In their press release Symbian say that "this has been achieved by supplying a new framework of POSIX C APIs for use by both C and C++ programmers. The new APIs are packaged into industry standard libraries - libc, libm, libpthread and libdl - and are tightly integrated with Symbian OS to optimise performance and memory usage. In addition, an updated tool chain will further reduce migration effort".
The implications for end users is that we may see more applications being ported over from existing open source projects. In many cases it will be possible to use existing code as the 'engine' for the application almost unchanged. A specific Symbian UI will still have to be developed, but overall porting time is very significantly reduced.
PIPS will be made available on the Symbian website in the second half of Q1 2007.
"P.I.P.S. is part of Symbian's ongoing investment to enhance the development experience on Symbian OS," said Bruce Carney, head of developer marketing, Symbian. "Native Symbian C++ continues to offer the richest set of APIs for smartphone functionality, with Symbian also enabling familiar frameworks, virtual machines and run-time-environments such as POSIX, Crossfire, Java, Python, Flash and OPL to help move any developer onto the market's leading and richest mobile OS. In addition, the market momentum for smartphones is growing quickly, making it even more attractive to move to mobile and Symbian OS."
POSIX or Portable Operating System Interface for uniX is the collective name of a family of related standards specified by the IEEE to define the application programming interface (API) for software compatible with variants of the Unix operating system. You can learn more about POSIX in this Wikipedia article.