Classic PalmOS emulator returns to webOS 2.1 thanks to yet more homebrew ingenuity | webOS Nation

Classic PalmOS emulator returns to webOS 2.1 thanks to yet more homebrew ingenuity 27

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Wed, 09 Mar 2011 9:32 am EST

Back in October, we wrote the eulogy for MotionApps' Classic, the PalmOS emulator for webOS that enabled users to continue to utilize legacy apps not yet available on webOS (or that had been but were on their way out, like Epocrates). According to MotionApps, Palm was dropping the necessary ROM files out of webOS 2.0, and it was leaving the market (and leaving Classic to Palm to dispose of as it wished). Of course, in this community, having a vendor say it could not or would not do something is generally heard as an invitation to do it ourselves.

So has it been with Classic. Beginning in late November, forum member/webOS developer ArthurThornton began a discussion about getting Classic running on webOS 2, and then 2.1. Early this morning, he posted a detailed set of steps, including the files needed (and webOS Doctor versions from which they come), to get Classic working again; Arthur verified it on his newly-OTA-updated Pre 2, and other users are beginning to test as well (as will we).

We know that many of you have always seen Classic as a sort of disincentive for webOS innovation, but for others, Classic was and remains a mission-critical app. For those users, help has arrived.


This is great news...but it does speak to an issue...why must the Great folks of the Homebrew community be the ones who usually bail webOS users out? I could be wrong, but I would say that if you took the number of hours spent by Homebrew developers, vs. the hours spent by hp/Palm software developers, and then looked at the amount of valuable results that come from each of those two groups, that the HB folks are giving us more bang for little to no bucks!

Again, congrats to the fine folks who work so hard in Home Brew...and let this be an encouragement to HP/Palm developers to step it up a notch.

Hmm, maybe we should use the term HB Palm instead of HP Palm?

Arthur Thornton and homebrew are rockstars. Palm and HP are roadies, puking in the ally behind the concert hall.

Hardly. I would say instead that Palm, unlike some of its rivals (*cough*Apple*cough*), is confident in both its ability and the reality that it can't do everything, or know what everyone wants. It has faith in, and has empowered, its customer base to let us do the things Palm can't, or can't as well, or chooses not do. {Jonathan}

Good words Jonathan, thank you for helping us when we get frustrated.

It is a balance, and I want to see the HB continue to shine...I would feel more comfortable if HP/Palm would 'kick it up a notch' or two...never pushing HB out of the way, but standing maybe side by side in the amount of results they put out. Having the openess to even HAVE HB is great, and HP/Palm gets big kudos for that.

But with most of the headlines on making webOS a bigger and better experience with new app development and old app/functionality updates seemingly coming from the HB community, it makes me wonder what the HP/Palm developers are doing...playing solitaire on their desktops? Maybe they should have some of their developers 'shadow' you guys to learn a few things about how to quickly and effectively develop.

Are you saying I'm *not* a rock star? :'(

Joking, but I do agree with what you said. Based on discoveries in the 2.0.1 Doctors, it looks like HP/Palm decided to temporarily drop Classic support, probably to have the necessary files bundled with the app. When MotionApps overreacted, they probably didn't want to take the code back because they had already made a big news splash by (presumably) mistakenly stating that Palm burned them.

HP/Palm can't dedicate developers to maintain Classic (hence why it originally was done by a third party!), so they completely dropped support in 2.1.

But without HP/Palm's continued support of the homebrew community, this wouldn't be possible.

I would say that Palm, unlike some of it's rivals, won't do anything when they full well know what everyone wants. Its absence in supporting their customers have forced them to empower themselves and do what Palm has long since forgotten it said it would do.

What's next? Will the Homebrew community soon create their own hardware... oh yeah they already have... the FrankenPre.

It's almost to the point that if I ever buy new WebOS hardware (not a good chance) I would rather buy it from the amazingly active Homebrew community that supports me rather than from the absent, lazy, untrustworthy and dispassionate HP/Palm that has abandoned me.

