Open webOS Project updates keyboard support, new Qt coming in December | webOS Nation

Open webOS Project updates keyboard support, new Qt coming in December 18

by Ryan St. Andrie Thu, 06 Dec 2012 10:55 pm EST

VKB hero

The beginning of a new month brings us yet another rack of updates coming down the pipe for the Open webOS project. This particular month has some very important and extremely technical work being accomplished within Open webOS. Some of this is rather of the heads of the layman (like us, we'll admit it) and some sounds very promising even to the not so tech savvy.

First up is something kind of big and has us all rather excited here at webOS Nation: the Pluggable Keyboard Project. Any webOS fan knows that official virtual keyboards (with the exception of the TouchPad) in our world have been quite elusive over the years. There have been everything from homebrew solutions to apps in the catalog to try and quench the thirst for a virtual keyboard. Despite the herculean efforts, none of the solutions brought forth have really operated like a good solid virtual keyboard should. Thankfully, all the guys and gals working on Open webOS plan to bring those days to an end very soon. Using the existing virtual keyboard logic out of luna-sysmgr (the 'system manager' for webOS) the new keyboard will be both tablet- and phone-friendly. Since it will be based on the much loved TouchPad virtual keyboard we are excited, as the keyboard on the TouchPad is one of the best virtual keyboards around.

Next up, Open webOS will be in the process of updating to Qt 4.8.3. If you remember way back in July the Open webOS System Manager was opened up to active development. This major upgrade incorporated what was then the latest QtWebKit and Qt technologies in an improved architecture, and the update to Qt 4.8.3 update furthers the cause. Since Qt now underlies all applications, providing state-of-the-art support for HTML rendering and I/O and is integrated across the system it allows the Open webOS team to continue to clean out old code and in turn continue to enhance the performance of Open webOS. The Open webOS Project Blog gets way more detailed as to what exactly is going on, but we'll be damned if we understand what they're talking about. If you would like to read an in-depth explanation of what's going down, hit up the source link below.


This is all well and good but what I want to know is when can I buy a smartphone and put WebOS on it?

webos is a hobby, not a consumer product.

Well there's the Pixi and the Pixi Plus,the Pre, the Pre Plus the Pre2, the Pre3 and the Veer. All running webOS and cheap on the auction websites.
Great line-up of phones, much more impressive than other manufacturers as far as innovation goes. I've tried 3 of them and they're all good.

I agree though it would be great to have it on other phones, but by the time they do it, OpenwebOS will be a kickass OS and I can wait.

Great Stuff!
Im a Pre3 phone user and I love it. But I would also like to try WebOS on a bigger phone.

I just wondered:

Yesterday, Qt released the Release Candidate of Qt 5. And if now major bugs are discovered, next week should be the final release of Qt 5.0.0.

So I just wonder, why they don't wait a few more days (2-3 weeks) and then update straight to Qt 5.

Or is this to much of a risk?
But at least, they would be really up-to-date.

Just my 2 cents.

In my opinion, it would be too much of a risk. If there was a major bug found in the final release and Open webOS had it, there would be a pretty big problem (at least for now).

Well. It is not the way, that Qt 5 is appearing out of nowhere.
There has been Git versions for a while, then some Beta versions.
That way developers usually have some time to get used to new versions.

So if there would be a major bug, or a function having a major effect on Open webOS, when actively pursuit, it should have been discovered by now.

And if it would be a regression or a new (major) bug in the last RC or final release, there should be some time to iron it out. (Hence I said releasing Open webOS about 2 weeks after Qt release.)

So the topic comes down to the question if the Open webOS developers did target to run after Qt 4.8.x or 5.0.0.
Maybe they did work on both in parallel? ;-)

The short answer, is that 4.8.3 is mostly a bug fix update to 4.8.2, so going there first doesn't really involve a whole lot of additional code work, and is more of a "plug it in, and make sure everything still works" endeavour, versus 5.0.0, which sees a lot of things that are different, and new and removed things compared to 4.8.3.  
Also, from the Open webOS blog:
"Early in December we will begin the complex process of updating the following SysMgr components from Qt4.8/WebKit1 to be based on Qt5/WebKit2 and we expect to complete the process by the end of that month:   “luna-sysmgr”, “luna-sysmgr-common”, “keyboard-efigs”, “smartkey-hun” and “webappmanager”.

We expect the bulk of the effort will be related to supporting Qt5 in the build system, updating the QPAs to work with Qt5, and of modifying “luna-sysmgr” and “webappmanager” to convert deprecated Qt4.8 capabilities to their Qt5 equivalents.

