The "OS" in "webOS" should have always meant "Open Source" [editorial] | webOS Nation
 
 

The "OS" in "webOS" should have always meant "Open Source" [editorial] 37

by Tim Stiffler-Dean Fri, 09 Dec 2011 6:05 pm EST

When I heard the news that HP was going to be open sourcing webOS in the future, I immediately had an image of certain homebrew developers calling out, "Everybody jusy stay calm! I got this one...." Perhaps my opinion differs from most others in this community, but frankly, HP open-sourcing webOS was the best thing they could have done for the platform. Palm tried to make it happen, and they failed miserably. HP tried their own short-lived trials with it, and they failed even more miserably. Why, then, do I have any confidence that an open-sourced mobile platform will see even the slightest bit of success in the future of tech?

The answer is simple - our community is amazing.

Here's the thing, the webOS community is not only Rod Whitby and his band of merry men (WebOS Internals) or Derek Kessler and the misfits that he runs with (the rest of us here at webOS Nation). The webOS Nation runs far and wide around the world, with fans, developers, designers and plenty of influential people standing behind it who want to see it succeed. Where HP had committees and management problems, webOS now has a fighting chance to live out its purpose completely and become the open sourced mobile platform that Android could only dream of becoming.

So why is an open source webOS the answer to all of our wishes? Let me count the ways....

1. Free and Open Source means everyone will get a slice of the pie.

Every mobile device maker out there knows that to bring people over into your corner of the market you need to create an experience that is unique to your devices. There are currently two major operating systems that are available to all major manufacturers to use. Android is very open but lacks a lot of the shine that makes other OS's more desirable (until Ice Cream Sandwich, that is). WP7 is very nice looking but is handled very strictly by the Microsoft overlords (manufacturers can't put their own skin on it and must adhere to specific rules setup by Microsoft).

And now, you have webOS; the platform that nearly every tech enthusiast in the world wanted to succeed, even if those geeks were fans of some other bundle of software. I can't name a single respectable person in the tech world that has not commented on the great potential of webOS (even Steve Jobs complimented the work of Palm back in the day), and that is saying a lot. Hardware manufacturers better recognize - the world wants to see webOS somewhere, and by allowing webOS to go completely open source, HP has effectively opened the door to every device manufacturer and said "You know you want to...."

See? It just feels right.

When HTC, Samsung, Amazon, Facebook and even South Korea are looking to work on their own mobile OS, you can bet they will all take second, third and fourth glances at an open-sourced webOS. Even if they do use webOS' offerings to improve their own products without actually using webOS on the front-end, they will be contributing back to the webOS community to make things better for us (like when Microsoft contributes code to various open source projects), and they will also be making the current market better for the masses. Innovation means we all win, no matter if that innovation carries the webOS name or not. So if an OEM uses Enyo to enhance their platform, webOS, the webOS Nation, HP and everyone else involved all get some good out of it.

Oh right, and the whole thing is patent protected and will be enforced by HP. Manufacturers would love to build something that isn't going to get them sued by Apple, Google, Starbucks and various political groups around the world.

2. Our community will step up and do what HP could not.

Once again, where HP had committees, board meetings and a failed CEO (not Meg Whitman), webOS has the most passionately driven developer community over every single other developer community currently out there. We don't just love our devices, we really frickin' love our devices (it's kind of horrifying how much we love these devices, to be honest). Just look at the money that you've raised each year for our Homebrew development teams, not to mention how much more money our developers make off of webOS than they do on other platforms (because we buy more of their apps). We are a very, very active people.

Bug Fixes, Patches, Feature Additions, Kernels, OS Updates; all of these things could be improved in some ways, but not all of them could be improved (quickly) by the behemoth of corporate structure that is HP. Oh, and by the way, WebOS Internals and other homebrew developers have already fixed some of those bugs and problems with their own projects. We aren't talking about anarchy here, people, and neither am I saying that HP will release all control over to the masses, but pushing fixes through into the platform will take days or less to do via the Open Source developer community rather than weeks or "in the coming months" that it almost always took HP to make changes. You could actually see that multi-layered wave launcher we were all drooling over last week.

The wave launcher you never used, but loved to oggle at.

