How Should Background Apps Function? | webOS Nation
 
 

How Should Background Apps Function? 95

by Jason Robitaille Tue, 16 Mar 2010 3:39 pm EDT

With all of the attention on Windows Phone 7 Series' lack of true multitasking, we wanted to point out that figuring out multitasking on webOS is still a work in progress.

Being able to do background processing is one thing the webOS is know for. So when 1.4 changed how background processes worked, developers took notice.  Absent from the list of 1.4 changes was an alteration that widely affected applications that work in the background.

Essentially, before 1.4, background applications wouldn't close unless the developer specified them to. Makes sense, however some reports suggest the built-in javascript garbage collector wouldn't be called on background applications, causing memory leaks, and potentially leading the "too many cards" error.

Developers were the first to notice this changed with webOS 1.4. Now, after 15 seconds, applications without an active stage are automatically closed. Naturally this caused a bit of frustration; getting an active GPS location alone can take 30+ seconds, so how could a background applications get everything done in 15 seconds?

 

Thankfully Palm's own Gray Norton popped in to the Palm developer forums to apologize, admit the situation was mishandled and attempt to increase the developer communication. Gray then proceeded to outline the entire situation and what is being done about it.  He even hinted there'd be a webOS update within 2-3 weeks at the earliest to deal with the matter (changing it from 15sec to 60sec). Well worth a read if you're a developer.

The conversation then continued and brought up an interesting question: how should background applications on the webOS work? Should they stay as it is with a set timeout termination (for background apps with no dashboard/active banner), or should there be free reign on completely background running apps?

Should be some sort of official built-in process manager? If so, should the average user have the ability to forcibly shut down background apps doing their thing?

What you're opinion on the matter? Comment below and tell us, or if you're a developer, hop on by the Palm developer forums and tell them what you'd prefer.

Thanks to Jack for the tip!

95 Comments

A task manager would be a much-appreciated addition to webOS in general. I've gotten the "too many cards" error too many times when there aren't any cards open, so I would appreciate being able to see what is causing the error.

I have the same question. And sometime my phone freez up
sometime, and last saturday my phone signed me out of my
Palm account complet.
But I hope the next update which is coming before the end of
this month (wbOS 1.4.2) it will help to get ready of this
problem...

A task manager on webOS would signal Palm have failed to deliver their vision. An operating system that just works. Your average Joe shouldn't have to be ****ing around in a task manager to get their phone to run smoothly.

I think they're heading in the right direction. It will make the phone more stable, and ultimately, for WebOS 2.0 we want more stability, and more speed!

What is the rush for WebOS 2.O

1) Palm continues to refine and complete work on 1.0.

2) Are we ready to start over on 3rd party apps again? Who would waste their time developing Palm apps then?

We need development with stability. Hitting the reset button every 12-18 months is salt in a festering wound. It took ten years to hit the limits on Garnet, what ceiling have we bumped into already?

Nobody thinks "webOS 2.0" would break compatibility with existing apps besides you.

"webOS 2.0" is just the term we use to describe an eventual massive release version (as opposed to incremental), with loads of new features all at once.

Seeing as the phone takes forever to reboot, a task manager would be a god send in those times when you get the too many cards error, but don't want to reboot the entire phone.

You shouldn't have to "reboot the entire phone". A luna restart is all it takes - but may still be more than what you are looking for.

Please...

NO TASK MANAGER!

If an application is running, it should have a card or an icon in the notification area. There should be a 'clean up memory' app that does what it says. If I want to manage tasks, I can use other operating systems. If I want to get things done, I use webOS.

totally agree. Trying out an android phone right now and task management blows.

Guess you want an icon for the few dozen daemons running too, then?

Please, no requirement for something on the display to run an application in the background. That's idiotic.

I want my phone's daemons to stay out of my face, thank you very much.

If it's not something I need to interact with, then I don't need a damned icon for it.

I agree completely. This is the sophistication and elegance of the WebOS. I do not want to manage my tasks, I want the OS to do it (properly).

