back to article The dead reanimates as HP ships Open webOS beta

As promised, HP has shipped the beta release of Open webOS, the open source version of the web standards–based webOS mobile platform that was the last hurrah of the former Palm before HP absorbed it in 2010. More surprisingly, however, HP actually seems to be staffing up its webOS development team – an odd reversal of recent …


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  1. James 47

    proprietary -> opensource -> dead

    I stopped looking at the code when I saw JSON in the powerd folder.

    1. Comments are attributed to your handle

      Re: proprietary -> opensource -> dead

      You must be a fan of XML, or written another way, a











      1. M Gale

        Re: proprietary -> opensource -> dead

        <ahem />

        1. Comments are attributed to your handle

          Re: <ahem />

          Well yeah, if you have a single element with no structure or children.

  2. Peter Gordon

    I'm reading this on an HP Pre 3

    and my Touchpad is android free. I'm following this with interest, but even I'm not convinced anything great will happen with my favourite mobile OS. I'd love to be proven wrong...

    1. AJames

      Re: I'm reading this on an HP Pre 3

      Same here - I still like my Android-free TouchPad. I'm cautiously hopeful about Open WebOS!

      1. HMB

        Re: I'm reading this on an HP Pre 3

        Well, I put android on my touchpad, though the ACME installer doesn't wipe off WebOS. It goes multi boot.

        Tut... tut... sloppy reg.

    2. Tommy Pock

      Re: I'm reading this on an HP Pre 3

      Even if it is, legacy hardware won't be supported. My much loved Pre 3 is in my bedside drawer, it won't be getting the new open source WebOS. Or any updates at all, probably. As much as I loved WebOS, I had to move on.

      Posted from my Nokia Lumia 800 (which isn't as good as the Pre 3)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm reading this on an HP Pre 3

        Lumia: oh dear you're not having much luck with platforms are you. To choose one dead-end OS might be classed as unfortunate, to choose another (Phone 7) might be classed as ...

  3. Robert E A Harvey

    not waving, but drowning

    I think Meg knows HP did something foolish with WebOS, but is not sure what, and has no idea at all what to do about it.

    It would be interesting to see a revival, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Hardcastle the ancient

      Re: not waving, but drowning

      Oh look, the mad downvoters are back.

      I agree, it is hard to decide what the fundamental problem was with HP & the WebOS devices:

      * Why did a dyed-in-the-wool MS shop (at the retail level) think it could handle another OS?

      * Why did the devices take so long to dribble out?

      * Why were they so ineffably poor (no memory slot, no USB master mode), no product differentiation?

      * Why did they think they could pitch them at the iPod price point?

      * Why slash and burn like you had a tantrum?

      Considering what they paid for it, I too would expect Meg to be trying to find some value in the wreckage.

      This is the company that was going to ship every PC with desktop Webos, and then forgot about that bit. Even with the change of leadership I reckon the rot goes all the way down.

      1. Stoneshop

        Re: not waving, but drowning

        I too would expect Meg to be trying to find some value in the wreckage.

        Then why hasn't she put it up on eBay?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you are thinking of going for a job as a WebOS developer don't quit your existing one. Simply turn up for HP on Saturday and the whole team will be made redundant by the Sunday evening,

    HP constantly flip flop and that's why they are heading for the gutter

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HP constantly flip flop

      That is certainly evident in the company's recent history, but it's not necessarily how it will continue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beware

      That is because HP stands for Hokey Pokey these days.

  6. DZ-Jay

    Backed by HP

    I noticed that they had to mention "backed by HP" twice in two contiguous sentences, as if to ensure it's taken seriously.

    "No, really: backed by HP. I swear. They're backing us up. Stop snickering at the back, you!"


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not tablets?

    Isn't webos mostly used as their embedded os? Now the license negotiations with MS over RT are complete...

    I'm a bit surprised no-one just tries to strip down a linux distro rather than create the mangled single-user versions we seem to get on tablets. Is the kernel just too complex and power-hungry for a tablet or is ARM just so devoid of standards we aren't even sure of the best way to define or attach a keyboard?

