Brian Hernacki, Chief Architect of webOS, leaves HP | webOS Nation
 
 

Brian Hernacki, Chief Architect of webOS, leaves HP 40

by Derek Kessler Mon, 30 Jan 2012 10:55 pm EST

According to a report tonight on The Verge, webOS veteran Brian Hernacki has left HP. Hernacki joined Palm in 2009 as the Chief Security Architect and was promoted to Chief Architect, webOS, in January 2011. His departure may not be as high profile as that of Matias Duarte or Jon Rubinstein, but do know that Hernacki's position was high up on the webOS totem pole. Hernacki was always more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, only once really stepping into the fray of things.

Whether or not Hernacki's departure will be a blow to HP's plans for webOS remains to be seen. Now that HP has their roadmap for open sourcing webOS it'll be hard to slow things down, but losing a talent like Hernacki isn't a good thing. It goes back to one of the things we've been pushing HP to do for some time: be competitive with pay and benefits to ensure your employees don't run for what appears to be greener pastures (not saying that's what Hernacki has done, but we've seen it often enough to know it's a problem). The people working on webOS are talented, dedicated, and passionate folks, but they're all still real people with real careers and real lives to lead.

Even with the "it'll live forever" feelgood vibes of going open source, there's no guarantee of a future for webOS if the uptake rate can't justify HP's investment. Everybody at what's left of the webOS Global Business Unit is putting their livelihood on the line by sticking with HP and webOS isntead of leaving for Twitter or Facebook or Apple or Google or any other company that would be thrilled to have such employees. When the people at the top, the leaders, are heading for the hills, that's when you really have to worry about the lower ranks, the people who are actually getting the work done. Treat them right.

Source: The Verge

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40 Comments

I'm sure this news and Rubi's departure were know and planned for some time. The were probably on borad through the webOS open source roadmap announcement. Hernacki is probably not the last we'll hear about.

If I had been working at Palm and saw how absolutely terrible they were doing at marketing the greatness known as Web OS, I would have jumped shipped hella long time ago. Don't blame the guy one bit.

I don't know, I mean now that it's being open sourced, do you really need a chief architect?

LOL, now you need an architect MORE THAN EVER!!! Unless, that is, you never want things to change -- ever!

Glad you all are positive...it makes me nervous and wonder. Sounds like everything just keeps falling apart...but what do I know?

Falling apart? As if getting all of your hardware discontinued and the employees laid off is a minor setback.

REALITY CHECK - This is the only place where people actually believe that webOS has a future in smartphones. I can understand the hope that there will someday be another webOS tablet but that's just a hope. When HP Windows 8 tablets show up sometime this year, it's going to look a lot like HP has moved on from webOS.

Face it - there's nothing special about webOS other than fact that it is slow and has Mah Jong, Solitaire, and Sudoku as its latest gaming innovations and, apparently, is exclusively available on Woot, now.

I don't understand you. I'm not saying you're wrong in your opinion, but if that is your honest opinion why are you still hanging around a site devoted to folks who believe there IS a future?

No snark, I'm honestly curious. If it's nothing more than just trolling, I'll be disappointed.

Probably for the same reason that while someone showing pictures and telling stories of what a great cruise they had makes me want to poke my eyes out, but I'm fascinated by articles about how that one ran aground in Italy.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Palm has been a slow-motion technology train wreck for the past three years with all sorts of interesting twists and turns.

You have to admit that if you really believed all of the cheerleading that went on among the users of this site, you would have seriously been led astray. You would have been holding on to an outdated Sprint Pre with no upgrade coming - ever. How is that helpful to anyone? Would listening to a dissenting opinion have been useful? Would the sense of betrayal have been lessened somewhat? Would expectations have been managed a little better?

Getting back to the cruise ship analogy, some people naturally want to reassure everyone that everything will be OK. Others think it's better to tell people that they need to get off of the ship ASAP. The former is not always better than the latter.

I understand the frustration, but I've always been baffled by the efforts to make this a "positive" site or "supportive only". Discussion sites benefit from a diversity of opinions, ESPECIALLY when there is so little officially going on with this platform right now.