I'd even go so far to say that I would rather run into the occasional "Too many Cards" error than have to deal with a discrete task manager.

What's wrong with a task manager, as long as you don't have to run it unless you want to? I run some background tasks that I don't WANT to stick in a permanent notification area icon. It takes up valuable screen real estate.

They need a way to allow permanent background tasks and a way to allow us to kill these tasks without rebooting.

what if it was an option you accessed by swiping down from the left corner in card view? That way the interface stayed clean.

Agreed. This is one of the reasons I left WinMo. And that drawer thing in Android's no fun either.

I've every faith that the brilliant minds here and at Palm will hatch something to avoid it, though my constructive side fails me at the moment.

why are people against task managers? not all apps that function in the background should require icons in the dashboard.

Much as I can see how a Task Manager is useful, I too don't really want to see one unless it really is the only way to do things.

Thinking of background services and also on memory issues, perhaps both a memory garbage utility and a services manager may be more appropriate? The garbage utility to do housekeeping, and the services manager to control & configure those background tasks that we do wish to run. Maybe a Luna restart button could be added to either.

Unfortunately I think a Task manager at this point is necessary because it seems that this phone has some sort of memory leak issue.. It's hard to isolate what the rogue application is if you can't see what's running. It's especially important for us Palm Pre non plus users because of the constant "Too many cards open" error whenever one tries launching a 3D application.

Being a non developer, I don't really care how it's done as long as I don't get the "Too Many Cards" message coming up all of the time. I didn't mind it in the beginning because it was not very often that it happened, but it seems after the last update, it is kind of out of hand.

+1
its not mulit-tasking when you have "TMC" and nothing is open!
The need to reboot several times a day is absurd!

interesting...

+1 task manager or equivalent.

I think they should let the user's decide what they want background apps to do.

In the meantime they really need to fix the much more
serious bug which appears to be killing off the core phone,
messenger, email, and calendar apps that normally run in the
background (are started as soon as Luna boots).
Ever since 1.4 they just randomly disappear (many
people reporting the symptoms without understanding the cause).
If phone app is missing, you can't receive new phone calls
and launching phone app manually, hangs the first time.
If email app is missing you don't receive new emails, and
when you launch it you get the first time use screen.
If messengeing app is missing.. well you get the idea.

I've had this happen about a dozen times since 1.4 and
since they die completely randomly there's no telling when
you won't receive an important call or message.

Iv never experienced that but if you have, palm have an official way of getting bug and feedbacks on its site so probably that would be far usefull for you in order for them to be aware of it if not already.

This is the first time I've heard of this happening... Maybe the software of your phone is a little messed up. Have you tried to Doctor the phone? maybe it'll fix everything.

This happens to me EVERY time I update or install an app/patch with Preware. Everything works fine except when I do that. That's the only thing that does it too. I've brought it up in the forums but was shot down saying, "Stop blaming Preware.. it's not causing it!"

Are you sure that you're running the latest version of the package manager and of preware? I had this problem with Preware immediately after the 1.4 upgrade, but later version of the package manager service and of Preware fixed this for me 100%.

I have the latest version of everything installed.

Others have reported the related symptoms (missed phone calls,
no email notifications, email launching to first time use
screen, no msgs, etc) even with bone stock Pre's ever since
the 1.4 update. Like most Pre bugs it doesn't affect
everyone, but I've seen no proof yet that it's solely tied
to HB apps or patches, and plenty to suggest otherwise.

Will kill for an official task manager app. Its the bloddy must for any multi-tasking OS!!!

Wharever it is it must be as intuitive and friendly as webOS is.

And please: One thing are memory leaks and other very diferent thing are applications that the person using the phone itself has allowed to be running in the background cos they have to notify his/her of something.

A task manager in the way android/winmo6 is would be a solution not smart and not elegant and palm must have a lot of care in not androidify its extremely nice OS.

