HP is making webOS open-source
No hardware partners to announce right now, but this means any interested smartphone or tablet manufacturer can pick up webOS and run with it. I think this is a bold move and a great outcome; it would have been a real shame if they killed the project entirely. webOS has always been very hacker-friendly and developer-friendly, and I personally am looking forward to taking a peek at the code behind it all.
It will be interesting to see if any major hardware manufacturer picks up the OS from the get-go. Even if no one does, it will definitely be popular in the modder community (buy an android phone, flash it with webOS). And it sounds like HP will be getting back into the tablet business in 2013 as well: techcrunch.com/2011/12/09/hps-whitman-well-make-we...
I just hope they can open source it quickly, open sourcing a what was before close-sourced OS is not a quick process. This move to open-source can be a big benefit to HP if they can pull it off well; you get a lot of positive perception of a company's brand when you open-source something because you giving away something of value for free (you don't see many google haters out there do you?).
One of my friends asked me "With android adding so many iconic webos-like features such as app cards and swipe-to-close, why not just back android?". I enjoy these new ICS features (android fan here), but I've played around with ice cream sandwich and it doesn't feel much like webOS; for example I can't use swipe-to-close from the app - i need to go to the app drawer, and it's not really "closing" the app. As well, building apps for webOS is very different, one of the benefits of which is they're built on very common web-technologies such JS and CSS, so they can be very lightweight and fast. There is room for both of these very different open-source phone/tablet OS's.
But, since I'm already a fringe OS user (Ubuntu on my desktop machines, and webOS on my phone), at least now I can look forward to being able to continue using and tweaking webOS, and maybe even using it on some cutting edge hardware.
The first outcome I'd imagine seeing are ports to newer phones. Porting webOS 2.X may be challenging, since it's not as resolution independent as 3.X, but with them also releasing Enyo (which is much more resolution independent), maybe it won't be quite so difficult.
I was hoping Meg and others would make a sound decision like this. Now to see what open source will bring for the future of webOS.
For HP this was a $1.2 billion decision and while they have taken their financial hit on this one, the user and development communities feel good about this promising and stable
mobile OS and it's future.
Also, imagine what some of the Android ROM makers and PreWare community might think up combining Android and WebOS (to run on Touchpad initially).
I wonder how software patent issues, licensing, and that sort of thing will play into the source code?