New mobile Linux group to launch this month

Body dedicated to developing Linux for mobile phones set to launch

A group of companies including PalmSource and France Télécom plan to launch an initiative in around the middle of this month to standardise the applications layer of Linux-based mobile devices, representatives involved in the project said. The group will be called the Linux Phone Standardisation Forum (LiPS).

Open Source Development Labs Inc. (OSDL) was invited to attend the initial LiPS informational sessions which have been held in Paris and Beijing, says Claude Beullens, OSDL director for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

LiPS will aim to complement efforts of the Mobile Linux Initiative, a working group launched by OSDL last month in a bid to unify and improve on efforts that are underway to use Linux as an operating system in smartphones and other handheld devices.

The Mobile Linux Initiative, which includes companies such as Motorola, PalmSource and Trolltech AS, is focusing on "everything that is kernel-related," Beullens says. Technologies to be addressed include those that ensure that Linux phones manage power and memory efficiently.

"LiPS is more oriented toward the higher layer of the stack," Beullens says. "They're more attacking the applications layer. So in fact we feel that the work is very complementary."

Beullens credits France Télécom with originating the idea for LiPS. A spokesman for PalmSource handling queries about LiPS says many details about the project and its mission have yet to be worked out, and he declined to offer additional information prior to the launch.

Using Linux-based mobile phones is most popular in China, where Motorola has sold over three million Linux handsets. Linux proponents say the open-source OS can help phone makers reduce costs and better support phones that today carry an increasing array of functions.

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