    The HP tablet was a decent one. At its weight, it was never going to fly against a thin, light ipad in a shop, but the sound quality makes the ipad look like a cheap Chinese android knockoff and in reality I tend to rest a tablet on my lap or sofa arm.

    The apps are beginning to look a bit dated, but that brings me back to... why not just use a normal stripped down linux/X system and perhaps the gnome or kde touch interfaces?

    1. wim

      Re: Not tablets?

      Can't agree more.

      I would love to have a linux tablet so that I can have the same OS on my laptop / tablet. If both could sync/cloud-backup without handing all your data to some want-to-know-everything company that would be even better.

  8. Jason Hindle

    Perhaps trying to undo some of the damage

    Mad Leo in his short, incompetent reign? The WebOS tablets were solid, if flawed. Successful tech companies usually iterate until they get it right. The mad one OTOH simply threw the baby out with the bathwater as soon as HP encountered problems in the market place.

  9. Neil 7

    Open WebOS will not be supporting the old HP hardware

    At least not officially, maybe there will be a community edition lashed together. Is this what HP means when they say they back Open WebOS and Gram? Gawd help them.

    As for the future of Open WebOS - it has none if they can't even get it on the hardware for which it was originally developed.

    Ignoring the almost 1m Touchpad devices already out there, and which would be perfect for Open WebOS, while instead hoping someone else comes along and ships a trailblazing Open WebOS device is totally ludicrous.

    I expect Gram to be put into administration within 12 months from now, with no devices shipped and nothing but opportunities missed. They have a chance to kickstart Open WebOS by targeting the Touchpad devices and creating an instant community, but they're chosen not to - idiots.

  10. Mike Row


    Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness.[1] It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 0.3–0.7%.[2] Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.

    I've been wondering about HP's management functionality for a while.

    They were the dominant printer manufacturer, especially for network printers. The developed a very nice enterprise network portfolio but, in my opinion, made second rate computers.

    I expressed my idea for HP to buy Compac and stop making HP computers about 6 months before the purchase actually happened. Unfortunately they only got the first half right.

    When the bought Palm, i thought maybe they finally have someone with a tech brain running things finally.

    I always thought Palm OS had the potential to become a full fledged desktop capable OS. Loved the way my Palm Pilot ran but wanted the form factor and network communication of a real computer.

    Web OS seemed, at the time like a good first step towards and independent, marketable OS. Windows Mobile and Android are based on downsizing a desktop operating system to fit a portable device. Web OS appeared to be the result of taking the opposite approach. Recreate the OS by going from the portable device and up size it. The HP tablet was welcome evolution if you were familiar with the Palm OS. It seemed like a logical evolution.

    But HP treated it like deformity and threw it out.

    I hope they continue to back this platform and let it develop to its full potential. WITHOUT the built in Control Freak features (app stores) being mandated by Apple, Google and now Microsoft with Windows 8 / fkna Metro. Make a system that works and let the customer decide how they want to use it.

  11. cd

    Is this about patents?

  12. Dick Pountain

    A Rose By Another F**king Name

    How many names is that Palm has been through now? I've lost count.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I had to finally give up on my old but highly usable palm phone. Hesitating to pay the price for the actually less intuitively usable iphone.............................

  14. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    I liked the look of WebOS when it came out (as a long time Tungsten T3 user, I liked many things Palm). I did not rush in and get a Pre or TouchPad, but I still like many of the ideas behind WebOS. I fear that this latest release may be too little, too late for WebOS however. I hope I am wrong.

  15. daveeff

    Wot no file system?

    What hacks me off about webOS is it hides the file system. I have hundreds of PDF books all sorted into directories by genre / author. The PDF reader lists all the PDF's by title - thanks.

    Ditto MP3's although it does take some notice of the tags for those - not that all my MP3's are correctly tagged, I tend to rely on folders to organise things.

    I can use the brilliant Internalz Pro but why an add on for basic functionality?

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