The Symbian Foundation announced that it would make its code open source in 2008 and has now completed the move. This means that any organisation or individual can now use and modify the platform's underlying source code "for any purpose".
Although it’s the most popular mobile OS, with 330 million phones shipped only last year, Symbian has been in limbo lately. On one side, it competed against the increasingly popular (and completely closed) iPhone , while many manufacturers, such as Motorola, opted to use the open source Android, which offers a much more similar experience to iPhone than most Symbian phones.
The foundation believes the move will attract new developers to work on the system and help speed up the pace of improvements. It will also increase the rate of evolution and the rate of innovation of the platform.
Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia bought the software in 2008 and helped establish the non-profit Symbian Foundation that includes Nokia, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Vodafone and others to oversee its development and transition to open source.
We are yet to see the impact this move will create on other open source initiatives and if it will help Symbian recover some of the lost ground against iPhone and Android.