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February 27th, 2009

Opening the Phone

My first piece for The H, an interview with John Forsyth of the Symbian Foundation. We talked about how you can take 40 million lines of code and make them open source, how you choose a licence, and how you learn from the open source community:
How do you take a project with 40 million lines of code that's shipping on millions of devices around the world and make it open source? That's the Everest of a problem facing the Symbian Foundation as they start to deliver on the promises made when Nokia brought Symbian under its wing.

The sun was burning through the freshly-painted walls of a misnamed "hospitality suite" at the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona when we sat down with the Foundation's John Forsyth, the former VP of Strategy at Symbian and member of the Symbian Foundation Leadership Team. The big question was: just how do you plan to do it?

There's been a lot of work needed to get the Symbian Foundation to where it is today, as Forsyth pointed out, it's been a matter of "Getting people on board, the transition into operating mode, putting together the business plan, budget, the objectives and vision." You need something in place before you start to open source an operating system, and what Forsyth calls "the sprint to Day One" has been about getting the infrastructure in place, so that there's a repository for the code.
Read more.

iPhone Mapping Fail

I was trying to plan a route in Google Maps on my iPhone this morning, only to discover that even though I'm in the US, I can only get distances measured in kilometers...

After some googling I discover that there's a bug in the 2.2 and 2.2.1 OS releases that treats the UK regional settings as metric (not as a mix of metric and imperial). It's an odd approach, and not one I'm happy with. Surely mapping conventions are to use the distance measurement prevalent in the country that's mapped, not the regional preferences of the user?

What I want is a mapping application that uses kilometers where they're used on the roadsigns, and miles where they're used. After all, it's those roadsigns that will help me make the actual journey.

Is that too much to ask?

Ah well, the Windows Mobile device we use as a GPS is charged now, so I'm going to use a real mapping tool. Time to fire up CoPilot.