I thought WebOS was going Opensource?

Bypassing a Palm Pre Activation

Me and David were arguing like old times about the state of the industry and we got around to the mobile industry… We talked about mobile operating systems and got around to Firefox OS and Ubuntu. David said remember WebOS, look how that ended…

I reminded him that it was going Opensource, however today David pointed me at this

Electronics giant HP is selling off the code, staff and technology involved in its WebOS software to Korean firm LG.

HP acquired the WebOS operating system when it bought veteran gadget maker Palm in 2011 for $1.2bn (£789m).

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed but HP is not thought to have recouped much of the money it paid for Palm.

LG said the WebOS code would be used to power its next-generation smart TV technology.

The WebOS was created to run smartphones, tablets and other devices developed by Palm that, in its early days, pioneered the handheld gadget industry. However, Palm’s influence has diminished as Apple, Google’s Android and RIM’s Blackberry have come to dominate the smartphone and tablet markets.

In the deal, LG gets WebOS source code, engineers working on it, documentation and the websites that promote it. HP is holding on to patents underlying WebOS as well as technology that helps it connect to web-based services.

It looks like the deal doesn’t effect the code? maybe? who knows?

So much for going Opensource?, I had thought it was going to be like the BeOS of the mobile operating systems.

The WebOS…

Jason Kottke has an amazing read about the emergence of the web operating system. I've noticed over a very short time, people habits changing (even my own) most of my day is spent in some web/net connected applications like firefox, widgets, rss readers. I hardly ever need most of the apps on my computer day in day out. He also confirms quite a few thoughts I've had about the future of the web in regards to operating systems and the net. So some thoughts while reading Jason's post…

Google. If Google is not thinking in terms of the above, I will eat danah's furriest hat. They've already shifted the focus of Google Desktop with the addition of Sidebar and changing the name of the application (it used to be called Google Desktop Search…and the tagline changed from “Search your own computer” to the more general “Info when you want it, right on your desktop”). To do it properly, I think they need their own browser (with bundled Web server, of course) and they need to start writing their applications to work on OS X and Linux (Google is still a Windows company)[4]. Many of the moves they've made in the last two years have been to outflank Microsoft, and if they don't use Google Desktop's “insert local code into remote sites” trick to make whatever OS comes with people's computers increasingly irrelevant, they're stupid, stupid, stupid. Baby step: make Gmail readable offline.

In agreement, Gmail with offline support via google desktop would be a good move forward.

Yahoo. I'm pretty sure Yahoo is thinking in these terms as well. That's why they bought Konfabulator: desktop presence. And Yahoo has tons of content and apps that that would like to offer on a WebOS-like platform: mail, IM, news, Yahoo360, etc. Challenge for Yahoo: widgets aren't enough…many of these applications are going to need to run in Web browsers. Advantages: Yahoo seems to be more aggressive in opening up APIs than Google…chances are if Yahoo develops a WebOS platform, we'll all get to play.

Hard to admit, but Yahoo are seriously getting this and have over took google in the innovation field. Yes Google still have the upper hand, but I'm not certain that will be the case if Yahoo do buy Technorati or launch there killer. I'm also thinking Yahoo and Mozilla could partner if Jason is right about Widgets not being enough.

Microsoft. They're going to build a WebOS right into their operating system…it's likely that with Vista, you sometimes won't be able to tell when you're using desktop applications or when you're at msn.com. They'll never develop anything for OS X or for Linux (or for browsers other than IE), so its impact will be limited. (Well, limited to most of the personal computers in the world, but still.)

I'm still trying to get my head around a operating system which is so web enabled. I'm assuming RSS will allow Vista to by pass the web on the desktop type crap. Hopefully Microsoft have got there thinking hats fully on because they will miss the trick if they let Yahoo and Google develop a web OS on top of Vista.

Apple. Apple has all the makings of a WebOS system right now. They've got the browser, a Web server that's installed on every machine with OS X, Dashboard, iTMS, .Mac, Spotlight, etc. All they're missing is the applications (aside from the Dashboard widgets). But like Microsoft, it's unlikely that they'll write anything for Windows or Linux, although if OS X is going to run on cheapo Intel boxes, their market share may be heading in a positive direction soon.

I think Apple get it but there hardware/software dependancy is a problem which could really slow them down. I expect we shall see what happens with the whole Apple on Intel deal.

The Mozilla Foundation. This is the most unlikely option, but also the most interesting one. If Mozilla could leverage the rapidly increasing user base of Firefox and start bundling a small Web server with it, then you've got the beginnings of a WebOS that's open source and for which anyone, including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and anyone with JavaScript chops, could write applications. To market it, they could refer to the whole shebang as a new kind of Web browser, something that sets it apart from IE, a true “next generation” browser capable of running applications no matter where you are or what computer (or portable device) you're using

See I think Jason has it a little wrong here. Mozilla has built a lot of community mind share into there web OS products. More so that the others in some respects. Also about the small web server, Greasemonkey anyone? XUL runner is also the foot in the door of widget type fuctionality and they certainly have the full support of the community behind them. How many extensions are there now for Firefox, anyone? Jason also made reference to the lack of rich UI support in web OS. Well Mozilla's got the open standards message and is using SVG, XBL and other standards going on. My bets are on Mozilla and Yahoo for sure.

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