Samsung's first open-source conference kicks off, with Tizen on its mind

Could Tizen finally be headed for a wider role?

The inaugural Samsung Open-Source Conference opens Tuesday morning in Seoul, with keynotes from well-known figures in the open source world and a hackathon focused on Tizen, the company’s in-house mobile operating system.

The event kicks off with a speech from Jono Bacon, the former community manager for Ubuntu, who recently moved to the XPrize Foundation, and also includes talks from Linux kernel developer Tejun Heo and Carsten Heitzler, the principal creator of the Enlightenment desktop environment for Linux.

Samsung’s primary direct interest in the open-source world revolves around Tizen, a Linux-based mobile operating system that has functioned more as a bargaining chip in the OEM’s sometimes-fractious relationship with Google – which provides the Android OS used by almost all Samsung’s mobile devices – than as an operational mobile platform.

The announcement of an open-source conference, however, could mean that the Korean company is getting more serious about Tizen as an alternative to Android, according to some experts.

“A successful conference is the next step in building the community that is necessary to continue improving the platform and third-party app ecosystem,” said open-source developer and Network World blogger Bryan Lunduke. “Honestly, this just makes sense for Samsung.”

A recent report from Korea Bizwire is the latest sign that Samsung intends to leverage Tizen more fully than it has in the past, saying a range of home appliances running on Tizen would be released at CES 2015. The company’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch was updated to run Tizen earlier this year, although the more recently released Gear Live smartwatch uses Android.

The first Tizen phone, known as the Samsung Z, was announced this summer, but has yet to go on sale in its initial market of Russia, despite the company’s statement that it would be out in the third quarter.


Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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