Find a security flaw? Oh alright. Developers can create a fix and submit it back to the community where it will be tested, reviewed and quickly released to the public. This is the same with Wordpress, Ubuntu, Firefox and Joomla - everyone contributes and everyone wins. Will the userbase be small at first? Sure, that's pretty much a definite, but even Android had to start off somewhere. Even Ubuntu had a beginning. Fortunately for us, webOS already has developers in place and ready to build cool stuff, and 2 million+ users ready to try something new (seriously, though, we all want to see something new really bad).

3. People like to rebel against manufacturers

If the hardware manufacturers themselves don't take up the opportunity to bring their devices to the world of webOS (which, as I mentioned before, would be close to insane), then consumers will take up the slack and bring webOS to other hardware. Current devices stand no chance at being left unscathed. Heck, Ryan Hope, a webOS homebrew developer, has already done what many webOS fans have dreamed over; he ported webOS 3.0 to an HTC EVO 3D. There's is still plenty of work to be done before this is actually a usable port, but it shows what developers in the near future will be capable of.

Remember when Android first came out years ago? I'm talking before it was ever on an actual device being sold on the market. In those days, I remember my nerdy self getting my hands on the source code and spending a few weeks trying to find a way to get it to work on my own PPC 6700. I may not have succeeded, but it was that early tinkering from interested developers that helped pave the way for Android into the future success that it now has. This was before smartphones were even that popular (just after the first iPhone hit) and many consumers were still being introduced to simple concepts like sending email via a telephony device.

Fast forward a few years, and you now have a world that not only has a steadily growing smartphone market (the kind where people are buying new smartphones over upgrading their home PC), but it also actively promotes geekiness and the ability to build cool stuff with code. If Android was able to leap forward because people wanted to rebel against the already popular iPhone, webOS will fare even better against the vastly more popular Android. As Ryan Hope has already shown with his HTC EVO 3D, people are going to do this because they really want to do this - and now there are no licensing walls to stop them from pushing forward.

Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus.

4. HP can still reboot the brand

They may have said that it's not coming soon, but that doesn't mean it's not coming. HP still has a lot to gain from supporting the continued development of webOS, and that includes building more webOS hardware. No smartphones? Fine. But if you show the world a truly great tablet device or throw webOS on your PC's, you will be inspiring plenty of other engineers to make their products better.

As many people in our webOS Nation have said in the past (particularly on the PalmCast), the webOS name has been tainted a bit in the eyes of the public. Several of us here all agree, for webOS to succeed under HP, they need to do a serious rebooting of the brand, which includes not making new hardware for a while so that people can get the foul taste out of their mouths. When HP announced today that webOS was going to be open sourced, they essentially told the world to get ready for the longest webOS restart in history (previous record goes to an original Palm Pre owner, which took somewhere around 4 months or so).

Here's the scenario: HP puts webOS out there for the extremely passionate developer community to help improve, they wait a few months for the software to mature and to build up good reputation in the eyes of the tech world (because everyone in the tech world likes talking about and playing with shiny new things built by cool people) and in a year's time they can start working on that webOS hardware again and relaunching their line of devices. You might remember another company that did something similar back in the day: Mozilla was birthed from Netscape Communitor 4.0 when Microsoft's Internet Explorer was having a hay-day taking over the planet. Today Mozilla is the most popular browser alternative to the propreitary software put out by Microsoft (oh, and if you say that now Google Chrome is beating Firefox, you're actually further proving my point - the Chromium project is also an open source project). Open source does not mean death-sentence. Not by a long shot.

Don't worry, it was all just a bad nightmare.

Also, HP obviously needs to learn a thing or two about the mobile markets before jumping back in with both feet. Over the next few months/years that they are developing webOS quietly in the background they have the perfect opportunity to actually learn what it means to release new devices. You know, they can actually do that research before investing billions of dollars into a product right before pulling it off of the shelves. That has to count for something.

There's still work to be done, but the future is bright

We've heard this before, haven't we? HP bought Palm and we were excited. Now HP is open sourcing webOS and our community is a bit split, but I'm still excited (as are a few others). With an open source webOS there are a few challenges, but it is increasingly true that people are looking to open source projects to continue fueling innovation (something else that HP desparately wants to be known for again). If the cards are played correctly, and they should be, webOS will one day become the passionately developed, appropriately funded, and widely manufactured mobile operating system that it deserves to be. At the very least, from the looks of things, the webOS Nation is here to stay for a long time to come.