Fantastic work! I'm about to do FrankenPre my Sprint Pre- with my unlocked developer GSM Pre 2, and then try to get Classic working... So, so sweet if it works well.

I see the threads about how to Frankenpre, can anyone combine this with the steps needed to extract Classic?

Classic again will keep back some Palm loyal customers.


This is great news for a guy still using a Centro & being able to work and edit Word, Excel & PowerPoint files. Now, with this in, I'll be able to have the best of 2 worlds. I'm looking forward to the Pre 3 - I'll probably make my move at that time! Thanks ArthurThornton for making this possible for those of us who have been using and relying up Palm OS (for me, 13 years).

Hurrah! I'm not the only one still using a Centro and waiting for the Pre 3!

haha,i just bought a centro off ebay for playing around with. i wonder if it will get more use then my pre2 at first.

Shit after I instaled WebOS 2.1, screen is smaller because of stupid cheap to the left and right to switch through side and top up between the application filing rules. Absolutely unnecessary, because without written application and two cheap works on touchscreen and touchscreen sees better. Absolutely **** And i cant instaling 4x3 icons launcher.

The existence of the home brew community is one of the things that keep me here. Apple's draconian idea that they should be able to dictate what I can and can not have on MY phone is a major deal breaker. They can take that where the sun don't shine.

Thanks to the HB community for all you do!

When you still have as many apps as the iPhone has, there's really no need for Homebrew. Yay Homebrew made it possible to access apps which are old as dirt and in the meantime there should have been newer and BETTER versions of with the WebOS (which already exist on the iPhone).

If there were no need for "homebrew" on the iPhone, the jailbreaking movement wouldn't exist. Yes, iOS has huge tracts of, er, quantities of apps, but iPhone users are still bound (and frustrated) by Apple's OS and App Catalog decisions. Only by jailbreaking, clearly in violation of user agreements if nothing more, and having to do so each time Apple updates the operating system, can iOS users begin to approach the level of customization and self-determination that Palm (both before and after the HP acquisition) has intentionally given to its customers. {Jonathan}

Is Classic even available any more? The app's page on the original developer's site says that the developer turned over all the source code for the app over to Palm. It doesn't mention anything about the app being available from HP.

Try this URL directly to the download:


but that's still a 7-day trial with no way to unlock it, correct?

i just downloaded it from the app store and it is version 2.1, there's no way to pay for it, and it doesn't say anything about it being a trial.

Before they gave it up, it used to say that every time you opened it.

I was looking for an Android phone as DateBk now works on Android. But if Classic will work on Pre3, thanks to HB I will definitly stay around the Palm/HP camp (Palm sins 1999).

Thank you! This made me try Classics again on my plain only PrePlus.

An earlier version would not work with Audible.

It does now! I own many dozens of audiobooks that I can now listen to in Classic. It honestly brought tears to my eyes when it worked.

I'm hoping now that hp owns Palm, Audible will back down and support WebOs and I won't have to lug my ipod with me when I have my phone. In the mean time, I can listen to music again.

Thank you for working to make Classic work with WebOS 2.0. I am someone that still relies on Classic for some important programs.
Awesome work by Arthur and Homebrew.

I think a better homebrew article would have been the news that the uberkernal for 2.1 is now in the normal feed. Thanks webOSInternals, Jason R (sorry I don't want to butcher your last name) and various other homebrew forum contributors that helped a non linux person like me onboard with 2.1, flash, and stable overclocking on my Sprint Pre. I'll be able to stay calm now until my next phone matter how much HP or Palm continues to do frustrating things.

Thank you, for old times' sake!

It wasn't made clear what, if anything, was different about 2.1 from 2.0 that required 'new' ingenuity. I agree, this isn't clearly a requisite article. (It may be, but since it's so unclear it's hard to know..)