Once the WebAppManager Separation Project has reached a stable point early in December, and the “unstable” branch of “luna-sysmgr” has again been rolled up into the “master” branch, you will begin seeing the Qt5 conversion work appearing in the “unstable” branches of these five components."

Quite good news, although I'm afraid that I might not have any webOS device left when an easy-to-install open webOS version hits the internet. Of course, it's not ment to run on the webOS devices we bought, anyway...

Today the microphone on my Pre 3 stopped working. I spent the whole afternoon tinkering with it, tried everything, but it seems to be a hardware error.

I'm going to try out uk-repair next week, maybe they are able to fix it for a reasonable price.

metaphor_set, i've got a pair of dead mic pre3's .. if you find a fix, let me know!

The more I see these updates on OpenWebOS the more I want to cry. I feel with every passing day WebOS is falling further and further behind. There's just not enough developers on the project (there wasn't even when HP was operating at full strength).

I still use my Touchpad daily(I have 3), and my Pre3 daily(have 3 of these too but only one AT&T model - others are EU so aren't as good on ATT due to frequencies). I'll continue to do so.

WebOS feels like a little kid who is in a grave buried alive, scratching and clawing trying to get out. It will take a miracle...

I do like the Amiga reference to WebOS that I saw recently, another reference may be to BeOS/"Haiku", or perhaps worse NT/"ReactOS".

I visit this site often to see the news (stopped looking at forums a year ago), but it's painful. I won't go to iOS or Android for different reasons. WP8 doesn't seem worthwhile(yet), and BB10, who knows..

This talk about the possibility of a LG (I think) TV running WebOS is a joke as well, how would that benefit WebOS in any way, I cannot think of a single reason why a TV maker would put WebOS on their system, makes no sense(by the same token HP putting WebOS on printers made equally no sense).

What WebOS really needs to come back to life and be competitive - is several billion $, and 5 years of time. It had a lot of promise, if only HP had not blown their wad on Autonomy and instead invested that into mobile - by any angle mobile is a bigger business than data mining unstructured data(Autonomy).

*big sigh*

why not shape the future of webOS and come join us. We have open positions that we are looking to fill with talented people

Im sure if we lived in sunnyvale it would be tempting

I'm using Android IMF (Input Method Framework) to develop an on-screen keyboard. The IMF allows app developers to develop keyboards with which users can completely replace (and do without) the official keyboard, if they want. The Open webOS website writes about "implementing different designs". Who can do it? I don't understand if the Pluggable Keyboard Project allows this as the Android IMF does, and if I will be able to port my next Android keyboard on Open webOS without loss of features, by means of this. If it's the case, then it's good news.

So, what does this mean to me, with a Pre 3 and Touchpad? Will any of these efforts translate to my current hardware? 'Cause if not, I could care less.

I love webos its just too good i cant wait to see it on other phones allthough I love the pre's they are built to be able to use on one hand I dont think the galaxy is???? or any other phone out there at the moment. I cant wait for that lg tv to come out.

Well, I think it's all good, some progress is better than none - ever the optimist!

Interesting to see all those OpenWebOS jobs in Sunnyvale, someone obviously has a plan, I just wonder what it is? After all past track record is pretty dire for getting the OS out there (and it's not the fault of the OS).

New devices, this seems to be the big issue here. However, I can't see any manufacturer turning down a sizeable order for 'nexus' (i.e. vanilla ) hardware, maybe a good old chat with a company like Samsung to help with drivers/porting wouldn't be a bad idea - I think they would be happy to invest in a project (how hard could it be for them), which would open up another avenue for hardware sales. They wouldn't need to buy anything (licenses etc), just invest a little 'research' time to get WebOS working properly (hardware acceleration, radios, basic driver issue) - working with Internals/Ports ect, oh, and make an agreement for WebOS to use those drivers license free. Samsung (and others) have a full range of great hardware, so why not? Maybe someone already has already thought of this?

In the end, there needs to be a middle man/company that can market & sell devices with WebOS on it - large marketing campaign and of course large hardware/software install - ideally through telco providers, will cost alot - seems unlikely, but if the right people get behind this, and utilise crowd sourcing (to obtain investment), who of us wouldn't shell out a $500 for a fully functioning SIII running WebOS? (well some of you might not), it could happen.

Ideally for me a re-work of the Pre3 would be great, but Kernal issues for the current hardware I understand would be a problem, and nobody is interested in 'redeveloping' or indeed developing new hardware specifically for WebOS - SO, easy solution, lobby existing hardware manufacturers who want additional sales, and may benefit from an OS that is very different from everyone else - again, crowd source to establish the existing customer base, and launch a company to pull it together - lets call it 'Palm' :)