There are some real genius in UX in Palm and Im sure they can take ownership of this if this is really needed.

I think that a simple task manager app to show whats happening will be enough. with two views for apps, one for what is actively open (a card) and one for the background tasks.
then close as appropriate

How about instead of automatically closing apps every 15 seconds have the phone only close apps when a too-many-cards error would appear. Instead of displaying the too-many-cards error right away they could try to close any background apps and then check the memory situation (this could be done while showing the pulsing app logo), if closing background apps doesn't free enough memory then display the error.

I sorta agree with this approach, except when the OS makes choices for what should be closed. How is the OS going to know what is "safe" to close and what isn't. I would suggest a display of "offenders" which "suggest" which are candidates for killing and resolving the TMC condition. The user might still decide that no offenders should be closed at that time and let the newly launched task terminate. Just my $0.02.

This ^^

And this too...

http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pre/234654-why-hasnt-1-4-fixed-too-man...

If you read the above post and have an extra $4.99 or so burning a whole in your pocket, try it out.

Purge all apps from phone
Create NEW Palm Profile
Use the hell out of the STOCK apps (no catalog apps)
Download a 3D game (that extra $5)
Open the game, play, close it.
Use the hell out of STOCK apps again
Open your 3D game again, close it
Open it AGAIN....perfect. No issues.
Now start downloading 3rd party and note that TMC is now in your immediate future.

3 Pre's and 22+ Doc visits later, we're sure 3rd party misbehavior is at fault...

+1

I've haven't seen one pre come in for service with missing icons, unless it was patched, themed, or prewared.

and no task manager! Just stop pausing pandora in the background! (when I get TMC the most)

that sounds like a great idea!

I think Palm has done a great job pioneering next gen multitasking. But they are a pioneer. The wilderness still have to be tamed.

excellent analogy!

I'd prefer that apps that generate a background service have the ability to shutdown complete within the app.

One of the truly geeky things that I've found that helps is the WebOSInternals launcher patch with the Advanced Options off the main menu. You can select Run Garbage Collectors manually from that and fix out of card problems or memory related performance problems. Can't see the general public handling that but it works well for me. I've been running it more often than I would like though.

Yup. And allow me to reply here cos I must recognice I do use it too. I use it because I am a geek and I know the difference between two things (all of us geeky people that knows what a task manager is).

Two different concepts:

1) Solve the memory leak problem that is probably the main producer of the "too many cards" error. Memory leak is a temporal problem in the software that might be there untill devs follow better guidelines or webOS is stable enough; and that is 99% completely solvable by software in a given day without the need of the user to interact with the phone.

2) Solve another different issue, that is: knowing what is my phone doing for me even when I dont see any card. This is a huge usability issue regarding user experience where webOS is, for me, right now, the only OS (desktop or mobile) that make it friendly and intuitive; just it seems it can be improved in the situation in which there are a lot of applications in the bakcground doing a lot of things but hidden to the user. In that case a "please close cards" message wont be meaningfull and the user may probably need to be aware of that in some way.

I know all of us are aware of this when thinking about if we really want palm to just put a crude task manager there, somewhere. I dont.

The user should have control over the background apps. With a task manager similar to that of windows, a user could bring it up and see what is running if need be. If there is an app running in the background then the user will have the option to close it. There could be a manual or automatic setting with a "reset now" tab. Critical apps would be inaccessible or under an advanced tab.

I vote for more user control; a system-included app to manage running processes (and see info!) would be fantastic. Let the developers have control so that we can have good apps, but give users the ability to forcibly close misbehaving ones.

I think one of the most frustrating things for many users is that they will see an out of memory error even with few to no cards displayed, and not be told why. Having an app that will display memory info, etc., will prevent a lot of frustration by allowing users to see which app or process is chewing up memory. I'd also love an Android 1.6+ esque power monitor app that shows which app/hardware component is drawing power.

reset schedular homebrew app keeps my pre running like new... VERY HAPPY WITH THIS APP!

