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1/26/2012
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HP WebOS Open Source Timeline Revealed

HP will release Open WebOS 1.0 in pieces during the next eight months, disappointing some developers who'd hoped to get the entire platform at once.

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HP is making good on its promise to deliver its now-defunct smartphone platform to the open source community. WebOS, the OS it acquired when it bought Palm, will no longer be used by HP in smartphones and tablets, and the company announced in December that it would give it to others to use.

If you're hoping the entire platform will become available in one fell swoop, prepare for some disappointment. The platform and the developer tools that accompany it are going to be released over time, with small portions becoming available each month between now and September.

The first piece available is version 2.0 of webOS's developer tool, Enyo. Enyo 2.0 lets developers write a single app that will work across mobile devices and desktop Web browsers. This includes, among others, iOS and Android as well as Internet Explorer and Firefox. The source code for Enyo is already available, giving developers access to the application framework for webOS.

[ What happened to webOS? For one take, see WebOS Failure: Palm Insiders Blame Management. ]

The rest of the release schedule looks something like this:

February: Intended project governance model, QT WebKit extensions, JavaScript core, UI Enyo widgets.

March: Linux standard kernel, Graphics extensions EGL, LevelDB, USB extensions.

April: Ares 2.0, Enyo 2.1, Node services.

July: System manager ("Luna"), System manager bus, Core applications, Enyo 2.2.

August: Build release model, Open webOS Beta.

September: Open webOS 1.0.

Remember that these dates represent goals set by HP, and are subject to change.

"HP is bringing the innovation of the webOS platform to the open source community," said Bill Veghte, HP executive VP and chief strategy officer. "This is a decisive step toward meeting our goal of accelerating the platform's development and ensuring that its benefits will be delivered to the entire ecosystem of Web applications."

Open webOS 1.0 and its components are being made available via the Apache 2.0 license. Apache 2.0 is often used to manage contributions to open source software projects. "It provides a legal framework that balances open innovation and a dependable user experience, which is consistent with HP's vision for webOS," said HP.

WebOS was first revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2009. Palm, which was a separate company at the time, hoped webOS would be its golden ticket back to smartphone dominance. Sadly, Palm's hardware never caught on with consumers and the platform failed to gain critical mass with developers. HP announced plans to shelve webOS in August 2011.

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