I propose that we are not approaching another drought for webOS-fans, but we are approaching a perfect storm. Finally, all of those heated voices who have spoken out against HP's decisions with webOS will have direct influence over what happens to the operating system in the future. Finally, other device manufacturers can make webOS-powered devices without signing a possible death-sentence with a company that has been steadily declining in value over the last year. Finally, with a little elbow-grease and know-how, we can port webOS to hardware that already exists and make the tech-world a better place because of it. Maybe you'll say I'm being overly-optimistic, but in my mind's eye Android is a little frightened by the potential for a real open source competitor, especially since that competitor also owns the patent for the smartphone.

Consumers may not see any new devices come out in the next few years, but I assure you that it will happen (I would put money down on this, if I had money to put down). Who knows, maybe one day I'll get to review a dozen new webOS devices every day like Phil Nickinson at AndroidCentral. Ok maybe that's pushing it a bit....

Or maybe not. webOS is dead. Long live webOS.

37 Comments

Great editorial!

I can't wait for the future of webOS... :D

But none of this solves the fundamental problem facing WebOS in 2013 (which is when we are likely to see new hardware if ever) - who's paying for the content infrastructure that consumers now expect to see?

That's a couple of billion to start with.

Plus the OS is actually the cheap bit of the deal - R&D, marketing, getting devices into the supply chain - this is all many more hundreds of millions.

Anyone who think that OEMs will start picking WebOS because it's "free" are fooling themselves, it's simply an opportunity to spend many many billions - which is why HP very cleverly only plan to make a tablet in 2013 if someone else can make a success of it.

And someone is sure to reply "but we can hack this onto android hardware" - yeah you can but that's an interesting hobbyist thing to do, it's got nothing to do with building a competitive OS.

On the phone side, is there going to be any other option? If any OEM is interested in WebOS it's going to be in tablets simply because the level of complexity of the phone market is much higher than tablets (which is why people like corby don't bother).

Baghdad Bob,

It might be hard to believe, but some people don't like Android. Personally, I've found the usability to be horrible. Perhaps it's better with ICS.

Frankly, I can't understand why anyone would waste new hardware on Android when they could have webOS on it.

There have been two downsides with webOS, poor hardware and few apps. Being able to put webOS on new hardware solves one of those problems.

"Frankly, I can't understand why anyone would waste new hardware on Android when they could have webOS on it."

Yep, that sounds about right for these parts.

It's a "waste" of new hardware to put the number one mobile operating system in the world on it, but an obscure phone OS that pretty much only works on portrait devices with physical keyboards or a tablet OS that has accelerometer, browser, and audio bugs....that's the ticket.

Why don't companies follow this sage advice?

What content infrastructure you need?

Music? Spotify, Pandora, Google Music.
Books? Kindle app.
TV shows & Movies? Well there certainly needs to be some work done there - Netflix would be nice. However, I'm enjoying everything on my Windows Media Center.

My favorite part is that I'm not locked into one provider.

Why wouldn't OEMs start picking webOS because it's free? We saw all sorts of cheap Android knock-offs before Gingerbread because it was free. Hardware will get cheaper and webOS on those would be a pretty compelling cheap device.

Barely updated apps from Kindle and the like DO NOT make a "content infrastructure" nor an ecosystem.

And this argument about being locked into one provider is a joke. On Windows Phone, Zune Pass is the native content consumption and media playing solution BUT it also offers Last.FM, a much slicker Spotify client, Netflix, and a host of other solutions. Same goes for Apple and iTunes, but they also have Rhapsody, Mog, Netflix, and so on. Same for Android and Google Movies/Music.

On the contrary, being on an open source platform is where you'll be locked in....to whatever the community can hack together. You want limited choices? There ya go.

Most importantly, by being commercially viable, those operating systems will get the NEXT Netflix or Flipboard or Siri or whatever awesome thing that an app must be created for running native on top-notch hardware.

But you raise a good point about OEMs....WebOS would be fine to put on cheap devices that would otherwise get BREW. That's where an unfinished open-source OS belongs.

Exactly. And this idea that WebOS open source shields you from making patent royalty payments....pfft. Try putting out a commercial smartphone that doesn't use patents like ActiveSync and see what happens.