I feel that maybe a sort of Background App/Notification API/System(Mojo Messaging Service?) is needed. Instead of having all these stray applications in the background, have all their requests pooled in some sort of background notification system which can be managed by some kind of manager app(task manager type).

A task manager of sorts would be very easy to implement. It could be placed in the "List Apps..." menu item. Scroll to the very bottom, "Close Apps In Memory". Easy as 1-2-3.

I think implementation would be fairly simple. The lack thereof was the one and only gripe I had once I received the TMC error.

Jesus guys....just get JsTop and stop whining....thx :)

Yeah, I have it and for the people calling for a task manager who are technically inclined, it works just fine (though I wish it followed Palm conventions like swipe to delete/stop, etc), but yeah.

For the mainstream, Palm might be well served by thinking of a more elegant, intuitive solution, but we'll see.

JSTop *does* offer "Delete" or "Cancel" when you swipe a list item.

Perhaps a 60 second default timeout (or whatever is deemed appropriate by Palm), but give each developer the ability to change the timeout as would be appropriate to whatever the background actions they are trying to perform. Different apps can have different requirements. If something causes a problem, it will be killed, but not if it within its timeout interval.

I don't think a Task manager of sorts is a bad idea. For example, I have the Timepiece app installed, but until I tested it, I had no idea the alarms would go off even if I didn't open the app. A task manager would have told me there was something from Timepiece running in the background. And I don't want a dashboard full of icons either. Its important that there be convention set by Palm to make the naming of background daemons identifiable by the average layperson. Task manager conjures up bad mojo. Call it a Background Applications Manager. And separate the applications into built-in and installed apps to keep people from killing stuff they shouldn't.

I was using a few apps that ran in the background which no longer work with 1.4. Now I am sad.

If the reboot time wasn't so bad, I'd be fine with restarting when I hit the too many cards message. Right now, I'd rather be prompted to close all running apps than have to do a restart.

Let me outline some details of the issue. The true issue wasn't with background apps running free reign. Background apps prior to 1.4 had 5-15 seconds to run before being terminated. Palm had implemented a service called startActivity and its counter part endActivity. This service allowed a developer to specify an extension to that timer for up to 15 minutes. A developer could call startActivity and extend the time lets say for 1 minute. Then when what ever task the developer wanted to ensure completed, he would call endActivity and the app would terminate. So basically the app had up to a minute to run and would terminate at the end of that minute or when activityEnd was called. The issue was Palm had a memory leak in where the Garbage Collector was never called when the app was either forced closed or activityEnd was called. So every time a background app launched to do something, you would lose more and more memory. Some developers included Syntactix noticed this and took proactive action by forcing a Garbage Collection before ending the app. This is why apps like JSTOP seemed to fix the issue since it would periodically force a Garbage Collection.


I believe background apps should behave as Mitch Allen originally intended. This would be how things were prior to the 1.4 change only assuming that Garbage Collection would happen properly. The true fix should be to modify the endActivity service function to force a Garbage Collection and your phone would be allot happier.

Thanks a lot for the explanation.

They should not preemptively kill headless tasks! (And if they do so, perhaps due to a "too many cards" error, they should SAY SO with a notification!)

However, it would be wonderful to have a way to bring up a list of current headless tasks so we could kill them if we want to. A simple "swipe off the list to kill" list would work wonders.

I LOVE the "brightness unlinked" Homebrew, but since 1.4, it doesn't run very long. I always set the keyboard brightness to the max and the display brightness to the minimum. Without brightness unlinked, I cannot use the keyboard in the dark. But also in the dark, I don't want the screen to blind me because it's so bright.

Jmason has a great idea by making it clean up b4 showing "tmc"

the proper solution would be..... ----Appeasing all people by fixing webos first to minimize any/all problems of memory leak or cleaning up background apps to a degree.
---- Then palm should also offer the option of a manager for those that want it (know what they are doing). Possibly have it be "unlocked" when they enable developer mode? It should be an app, or some kind of "setting" where it could have a few options to clean up, set the time limit, & a few more. This sounds like it would not get in the way, yet still be there.

