Big news from HP as they Offer WebOS to the open source community:
Like a Phoenix from the flames, the fate of Hewlett Packard’s WebOS seems to have finally been sealed, and thanks to HP it will be an open source operating system rather than simply killing the O/S dead.
Many thought that HP would simply ditch the operating system, so this altruistic gesture comes as somewhat of a surprise, in a good way, to many tech observers and commentators.
In an interview on the Verge with Meg Whitman and Marc Andreessen they discuss the long term plans for WebOS though make no clear indication about job losses, but do mention that they intend to make the whole O/S open source, with Enyo included, which was free to developers anyway.
Do HP have a medium term 3/4 year plan for WebOS?
Meg Whitman is quoted here saying:
“Well first I want to set expectations about time frame. This is going to take some time. If you look back at the history of Mozilla or Red Hat — these things did not become giant platforms over night. This in my view is a 4 or 5 year timeframe, and I want to make sure we really communicate that.”
So we can see that it looks very likely that they will be putting some effort into this O/S, and with 600 people employed globally in HP’s WebOS division, these people will be hoping that they do not abandon it as was feared since the earlier notification that HP were ceasing production of their tablet and smartphones back in August.
WebOS’s future in the hands of developers and device manufacturers:
With HP now moving further into the software market, and ditching device manufacturing for now, the move to make the highly praised WebOS software open source will put the operating system in quite an interesting position, essentially sitting alongside Android, with hopes that it will be improved and added to over time.
WebOS was built for mobile:
Praising the WebOS software HP CEO Meg Whitman states:
“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.”
And HP have have stated that they will personally work on the operating system and be an active partner in its development. They also claim that they will offer:
“good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation,”
Avoiding O/S fragmentation (which the Android O/S suffers from), is a desirable future for the well liked WebOS software.
The idea is that there will not be lots of different names and versions floating around every year, so the software stays capable and robust on all devices.
Indeed many software developers claim that WebOS is one hell of a platform so this could be a really interesting new beginning for the O/S.
We will keep you posted on further news on HP and WebOS as always.Anthony Munns