Basically, I'd rather there be some spirited debate activity than just silence, crickets chirping, and announcements of app promo codes.

I completely agree on the topic of healthy debate. I'd rather argue the merits of something than be surrounded by only one side of the discussion.

Where I differ, however, is the sorts of posts like inertia1's up there--the "it's hopeless, you should give up, you're wrong to keep supporting a dead product" kind. Whether or not there is a future in open source, or whether there will be new devices, can I not enjoy the devices I have, and the apps I use on a daily basis? I don't see it as overtly binary a decision as some of those types of posters.

It's not just here--any discussion forum will attract the type of poster who seems to enjoy stirring things up. They'll jump in and say "what you like sucks, and here's why". I was hoping inertia1 and others with similar bent were more of the debate and dissent type than the disappointing pot-stirrer type.

I didn't say any of those things nor do I think you can't enjoy your device. However, the article is about the chief architect of webOS leaving HP right on the heels of Jon Rubinstein so I'm not sure what you were expecting to read in these the comments.

There are plenty of dubious ideas like "Maybe they are leaving to start a webOS smartphone company" or "They probably wasn't all that important, anyway." I agree that the polite thing is to not say anything but is it the most useful?

The rule seems to be:

If you post anything that paints webOS in a bad light, regardless of truth, you should be questioned as to why you are here and may even be labeled a troll. However, if you paint webOS in a good light, no matter how ridiculous your post may be, you have every right to be here.

Anyone that leaves the webOS realm is either a fool that should have been kicked out long ago or an evangelist that has moved on in order to spread the gospel of webOS.

-- Comment welcomed. No questions or accusations of trolling.

webOS has failed time and time again and has one of the worst history in the history of platforms. Here are some examples...

-- Why are you here? Are you trolling? I ask only because I'm interested in honest discussion.

He's got a point, that is what happens on this site...

Are you saying Sprint won't be carrying the Pre3??

Who knows. It's not looking good - lost Ruby and now this guy in a week. Chuq, our webos dev guy forum manager left and that did it for me. I honestly think we really won't see any more webos actual devices.

But all is not lost.

Instead what we will see is webos componentized and parts of it used in other OS's.

Namely - Phonegap and others will use all of webos' libraries and perhaps become the de-facto standard for writing apps across multiple platforms include iOS, android, desktop apps and many more.

Not necessarily a bad way to go, though I would like the webOS card UI to be adapted by others too then.

Namely - Phonegap and others will use all of webos' libraries and perhaps become the de-facto standard for writing apps across multiple platforms include iOS, android, desktop apps and many more.

Do you have a source for this information?

When it comes to non-native cross-platform apps, PhoneGap is already pretty much the standard. They already support all the major platforms and have done so for quite some time.

Fact is, except for earlier BlackBerry versions, webOS is the LEAST supported OS based on available features accessible via PhoneGap. They have better support for Symbian and Bada than they do for webOS.

He probably got sit of sitting in that room all day surrounded by a dome of little TV monitors. I'll bet it was hard sitting there in the gray suit while Ruby is phoning in interviews in a swimsuit in Mexico. Being the "Father of the Matrix" probably has a high burnout potential.

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I think some people might see the negative in this, but .. IMO .. the more Ex-webOS talent is out there, the greater the odds that one of them connects someone - some company - on to webOS.
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If there is anyone decent left in the webOS group they'd be stupid to stay.

webOS is nothing more than a novelty OS now...no chance of gaining any traction anywhere, open source or not.

Now is it time to panic?!? This is like the 800th high(er) profile person who has left Palm/HP/webOS -- and guess what, not a SINGLE one of them is continuing on in their career with webOS.

If webOS is to survive I think the first thing HP needs to do is hire ever single webOSNation editor and the majority of the people who post here -- they seem to be the only ones who are optimistic (sometimes crazily) towards webOS.

It doesn't say where he's going. It's not inconceivable (fantasy?) that he'll be working to get WebOS to run on new hardware for another manufacturer. Dreams like this occur less often these days, but they can still pop up now and then.

