As we get ready to celebrate the end of 2008 and start of 2009, it's important to put down the champagne glasses for a moment and consider all of the big open-source stories that have come across over the past year. There have been a lot. In fact, we've even gone and chronicled some of the bigger stories for you already. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so. Like watching The Empire Strikes Back before A New Hope, you'll be lost if you read on much further. That's because we're now taking a look at what's in store for the open-source world in 2009.
We'll get to the specific predictions in a big, but here's the big picture: the open-source software world is on the up, up, up. We called this out in a news article awhile ago once the economy started taking a dive. Guess what? The economy's still taking a dive, and companies long and far are taking an increased interest in the open-source community. That's because open-source solutions can help them generate cost savings over expensive, proprietary software without a loss of business quality or functionality. And that translates into increased opportunities for open-source developers -everybody wins! Unless you're Microsoft and think the entire affair is rubbish. But enough of that... onto the predictions!
Click the link to jump into the open-source world of 2009!
As 2008 winds to a close, we're taking a look back at some of the year's highlights in the open-source world. And what a year it's been! Google phones and the android operating system finally saw the light. The semi-popular MMO Myst decided to go entirely open source, the genre's first "conversion." And Microsoft--yes, Microsoft--decided to embrace open-source development with one hand while chastising it with the other.
We're rounding up all of the year's top stories from every source we can get our hands on. Click the link and let's get started with 2008's top open-source news!
It is common knowledge that smartphones are fast emerging as a dainty prey for malware proliferators. But a recent press release by IT security firm ESET, which spelled out some of the potential threats in 2009, might have iPhone and Android users worried in particular.
ESET warned in the press release that it expects both the iPhone and Android to become more vulnerable to malware. The company also expects both the smartphone platforms to fall prey to mobile browser exploits that might target their WebKit-based browsers.
The security firm has prognosticated an increase in fake antivirus extortion in 2009. “Some of the major antivirus companies have seen their websites spoofed over the last couple of months,” according to David Harley, Director of Malware Intelligence at ESET. The real threat lies in the fact that internet charlatans are leaving no stone turned in their bid to appear as credible as possible.
Thanks to some cryptic code mixed in with bug fixes and general clean up on the Android site, there are finally some hints as to what G1 users can expect in the near future.
Among those updates that remain obvious are camera functions (video has finally been included), a browser update (which will include a find function and clever copy paste) and other general speed enhancements.
Other updates aren’t directly aimed at the G1, but are still pretty notable. There’s focus on implementing an on-screen keyboard, and basic x86 support.
While there haven’t been any exact vendor names specified on the blog, it’s difficult to say if this is directed at any specific gadget. However, it does give us reason to believe that Android will finally be making its way onto a huge assortment of gadgets.
The Open Handset Alliance, which is responsible for promoting the use of Google’s Android operating system, recently added 14 new members to its roster.
The newest additions include Vodafone (the world’s largest mobile operator), AKM Semiconductor, ARM, ASUSTek Computer, Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International, Huawei Technologies, Omron Software, Softbank Mobile, Sony Ericsson, Teleca, and Toshiba. An impressive group that’s been added onto the 34 strong that signed on when the Open Handset Alliance started a year ago.
The members of the alliance are expected to “deploy compatible Android devices, contribute significant code to the Android Open Source Project, or support the ecosystem through products and services that will accelerate the availability of Android-based devices.”
It’s expected that these additions will help grow Android’s influence on the mobile market. And goodness knows it could use the help, because Google has a long way to go before they get a significant market share.
Google seems to be espousing a very simple strategy of expanding rapidly and at all costs. Although there is always going to be the possibility of Google spreading itself too thin, there is also immense hope of it benefiting under the law of averages. Market research firm Net Applications has fueled rumors of a Google OS. Yes, Google might be getting ready to enter the OS market.
Net Applications’ legion of software sensors across the internet has gathered some interesting data recently. Around one third of the traffic coming from Google has its OS information inexplicably hidden. According to Net Applications, this is truly unprecedented as they have never observed “an OS stripped off the user agent string before”. Is Google working on an OS of its own now?
In a bid to woo more developers towards its vernal Android platform, Google has begun offering a Sim-and hardware-unlocked G1 phone to developers. The unlocked version not only opens the floodgates for developers from around the globe, but it also presents an alternative to those US-based developers who have been resisting the retail version.
Google has confirmed the availability of the unlocked phone in 18 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Hungary. Although the unlocked G1 costs only $399, developers will have to part with $25 to register themselves on the Android Market site before they can order the phone.
Opera Software has released the final version of Opera Mini 4.2 for mobile phones, giving G1 handset users looking for change from Android's built-in WebKit browser a third party alternative to play with. Opera Mini, which is the first web browser alternative on Android, sports a number of enhancements, including what Opera claims is up to a 30 percent performance boost.
"With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world."
Opera Mini also boasts greater multilingual support with more than 90 language versions, personalization through skins, Opera Link support for notes, and support for mobile video on a wider range of phones.
Sprint may not be impressed with Google's Android in its current form and be content to sit on the sidelines, but that isn't stopping Asus from getting in the game with an Android-powered handset of its own. Citing un-named "company sources," news outlet DigiTimes reports Asus will launch an Android-based Google phone sometime in the first half of 2009. It remains unclear what Asus' marketing strategy will be, but speculation suggests the company may initially release the new phone under its own brand name in Taiwan followed up with customized models in other markets later on.
Asus isn't new to the handset game and has already shipped 30,000 units in Taiwan so far this year. The company expects that number to reach 40,000 by the end of the year. Asus will ride those shipments into 2009 with a 3G model using Qualcomm's dual-core solutions planned for Q1.
The next time you're out shopping for toilet paper, kitty treats, motor oil, and a gigantic jar of pickles, you can add a G1 Android-powered smartphone to your list and save money on that too, all without ever having to leave the store. That is, provided you're shopping at Wal-Mart.
Starting Wednesday, the mega-chain will begin selling the G1 phone to both new and existing T-Mobile customers in 550 of its stores, but there's more reason to buy the phone at Wal-Mart than just convenience. According to Wal-mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien, the G1 will run $149 for new customers, or $31 less than what you'd pay T-Mobile, who's selling the same phone for $180.
For those of you just coming out of a coma, the G1 is the first Google Android-powered smartphone on the market. Demand for the phone with an open-source OS has been high, with an estimated 1.5 million units already sold through pre-order sales.
Plan on picking one up? Hit the jump and sound off.