Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Nov 2010 23:10 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "Under an initiative sponsored by the European Commission, the Symbian platform was this week endorsed by the Artemis Joint Technology Initiative and specifically identified as a unique technology that is a vital focus for European-centric mobile software development. As a result, a total investment of over EUR 22 million has been committed to the development of next generation technologies for the Symbian platform. This development project is being led by the Symbian Foundation as part of a consortium of major European technology organisations. The consortium is made up of 24 organisations from 8 European countries, comprising major mobile device manufacturers, hardware and service integration professional services, major consumer electronics companies, mobile network operators, application developers, universities and research institutions."
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RE[3]: technology socialism?
by Neolander on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: technology socialism?"
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Do you think the 1Ghz processor is busy running the kernel? Your logic is completely upside down. The kernel doesn't matter all that much as long as it provides proper access to hardware features. Sure, it may make a few percent difference in overhead here and there but that's about it.

Well, Windows 95 ran quite smoothly on 200MHz PIIs with 128 MB RAM while Windows XP SP1 (with all visual effects disabled) had some serious responsiveness problems on a 1.2 GHz Athlon XP with 512 MB RAM. So yes, I'd say that the kernel *does* matter.

It doesn't have to be about overhead, though. Badly done scheduling is all it takes to require monster hardware for smooth operation. If tasks that must meet deadlines can't be managed in a RT fashion and get crushed by power-intensive processes, you get sluggish performance (and garbled audio recording). Sadly, Linux, even with RT patches and process priorities optimized at hand, is still quite bad in this regard, while Symbian was built with RT performance in mind from the start and only waits for some user-space cleanup to get its former snappy performance on relatively slow hardware back.

Poor scheduling is also the key to power waste. Most symbian phones can last a week on battery under medium use, while Android/iOS phones generally ask for a charge every two days. Screen size and faster processor alone can't justify such a difference alone. Again, scheduling does matter : are non-critical background tasks frozen when the phone is not in use in order to save battery ? Is software allowed to poll wireless every minute when the phone is sleeping ? In which case do we stop underclocking the CPU in order to get things done faster at the cost of higher power consumption ? And things like that...

There's a reason why when my laptop runs on Windows 7 it remains as cold as when off and nearly silent (except when keeping around a web page including a Flash applet), whereas on some Linux distros I have the feeling that I sit near an A380 taking off and temperature rises noticeably. Granted, it's a combination of kernel-level and high-level components, but they both have a role to play.

There's a reason google chose to build the android userland from ground up not the kernel and mac/ios are doing fine with the rather outdated kernel. So, yeah, it's a proper necrophilia.

I don't personally think that requiring iPhone 3GS-class hardware to finally get a smooth UI can be considered "doing fine" as far as kernel performance is concerned.

Also, "The symbian kernel is intrinsically much more well-suited to mobile devices" is non-sense. It's the other way around. Because the applications and hardware which needed to be supported were fairly limited, symbian could get away with its own limited custom kernel. There's no valid market drive behind it anymore. Pouring blind money into it will only make the whole process more horrifying/amusing to look at.

How exactly is the Symbian kernel lacking when it comes to achieving its goal of powering mobile phones ? I mean, I can tell you a number of reasons why Linux is not very well-suited for that purpose, but the Symbian kernel is everything one could want on a phone :
-Micro-kernel, but with good RT performance.
-Designed with wireless communication in mind down to its core client-server architecture.
-Deeply-enforced, rich security model.
-Excellent power-saving features.

So, what's the issue ?

Edited 2010-11-03 19:01 UTC

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