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LiPS synchs with OMA on mobile Linux

Pucker move

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The confusing world of standards for mobile versions of Linux became a little less confusing last week with a declaration of "alignment" between two key players.

The Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum and the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) announced "a formal liaison and framework for cooperation" at the Open Source in Mobile (OSiM) conference in Madrid.

The move will mean that LiPS will align development of its standards specifications within OMA's. Future versions of the LiPS 1.0 specification will include application program interfaces (APIs) to develop middleware services based "principally" on the OMA specifications. Device management, data synchronisation, instant messaging and presence, MMS and browsing are among the areas covered.

It is not before time. ABI Research recently forecast that Linux would come to dominate the market for smart mobile devices with a 31 per cent share by 2012.

Rumors that Google's so-called G-phone, expected in spring 2008, will use Linux could also provide a boost to the platform.

But so far the fragmented nature of mobile Linux standards efforts and the confusing array of "forums" and other bodies involved in creating a workable standard has undoubtedly held Linux back. The result is a plethora of overlapping and sometimes contradictory standards, leaving the market to proprietary rival platforms such as Microsoft Windows and Symbian.

The Linux Foundation - created in January 2007 from the merger of the Open Software Development Labs (ODSL) and the Free Software Foundation - acts as a sort of clearing house for the standards effort with its Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI).

In addition to the LiPS Forum, this brings together a long list of organisations such as CE Linux, Gnome Mobile, the LiMO Foundation, Ubuntu Mobile and Mobile and Internet Linux. ®

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