttleworth is confident, however, that Linux is on track to become the emerging platform of choice. “[My]y sense is that if you just stop at Linux, that that will be by far the dominant platform. Motorola talks about 60% of their future devices running Linux; I suspect the number will go higher as soon as people see that it works well at 60% and Iâ€™m not sure that there isn’t a natural cap on where it could get.”