Since the 1.4 update, my battery life has gone down probably 1/4 or more, and I am constantly getting "too many cards" with nothing running (every 2 - 3 days at least), or the phone automatically resetting when trying to load a web page. I would like to be able to see and stop whatever is bleeding out my memory and battery.

Just something to fix the TMC issue. I don't mind how it will be resolved. it`s very annoying.

Task Manager?
Process Manager?
Garbage collector?
Background apps closing in 60 seconds?
Headless tasks?
JStop?


Here is what I want?
1) Swipe up to open launcher
2) Click to open app 1 (say DancingInSpace)
3) Do (1) & (2) to open app 2 (say BaseJumps)
4) Do (1) & (2) to open app 3 (say Yak twitter client)
5) Long-swipe left in gesture area to app 2
6) Put down my phone for 3617 secs (say on Monday and 1098 secs Tuesday)
7) Press the power button and unlock my phone
8) Swipe up to cards view and select app 1
9) Close app 1
10) Push chat notification and push email notification

11) When I am all done swipe up to close my apps


Maybe what "Articus" said is how to do it. But, as a user, I don't care!

I just want my phone to work SMOOTHLY (some call that FAST), RELIABLY and SECURELY.

I don't really want to know nor care how it works!!!

I agree with the last entry. Process / task managers, timeouts, ... these are all (very) temporary solutions. They are neither very practical for the ordinary Mom using a Palm Pre, nor do they really fit into the whole WebOS concept based on simplicity in switching / managing tasks. In fact, that's just the opposite. If I want a complicated, twisted way of managing tasks, I get a Windows Mobile 6.x phone.

The long-term solution for background tasks are three things imho:

1) Check, double- and triple check your own applications and OS, Palm. There really cannot be any leaks there. Far too many and far too complex applications that are constantly being used. You really can't afford any leaks there.

2) A proper, well thought-through API for developers to do background processing and notify the system that they are doing so, plus possibly memory and time restriction that are WELL DEFINED and for which you also provide developers with the necessary tools to meet and check against those restrictions.

3) Documentation, documentation, documentation. The whole WebOS API documentation is a mess. Far too many gaps, too few examples, ... the documentation gives a basic outline of nearly every aspect of the WebOS API but in many cases it just isn't clear or detailed enough. Callback are of not explained very well, certain behavior and effects are often explained in only a few very short phrases, etc.... sample code is rarely shown... Stating more accurately how developers are supposed to do certain things would help a lot!!!!

That's the way to go Palm.

keep it simple for us non-devs. No task manager. I think the devs need some sort of task manager but not me.

KISS

Can't you just have a function to reset the 60 sec timer? So say we have a Daemon running in the background with no card and no icon. Have it run the function every 50 secs....that way the shut down never gets to 60 and everyone is happy!

oops....repost sorry.

I think it would look bad if palm came out with an official task manager. An official task manager would tell the public that this phone requires manual intervention to operate efficiently.

Why not just free up memory allocated by each application as soon as the application is "Closed" (swiped up off the screen)? ... This is what PHP does if you allocate memory for variables within a function. As soon as the function is done running all that memory used for variables is free again.

Let me say first my most important comment is probably the last so if you do not read this whole post, skip to the last paragraph:

I don't know a lot about these things an am certainly not a developer but as a user I agree I would greatly prefer WebOS to handle it efficiently in the background rather than my having to open a task manager. I hate that in Windows. Plus, if you are getting the too many cards error you will not be able to open the eh task manager so what good is that?

Also, I am concerned that apps that need to run in background without a notification panel can do that. I can think of such examples. Flught Status for example sends notifications but does not keep a panel open like Pandora does. Same for Friends Flow. Also various third party alarm clocks and many others.

