Earlier this year, Nokia, the biggest phone manufacturer in the world decided to join forces with Microsoft to create their next lineup of smartphones. The decision surprised many as people thought that Nokia would play it safe and develop phones using both Windows Phone 7 and Android.
In the process, Nokia made their flagship OS Symbian a secondary in the company and Android as a competitor. However, this news might come as a big surprise to many people.
According to research done by Libre Software Research (via Carlodaffara), Nokia is the biggest contributor to Android source code after Google and some other independent committers. In fact Nokia has more commits in the codebase than Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Intel.
Having a look at the name of the domains, it is very surprising that Nokia is one of the most active contributors. This is a real paradox, the company that states that Android is its main competition helps it!. One of the effects of using libre software licenses for your work is that even your competition can use your code, currently there are Nokia commits in the following repositories:
The research shows that 90% of the commits to Android codebase was done by Google employees using email addresses ending with google.com or android.com, while users with a nokia.com email address had more than 762 commits.
Apparently Nokia was the one who funded the dbus; a message bus system for applications to talk to each other and bluez; the official Bluetooth protocol stack for Linux which were later on taken up by Google for Android.
This is definitely an irony that Nokia contributes so much to a system it calls it’s competition. However, that is how the Open Source community works, no bias, just code.
Note: The research conducted by Libre Software took 171 GIT repositories into consideration and did not include the Linux Kernel in it’s analysis.