From LiPS to LiMo - The Mobile Linux Divide?

The mobile Linux LiMo Foundation picks up steam with new momentum and critical new additions including a key member defection from LiPS.

While backers of mobile Linux are all trying to increase Linux adoption, the question for vendors has been which mobile Linux effort they should back among the crowd of mobile Linux organizations.

In the case of Trolltech, maker of the popular Qtopia mobile Linux platform, they've chosen to move from the LiPS (The Linux Phone Standards) effort to the Motorola backed LiMo Foundation effort. The Trolltech move could be a sign of consolidation within the mobile Linux market or it could be a sign the multi-billion dollar mobile Linux market will remain fragmented.

Benoit Schillings, Trolltech CTO told that his company did not renew its membership within LiPS because in his opinion LiMo is now superseding what LiPS is trying to do.

The LiMo Foundation was launched back in January of 2007 with Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone. Today they added Trolltech Acrodea, ETRI, Huawei and Purple Labs s members.

While Trolltech's Schillings noted there is some overlap in the membership of LiPS and LiMo, he expects that the learning's from LiPS will eventually be part of LiMo. Overall, Schillings agreed that there are a lot of different mobile Linux groups today, though in his view there is currently a degree of consolidation taking place.

"It was tempting for a number of organizations to get into mobile Linux and try and start a standard platform initiative but in the end it is much more work than most anybody envisioned," Schillings said. "It's easy to start but hard to finish."

Schillings argued that if all a Mobile Linux standards group does is focus on the framework, then they're missing something. In his view that's where he sees LiMo's difference - in that they understand what operators want.

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