Fibnally, I must say that I use a Pre (Sprint, so no Plus) and now use JStop which allows you to shut down Java functions using memory. Useful but I HATED it as I hate task managers and yes sometimes the too many cards error would not let me open it when I needed it BUT....

The latest version of JStop has "auto garbage collection" of the java heap and it is a GODSEND. Now I almost never get the too many cards error and I NEVER actually open JStop. That is the model Palm should be looking at.

So maybe in keeping it as simple as possible, instead of a task manager there is a small icon on top of the app icon in the app launcher which indicates if it is running (similar to like the in the S60 I think). Then you can just launch the app and stop it's background activity if you want to. It's a little more work to manage, but very simple for everyone to see and understand that the app is doing something. Of course it would be nice to be able to sort apps by 'currently active' so you can easily see all active apps in the app launcher if you wanted.

Task manager app would be welcomed. However, webOS should multi-task in practice not theory. I hope Palm knows this and makes the right call. 60 second timeouts would be an improvement over 15 seconds (if I understand the article correctly).

Here's an idea, more ram for everyone! Like the Pre Plus, if every future webOS device had sufficient ram to run webOS like the powerhouse webOS can be, the task manager/background debate wouldn't even be likely to be on our radar.

The long term solution is better devices in a general from Palm. I love my Pre (Sprint) but knowing the Pre Plus and future devices already deal with this issue of the "too many cards" error, make a software fix of this sort, now seem akin to the old app catalog memory limit issue. That is to say, Palm's short sightedness regarding user demands (more ram) needs a long term and real fix.

Please note - I'm coming at this with next to no knowledge of the native API, so no flames, please... :D

The system should have a native task manager, but... it should not be (normally) able to terminate native background services/apps that are necessary for proper operation.

As for multitasking, in theory, any app should be able to execute when it does not have the focus. There should also be a way to declare a user installed app's class/type, perhaps -

1) runs background/headless
2) runs background/notification area
3) runs only as a card

These could be tied in to the operation of the task manager, so if for example, you've closed an app that only runs as a card, but it still has a thread of execution in the background, the user can see it and kill it. Or better yet, the task manager should kill it after a predetermined interval.

FWIW, Palm definitely came at the (hung/errored) process management question from the wrong angle. I didn't think it would be like Palm OS. An app's hung? Reboot the whole UI. How 20th century! Dial 1-800-REBOOT. Feh!

Just my $00.02 USD...

-Jerry

im not a developer but this explains why i could not get the sprint nav to work last week. i think it should be at least 3 minutes....

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but how about letting developers choose how they want their apps to work? Or is this already an option?

Let's say Google Maps wants to keep their app to run continuously in the background, because that's what I need. I'll get directions then go on to do something else, but when I go back to Google Maps, I expect my location to be as accurate as can be.

Then, you have an app that might need to stay open for 15, 30, or 60 seconds, or maybe stop when it's not the currently main app. This way, consumers won't have to manage anything, but it's not a blanket amount of time all apps have to conform to.

Background apps, like

the only reason people keep saying the cursED words Task Manager, is because they are used to it with windows. What people don't realize is that even in windows .. Users are sometimes left scratching their heads... What's sysmngr.exe for?... I don't want, need nor care for a task manager even of sorts. WebOS came about with determined people Thinking OUT of the Box of other OS's.
Palm needs to do the same here. NO user intervention should be implemented whatsoever. If, like another user said, Palm wants to implement an advanced TM that would need to be enabled via a hidden menu that only registered palm devs could access ... Via a specific code assigned to each dev.. Than fine.. But user intervention in regards to "fixing" a mem leak or TMC error for whatever the reason, puts the OS back in league with every other OS, and thus loses any ORevolutionary" status it had. Thus putting Palm into a failed OS cat never to be seen again...

overly dramatic? I think not!