Rumor has it he is going to Sprint and will the VP in charge of brining webOS back to Sprint. /sarcasm

Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a fast approaching train. You'd better take in ALL the evidence (including sound) while you're searching for hope in said tunnel.

It's not inconceivable that he's leaving because he actually has retained the manufacturing specs for the legendary C40 which was supposed to launch on Spring in 2010. There has been no confirmation that he isn't going to start a company in China that will build the device for the Sprint network to support Open WebOS which has definitely been confirmed to be available by the end of the year. Happy Days!

Rod Whitby needs to fill his role.

We all know Rod is the real chief architect of WebOS anyway. :)

Are there really still people around here waiting for the great WebOS revival when it finally becomes the iPhone killer it was destined to be? Wow!

Not to add fuel to the relentlessly negative ones around here, but this flight of talent isn't a good thing, no matter how we try to spin it. Plus, no one leaves a manufacturer the size of HP to try and get "another manufacturer to adopt webOS." That's just silly talk.

What I think we need to be way more concerned with is how this affects the released timeline for transitioning webOS to open source in September. If people are jumping ship left and right, HP is not going to be particularly quick in replacing them, and it most certainly has an impact on deadlines and deliverables, not to mention morale. HP needs to keep it together until we can hit 1.0.

It seems to me that these higher-ups are succumbing to the realization that it's just not going to end well for WebOS, and I'm guessing that WebOS as a platform/OS/dream is probably less important than making sure they are earning a steady paycheck so they can make a living.

They've got to do what's best for them, and many have decided that it's best to move on.

What is this mid-winter migration trend?

I'm sure some of these guys have left with a heavy heart- having to give up on something they really believed in.

It seems that the dead wood continues to move on, changes will continue to breath new life into the OS. Not sure it will be called webos much longer.

My money will be it will be called Enyo very soon.

This "dead wood" is what got you the webOS you love today! All the decisions, etc., that doomed webOS is well above these people...

He's going to Google.

He probably is thinking "Hmm...Mataias went over to Google, hooked himself up to Android, and now he's a star - giving keynote addresses."

Me? I stayed with this webOS thing which, now, is only available on discontinued hardware via Woot!. Maybe I should leave HP but continue to work with webOS for the next few years. That sounds like a good move.

another bites the dust! HP better get on the gas quickly, Fall 2012 might be too late!

He didn't jump ship, he tripped and fell into a lifeboat.

he reminds me of Otacon...

A note for all the pooh-poohers in this discussion .. :)

It was a bunch of people that Palm took from Apple and Google and other places that gave us the webOS that we have today. The good -and- the bad.

The amazingly easy to use system, that is lacking sorely in it's abilities to continue to do the things that it's users want it to do.

The system that has an amazing Synergy system that is lightyears ahead of it's nearest competition, that has had end-developer plugin capability for 2 years+ now -- yet there's nothing in the catalog that comes up when you tap "Find More..." in the configuration pages for any of it's areas except Calendar .. and the only things THERE are some sports apps.

The brilliant Enyo API, which now allows programmers to target virtually every platform on earth (thanks to those platforms finally catching up with, to SOME degree, some of webOS's innovation), that was unfortunately crippled on it's home platform, by performance related issues, and by having so few API calls to things that developers wanted to be able to do.

The amazing integration of Node.JS, which also very, very, very few programmers have managed to figure out either -how- to use it, or -what- to use it -for-.

So many other amazing things, each with their own downside.

These were people that Apple and Google and the other companies weren't interested in anymore, or weren't interested in enough to pay them what Palm was willing to offer. I seem to recall the highlight of one of the recent top level people's resumes being "designed several discarded iPod prototypes".

Let's give the new people a chance.

Well, both you and Ruby seem to agree that what they did with webOS was amazing. Look on the bright side - with no hardware coming, small shrinking user base, small shrinking developer base, and three of the largest tech companies ahead of you (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) in the mobile race, there will be plenty of excuses a la "we ran out of runway" available going forward.

What a great line - "we ran out of runway". Like you would accept that from the pilot of any aircraft. That's like the Italian cruise ship captain saying "Uh, we ran out of ocean"

Why does it bother you that people like eblade are looking at the bright side?