webOS To Be Released as Open Source

Heck yes. This is one fine way to toast the weekend, ain’t it? HP has just announced it’s going to release webOS under an open source license. While the company will cease making hardware for the platform for now, it will continue development on it together with the open source community. Hey Access, you listening? Update: More good news: HP’s CEO just told The Verge that HP will be putting webOS on hardware after all – tablets!

As we all know, HP pulled the plug on webOS pretty quickly, unable to compete with iOS and Android. From that moment onwards, the company has been in a state of flux, with no clear idea of what was going to happen to the relatively innovative mobile operating system. Now, we finally know what’s going to happen: they’re releasing webOS as open source.

“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer, “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

The company presents four key points for the soon-to-be open source project – with a few deserved jabs at Google and Android, right there.

  • The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
  • HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
  • Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
  • Software will be provided as a pure open source project

While all this looks great, the question here is who would actually be using webOS. To me, it sounds like HP couldn’t find a buyer, couldn’t find a partner, and as a last resort, throws it out on the street hoping someone else will take it away.

At the very least, this should help Pre and TouchPad owners, but how much use it’s going to be for people wanting webOS on new hardware remains to be seen.

54 Comments

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