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03 September 2012, 12:25

Open webOS Beta arrives ready for developers

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Open webOS logo The HP Open webOS project has delivered its first beta of the mobile device operating system, pulling together fifty-four now-open-sourced webOS components and 450,000 lines of code under an Apache 2.0 licence. The beta is available in two forms, an OpenEmbedded ARM build with ARM emulator, and a desktop build which only builds and runs on 32-bit Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS.

The OpenEmbedded build includes the core services such as the db8 database and node.js server; the developers at Open webOS say they are "actively converging" on a version which boots to the webOS System Manager. The OpenEmbedded build is more suited to developers wanting to port the platform to their devices.

The desktop version, on the other hand, provides a more complete experience, with all of the elements of Open webOS released so far in one desktop. That includes an updated System Manager, the core Applications such as Calendar and Contacts, and the Synergy synchronisation services that go with them. The desktop version is, though, only provided as build scripts which can be downloaded as a .zip file or cloned and built from the project's GitHub repository; and it does only build on 32-bit Ubuntu as it downloads a 32-bit executable as part of the build process, which takes some hours to run. A video from an Ubuntu user shows the beta running:

Open webOS beta running on the Ubuntu desktop

When The H built the system, it was notable that one thing missing from the core applications was a web browser for Open webOS, although the project has the Isis web browser in development as a separate project. The Open webOS developers are actively seeking contributions from the community and have simplified the process by adopting a Linux-like "Certificate of Origin" contribution process in response to requests from the existing community.

The WebOS Ports project, set up to backport updates to the WebOS Community Edition, has also released a beta version of LunaCE for WebOS CE 3.0.5 as released in June; LunaCE is a collection of enhancements and fixes for the Community Edition's System Manager. The beta LunaCE can be installed using Preware, a homebrew installer for HP devices.

WebOS Community Edition is an effort to support existing WebOS hardware such as the TouchPad and Palm Pre, while Open webOS is a new generation of webOS aimed at future devices.


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