Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Sep 2017 21:27 UTC
Apple

I have become the unofficial standard bearer for webOS, the operating system created by Palm for the Pre and its successive devices. It was a wildly innovative and smart foundation for a smartphone done in by performance problems, mediocre hardware, and most of all by US carriers who acted as kingmakers for other companies.

So as the bearer of a thoroughly-tattered banner, I’ve been hearing a lot of people ask what I thought about the iPhone X and how it borrows many of the ideas first introduced by Palm. Here’s what I think: it’s great, and also it’s silly compare the state of tech in 2017 with the state of tech in 2009. Just because Palm did some stuff first doesn’t take away from Apple is doing them now. Context matters, and our context today is very different.

WebOS had some great ideas, but on a technical level, the operating system was a mess. It was a major battery hog, slow, and basically nothing more than a tech demo made in WebKit on top of a largely unmodified Linux kernel, running on mediocre hardware. WebOS wasn't a product worthy of the Palm name.

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A mess ?
by lc_lol on Sat 16th Sep 2017 07:30 UTC
lc_lol
Member since:
2017-09-16

"WebOS had some great ideas, but on a technical level, the operating system was a mess. It was a major battery hog, slow, and basically nothing more than a tech demo made in WebKit on top of a largely unmodified Linux kernel, running on mediocre hardware."

I can't agree with that. Please look back at what Android was then (and most of the "then-Android" mess still annoys me in the latest versions), and compare it with WebOS... Battery hog ? My Pre3 (still) runs about 36 hours without needing a charge, I remember my collegues who _cable_charges their iphones twice a day...

No mobile OS has yet reached the ease of use of WebOS GUI, nor its capacities in multitasking.

OK, the OS wasn't perfect, and yes the hardware was messy. But don't forget two things :
- 1st most of the failure was due to the policy of mobile phone carriers (I never quite understand the "carrier&phone" exclusivity system. Anyone should always have been able to choose either carrier or phone)
- 2nd : when HP entered in the game the palm team was given a 3-years delay to reach a fully-grown webOS, aiming to reach a multi-devices ecosystem, able to run on phones, tablets, TVs, printers, ... Then, after one year and the first prototype Leo ran into it and F... it all. Well, this OS wasn't slow, messy or anything else. And, matter of fact, it was very promising, if only it had been given its chances.

Edited 2017-09-16 07:31 UTC

Reply Score: 11

RE: A mess ?
by Meanwhile on Sat 16th Sep 2017 11:30 in reply to "A mess ? "
Meanwhile Member since:
2005-09-03

Fully agree with you.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A mess ?
by tidux on Sat 16th Sep 2017 15:57 in reply to "A mess ? "
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

> No mobile OS has yet reached the ease of use of WebOS GUI, nor its capacities in multitasking.

AOSP has full floating multiwindow. It's entirely the manufacturers' fault they haven't turned that on for tablets or convertibles.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: A mess ?
by leech on Sat 16th Sep 2017 17:03 in reply to "RE: A mess ? "
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

> No mobile OS has yet reached the ease of use of WebOS GUI, nor its capacities in multitasking.

AOSP has full floating multiwindow. It's entirely the manufacturers' fault they haven't turned that on for tablets or convertibles.


I haven't used WebOS so I can't really speak for that;
But the N900 and N9 (Maemo and MeeGo) had awesome Multitasking, and the single MeeGo phone had the easiest to use interface out of any of them. I still miss using mine all the time...

Floating multi-window was added I think to the TouchWiz Samsung things first, then later on added to standard Android, like a lot of things, seems Samsung tries to implement the features, does a crap job the first time, gets it right the second, then about 4 or 5 revisions in, plain Android gets the same feature (shortly before iOS does for most things)

Nah, I'm not bitter at all that MS screwed up the once great Nokia...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A mess ?
by sergio on Sun 17th Sep 2017 05:54 in reply to "A mess ? "
sergio Member since:
2005-07-06

No mobile OS has yet reached the ease of use of WebOS GUI, nor its capacities in multitasking.


Never used a phone with webOS but I used a crappy HP tablet around 2011 or 2012 with it and... what was so "easy" about it??? To me it was horrible and unresponsive. o_O

Back then iOS5 was much simpler and agile. I've found webOS similar to GNOME and that's not a compliment exactly... btw I have no idea if webOS was better or worse than iOS at technical level but It wasn't simpler or easier to use than iOS and it looked terrible.

Maybe webOS was better than Android, thanks God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I didn't have to use Android in 2011 so I cannot compare them.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[2]: A mess ?
by lc_lol on Sun 17th Sep 2017 08:07 in reply to "RE: A mess ? "
lc_lol Member since:
2017-09-16

"Back then iOS5 was much simpler and agile."

That may be why iOS7 "borrowed" WebOS cards to manage its (not backgroud-active) mutitasking ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: A mess ?
by lc_lol on Sun 17th Sep 2017 08:42 in reply to "RE: A mess ? "
lc_lol Member since:
2017-09-16

"Never used a phone with webOS but I used a crappy HP tablet around 2011 or 2012 with it and... what was so "easy" about it??? To me it was horrible and unresponsive. o_O "

- Swipe up from border : "cards" multi-task view
- Swipe card up : close the app (but keep most in background for a while, so it can re-open faster)
- Swipe card down : kill the app

(and on phones : swipe the border from right to left = back)

Way more easier than short-press, long-press, double-press, the center button.

BTW : I used a (not so crappy :p) iOS phone around 2014 and... it was horribly laggy, battery hungry and unresponsive...

So I explained my friend how he could kill his 78 (yes, really) background apps swiping them up ;) I wouldn't rely on that 5 minutes experience to declare anywhere that iOS is messy and crappy ;)

About the rest, yes you're right it wasn't eye-candy, but that's not what I was talking about ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A mess ?
by protomank on Mon 18th Sep 2017 13:13 in reply to "A mess ? "
protomank Member since:
2006-08-03

As someone who had the opportunity to take a look into WebOS source at the time.... Man, I have no idea how that worked at all in the end!

Before WebOS, there was a common knowledge that Palm programmer were great, they did magic. Well, I can tell you that they did a mess in the code. In just one application, with more than 2 million lines of code, I could find only two comments in the code, that did not described what they were doing at all.
And other people, who looked in other pieces of the OS code, also had the same results and impressions, this is not only my personal take in the matter.

It is a fine software running, but supporting that code, in the future, would be hell.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: A mess ?
by lc_lol on Mon 18th Sep 2017 18:33 in reply to "RE: A mess ? "
lc_lol Member since:
2017-09-16

"Man, I have no idea how that worked at all in the end! "

E pur si muove ;) !

Reply Parent Score: 1