Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / WebOS

  • Sep 02 / 2012
  • 10

HP and Disruption, All in the Same Page

Hmmm… The Register has dug up more on WebOS. Not only is HP finally releasing it as FLOSS, but they are hiring… That may mean that HP will get back in the WebOS device business. Good news. The more */Linux on the market without any help from M$ the better for consumers, businesses and IT in general.

“We are a fast-paced startup with big ideas, talented people, the software assets of Palm and backed by HP. We built a new company to get the best of both worlds: small teams, fun and disruptive projects, with fast execution backed by HP for long-term success and disruption in the industry”

via The dead reanimates as HP ships Open webOS beta • The Register.

Let’s reflect on this. Acer is getting into thin clients with */Linux. WebOS is back (also */Linux). Apple is losing even as they win (jury self-destructs credibly in public) and M$ hopes to attract a little attention by releasing for ARM… I like this picture. Competition in every direction, even on desktops and */Linux is in the centre of the disruption.

  • Sep 01 / 2012
  • 43

Open webOS – Promise and Delivery

It was pretty exciting stuff when HP introduced WebOS a while back. Quickly they abandoned WebOS for unknown reasons but promised to open the source code. Now they have delivered:

“It has taken a lot of hard work, long hours and weekend sacrifices by our engineering team to deliver on our promise and we have accomplished this goal.”

“The Beta release is comprised of 54 webOS components available as opensource. This brings over 450,000 lines of code released under the Apache 2.0 license, which is one of the most liberal and accepted in the open source community.”

see The Open webOS Project Blog, Open webOS August Edition.

A quick review of the site reveals some principles:

  • Open webOS will accept contributions via a signoff process inspired by Linux Certificate of Origin.
  • Open webOS will made available under the Apache license, Version 2.0.
  • Open webOS will use the contributor committal model in use on most open source projects.
  • Open webOS will be segmented into multiple projects to give developers ample opportunity to join and remain active in the development effort.
  • The Open webOS project website will host a wiki, a source code repository, a mailing list, and a bug tracking system.
  • We will use Github or an equivalent tool to as the code repository.
  • We will use JIRA or an equivalent tool to track issues.
  • Our plan is to allow multiple committers to branch and merge code in the open to allow multiple development branches to occur at once.
  • That’s good stuff for a FLOSS project but there’s something that bugs me. While they open the source, they allow it to be closed again at whim by using the ASL which does not require source code to be distributed along with the binary code. That’s an arbitrary and unnecessary term which may turn off some contributors who don’t want code they write locked up.

    Then, there’s this strangeness:
    “At any given moment we would expect relatively few committers.

    (As an example, Linux has thousands of users, of whom only 2.5% are developers or contributors and fewer than 100 are committers. So, the project may have many, many users, but it’s the PMC and the committers who determine the project’s baseline.)

    All committers report to the PMC of the component they represent. The PMC uses a consensus-based decision making process to determine whether or not to take a contribution from the community and commit it to the code tree.”

    A founding principle that code development will be open is incompatible with the idea that committers will be few. Software that is intended to explode and make a huge difference in IT should not be limited by the imaginations of the initiators. Who, in the 21st Century, counts users of Linux in “thousands”? What’s with that? Perhaps its not end-users they write of but developers, distributors or OEMs or such, but it’s strange to think FLOSS of any kind has 2.5% of users being committers. There’s something wrong with this picture yet it’s right their as a principle of the organization.

    I hope these are just vestiges of the corporate ethos of HP and that the organization will evolve to a more caring/sharing culture. There’s no reason WebOS should not be as popular as GNU/Linux or Android/Linux and that means many millions of users and possibly thousands of contributors.

    In any event, the world is a bit better having yet another good OS to choose for end users.

    A brief survey of the repository shows that WebOS is heavily JavaScripted with a nice modular style making it easily portable to any OS using NYX. Chuckle, I guess there was a bit of chaos near the creation of WebOS… A good overview is on this page.