Why do you think what YOU want is what everyone else wants? Are you God's gift to the universe that you should get to specify the limitations everyone else has to deal with? Get over yourself.

wow.. Get a life.... No where did I say what I want is what everyone else wants.... I satated my opinion. So I'll say it again I don't think that webOS should turn into WinMo 6.5 or prior... It's a shame when you NEED a TM ... If a third party wants to make one than let them.. Ut it should NOT come from palm. Palm needs to fix the prob without the user realising it. Again my opinion. $h!thead.

Earth to meyerweb: The whole point of this article was to elicit opinions, and he gave his. Now go slap yourself for being so clueless.

Is there anyone like me who has virtually "NO" Problems with my Pre? I work mine to death daily and love the functionality, minus the noted lack of Flash. The added TouchStone in my car with a 120 volt adapter, helped extend my battery life.

I might suggest, various developers patches should be implemented to address these, in the wild, this way you could let the users choose. Since not all phone have the same exact notifiable problems. They might be able to come up with a future multi-patch to address the overall majority then. Maybe by user download counts?

FWTW

notimeoff

Interesting them of apps i think that i should buy it for my iphone.

Proactol

A task manager can't hurt, and if you don't want to be annoyed with it, don't use it.

Get rid of the "Sorry, too many cards" error message(which isn't always helpful), and come up with a "low system memory" error message that would give the user some options to fixing the problem: "Would you like to perform a simple scan to free up memory?" (garbage collect) and then "Also, these programs are using memory in the background, but do not have an open card. Would you like to stop these programs from runnung to free up more memory? Ending this program may prevent it from giving you notifications and/or cause it to not function properly until the next time you restart your phone. Would you like to continue?"

Those of us who know what we're doing would just use a task manager, so make that an option when the error happens as well, and make sure it has a garbage collect feature.

Either way, POWER TO THE USER! This device contains no fruit! '^)

Not sure if I'd want an "official" task manager, per se. But I do think that functionality could be added to the launcher. Here's what I'm thinking:

When an app goes into the background it's launcher icon would change somehow to indicate that it's running in the background. Don't ask me how it would it change, I'm not a graphic designer. ;)

If you tapped the icon, it should bring up a window in the app that would give the user the ability turn off background functionality or to just use the app in general.

But if you pressed and held your finger on the icon, the launcher should display a popup asking if you want to kill the app. If you've ever used a mac, think of it like option-clicking an icon on the dock and choosing "force quit" to kill a misbehaving app.

It might also be a good idea to implement similar functionality in the Software List section of the Device Info app.

That this is even a question shows how much the Steve Jobs / Apple mindset has taken over at Palm. That the Palm leadership even thinks this should be there decision is absurd. The Pre's that we use belong to US, not Palm. WE should get to decide what apps run in the background, how they run, and how long they run.

The old Palm understood that different users had different needs, and provided a device that could be configured to do whatever the user wanted. The new Palm doesn't think users are smart enough to be trusted.

Android, here I come.

it feels good when idiots leave the ship... Makes the ride more peaceful... So sayonara. Have fun by android.

I'm all for a process manager, but put hide it away from average users. Maybe have an app for it visible only when developer mode is enabled? That way there won't be anything the average joe can do to their phone to potentially cause harm right out of the box ;)

I think that the background apps should be limited on a timeout termination, I think 60 secs is good enough for an app to run and load in the background. Its already bad enough the phone does not hold power. Having this timeout termination helps with the battery lasting I would think.

How about simply adding a permanent option in the drop down box of any application that is running like "edit" select and paste etc... with an auto timeout kill for apps that run in the background (as stated in the op) (Also included in launcher page)- in order to see apps running in the background to kill manually. (JStop is a pretty damn good example if you ask me.)

Right on!!!

"its not mulit-tasking when you have "TMC" and nothing is open!
The need to reboot several times a day is absurd!"

+1000 (is that legal?)

the too many cards thing when you have 0-1 app running is completely maddening.....

I want WebOS to handle the multi-tasking properly. Kill memory leaks etc. Clean up after itself, do the dishes and make me some coffee damn it!