WebOS aint free. No open source product is. You'll have to pay to skin it to your brand, add stuff like Samsung Media Hub or HTC Watch, tune it to run as smooth as WP7.5 or ICS or iOS5 when neither Palm nor HP could ever do it.

Well-written and well-argued. Bravo, sir.

love the article..and I agree, our community will do what needs to ne done. WebOs is still alive because of us, simple as that.

http://www.webosnation.com/round-table-hp-buying-palm-and-what-means

Interesting to see the differences between that post and this one. Seems like some serious backwards rationalization going on here.

Actually, I wasn't a part of that article. This one is just my own opinion also. Derek and the others may not necessarily agree with everything I've said here.

Yeah, I noticed that also. Looking forward to the next round table.

Excellent work, TSD! I, too, am excited over what the community WILL do!

This article is well-written, but completely loony tunes. Comparing it to Android ignores a whole plethora of substantive differences:

1. The Android Handset alliance. This is a consortium or hardware makers and carriers that were willing to spend a lot of money to put something big into the market.

2. Apple. The alliance existed because there was an entrenched and unbeatalbe enemy, at least, unbeatable by a single company. That is not as big a concern, now.

3. Android was not built by a collection of basement hackers trying to see if they could get a failed OS onto some successful hardware. It was sponsored by one of the biggest companies in tech. WebOS can't even get picked up for peanuts by someone who just wants the patents.

4. The open source community has no money or unified agenda. It takes billions to build a successful software and hardware platform.

5. Twice-dead OS zombies do not come back to take over the world. What the heck do you expect? This is the real world. The best you can hope for is that TP owners will finally be able to touch and share something with another device. Good luck with that.

I dunno... maybe you have a point, but here are my observations:

1. It's only a matter of time before webOS achieves something similar. The thing is, people--and the companies they run--are fickle. They WILL drop something if they are given a good reason; brand loyalty maybe sometimes factors into decisions, but I doubt ever ALL the time. Also consider that the Android Handset alliance didn't "always exist"; Google had to work to build it up and convince them to use Android... Building a webOS Handset alliance is only a matter of time and effort.

2. That "enemy" still exists, even if there are two "enemies" now. it's no different than people realizing that both Republicans AND Democrats are the problem--as well as realizing that both parties are two sides of the same coin--and thus need a counterpoint to them. Consider other governments where more than two parties exist, it's enough to show that people CAN believe that the solution to their problems exist beyond the two big parties.

3. Linux, on the other hand, WAS built by a collection of basement hackers trying to see if they could get an OS onto some hardware (of course, correct me if I'm wrong). In fact, most big computer companies and their products were started and built by "basement hackers" (google/ wiki "Homebrew Computer Club"), but that didn't stop them from exploding with success. I doubt consumers really care who made their product, what matters is that it fulfills their needs enough; if webOS looks good and does a good job in fulfilling people's needs, does it matter if it was worked on slightly by "basement hackers"? And what, HP isn't sponsoring webOS and isn't "one of the biggest companies in tech"?

....now I'm suspecting you're a troll... but I'll continue...

4. Money doesn't motivate people (again, look at Linux). There is a great video about this very concept: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Passion and the fact that we're doing something important is enough to motivate people to work hard on webOS. The whole idea of spending billions on R&D is simply because money is generally what motivates people. But if people are motivated REGARDLESS of money, then the end effect is still the same: your product will be worked on and worked by people who WANT to do a good job.

The unified agenda is "keep webOS up to date and put webOS on all kinds of hardware" or basically "make webOS awesome". The finer details will undoubtedly come; just because they don't exist NOW doesn't meant they'll NEVER exist.

5. The thing is, webOS "died" twice, sure, but it "died" only to the people who knew it existed... and that's not everyone. And even then, it "dying" isn't enough to deter people, nor should it. Apple "died" many times but it's still alive, isn't it? And even if people DID hold its two "deaths" against webOS and thus VOWED to ne er buy another webOS product (on pain of death), the fact that relatively few people knew it even EXISTED to begin with (let alone knew it had "died" twice) still gives plenty of room to grow and flourish.

Lets also not forget how many people (famous people, etc.) have "died" in the eyes of the people, but their career never ever suffered much long term effect. That is to say, it has always been a matter of time before that person's "dead" career was "reborn"... Pee-Wee Herman is a perfect example, and then there were people like Harvey Milk who lost one election after another.... only to FINALLY be elected.

