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HP Open Source Operating Systems News

HP To Open Source WebOS 137

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-it-while-it's-hot dept.
First time accepted submitter pscottdv writes "This year the artists formerly known as Palm had quite a rough few months with HP dumping the hardware side of their own webOS mobile computing platform – their most recent move, having been announced just last month, is live today: open sourced webOS for all. While the actual main product which will be known as Open webOS 1.0 will not be released until September, they've already got the Enyo piece of the pie available today."
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HP To Open Source WebOS

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  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @07:42PM (#38823759)

    Probably not much, really. But it had some nice things, and is also based on a Linux core. So, hopefully, there will be some cross-polination with Android.

    If my Pre was still working, I'd probably still be running it. I'd miss a couple of apps from Android, but overall I prefer the Pre. But there's nothing that couldn't be moved/implemented in Android, if the licensing problems are out of the way.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @07:51PM (#38823813)

    But it had some nice things, and is also based on a Linux core. So, hopefully, there will be some cross-polination with Android.

    Android is so insular I don't expect anything to make the leap. The webOS core was so close to a common Linux platform (sdl, glibc, etc.) that games transplanted relatively easily to Maemo. If anything, you could see some cross pollination with initiatives like Mer [merproject.org] or Tizen, once Samsung and Intel get that off the ground.

  • by James McP (3700) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:44PM (#38824595)

    While WebOS is not yet open sourced, the operating system is sufficiently open and accessible that there is a significant open source community devoted to it: WebOS Internals (http://www.webos-internals.org) They have hundreds of OS tweaks (called "patches"), custom kernels, new services, apps, etc. Furthermore, WOSI worked with HP to develop the roadmap for open sourcing WebOS.

    One of the big things that releasing this framework does is let existing WebOS developers quickly port their apps to Android and possibly iOS and WP7. It may be counter intuitive, but giving developers a way to produce apps for other platforms actually keeps them in the WebOS community. There are already WebOS apps that have been ported to Android (http://www.webosnation.com/first-open-source-enyo-app-jumping-other-platforms-paper-mache-android-flashcards-everywhere). This means that the good WebOS devs (and there are several) will get to keep developing WebOS apps that quickly cross-compile to Android.

  • Too little too late (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bluec (1427065) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:54AM (#38826637)
    I was a massive fan of Palm and wrote several years ago (around 2005, website now defunct) about the need for Palm to ditch Palm OS and develop their own Linux based OS. As such I was thrilled when WebOS launched - I had a launch day Pre and Pre 2. WebOS was admittedly pretty terrible until WebOS 1.4.5 but that release ironed out a lot of bugs and there was a short period in 2010 where it looked like Palm may crack it - they hired some great talent and partnered with some of the big devs to bring their apps to WebOS; sometimes for free (Monopoly, The Sims, Need for Speed, etc). The card-based system was intuitive and offered true multi-tasking that still isn't matched by any current mobile OS - it was truly groundbreaking stuff. Unfortunately Palm never had the resources to build on that success and it is sad to how subsequently lost their way.

    What happened next was a total mess - the biggest downfall was how they alienated developers by changing the SDK from Mojo to Enyo - possibly a required change but the way they handled it was appalling. There was a long period when Enyo was released but it was impossible to even buy a device that ran it and the SDK was not even available to devs without jumping through hoops to sign an NDA. They then made promises to bring Enyo to their first and second generation devices and subsequently changed their mind. They never got round to publishing a roadmap of which hardware would support which SDK or WebOS. Developers had the choice to develop for Mojo and hit the majority of devices, or blindly put their faith in Enyo and hope that someday HP/Palm would put out a decent device capable of running Enyo. But by this time nobody believed a word HP said... they had lost the trust of their own loyal fanbase. Eventually the Pre 3 and Touchpad came but by then the developers had left in droves. I bought a Pre 3 and the hardware was finally decent, but the OS was buggy and there were even fewer apps available for it than for the previous generation Pre and Pre 2. I sold it immediately.

    The sell-out to HP could have given Palm the resources they needed to push WebOS but it turned Palm from a nimble company capable of doing some cool stuff into a massive lumbering mess with no clearly defined plans. The signs of the downfall were obvious - the good talent that Palm had hired left almost immediately leaving a skill vacuum at HP/Palm. HP needed to act quickly but they failed to do so. And we all saw the shambolic mess they made of the touchpad launch and subsequent fire sale. Open sourcing WebOS is meaningless because it is a failed project with very little interest except a small (and highly loyal) fan base at WebOS internals. Even those guys must be wondering why they bothered.

    The only good thing to come of this is that I got a touchpad for £130 that now runs ICS very nicely. It's a great shame to see the Palm name die in such a catastrophic manner. HP should be ashamed of themselves. And one last thing... throughout all this I have often wondered what happened to Jon Rubinstein? Has he been paid off to keep quiet? I would imagine he is none too happy with the way things turned out but his silence is deafening.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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