Well what a surprising day. It's been a little bit of a shocker to be honest - but only goes to show the 'power of fate' TM.
Last week I conceded that I was too busy to continue flashing and reflashing my neo1973 phone and that I would be lending it out to one of my acquaintances in the SBLUG. Well, unfortunately due to me moving across to a new mail server and losing an email, I was unable to drop the phone over to the winning bidder before I departed to live in Manchester at the weekend. However, I'd boxed up the neo and brought it up to Manchester with me, ready to post down once my email was returned.
Now, today there was a seemingly unprecedented press release from Trolltech. They've decided that they are going to GPL their Qtopia mobile software stack and port it to the FIC neo1973. It was only recently that trolltech employees were bad-mouthing the openmoko project, so this turn around in fortune was quite surprising, and puts increased focus on the development of 100% libre mobile telephony.
Qtopia (as you may have guesssed) uses the qt graphical library, whilst openmoko (less obvious) used GTK+. This announcement therefore allows fast development of gsm-utils for openmoko (as they can now access and reuse trolltech's source) and provides neo1973 developers with both popular sets of GUI libraries. It's a win-win situation.
I think the most startling development is the following though -
I know that Trolltech have been in the business for a fair bit longer than openmoko - but where else (other than FLOSS) could you find a software company that can migrate/develop the software for another companies hardware before the company that created the hardware can do it themselves.
I'm now expecting even greater things with the combined efforts of both projects. I expect them to be working closely together over the next few months, with this announcement also bolstering the prospect of a larger production run. Qtopia currently runs some apps on motorola handsets - so will be able to provide much needed end-user-non-geek feedback to the project.
It also means I now have a phonecall-sms-gprs enabled neo1973. Woo!