Spent a couple of very interesting days at the OSIM conference in Madrid as part of my consulting for WindRiver which has a very powerful market position in cellular handsets now – partly due to their acquisition of RTLinux for embedded last January. Interesting to see these companies negotiate the vast complexity of the technology being deployed in handsets and the equally complex picture of software intellectual property and the famous “value line” – which really has way too many dimensions to be reduced to a line and should be renamed the “value manifold”. Both Trolltech and Funambol touted dual-license models where the some feature of the open source product pushes possible customers to buy non-open source licenses. You could cynically characterize these models as “we get free market presence and the people who violate the license would have stolen the software anyway.” Pragmatic. People from Gnash were advocating a pure open source model on the old fashioned “sell services” plan – claiming that the embedded flash environment was so fractured and that services were needed for many projects. In both these cases: my understanding may differ from their understanding, so please don’t ascribe my opinions to anyone else.
From my point of view, a large part of the evolution in this market has been a painful and expensive process of learning that chip and device companies and operators cannot cost effectively dabble in the operating system business when the devices get to the current level of sophistication.
(painting above by Goya shows management of very large multinational who made a lot of bad decisions. This painting is in Madrid, but has little to do with the OSIM conference exactly.)