Nokia Donates Java Runtime to Symbian Foundation

In an effort to make it easier for Java developers to build applications for its Symbian-based mobile devices, Nokia is contributing the 2.1 version of its Java Runtime implementation to the open source Symbian Foundation.

The newly open sourced Mobile Runtime for Java Applications (JRT) is comprised of a set of Java APIs designed to enable the hosting -- installing, managing, running and debugging -- of Java applications. It also provides information about installed applications and the runtime itself.

The JRT is available in the latest Symbian Product Development Kit (PDK), which is the first PDK based on the Symbian^3 operating system.

"This means that developers can write Java applications for Symbian^3 devices, like the recently announced Nokia N8," wrote Nokia's JRT product manager, Aleksi Uotila, and senior software specialist Jyrki Aarnos, in a blog post. "More importantly, the JRT is now open source so the community can modify and add to the JRT implementation under the terms of the [Eclipse Public License]."

In February, the Foundation made all of its source code open source, but because much of the code contributed to the Foundation was made available originally under the Symbian Foundation License (PDF), some tools have yet to be completely open-sourced.

"The contribution of JRT to the Symbian Foundation is a huge milestone for fans of the Java language, and a great opportunity to take control of the future of mobile Java development," Uotila and Aarnos write.

The overall JRT contribution includes a million lines of Java and C++ source code that comprises the runtime, application installer, API libraries, test cases, and documentation.

This version of the JRT also includes an implementation of the 1.0.3 version of eSWT user interface API from the Eclipse Embedded Rich Client Platform (eRCP) project, which extends the Eclipse RCP to embedded devices.

According to Uotila and Aarnos, virtual machine has been provided to the Symbian Foundation by IBM under a separate license that allows it to be used for research and development purposes and for Java application development.

Nokia has published a roadmap for the JRT on its developer page. More information about the Foundation's stewardship of the JRT and how developers might contribute to the project is available here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].