So, you have KDE on your desktop and laptop systems, you've heard
that Apple uses KDE components for its web browser Safari and you've
tried Konq/Embedded on your handheld. But did you know that KDE could
soon be making its way into your mobile phone? At aKademy in August
David Carson and Deepika Chauhan from Nokia presented the work they've
done in integrating KDE components into the latest version of the
company's mobile phone software. I recently caught up with them to ask about the technical side of their work, why they chose KDE components and their experiences of aKademy.
Can you describe briefly what you're working on within
We are working on the Series 60 Browser application for the S60 platform.
The Series 60 Platform is the software platform that runs Series 60 devices, which are also called smart phones. The Series 60 Platform consists of a user interface for interacting with the device's data and software, and programs (Series 60 applications) that provide advanced phone functions such as messaging, the calendar, browsing, etc. The
Series 60 Platform runs on top of the open Symbian OS operating system.
In addition to existing applications, users can also install additional
What technical challenges do you face in that work?
Mobile devices are constrained by ROM, RAM, network latency and
bandwidth, display, input mode, and less powerful CPU as compared to
desktop world. We need to make some changes to take into account these
constraints. The code execution behaviors which are correct in the
desktop world do not always work well on mobile device.
the point that it is found in the markup, resulting in blocking the
the client over GPRS. In the worst case scenario, the consecutive
serially. Similar problems are encountered in CSS processing since
rendering blocks on external CSS. We do not encounter these problems
What parts of KDE are you using to help you achieve your
Browser which are based on KHTML and KJS components respectively that
were developed by the KDE community.
Why did you choose KDE over the competition?
We have been developing a proprietary browser for Series 60. We found
that we have been focusing a lot of resources on dealing with issues
like rendering and script execution - issues that have already been
dealt with by open-source components. We decided that since browsing is
a complex technology, we should not re-invent the wheel. We started
investigating the available open-source solutions and decided to go with
a KDE-based solution for primarily 3 reasons:
- Series 60 devices are constrained by ROM/RAM. WebCore/KHTML and
footprint. That was really a clincher for us.
architecture enabling easy ramp up of resources.
and general performance of the browser is quite good.
How do you see the relationship between the KDE project and your
team at Nokia developing?
We would like to find a model where we can collaborate with the KDE
community focused towards browsing related solutions.
More generally, where do you think mobile technology is going in
the near future, and what part will open source software like KDE
With the advent of faster networks and more capable mobile devices we
expect to see a lot of development in the mobile software area. We hope
that in the future the KDE community will be interested to look beyond
desktop software and considers taking on projects in the mobile software
space. We see Nokia's new open source browser as a good project to
spark the open source community's interest in mobile software
What was your experience of aKademy?
We had a great time at aKademy, and we got much more out of it than we
ever anticipated. We came to aKademy since we wanted to thank the KDE
community for the great components created by them that form the basis
of the future Series 60 browser, meet some of the contributors in
person, and share with the community our experiences of building a
us a better understanding of the working model of KDE. We hope that we
can work together with KDE on the mobile browser. We have observed a
lot of excitement among developers in contributing to the mobile
applications and we hope the community can bring their innovations to the
Many thanks to Deepika and David for taking the time to talk to me.