A consortium of companies with a strategic focus on Linux telephony has formed the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum to develop industry standards and promote the use of the open source operating system in next-generation phones.
The LiPS Forum aims to accelerate the adoption of Linux in fixed, mobile and converged devices by standardising Linux-based services and APIs that most directly influence the development, deployment and interoperability of applications and user-level services.
Haila Wang, president of the LiPS Forum, said: "Linux offers an increasingly attractive alternative to proprietary operating systems.
"By standardising the Linux-based system services and APIs, we will help to simplify the creation of fully functional Linux phones, ensuring that they match the requirements of operators and increasing their appeal to consumers."
Analyst firm Canalys reported recently that the worldwide market share for Linux more than doubled in each of the first three quarters of 2005.
The nature of the open source development process has meant that the success of Linux in phones, as elsewhere, is reliant on standards that ensure interoperability and guard against fragmentation, according to Canalys.
Standardisation efforts have historically focused on the important question of Linux kernel optimisation to achieve improved boot time, power management, system footprint and other performance-related factors.
For mass-market telephony terminals, standards that enable key applications and services to be deployed with a high degree of interoperability are at least as important as performance characteristics, LiPS stated.
To meet this need, the group promised to define standards for Linux-based system services and APIs that are necessary to support the development and deployment of applications and user-level services for modern phones.
The organisation will also create standards for extensions to the software development kits that allow developers easily to take advantage of LiPS APIs to develop their own products.
The final plank in LiPS' strategy centres on creating a testing methodology that will be used to certify LiPS-compliant implementations.
To ensure alignment with the needs of the industry, LiPS said it will support requirements defined by the Open Mobile Terminal Platform, an association of mobile operators focused on defining the functional requirements of mobile phones.
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