All things of a conditioned existence is in a constant state of flux and thus is never permanent, without exception. This includes webOS's "zombie" state. There are enough people out there to give webOS a chance, by virtue of the fact that they don't know to NOT give it a chance.

....

None of this is anything that I feel is mere fanboy delusion... all of the above is that which I feel is grounded in reality and fact. I do welcome you to find the holes in my logic which are likewise grounded in realism and fact... but don't poke holes in it just because you disagree with it and attempt to back up your statements with your own brand of delusion.

But this is also assuming that you're not just being a troll.

i agree with nickfifteen

LOL. It's only a matter of time before WebOS achieves an alliance of handset manufacturers? Hoookay. The same ones that could have OWNED it when it was for sale and actually gotten a second stream of revenue in the form of app and accessory sales? But no, they were waiting to get an OS that now ANYONE could get and try to make money selling it at a profit with no carrier support - something that's been unsuccessfully attempted twice (once JUST MONTHS AGO).

There's no need to dismiss the rest as fanboy delusion. Your argument basically boils down to "It could happen because anything is possible". It's tautological, and thus devoid of value.

Anybody remember the winning "What HP should do with WebOS" video that was so cheered around here? No mention of open-sourcing WebOS in it, yet now that's the best thing ever. In fact, I don't remember any of the finalists espousing this course of action, yet we were all on board, eh?

Yeah, this is exactly what I was thinking about... HP has had too much controversy lately and, just like someone who spent the last literal-week in an endless kegger party, HP just wants things to settle down for a while.

But while HP settles down, webOS development will stall... meaning that once HP is interested in getting back into their "vertical" system model, they will have an OS that is some two to three years too old relative to the competition, thus ruining their plans.

Thus, open-sourcing was HP's most realistic option, maybe even the best option; that is to say, if HP decided to get back into hardware NOW, their low energy levels and desire for things to settle down may/will definitely negatively affect their work and we would be left with a greatly inferior product.

But this way, HP can take their time to cool off while WE take webOS and do the work that HP simply can't afford to do just yet, just so once everyone's ready--HP has finally got their **** together and webOS is finally nice and polished--HP can finally do right by webOS with hardware.

The whole thing is... as it has been mentioned once before, this is a race, not a marathon. It won't matter if webOS has "lost" in 2011 or even 2012, especially if by 2013 or 2014 webOS is finally "winning". Likewise, consider the "winners" of the past which aren't worth a hill of beans today: Atari, Tandy, Wang, Sega (hardware-wise), Commodore... at one point these were the guys you had to beat if you wanted to "win" in your respective field, but now they're nothing... far FAR less than even a shell of their former selves. Recent examples include Nokia and Symbian as well as RIM and Blackberry; they once held the world in the palm of their hands, but now they're desperately trying to make sure people simply don't FORGET who they are to begin with!

Thus... today's "winners" may be tomorrow's "losers", and vice versa; all that matters is that you continue to to stay fresh and competitive and never take your eye off the prize. I'm sure HP knows this and thus are willing to commit their resources for webOS *efficiently* in order to achieve long-term success. It doesn't matter that webOS isn't "there" today, but it won't matter in the years to come, just like Apple's years of failure have been rendered moot with Apple's years of uber-success... it's not like Apple's past failures still hold it down (or that consumers and critics still dangle Apple's failures over their head to this day).

I have confidence in HP and ESPECIALLY the webOS community to not let webOS fumble and fall (like Symbian, Palm OS v6, and MeeGo)... simply by virtue of the fact that everyone apparently wants to see webOS succeed infinitely more than Symbian, Palm OS v6 and MeeGo. And the mere fact that the webOS community has their schtuff together far more than Android's open-source community may be the deal-maker for many people.

But..., but but but.... this can only happen if the community doesn't drop the ball. It needs to be able to be able to run with the code and keep up the pace, otherwise it'll fail a third time due to lack of proper effort. But then again, the webOS community is some of the most passionate people I've seen; it reminds me a lot of the passionate Apple fans from back in the day (1994-1999), and that is a big reason why I feel at home with webOS... webOS gives me that same thrill of supporting something I KNEW was the better system (like System 7), despite "everyone" choosing the weaker, inferior COPYCAT system (Windows 95). And so just like Apple's resurgence came partly due to the tenacity of their loyal "Mac Addicts", webOS will turn around too because of us... only THIS TIME we actually have the keys to the system we love, versus the Mac addicts buying Apple products as the only way they can show their support in the only way that matters.

