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HP details plans to push ahead with webOS open source release

by David Needle

January 25 2012

HP executive Bill Veghte said the computer giant is taking a decisive step toward making the innovative webOS software available under an Apache 2.0 open source license.
HP executive Bill Veghte said the computer giant is taking a decisive step toward making the innovative webOS software available under an Apache 2.0 open source license.

After its $1.2 billion purchase of Palm, HP dramatically pulled the plug last year on the first tablet it released using Palm’s webOS software, the ill-fated TouchPad, leading to a huge write off. But new HP CEO Meg Whitman later promised the computer giant wasn’t giving up on webOS and today’s announcement is further proof that she meant it.

HP announced a timetable for release of the new open source version of webOS, the critically-acclaimed software that powered Palm’s smartphones and HP’s discontinued TouchPad tablet. 

By sometime this September, HP said it plans to make the webOS code completely available under the Apache License, Version 2.0. While September is a ways off, HP said today it’s releasing version 2.0 of webOS’s innovative developer tool, Enyo. 

With the Enyo 2.0  application framework, HP says developers can write a single application that works across mobile devices and desktop Web browsers, from the webOS, iOS and Android platforms to the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. 

“HP is bringing the innovation of the webOS platform to the open source community,” said Bill Veghte, HP’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer, said in a release. “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.”

Giving more detail to its roadmap plans, HP said that over the first half of the year, it will make individual elements of webOS source code available, including core applications like Mail and Calendar to its Linux kernel, until the full code base is contributed to the open source community by September.

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