Nine months ago, I announced that HP had plans to open source webOS in order to keep the operating system alive. I guess it takes just as long to birth a baby as it does to open source an OS, as HP released the beta version of webOS last week, dubbed Open webOS. HP has released it under the Apache 2.0 license.
All told there are 54 different components in the release of Open webOS. This totals over 450,000 lines of code. This is all released in two separate build environments: The first is a desktop environment, and the second is called OpenEmbedded. HP is hoping that developers will use OpenEmbedded to port webOS to many new devices. The desktop environment is made to run on Linux.
There’s not a whole lot else to say about this release. HP lost a lot of its webOS supporters with the whole TouchPad fiasco; I’m sure there are still some developers that are excited about this release, but not nearly as many as Android already has. While it’s a good step towards breathing some new life into webOS, it might be too little too late. I find this a little sad as I love webOS. The major problem of course is that, without the support of developers, there are very few apps available. That fact alone is what made me load up Android on my TouchPad instead of sticking with webOS. Only time will tell if this open source project ends up saving webOS or only slowing its ultimate demise.