OpenMoko and Trolltech team up on mobile Linux

Trolltech's Qtopia application-development platform has been successfully ported onto the OpenMoko Neo1973 handset
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Trolltech and the open-source software developer OpenMoko have joined forces in a bid to stimulate application development for Linux on mobile handsets.

Trolltech, the Norway-based company behind the Qt application-development platform and its mobile descendent, Qtopia, announced on Tuesday that Qtopia Phone Edition had been successfully ported over to the Neo1973 device. The fully programmable Neo1973 has a touchscreen and is backed by both OpenMoko and the Taiwanese manufacturer FIC.

Qtopia is already used on 25 handsets, including models from Motorola and ZTE. Last year Trolltech released its own programmable Greenphone handset — which it will continue to support — but the company claims that the OpenMoko deal will boost the mobile Linux industry by giving developers an additional reference platform for Qtopia.

"We applaud OpenMoko's vision to make the Neo an open platform and the excellent work they have done with this phone," said Trolltech's chief technology officer, Benoit Schillings, on Tuesday. "In the spirit of open development and innovation we want to showcase the versatility of Qtopia by porting our application platform to the Neo phone, which has had a positive impact on the open mobile ecosystem."

Sean Moss-Pultz, president of OpenMoko, said he looked forward to closer collaboration between the two communities. "We welcome Trolltech extending the reach of our Neo1973 and the OpenMoko platform, and we applaud their efforts at simplifying application development for mobile devices," he said.

Trolltech also revealed on Tuesday that it was to make Qtopia Phone Edition, and all its components, available under both an open-source GPL licence and a commercial development licence. Some components had only been available under the commercial licence until now. The full GPL version of Qtopia Phone Edition 4.3 is due for beta release in late October, although a technology preview for the Neo1973, Greenphone and other handsets is available now on Trolltech's distribution servers.

Mobile Linux is currently making big strides into the handheld market, but remains primarily focused on the consumer sector. Critics have described mobile Linux as "fragmentation city" and suggested that a lack of co-ordination is stopping the operating system from becoming a viable option for enterprise deployment.

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