HP pours open source on webOS for mobile

Late last week HP today announced that it will contribute the webOS Linux-based mobile operating system software project to the open source community. Originally developed by Palm and later acquired by HP, the company says that it will remain “active in the development and support” of webOS.

HP is “exposing” webOS to the “development power of the open source community” and hopes that to accelerate development from this point forward.

For software developers, the webOS proposition rests heavily upon the fact that applications can be built using standard web technologies from a “single integrated stack”, which is said to offer multiplatform portability.

For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices. As a result, (so says HP) the end user benefits from an “immersive user experience”, as they say.

Or in other words — other hardware manufacturers will now have the option to build devices running the webOS operating system.


According to a publicity-driven quote that has been attributed to Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer, “webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable.”

“By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices,” Whitman’s press release statement continued.

HP says it will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project to ensure “good, transparent and inclusive” governance to avoid fragmentation.

In line with this news, HP is also open sourcing the ENYO JavaScript framework. ENYO (or more accurately Enyo after the Greek goddess of war) is the magic element in webOS designed to enable apps to straddle the task of rendering to different screen resolutions (across say, different tablets and smartphones) and still look good.

NOTE: The sum of these factors could, arguably, push webOS more positively forward than even Android which, despite its popularity, is still heavily policed by Google.

Pass the webOS sauce ☺