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15 February 2012, 15:34

New web browser for HP's Open webOS

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Having released the first elements of its webOS mobile operating system as open source at the end of January, HP has taken further steps on the road to creating a completely open source platform. The company has now made the user interface widgets for Enyo 2 – the HTML5 framework that was released in January – available; it has also released the new Isis web browser that implements Nokia's QtWebKit browser and the JavaScriptCore JavaScript parser. HP also announced details of the governance model for the webOS platform's future development.

The webOS developers have modelled their governance structure on the Apache Software Foundation's meritocracy principles. In a nutshell, this means that those who make the biggest contribution to a project can exert the biggest influence on its development process. Eventually anyone will be able to contribute to the operating system's development, but HP will provide all committers during the transitional period.

Several sub-projects will each have their own independent Project Management Committee (PMC) that is responsible for releases. There will be a board that will lead the overall development of webOS and which will support the sub-projects and deal with infrastructure, legal and branding requirements. HP will probably announce the new open source community's board members in April. The current project lead is Sam Greenblatt, who is HP's CTO (Chief Technology Officer) for webOS.

According to the schedule, HP plans to release version 1.0 of Open webOS in September. There is plenty of interest in an open webOS, as indicated by the around 40,000 Enyo downloads that have been registered since the source code was released three weeks ago. The Isis browser is HTML5 and CSS3 compliant, and the announcement says that it renders web pages faster than its competitors. The browser also supports Flash and the Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI). Like the Enyo code, the source code of Isis is available on the GitHub hosting platform under the Apache Licence 2.0.

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