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HP Open Source Operating Systems

HP Making webOS Open Source 169

Several readers sent word of HP's announcement that the company will be contributing webOS to the open source community. According to HP's press release, they will continue to be active in webOS's development, and one of their goals will be to avoid fragmentation. ENYO, the application framework for webOS, will also go open source in the near future.
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HP Making webOS Open Source

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  • Nice work. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:32PM (#38317954)

    I think they could have an opening here. If they really make efforts to avoid fragmentation and get get WebOS onto some future phone handsets, they could avoid some of the mistakes that have been made with Android.

    Let people install WebOS however they want, don't load it up with crapware, give the users full control over the system. Make this the truly "open" mobile OS. ("open" means more than being able to see the source)

  • Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:33PM (#38317984)
    This is excellent news. The best thing about WebOS is that it is built on things that people are standardizing on elsewhere. Javascript, html5 etc. WebOS even has node.js built in, which really is a start at tying all these things together -- client side web development, server side development, and "native" app development.

    This is clearly the direction things are heading, and like or hate Javascript, it's going to become the lingua franca for everything but system level or the most computationally intensive stuff. People get tired of reimplementing things they've already done in different languages. There are a lot of things converging right now, and this just might be something that pushes things over the top.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:40PM (#38318058)

    The best thing about WebOS is that it is built on things that people are standardizing on elsewhere. Javascript

    The worst thing about WebOS is that it is built on things that suck that people are standardizing on elsewhere anyway. Javascript

  • Obvious question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <monstertrimble AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:51PM (#38318220)

    contributing webOS to the open source community

    Under which license? GPL? BSD? Apache? Open source means a lot of different things.

  • Re:Nice work. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alostpacket ( 1972110 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:58PM (#38318282) Homepage

    But how? If they use a license that forbids locking the phones and/or removing features and/or adding bloatware, who would make the phones? What carriers would sell them? Not saying your wrong at all. In fact I very much hope they drive carriers more towards being dumb pipes -- but the devil is in the details on something like this. What would the license need to be? GPLv3?

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:59PM (#38318294)

    Hire a dozen or two engineers to work full time porting WebOS to popular Android tablets. Start with the Kindle and Nook tablet. Who says they need to make their own hardware for the foreseeable future if they can make it fairly simple to get WebOS working on a $200-$250 tablet you can get at Best Buy?

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:03PM (#38318330)
    Well, not when it is put that way. However, that is not quite the situation that exists at HP. One set of management bought Web OS with a business strategy in place to capitalize on it. That strategy proved to be a failure (or at least the implementation of that strategy proved to be a failure). A new management team came in, discovered that they have this asset that has a strong "fan club" among geeks but no current way for HP to make money off of it. They decided that they had two choices, stick it on a shelf somewhere or release it as open source. The first makes no money and in no way advances the company's interests. The second, also, makes no money, but does provide the company with some badly needed positive PR among a group that significantly influence opinion among their potential customers. Additionally, if the geek fans of WebOS can turn it into what they claim it has the potential to be, it will reduce the market power f several of HP's competitors.
  • by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:11PM (#38318400)

    Unless Google does something radically Ballmerian with Android, WebOS will bitrot. That's because there's no clear commitment from HP to have a continuous source of money, and there isn't any obvious evidence HP will be very ge

    Post opensourcing, Mozilla was lousy for quite a while until Firefox. Firefox was pretty successful because there was a 1st version of a good product, skilled people motivated to work on it, and very importantly Google supplied them with quite a bit of stable money: payment flow from the Firefox home page. Then, Google had a strong interest in preventing IE from taking over, and funding Mozilla fairly generously was aligned with that goal. Now, Google has other imperatives and they have their own browser. As a consequence Firefox has less stable leadership and if they lose the revenue stream

    By contrast, there is no particularly compelling reason for HP to fund WebOS development. What's in it for them? Does it help sell HP hardware? No. Does it help damage a competitor? No. Putting a few HP employees on it is not the same as giving lots of money to an independent foundation who can hire.

    If HP needs those people to do something else, they will give up their WebOS, because people will follow the paycheck & whoever is doing their performance review.

  • Re:Best choice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by J. T. MacLeod ( 111094 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:14PM (#38318438)

    The community at large had little reason to care about Symbian. webOS has many things that are quite attractive about it for people that are not already committed to Symbian.

  • by naranek ( 1727936 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:27PM (#38318612)

    Meg Whitman said in an interview with The Verge [] that they are planning on making more tablets later. We'll see how that pans out, but it might give webOS a bit more traction.

    Also the open sourcing webOS might open the door for the Dalvik VM and running Android applications on webOS. That would make things interesting.

  • I had a palm pre (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greywire ( 78262 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:15PM (#38321224) Homepage

    and now I'm sporting a new android phone. Because I had no choice after HP killed webos and the hardware.

    Open sourcing it is probably the best thing they could do, at this point.

    If you think WebOS is dead, let me tell you, in many ways it was and is still miles ahead of android.

    I severely miss the productivity of the seamless, quick flipping between running applications that even my much more modern android phone (with at least double the processor speed and memory and more than twice the screen size) cannot fathom. Yes android multitasks, but switching between apps is a pain, even with third party task switchers. And there's nothing as slick and reliable as synergy and the webos messaging UI.

    Here's what I'd like to see: port the WebOS development "stack", the card GUI, and synergy (with the email, messaging, and facebook apps) to android. Find a way to get android apps to run within the webos card GUI. Thats an "app" I would happily pay good money for. I hate my android phone sometimes (in the same way I hated not having many apps on my palm pre). Lots of apps though.

    I think this would be a better goal than just porting WebOS to various hardware. WebOS will probably never have the apps that android has. Eventually, I'm sure, Android will catch up in the GUI and such.

  • Re:Best choice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:17PM (#38321250)

    > any employees thinking that this will lengthen their career should think again

    As a current webOS employee that fully expected to be laid off today, this announcement has *already* lengthened my career at HP.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein