Open webOS on Ubuntu Linux desktop build instructions released | webOS Nation

Open webOS on Ubuntu Linux desktop build instructions released 31

by Derek Kessler Fri, 31 Aug 2012 1:06 pm EDT

Revealed today on the Open webOS GitHub was the next step forward for Open webOS: build instructions to install the operating system on an Ubuntu Linux desktop computer. The instructions, found by webOS Nation Forum member zacky59, go over the steps you'l need to take to download, build, install, and run the open source version of webOS, and the first prerequisite you're going to have to overcome is having an Ubuntu Linux machine. If we had to guess, that's not something the vast majority of you have or have access to.
But if you do have Ubuntu installed on your computer, then all you need is a good internet connection for 500MB worth of downloads and 4GB of free space on your hard drive to get started, plus the patience to follow along in command prompt and wait for the build process to do its thing.

And we know the next question you're ready to ask: no, there are not instructions to install this build of Open webOS on a TouchPad, Pre, or any other mobile device. Or your Mac or PC. We're not apologizing for HP here, but this is the beta release right now. Ubuntu Linux is better than nothing, we suppose, but for an operating system that was built around and for touch interfaces, we're not sure how well that's going to work.

We're getting set up to install Open webOS ourselves (Derek doesn't have Ubuntu installed either, so don't feel bad), and will update you once we've got things rolling.


And so it begins...

can I install open webOS in a virtual machine running ubuntu?

sure, here it is in ubuntu x86

thankfully I dual-boot

I don't think that you might get big problems with any other x32-distribution.

And maybe you should say that this release is not working on x64 OSes. Not even Ubuntu.

Not running on 64bit?

That's a major fail.

So now I have to run an Ubuntu 32 VM on my Ubuntu (64) machine. sigh.

Not a surprise: Most of the whip-fast, multi-core ARM processors powering mobile devices are actually still 32-bit. It saves energy and space.

The linked instructions are for building Luna (which is the biggest part of webOS of course, but it is not webOS).

This may be worth looking...


" is happening..." :-D

This is awesome!!!! I use Ubuntu on my desktop and it is fantastic. At least 2-3 times as fast as windows and no viruses plus you get all the software free.

A match made in heaven. WebOS and Ubuntu...

I've got an touchscreen eeePC with Ubuntu running on it. Doesn't this mean effectively I can 'install' webOS on this? i.e. it will now run on 'other' hardware

It should. Whether or not the Touchscreen recognizes Open webOS gesturing or emulates a PC Mouse is not known off the bat. (Try it and let us know?)

Are you really talking down to ubuntu? You know at this point many more people use ubuntu than WebOS...

And some use both.

Don't get me started on how many use NEITHER. That group still wins.

This post is a perfect example of why WebOS will never be adopted on a large scale. I don't understand how the writers here at webosnation, who presumably have an idea of the struggles that WebOS has gone through being an alternative to the "big two" of iPhone and Android, can be so dismissive of Ubuntu.

This post SHOULD have been celebrating the fact that "open" WebOS is available first on a desktop "open" source operating system. Instead, Ubuntu is presented as a prerequisite that we're "going to have to overcome." Not that this is a great opportunity for people who aren't familiar with Linux on the desktop to get to know a little more about it. Heck, maybe we could even, I dunno, post instructions on where to get and how to install Ubuntu. Oh no, we'll just have to get through it.

Its also apparently not something that most of us "have or have access to." We may not all HAVE Ubuntu, but I'm pretty sure that just about every computer user in the world has ACCESS to Ubuntu, since its free and readily available from both Canonical's own website and countless torrent sites. That, combined with the fact that it is one of the most user friendly, easy to install (and even dual boot), Linux desktop distributions available makes it readily within everyone's reach.

Linux is "better than nothing, we suppose" Not as good as Windows or Mac, right? I wonder if webosnation remembers the fact that WebOS IS Linux. Well, I've got news for you - just as you've been dismissive of Ubuntu, the vast majority of smartphone users and potential smartphone users have and will continue to pass on the potential of WebOS in favor of iOS and Android, After all, iOS and Android are much more than just "better than nothing" which is about all most people would think of WebOS.

Fail webosnation.

Very well said. I agree 100%. Ubuntu is fantastic. I have been using it for almost two years and it is far superior to windows in every way. In fact it blows Apple software out of the water too. There is no better match for webOS than Ubuntu.

Please give it a try. You can dual boot so you can always switch between windows and Ubuntu. However, the only thing I ever use windows for anymore is Netflix. You will love it if you try it. Faster, completely stable, and virus free. Plus the software is free!!! go to

As a regular user of Windows, OS X, and Linux Mint, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw your claim of Ubuntu as being superior to Windows or blowing "Apple software" out of the water. While I think Linux Mint blows Ubuntu out of the water from a GUI standpoint, how would you know that Ubuntu blows "Apple software" out of the water when you don't even know it's name and obviously have never used OS X?

Not having a need to shill for MS or Apple, and neither an open source cultist, I can honestly say they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Having Linux enables me to do specialized tasks such as Kismet and projects like this one but the vast majority of folk still use Windows, and most of them won't be going to the trouble of installing/learning Linux just to check out WebOS. As long as it's only available for Linux, we're talking a tiny fraction of a vey small fraction.

I agree with your assessment... to say that Ubuntu blows "Apple software" out of the water is a bit of an overstatement to say the least, as you mentioned, they have their strength and weaknesses.

Having said that, I think that the point that Mmacholda was trying to back me up on (hopefully) was that if the webOS community (which is a pretty small niche), especially the writers of this site, won't bother to give Linux a chance and immediately dismiss it as a hurdle to be overcome, what hope is there that the average consumer will ever give webOS a chance? Even when Open webOS is finalized and the homebrew community starts figuring out ways to get it onto existing hardware, it will still be infinitely harder for the average person to get webOS onto their phone than it is for a Windows or Mac user to get Ubuntu on to their desktop.

