Saturday, December 10, 2011

HP's open source plan

So HP is going to open source webOS. What does that mean, and how do they do that? We spoke with HP on this matter and here’s what they had to say.
HP intends to fully open source every component of webOS, right down to its Linux core. They aren’t ready to give a public timeframe for exactly when that open sourcing will happen, because there’s some work that has to be done first. HP noted that there are some proprietary parts of webOS that have been licensed from other entities. Obviously HP cannot go an open source somebody else’s work, so they’ll have to replace those bits with open source components (whether that means they’ll source them from the open source community or create in-house, we don’t yet know).
As for the plan, HP intends to release webOS to the open source community in segments, starting with Enyo in “the near future,” followed by the other parts of webOS. Fear not, for there will be a roadmap published for their open sourcing plans. There are still plenty of details to work out (governance structures  and the like), but it's happening.
Lastly, there’s something interesting we’ve observed with the big player in the open source mobile space. That’s Android, by the way. What we’ve noticed are lawsuits over patents. HP told us that they intend to hold on to their patents and will use them to protect developers using webOS. Considering the foundational mobile device patents that HP holds, such as"Integrated Handheld Computing and Telephony System and Services," i.e. “smartphone”, HP shouldn’t have much difficulty defending webOS from the Apples, Samsungs, and Motorolas of the world.

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