The Symbian OS used to be the most powerful OS for cellphones before the release of Maemo and Android. One reason for the popularity of Android and Maemo among the developers as well as the cellphone manufacturers is the reason that they are Open-Source and would engage more developers and give them transparent application development opportunities. Following this, now Symbian OS has also been released as Open-Source by Symbian Limited.
The process of open-sourcing the Symbian OS had started a long time ago and this only marks the completion of that process. One remarkable thing here is that the process, which was due to be completed sometime in June was completed well before the deadline. This OS will be used on some recent phones under development, which are expected to come out early next year. The code of the Symbian OS was valued at billions of dollars, given the 330 million devices it powers at present.
Symbian had earlier open-sourced the kernel and the hardware services packages in October 2009, but now, the complete code of the Symbian OS is available for download. While the kernel and the hardware services are licensed under the Eclipse public license, the rest of the services and modules are under some other open source licenses.
Symbian suffered a setback because of the rising popularity of open-source platforms and hesitation from open-sourcing because of possible fears of developers forking off the OS. Though, now that it sees Open-Source is the way of the world at present, this move will bring Symbian its respect and popularity back.
For more info and download, visit the Symbian developer community.