HP Launches Open-Source Version of webOS Platform

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2012-09-01
 
 
 

Hewlett-Packard is delivering on its promise to launch an open-source version of its webOS mobile operating system-and is doing it right on schedule. The Beta release, launched Aug. 31, comprises 54 webOS components available as open-source software and brings more than 450,000 lines of code released under the Apache 2.0 license. Incorporating two build environments-a desktop build and an OpenEmbedded build-the latest release brings a host of new features, including Gestures and Card Stack Tabs.

The desktop build provides a development environment for enhancing the webOS user experience with new features and integrating new open-source technologies, and a company blog post also noted developers could now use all their desktop tools on development machines. The desktop build also includes System Manager support for applications, including the core applications such as Calendar and Contacts, in addition to support for a variety of third-party Enyo applications, according to an Aug. 31 post on the Open webOS Project blog.

Meanwhile, the OpenEmbedded build, which provides an ARM emulator and was selected for its widespread community adoption, cross-compiling support for embedded platforms and support for multiple hardware architectures, provides a development environment for porting webOS to new and exciting devices. The blog post also noted the company is "actively converging" on an OE Core image which boots to System Manager and the full webOS experience.

"No Beta release would be complete without a full complement of ways for the community to contribute and engage with us. Come join the community to discuss porting, features and fixes on our mailing lists. You can also submit and track bugs and feature requests in our public Jira system," the blog post said. "As we work with the community to deliver innovation to the webOS platform, we will highlight and promote the most innovative and noteworthy contributions. Let us know of your breakthroughs and where you might need help. We have the specialists to assist."

When HP announced it was giving away its Linux-based mobile operating platform, webOS, to the open-source community, analysts and industry experts expected that to be the death knell for the system. However, a leaked memo uncovered earlier this month by webOS Nation reveals HP is planning to launch Gram, an independent company under HP's financial umbrella that will employ the webOS team that makes up the webOS Global Business Unit.

In the memo, HP Chief of Staff Martin Risau referred to Gram as "a new brand" that is currently in "stealth mode" and asked employees to keep the company name and product under the radar for now. "We are no longer a consumer hardware brand; we are a different company with focus on software, user experience, cloud, engineering and partnering," he wrote. "We are an incubation company, and we are trusting you to keep this company name and product under the radar to give it time to take root and grow. You can wear the logo, help build the momentum of the new identity, talk to your families and friends about it."

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