It's pretty clear (with the development that no current webOS devices will receive Open webOS as released from HP) that the ease-of-use consideration is being tossed out the window.

This is a beta copy of Open webOS, and if it continues in this line it will remain an developer's/enthusiast's platform, requiring knowledge of Linux, or an OpenEmbedded compatible device to use or integrate into your software.

If people that are reading this article are solely end-users, your interest in webOS has ended with that late July press release. Here on in, it's developer/enthusiast territory. If you fear command line prompts and re-doctoring your device, except for the News and Reviews there's not much left to follow on webOS Nation as an end user anymore. If OpenEmbedded pans out, it might appear in end user hands once more. If it doesn't, nothing changes.

The truth is that the average person simply isn't following webOS anymore... and if they are, they won't be following it for long.

Maybe the writers like most users have little experience with Ubuntu. I've tinkered with pcs for years but never found a good reason to try it. So rather than being upset with them, then give us Ubuntu newbies a good link to get started. Curiousity and need to continue seeing webos alive in some form would be enough for me to try. But however wonderful Ubuntu is, it will be a minority of computer users who install it and therefore would not attract as much attention if open WebOS was installable on windows systems. However putting webOS on a open source OS has the lowest hurdles so is a welcome and quick development.

As simple and obvious as that.

Some people are obviously not trying. It is actually easier to get to a Ubuntu installer than it is to find most Microsoft downloads and updates. Though, admittedly, I am going to have to get a 32 bit installer since all my current installs are 64 bit.

You misunderstand.

Ubuntu uses the Linux Kernel.
webos uses the Linux Kernel.

So it's relatively easy to run the webos environment on an Ubuntu installation. The same is simply not possible with Windows (which runs on the Windows NT Kernel).
You can run it on a Windows machine indirectly - by first installing a Virtual Machine manager - like the (free) VirtualBox (or VMWare if you prefer), then running Ubuntu within that VM.

Try this:

-- Get the latest Ubuntu install (32-bit would be ideal, since on a USB Drive it will boot on any PC).

-- Install this on Windows --

-- Using LinuxLive USB Creator, install Ubuntu to a USB Thumbdrive at least 4GB (8GB would be better), and use a persistence file (2GB on a 4GB drive, otherwise 6GB should be plenty of space.)

-- Reboot your PC using the USB Drive (BIOS: find the key that opens a boot menu and hit it at startup, usually F11 or F12. UEFI: Open Setup and change boot order.) Once Ubuntu's startup screen appears, choose English, then Persistence Mode at startup (should be default if you don't see any choices.)

-- Try following the instructions to install Open webOS on Ubuntu. (Some Terminal work is needed... be careful. If you're comfy with the Windows Command Prompt, you should be alright.) As long as you use the most recent copy of Ubuntu (esp. in October when the new version comes out) and you don't install a new version of the Linux Kernel or Kernel Headers (since those system files are not in the SquashFS volume, installing files referring to a kernel not present on the USB Thumb Drive will ruin the Ubuntu installation and you'll have to format and start over), it should work. If it does, congratulations. If not, keep reading.

This way, you can try out Ubuntu and it won't affect your Windows installation whatsoever: just shutdown, remove the Thumb Drive and restart. Windows is back and unharmed. Give up and want the thumb drive back? Format it in Windows, or run Linux Live Autoclean (in the main directory of the Thumb Drive) to strip Linux off of it without affecting the other contents.

Your argument is that it's a bit of work to set up. That can't be denied, and honestly, that will not change. The Desktop beta of Open webOS simply isn't meant for end users. The OpenEmbedded version has a far better chance of landing in end user hands that the Desktop version, which will most likely be used by Developers in replacement of the SDK/PDK environment. (Ubuntu + Open webOS + Eclipse/(Insert favorite IDE here) = 100% free Open webOS development studio.)

(Linux Live USB Creator also has the Portable VirtualBox option to install a VM patch onto the key that makes it a Virtual Machine readable in VirtualBox for Windows, but it's been wavering back and forth from working and non-working. Up to you to try out.)

Well said, webOS Nation writers have been incredibly negative in the last couple of weeks, (even months) these guys call themselves "webOS experts" even though webOS IS LINUX. I think it would be kind of difficult to run a Linux kernel on Windows.

Besides, I don't understand why they're complaining, it's not as if ubuntu costs money anyway...

You should, though, be able to run a Ubuntu VM on Windows using VMWare Player. I've just acquired an Asus N56V so I can run multiple VMs with acceptable speed on a laptop, while running SQL Server direct on the hosting Windows. (I don't work for Asus, it was just 30% faster than the HP equivalent, and a bit cheaper).

Hey, anyone know If I can get this running on a Cr-48???

It's Atom based. Put the Cr-48 into developer mode and you should be able to install Ubuntu onto it.

If we had to guess, that's not something the vast majority of you have or have access to.

In fact *everybody* *does* have acces to it. Even if you don't have it or a an extra computer/partition to install Ubuntu on.

1. Install VirtualBox (free)
2. Install Ubuntu in a VM (free)
3. Profit

Takes about half an hour - plus however long it takes to download an Ubuntu ISO with your DSL.

Any dev competent enough to hack on webos will have no trouble running Ubuntu - in a VM - if not directly on hardware. This is a non-problem.

Anybody else will wait for a simple instaler anyway.

Wonderful!! I've ever seen like this innovation "webOS on Ubuntu Linux" before it. It's nice feature and combination of creativity is so good. I'm interested to get this nice creation. Thanks for sharing this happy news.