Editor's Corner: Mobile Linux coming of age

As a free OS, Linux doesn't get much mainstream press. But this belies a steady growth in popularity over the last few years. A Diffusion Group report found that in 2005 Linux was the second most popular mobile phone OS, with twice the market share it had in 2004.

And there are specific efforts to introduce more mobile developers to Tux--and bring appropriate mobile hardware to Linux veterans. The TrollTech Greenphone is one such effort, targeted at Linux developers looking to move into mobile. The phone stole the show at a recent LinuxWorld.

And larger industry initiatives are in the works. Samsung, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, NEC, Panasonic and Vodafone are planing to create a non-profit group to develop and support a global version of Linux for handsets by the end of 2007. The end goal is to provide developers with a consistent Linux-based platform and API that rivals that of Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

Meanwhile, developer David Beers extols the virtues of PalmSource's next-generation Palm OS, the ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP). David reports PalmSource has the OS running on real phones and that it offers a standards-based Linux environment with true multitasking, X Windows support, GTK+, and surprisingly good emulation for legacy Palm apps. Read the rest of his post for more.

Linux has quite a bit of untapped potential for mobile developers. This is definitely a trend worth watching.

P.S. FierceMarkets is hosting a free webinar on mobile advertising. The webinar will be broadcast live today, August 29, at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT. If you miss it, you can still register for the archived version. -Eli