Home > Editorial > Open-Source webOS Is Dead on Arrival Open-Source webOS Is Dead on Arrival Submitted by sjvn 2011-12-13 Editorial 34 Comments The more I look at what HP has had to say about webOS; the more I think the project’s as dead as a doornail. About The Author David Adams Follow me on Twitter @david_adams 34 Comments 2011-12-13 3:48 am bhtooefr …while there’s not a MARKET per se, a donation-funded (completely distinct from HP) port could always target Google Nexus hardware or something… After all, Haiku is out there. As a commercial OS, though, it’s likely dead. 2011-12-13 4:42 am WorknMan …while there’s not a MARKET per se, a donation-funded (completely distinct from HP) port could always target Google Nexus hardware or something… Considering how many custom roms are available for my Android phone (at least 4 dozen), I don’t even want to think about what would happen if HP just tosses it out to the wolves, and there’s no centralized, governing body to keep things from getting out of hand. Basically, you would have 15yos throwing out a custom rom that they worked for 2 hours on with half the features working, and then abandon it three days later, and multiply this by about 50, and a clusterf**k of these type of threads on xda, and that’s what you’ll have to look forward to. Edited 2011-12-13 04:42 UTC 2011-12-13 10:47 am bhtooefr Oh god. That’s why I’ve avoided running a third-party ROM on my phone, actually… Although, maybe webOS Internals could keep up a good “vanilla webOS” fork, and target a narrow range of devices? 2011-12-13 11:58 am No it isnt With the kind of government you ask for, it essentially isn’t open source. One of the first working custom ROMs available for the Sony Ericsson X10 mini was made by a 16 year old. He was something of a cunt, and eventually abandoned it, but his work wasn’t bad at all. And even if a ROM is abandoned, it’s not like switching to another one is much different from upgrading. The problem is if you get highly developed forks under closed licenses, with no source available. 2011-12-13 2:56 pm Bill Shooter of Bul Well, to clue you all in. HP doesn’t want a gazillion forks either. They want a model that’s closer to RedHat, where the code is open and people can contribute, but there is one authoritative product which will be WebOS. 2011-12-14 1:41 pm lucas_maximus This already happens with Remastersys and Ubuntu http://www.geekconnection.org/remastersys/ They even had their web history in Gosalia! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oDbd5ZCZaM Edited 2011-12-14 13:41 UTC 2011-12-14 6:31 pm glarepate XDA developer bytecode is only 13. And he appears to be working on 3 different ROMs at the moment. He is getting help from several of the developers that have produced the most popular and best tested ROMs for the LG Optimus phones. I’m not running any of his ROMs though. At least not yet. (o;) 2011-12-13 5:14 am UltraZelda64 As a commercial OS, though, it’s likely dead. Dead is dead. Something can’t be dead, yet not dead at the same time. Unless it is the undead, a zombie maybe… So until proof exists that WebOS has lost all forms of life/interest, it is not dead. “No commercial future” certainly doesn’t mean that it is “dead.” Edited 2011-12-13 05:14 UTC 2011-12-13 8:39 am Kivada As a commercial OS, though, it’s likely dead. Dead is dead. Something can’t be dead, yet not dead at the same time. Unless it is the undead, a zombie maybe… Zombie processes have invaded my computer! 2011-12-13 1:18 pm sparkyERTW Dead is dead. Something can’t be dead, yet not dead at the same time. Unless it’s only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. 2011-12-13 2:13 pm SaidinUnleashed It’s not quite dead, sir! 2011-12-13 6:30 pm BluenoseJake Quantum Mechanics allows this sort of thing all the time. Google Schrodingers Cat. Basically, all particles exist in a mix of all possible states until somebody measures it, then the different states collapse, and leave you with the most likely state. 2011-12-13 7:22 pm sithlord2 Quantum Mechanics allows this sort of thing all the time. Google Schrodingers Cat. Basically, all particles exist in a mix of all possible states until somebody measures it, then the different states collapse, and leave you with the most likely state. Not exactly. If I remember correctly, the purpose of the story of SchrÃ¶dinger’s cat was actually a form of criticism against this interpretation of quantum mechanics. 2011-12-13 11:03 pm BluenoseJake you don’t remember correctly… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat also, you see this effect in real life if you use a diffraction grating with an electron, it causes a pattern of diffraction to be formed by the single electron moving through the grating. This is caused by the electron taking all possible paths to it’s destination. 