HP has today followed through with its December announcement regarding the open sourcing of its mobile operating system, webOS. Chris Ziegler reports for The Verge:
Following up on its December announcement that it would open source the platform — a last-ditch effort to make it viable — HP has gone into detail today on exactly when and how developers will be getting access to webOS code. The company expects the entire open sourcing process to be complete by September, while Enyo, the application framework that debuted on the TouchPad and underpins webOS 3.0, is available as of today along with related developer tools. When open sourcing is complete, the finished product will be known as Open webOS 1.0.
Somewhat surprisingly, HP claims that Open webOS 1.0 will be available for consumers to use on their current webOS devices later this year. Assuming people hold onto their Touchpads, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the platform (if any).
Of further interest is HP's announcement that Open webOS will be switching to a Linux kernel, much like the one found in Android. Such a decision was presumably made in the hope that it will allow (and encourage) OEMs to implement Open webOS with relative ease across their hardware platforms.
As I wrote back in December, webOS, as we know it, is dead. I stand by this sentiment.
While it's certainly admirable that HP has chosen to allocate resources to the continuity of the once-promising platform, I cannot help but feel pessimistic about its long-term prospects. Perhaps some developers will make use of elements and portions of webOS's underlying framework, but it is highly unlikely that the webOS we once knew will continue to exist in the consumer sphere.
Making a comeback even less likely is Brian X. Chen's recent New York Times report illustrating the lack of cohesion within HP, the severe issues with the OS's development, and the moniker, "the toxic asset."