HP Makes webOS Open Source
For the past few months Hewlett and Packard has been rather silent about their plans concerning the future of their webOS which ran on several HP’s smartphones and TouchPad tablet. Just two months after the launch, the company decided to shut down the TouchPad product line and count their losses, but it remained unclear what will happen with the webOS.
While the company was taking its time with the decision, the industry news was flooding with speculations that HP will eventually pull the plug on webOS as well. The company’s executives headed by CEO Meg Whitman were giving vague statements so far saying that they will continue to examine the webOS operations and the future of 600 of its employees working in the webOS division.
Finally, HP announced its long-awaited deliberation on webOS Friday, revealing that the OS has been given a second chance for life as an open-source project. HP plans to contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the open source community in the near future as well. According to the press release, HP will continue to actively contribute to Web OS in the areas of development and support.
“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” HP CEO Meg Whitman said in a press statement . “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”
The webOS code will be available under an open source license and the company’s next move is to engage the open source community to define the WebOS open source charter under a set of following operating principals:
- 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
However, it is fairly uncertain how webOS will perform in the market in the future and whether making webOS open source will add weight to HP’s efforts to improve margins. Developers and consumer-electronics manufacturers already have few open source mobile operating systems available to choose from and it is yet to be seen if what HP offers is enough to lure the developers.