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FOSS 4 Mobile

Today the mobile phone is not just an electronic device for the users to make phone calls and send text messages. Moreover this small, portable device with very less memory size, has become an essential item in people's life. Free and open source software with its large community of contributors, plays a significant role in promulgating the boundaries of mobile application development.

In the modern world the information is available freely and the challenge is how to use this huge volume of information to improve the quality of life of the community. Free and Open Source Software, simply known as FOSS has granted a enormous freedom for its users to use, study, change and improve its design through the availability of its source code.

FOSS contributers for mobile devices vary from the individual mobile application developer who contributes for the FOSS community by distributing  the source code in free and open source basis to the software giants and mobile industry leaders such as Google, Nokia.
There are several Free and Open Source operating systems and development environments for Mobile application development.

Android is an open source, Linux-derived OS backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers that forms the Open Handset Alliance. This owns the largest market share in Smartphone operating system market.

A giant in mobile phone industry, Nokia has developed the software platform called Maemo for smart phones and Internet tablets which is based on Debian OS.

MeeGo is a Linux-based open source mobile operating system project. Primarily targeted at mobile devices and information appliances in the consumer electronics market

HP webOS is a mobile operating system based on a Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm, which was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard

Advantages of FOSS for Mobile devices
There are number of Free  and Open Source Software for the mobile users to fulfill their requirements. Therefore everybody can use them without spending lot of money on it.

Furthermore, the source code of Free and Open Source Software are freely available for the users to change, modify and improve. Hence it opens the doors for research and development in mobile application development. Moreover FOSS with the inherited large community of users and developers, contributes for the improvement in Free and Open Source Software significantly.  

The biggest advantage in FOSS for mobile is that since the code is open, any party can write applications, plug-ins for deploying in the particular OS. It has been reported that 42,000 Android applications have been added to its Android market. It has been forecasted that the number of Android applications will be quadrupled by 2013.


FOSS for Mobile at ICTA

As an initiative ICTA has developed an Free and Opensource Android Application with the collaboration of Sri Lanka Railway Department to access train schedule, train delays and train ticket prices from Android enabled mobile phones.

This android application and its source code is relesed under GNU/GPL lisence and can be downloaded from the Lanka GovForge