Friday, December 09, 2011

HP Opens Up webOS Gives The Code To The Open Source Community

HP has announced that webOS will live one as the company plans to "contribute" its fledgling operating system to the open source community. Which means the software, along with the companion ENYO application framework, will be available under an open source license to anyone who wants to use and further develop the mobile OS.

What does it mean to make webOS “open source”?
In short the term “open source” refers to a form of software licensing where the source code is available for use and improvement by anyone choosing to download and develop it. Developers can essentially modify the original software as they see fit and distribute it as their own. Developers typically share their enhancements with the rest of the community resulting in a product refined through community collaboration.

An example of popular open source software is the Firefox web browser, Linux, Open Office and the popular image editor Gimp.

What does this mean for the Touchpad?
This is really good news for you Touchpad owners. It means that users of webOS devices will not only continue to receive software improvements and updates from HP but it also means that developers might work on major improvements to the software themselves. It also means that we may see the software support more devices in the future.

HP said that it expects that making webOS open source will accelerate the development of the webOS platform and application ecosystem, which will benefit current and future users. The companyplans to remain active in the development and support of webOS.

Will wee see HP making webOS devices again or will we see more webOS supported devices?
Hp has not formally announced any plans to manufacture more devices or revamp the Touchpad project. However, HP's new CEO Meg Whitman was asked by  The Verge  about new webOS-based hardware. Her answer: "The answer to that is yes but what I can't tell you is whether that will be in 2012 or not. But we will use webOS in new hardware, but it's just going to take us a little longer to reorganize the team in a quite different direction than we've been taking it in the past."

HP's talked about putting webOS in laptops and printers, but so far we've only really seen the OS shine in tablets and smartphones. HP's answer continued, "In the near term what I would imagine - and this could change, in full disclosure - is I would think tablets, I do not believe we will be in the smartphone business again."

The company says that it believes that as webOS gains traction as an open source alternative you could see webOS on several different types of devices by any number of vendors.

My Thoughts:
Personally I think this is great news. I thought HP had a major player with webOS and thought some of the functions and features built into the operating system were great. This is also a big plus to all the consumers out there that jumped on the Touchpad fire sale. Open sourcing the project means that we could see developers supporting the software and hopefully adding in some extra feature support like the Android Market.

This makes me a bit more excited about the reports that HP will be selling more Touchpads over the weekend. According to TechCrunch HP has sent out an internal email stating they will offer more of the tablets starting Sunday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m. Central time. At that time 16GB and 32GB Touchpads will be available via HP’s ebay store (under 'laptops'). However, there is one catch: They're not brand new devices. Instead, HP is selling refurbs to those willing to shell out either $99 or $149 for the tablet.

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