HP’s webOS Goes Open Source

HP CEO Meg Whitman has just decided the fate of webOS: much of the current OS will be contributed to the open source community. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that HP is not going to support the mobile operating system any longer. In other words, it’s dead. Kaput. End of line. (Unless someone actually decides that they’d like to support it with some hardware … HTC, perhaps?) More coverage after the break.

The fate of webOS is now in third-party manufacturers’ hands, and you can only hope for the best. Maybe there will be some great devices on Kickstarter, or maybe today is truly the end of a potentially great OS — it’s up to you to decide. HP looks to the public to help them either revive a dying OS, or let it die.

In addition to making the OS open source, HP has plans to contribute Enyo — their app framework for webOS 3 and the TouchPad — sometime in the “near future.” HP believes that today’s decision provides ”the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices” and they leave the amount of change up to you.

You may also remember the reports that HTC was considering purchasing webOS from HP, but in light of today’s decision, there’s no need to. They get it for free — as does any company that wishes to support it by providing the hardware. Maybe some of these manufacturers will take what it has and build it into something much, much better, but only time will tell.

It seems that stockholders like the company’s decision today as the stock is currently up 2.9%.

Full press release below.

HP to Contribute webOS to Open Source

HP to enable creativity of the community to accelerate the next-generation web-centric platform

PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 9, 2011


HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.

HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.

webOS offers a number of benefits to the entire ecosystem of web applications. For developers, applications can be easily built using standard web technologies. In addition, its single integrated stack offers multiplatform portability. For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices. As a result, the end user benefits from a fast, immersive user experience.

“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.

HP will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:

  • The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
  • HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
  • Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
  • Software will be provided as a pure open source project

HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.

Beginning today, developers and customers are invited to provide input and suggestions at http://developer.palm.com/blog/.

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