Feeds

Symbian frees security source code

Open kernel on horizon

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Symbian Foundation has started open-sourcing its mobile operating system, announcing the release of the Symbian OS security package source code under the Eclipse Public License.

Last summer, after swallowing the last of the old Symbian Ltd., Nokia told the world it would open source the company's entire mobile platform, creating the Symbian Foundation in tandem with Motorola, Sony Ericsson, NTT DoCoMo, Texas Instruments, Vodafone, Samsung, LG, and AT&T.

The security code is the first package to be moved off the closed Symbian Foundation License (SFL).

The move was announced yesterday on the Symbian Foundation security blog. "We're Off and Running!" the headline reads.

According to the posting, there were two reasons why this package was the first to be set free: a practical one and a symbolic one.

The practical reason has to do with a vagary in the export laws of the UK, where the Symbian Platform source code is hosted. The group trying to export the code ran into rules that prevented the crypto library source code from being exported when it was covered by the Symbian Foundation License.

"Fortunately," the posting goes on to explain, "there is an exemption for software 'in the public domain', meaning that open source software isn't export controlled, so moving it from SFL to EPL was the most straightforward way to make sure that the complete cryptographic functionality would be available to all."

The symbolic reason: Symbian wanted "to demonstrate that we really are serious about providing a platform that is both open and secure."

"We’ve always been open about the design of our platform security mechanisms," the post continues. "Now we’ve started being open about their implementation as well." And, in the true open-source tradition of shared responsibility, it adds: "Cryptographers know to distrust cryptographic algorithm implementations that aren’t open to peer review, so here are ours."

The next release is the Symbian kernel. "While Security is a very relevant package, we need to target something that will trigger discussions, represent Symbian at the heart, fuel development, overload the forums, engage the non-believer and most of all start putting us on equal fighting terms with other available open source platform," reads a post from Symbian chief architect Daniel Rubio.

Rubio indicated this would happen in the fall. "The good news is that we are working hard to make this happen in the short term, which in my mind is a three month horizon," he said. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.