2011-12-14 8:41 am _txf_ also, you see this effect in real life if you use a diffraction grating with an electron, it causes a pattern of diffraction to be formed by the single electron moving through the grating. This is caused by the electron taking all possible paths to it’s destination. erm… photon? (would work on an electron too, but then you wouldn’t really be seeing it) Edited 2011-12-14 08:43 UTC 2011-12-14 1:55 pm BluenoseJake Uh electron. Using the electron shows the dual nature of matter, and you would see the diffraction pattern, if you used the right target. 2011-12-14 9:28 am sithlord2 you don’t remember correctly… Yes, I do. From the article: — SchrÃ¶dinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility — 2011-12-14 1:56 pm BluenoseJake OH, i think I misunderstood your previous statement, because he came out of that thought experiment, feeling differently about it. 2011-12-20 11:59 pm zima Quantum Mechanics allows this sort of thing all the time. Google Schrodingers Cat. Basically, all particles exist in a mix of all possible states until somebody measures it, then the different states collapse, and leave you with the most likely state. Don’t say “exist” (and so on) like it’s a done deal (also, not necessarily “somebody” – might be as well SOMETHING & ~’observation means interaction’ – well, at least in part of the variants); it’s just one of interpretations of quantum mechanics, interpretations basically trying to give an answer to the “but, what do those equations actually mean, what kind of world do they actually describe?” question …which, in the end, is not even that important (one of interpretations essentially states that the equations ARE our world) Plus, Kopenhagen doesn’t really advocate both dead and alive cats, that thought experiment mostly just shows how different quantum world is from our own weird narrow slice, weird scale & perception (really, think about how, say, ridiculously ‘dense & filled’ it is with ‘solid’ objects, in comparison to the standards of quantum world or of the large scale universe structures – arguably more ‘real’ ones, in how they actually matter) And nearby… also, you see this effect in real life if you use a diffraction grating with an electron, it causes a pattern of diffraction to be formed by the single electron moving through the grating. This is caused by the electron taking all possible paths to it’s destination. That goes into gibberish – single electron will never form a pattern of diffraction, it will hit in one spot and that’s it (interaction with the target is what shows the “particle” behaviour). ‘Probability wave’ of “the single electron” in quantum superposition takes all paths – it can interact with itself, influences the chances of where that spot will be. Duality here means that aggregates of many electrons, which didn’t have the opportunity to interact among themselves in any way, reveal the distribution characteristic of diffraction (but one might as well hit in a “minimum” of two-slit interference) Edited 2011-12-21 00:19 UTC 2011-12-13 7:17 pm sithlord2 Dead is dead. Something can’t be dead, yet not dead at the same time. SchrÃ¶dinger would like to have a word with you… 2011-12-13 5:09 am transami Does Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols actually get paid to talk out of his ass? Why is OSnews even posting such drivel? As long as HP gets the source out there, then webOS will have a life. 2011-12-13 9:03 am searly Exactly my thoughts … he should write for Tabloids … half made up stories devoid of any real content with lots of hyperbole … does anybody take what he has to say seriously anymore? 2011-12-14 3:34 am EternalFacepalm I certainly hope not. I have to say it bothers me that the OSNews staff keeps letting this intellectual turnip submit his own articles. Why be a pawn in his SEO strategy? Edited 2011-12-14 03:35 UTC 2011-12-14 6:41 pm normsland Yeah it does seem to all a bit of FUD. Based on one guys opinion with no hard facts in there at all! I would have thought someone would have modded this trash out. I suppose if anyone gets bored they can always read something more balanced. At least written by someone who has been involved in a open source OS development… http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/13/death_not_the_end_of_webos/ 2011-12-14 4:39 am Soulbender does anybody take what he has to say seriously anymore? Probably the same people who still listens to Steve Gibson. 2011-12-15 5:25 am benali72 I disagree with the Vaughan-Nichols bashing in this thread. V-N’s articles are often speculative, based on his deep industry experience. He doesn’t present them as anything else. I find them a decent source of ideas for what’s going on and do not rely on them for the factual bottom-line. 2011-12-13 7:10 am Bink Wow Mr. Adamsâ€”two â€œwebOS is deadâ€ links in two minutes. You wouldnâ€™t be biased by any chance would you? 2011-12-13 8:46 am clasqm It is not dead. It is just pining for the fjords. 