We can make this happen, we will make webOS shine again! It only just needs time and energy to make it happen... but we're patient people, right? :) ;)

again, i agree with nickfifteen

Again, the reasoning here boggles. WebOS is not "nice and polished" after three years of development from teams of dedicated engineers and billions invested. Ok.

But now that it's open source, the community will polish a 2009 product and make it competitive in 2013, where people will somehow be starved for choice amidst mature Google, Microsoft, and Apple phones and tablets backed by ECOSYSTEMS at every conceivable price point?

We're going to see a community-sourced Siri rival that will keep pace with what Apple has done by then? A community-sourced offering of integration that will somehow beat the unification of Xbox 360 and Kinect, Windows 8, and Windows Phone? A community-sourced Web presence more pervasive than Google, Gmail, and the like? A community-sourced content provider to rival Amazon and the Kindle Fire family?

Why is it not enough to say this move is a success just because it will allow WebOS fans to tweak WebOS to their liking better than ever and - maybe - hack it in a mostly functional state onto the giant slabs they used to decry? Why these grand visions for it rising as a huge commercial force?

+1

Completely correct.

Let's do a little assumptive math, shall we. Let us say that a maker - we'll use HTC - of phones decides to look at the possibility of using webOS on phones. Let's say they start with an Android phone that has a capacitive area at the bottom for the Android core buttons. Let's also suppose that the cost of remarking the bottom area to be a webOS gesture area, complete with LED strip, or something similar, is minimal (as it would be if this was all you needed to change). Now let's look at the costs involved with taking this phone and putting it out both as an Android phone and a webOS alternative phone (albeit with a more limited run to be safe).

The costs for marketing the two phones will be similar, but probably about $1 more per phone for webOS if they decide to build 1 million of the webOS handsets. Let's also suppose that they need to spend another $1 per phone on carrier incentives and programs to make sure that the 1 million webOS phones move. Let's assume that HTC spends $3 per phone getting webOS correctly functioning on this phone. Now, the phone costs $5 more to put out there than the Android phone, until you add the Microsoft royalty payment (we'll assume Apple hasn't starting receiving royalties yet, still fighting in court) of $15. Now the webOS phone is actually $10 cheaper which means, theoretically, HTC could increase profits on the a million phones by $10 million.

Now, the real kicker, HTC can now become immune to all of the Apple lawsuits by accepting webOS and HP's patent umbrella, which includes some cross-license agreements. How much is HTC now going to save on lawsuits? How many 10's of millions do they now save there?

So, by taking an Android phone, with a very slight modification, and putting webOS on it (would be easy to do on the Evo 3D - same as TouchPad - just redo the bottom area) and spending say $5 million to get 1 million sets in peoples hands, HTC would diversify, make more profit by increasing their margins due to the dropping of the MS royalty, and then saving time and money by eliminating the lawsuits (you don't see Apple suing HP for good reason), HTC is suddenly a much stronger company. The risk in all of this, is if you can sell 1 million HTC branded phones with webOS on it.

The real moral of this story, however, is that Android has real issues that aren't going away. Not too mention that it has a significantly high number of users who aren't satisfied with it (in the 25-30% range depending on who's doing the survey). So this is all quite doable. Right now, it just depends on time for HP to get the stuff out there.

I'm sure HTC considered all of this....when they became a premier manufacturer of Windows Phone.

They took pre-existing shells and stuck Windows Phone on them. They're still doing it, but just changing the colors (HTC Radar) or the supersizing it (The HTC Titan). Not only are they more protected from patent royalties, but they spend virtually nothing in development costs (They just have an HTC Hub app they stick on all models), and Microsoft is committed to shouldering the promotional cost burden with them.

So why bother with WebOS when they'd have to spend way more on development, pay Microsoft royalties for ActiveSync and other functions ANYWAY, and have no ecosystem to support the device? More importantly, why publicly denounce the idea of buying WebOS when they could've owned it lock, stock, and barrel?

There's always this magical utopia for WebOS right around the corner if X happens.

