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The Future of HP’s webOS is Open Source
By Christopher Weaver

For those of us intrigued with the future of webOS, yesterday was an exciting day. Since Meg Whitman came on as HP’s CEO we’ve all been in limbo wondering whether there would be future development, or whether the OS would be sold off to the highest bidder. Well we now know that HP will indeed continue development with the help of the open-source community. What this means for the world is that if you have a webOS device you will continue to see support and updates, and it also will offer another OS option to OEM’s looking to make a new phone or tablet.

Interestingly enough HP is actually planning on a possible webOS powered tablet sometime in 2013, but in the interim time is saying their next tablet will be powered by Windows 8. It seems odd that they would be planning a flip flop from webOS to Windows 8, and then possibly back to webOS as a strategy. The timing is also strange when you factor in the fact that HP is selling off their remaining stock of HP Touchpad’s through their eBay store on December 11th for $99.

Below is an internal company memo from Meg Whitman to the HP staff explaining the future of this product.

From: CEO – Meg Whitman
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 2:03 PM
Subject: webOS to be contributed to the open source community

Meg Whitman
CEO

TO/ All Employees

SUBJECT/ webOS to be contributed to the open source community

Today, we announced that HP will contribute our webOS software to the open source community and support its development going forward. We believe that this is the best way to ensure the benefits of webOS are accessible to the largest possible ecosystem.

Since we announced the discontinuation of our webOS devices last August, the executive team has been working to determine the best path forward for this highly respected software. We looked at all the options in the market today and we see a clear need for a platform that is both open and has a single integrated stack.

webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected, and scalable. By providing webOS to the open source community and other hardware vendors we have the potential to fundamentally change the landscape.

HP engineers, partners, other developers and hardware manufacturers will be able to contribute to the development of webOS. Together, we have an opportunity to make it the foundation of a new generation of devices, applications and services to address the rapidly evolving demands of both consumers and enterprises.

I would like to thank the webOS team for continuing your efforts under very difficult circumstances during these last couple of months. Your dedication is very much appreciated.

This is a very positive move for the development of our people, our software and HP overall.

We strongly believe that the best days for webOS are still ahead.

Best,

Meg

HP to Contribute webOS to Open Source
HP to enable creativity of the community to accelerate the next-generation web-centric platform
PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 9, 2011 – HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.

HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.

webOS offers a number of benefits to the entire ecosystem of web applications. For developers, applications can be easily built using standard web technologies. In addition, its single integrated stack offers multiplatform portability. For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices. As a result, the end user benefits from a fast, immersive user experience.

“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.”

HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.

HP will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:

– 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

HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.

Beginning today, developers and customers are invited to provide input and suggestions at http://developer.palm.com/blog/.

[Tech Crunch]


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