2011-12-13 9:16 am fran I have this feeling that HP is delaying future WebOS tablets to coincide with their future Windows 8 tablet release. They will then have a stable supply of tablet hardware again exposed to a bigger market. Hardware for Windows tablets can thus be used for WebOS devices and vice versa hedging there risk of unsold inventory. 2011-12-13 12:03 pm vaette In the short term the answer is simply enthusiasts. webOS is Linux-based and flexible enough that enterprising individuals will get it running on Android hardware. The fact that webOS is built on a very open and Free platform makes it relevant and interesting, and the web-based stack has time on its side. Certainly it has a more modern flavor than the rather traditional (though with strange twists there as well) Android. I feel slightly dirty using the uppercase-F Free referring to the web as a platform, but it does kind of capture the rather nice situation we have now that the web standards are finally coming together after 15 years of absolute insanity from the W3C (I couldn’t hate on the web as a platform more if I tried in the early 2000s, and it wasn’t IEs fault, it was the W3Cs). 2011-12-13 3:40 pm Lennie Many parts of WebOS are based on already existing open source project. Those projects (like WebKit, Node.js, Linux-kernel (I forgot about the GUI system it is using)) are doing fine. So it should take a lot less time to do maintenaince on such a project. Thus to keep it running it should take a lot less time. 2011-12-13 5:38 pm whartung The fact that HP doesn’t have some detailed pubic plan is no surprise. How can they? This was just an announcement of intent, likely as much to appease and inform the people inside of HP as well as outside. As we all know, they can’t just drag and drop the webos.tar.gz file to git hub and call it a day. They have to go through a vetting process, look for IP conflicts, clean up license headers, etc. etc. Remember all the nay sayers when Sun announced Solaris going OSS, and remember how long that took. But it happened. As far as a process of OSSing a large, proprietary source code base, OpenSolaris was greatly successful — it’s out. That horse is out of the barn with the cat in one hand and bag in the other. The ultimate success, popularity, etc. of Open Source Solaris is unrelated to the process it took to get it out and released. HP sounds serious. Even better, when they release this, it will give hardware makers MORE incentive to have “more open” hardware. “White box” tablets etc. that can run both Android and WebOS. Inevitably, we’ll likely be stuck with binary blob drivers. But it’s a start, and the blob drivers are related directly to the hardware choices made by the manufacturers. The tablet market is hardly mature enough to be a commodity market yet, both on the hardware and software level as developers strive to balance performance, form factor, battery life, costs and components. As far as WebOS, we’ll know in a year — they seem to have a pretty aggressive schedule they’ve announced, and much of it is already open source which should accelerate things. But it’s not dead yet. It’s not even alive, how can it be dead? 2011-12-13 10:29 pm jimmystewpot The culmination of WebOS with the intel/Nokia maemo/meego would be an excellent foundation for re-invention. WebOS Has so much going for it, yet with a lack of direction it’s going to die an unfortunate death. Even Android could benefit from some of the WebOS patents. 2011-12-14 12:04 pm rklrkl As we’ve seen with Linux desktop distros, it doesn’t matter how much easier an OS is to install or how technically superior an OS is, if it’s not shipped pre-installed with hardware, 99% of end-users will *never* install it. webOS will only stay alive if it is rapidly deployed and shipped with various hardware – whether that’s a fully blown computer or a printer, scanner, camera, whatever – it doesn’t matter really. Without pre-installation, only technically proficient end-users will attempt to install it. As another poster said, one way to get the community involved is to see if it could be installed (preferably dual-bootable) on existing hardware such as phones, tablets, netbooks etc. The most obvious target would be Android-running devices, but even if a very good webOS implementation was available via that route, we’d *still* only see 1% of end-users installing it. Funnily enough, I did the exact opposite this year – I put Android (CyanogenMod 7) on my firesale HP TouchPad and now I barely boot into webOS (mainly because of the dearth of apps – it can take a year or more to build up the catalogue…HP gave it 47 days before pulling the hardware).