OK if it can't at least handle the multi-tasking then give me a memory manager of some sort so I dont have to restart LUNA etc.

If I leave an ap running in the background, I want it to continue to function in the background and tear through my battery if need be. If that happens, I will learn to close my apps as necessary.

out,

JSTop +1, cleans up pretty well. I set auto garbage collection and run in background once. The app remembers the setting and appears to survive the daily Preset reset.

having a phone that wasn't released as an Alpha test would have been nice. 1.4 has crippled my phone (no bluetooth with car kit any longer, but worked fine before. constant random reboots, etc.) A task manager would be nice to see where the leaks come from, but fixing the damn OS in the first place would be preferential. I've a Palm in one form or another since the 505. I can still recall my excitement when the first color Palm came out. I'm beginning to hear the call of the Blackberry at this point.....
Oh well, at least the calender in my Centro still works. I'm glad I kept it for business....

If you had a car with leaky tires, the solution wouldn't be to bolt on an air compressor to each wheel that the user could manually turn on to refill the tire..

It'd be to stop the leaks.

So: I vote NO to the task manager as well..

Fixing the problem means refining how things happen in the background to a) minimize/end TMC errors and b)keep users blissfully unaware.

You're right that a task manager is not a solution to the problem. That doesn't mean that some minimal task manager -- especially for background tasks without any card -- would be nice to have. We don't need anything as fancy as a full-fledged Windows (or Mac or Linux) task manager, but we do need the ability to see what applications are running in the background and we need the ability to stop these applications.

This is not a solution to memory problems, but it's useful on its own.

Even a simple list of background tasks (applications with no card) that allows us to swipe off to kill would be good. And what would the "name" be? The name of the application as shown in the launcher.

That way if you run Brightness Unlinked or FriendFlow or one of the large number of applications that will keep running after you swipe the card off the top of the screen, you will have a way to stop the application if you want to.

But I think everyone agrees that the memory issues need to be fixed, whether they're caused by 3rd party apps or by the OS or by the built-in apps (such as in my case the web browser).

I love my palm pre but it also has so many errors 1st the to many card error needs to be fixed I can have to two windows open and it pops up dat sucks. I can't send picture messages it says it has sent but the person I send it to never receives it. I can't send emails out when I do it says error my phone hangs up a lot for no reason if this is uppose to keep up with the iphone you all at palm need to step your game all the way up because yu have a lot of work to do. All these problems need to be fixed or i'ma just git rid of my pre it has to many errors for me I expect the best and right now I don't feel like I have the best right now. I just hope that yu fix all of these errors or i'ma just say forget palm and git something bedda than palm pre because this is not fair to us. Get your stuff together and make us the palm community happy. Millbrooksj@aol.com

what's up with the fact dat palm pre doesn't have a virtual keyboard or you can't save videos from a text message these are the things yu need to look into if yu wanna compete with the iphone yu gotta be better than this I wanna be able to put locks on my picture and videos I feel that palm should honor all these request. Why we can't save pictures from a text message or resend the same message ? I just hope that yu all get it 2gether soon. Millbrooksj@aol.com

How about fixing the dead keyboard issues where it just stops working, and the only way to get it to work again is take the battery out.

i have lost numerous texts, emails and call because the app closes automatically -.-

? This is an easy resolve. Have the programmers of these apps determine the min and max memory required for an app. When in the background have the cpu poll the memory for these apps and if they ever exceed max memory have the OS switch cards and prompt the user for an action. A) turn off B)save info and continue to run which will purge mem C) purge memory don't need to save and continue app. That way the user is responsible for lost data if he needs it and the phone can recover memory.

? This is an easy resolve. Have the programmers of these apps determine the min and max memory required for an app. When in the background have the cpu poll the memory for these apps and if they ever exceed max memory have the OS switch cards and prompt the user for an action. A) turn off B)save info and continue to run which will purge mem C) purge memory don't need to save and continue app. That way the user is responsible for lost data if he needs it and the phone can recover memory.