OnQ Blog

Are you open to open source?

Jan 10, 2010

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

There’s an old saying in England that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change. That person might just as well have been talking about the mobile phone industry. What a year: a global economic crisis, tons of lost jobs and tighter and tighter spending. Memorable is one way to describe it, I guess. But every crisis creates opportunities and our industry is no exception. We are now moving full on into the world of open source software — a concept hitherto associated with the tie-dye t-shirt, over-caffeinated rogue developer crowd. Those old stereotypes are being quickly dispelled as many of the industry heavyweights have already jumped on the bandwagon.

I’m still not quite sure what to make of it all myself. As a software engineer, I believe my time is valuable and so are the things I create. On the surface, open source seems to fly in the face of this concept. After all, how many other industries have been successful giving away their products? But software, and especially software in the mobile industry, is unlike any other product.

The ever-increasing complexity of smartphones means that it’s becoming more and more difficult for any single entity to effectively bear the burden of creating all the required software alone. We need help.

Open source provides an established medium in which competitors and partners alike can collectively build a better platform as a base for differentiation. As today’s differentiation becomes tomorrow’s commodity, the open source community can move quickly to absorb this functionality in the form of a contribution. It’s going to be an exciting year for those of us in QuIC, as we move deeper and deeper into uncharted waters.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts and hearing yours, as we see what happens over the coming year!

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Tony Newpower

Director, Engineering

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