In the past, it's been timed to the final release of the SDK, or the PDK, or Enyo, or once the Pre 3 hits or once HP buys them or once HP spends hundreds of millions on marketing or once the Touchpad hits.....there's always some panacea that's just out of reach if a company will be "smart" enough to pour hundreds of billions into the money pit that is this operating system.

Never works out, and it's never WebOS' fault. Isn't that odd?

Correct. I'm sure there are even still people waiting for a "flood of apps."

mmm.... I'm still skeptical about WebOS trying to compete with any other OS out there (especially Android).

- The user base of WebOS is just too small won't be wooing any consumers without a lot of advertizing money for the ignoran masses of consumers

- OpenSource means lack of direction. I hate to say it, but look at Linux... look at Ubuntu and what a disaster it is... and even the good distros (such as OpenSuse) are not as popular as they deserve to be. Buttom line is Open Source means lack of standard down the road (Even Google Android is NOT really open source)

- I'm sure there will be hackers who will try to get WebOS on different devices as an option, but then again, they might do the same with Android. They have been trying to get Android work on HP Touchpad, so my guess is WebOS on any other device will only work as good as Android is working on HP Touchpad without the manufacturer's support.

Size matters not! I think that as long as companies feel they can turn a profit--despite running things on a super small scale--then I'm sure they'll be willing to do it... plus I think it's large enough to get things going. I'm sure you also know that companies do things partly because of what current, but also because of what's coming. Case in point, when the Sony PSP came put, the UMD disc system had NO installed user base, but Hollywood still was willing to dedicate themselves to the format because of the POTENTIAL for growth. I'm sure with webOS going open-source and the potential for it to be better than it is now, it may be enough to show that the POTENTIAL is out there for webOS and is thus something that is worth creating hardware for.

As for the lack of direction of webOS... HP will still be a guiding light for it, thus it may be enough to provide direction for webOS development.

And finally... the idea of hackers getting webOS on other hardware is--in my mind--a GOOD thing. If anything, it'll give people a good idea of what is the more popular phone to install webOS on, and thus giving HP a good idea of what the Pre4 should have (once HP decides to restart hardware which they will....) Me personally, it'll also help choose what "stop gap" phone I should get when my current contract goes up... I mean, I'm 100% positive HP will get back into phones, but until they do, I want to have a webOS phone SOMEHOW... if it means getting some top-of-the-line Android phone for cheep and then installing webOS on it, then that's better than nothing!

OK, so now can Citrix bring back Receiver for webOS and the Touchpad? Is this enough of a reprieve for webOS for at least that much while we wait for more hardware?

No.

I Love this Article (Editorial) !!
Thank You

"(previous record goes to an original Palm Pre owner, which took somewhere around 4 months or so)."

That's hilarious! Way to go TSD!

I am a (non-tech) small business owner. My household contains a Samsung Moment, Epic, and my Pre (FrankenPre I think you call it) originally released through Sprint. I have made many attempts to like my wife’s and son’s phones (Android) but cannot see how I can. I just don’t see how anyone can argue that Android can compete in functionality for someone using their device for business, especially on the road. I have sampled iOS phones and see their use for non-business apps and “stick it to the man” techies but I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why every non-tech business wouldn’t prefer webOS over everything available.
I have determined, in my own mind, the ignorance of the general public is the reason webOS has struggled. I do not, however, blame the general public (current and potential smart phone purchaser) for their ignorance. The blame lies with Palm, HP, and even the cell carriers for not marketing the OS and devices nearly as well as Apple or Android.
I would love to change my entire household and everyone I know to webOS. I don’t know if this will ever become an option. I continue to preach the gospel of webOS to my family, friends, clients, and business associates.
In the mean time, if webOSnation has any inkling of a hardware manufacture slightly interested in providing hardware for webOS, I for one would be willing to be part of a grass-roots surge to urge that company to do so.

I agree with this article. I stated a case for why someone like HTC would see this as a very good risk to take. People forget that every Android handset comes with a $15 Microsoft "fine". For every 1 million Android phones you sell, $15 million in potential profits goes straight to MS. Furthermore, the lawsuits from Apple cost a lot in terms of time and money.

If HP can get webOS to be viable enough for someone like HTC, LG, Toshiba, Panasonic, or Samsung to take the risk, and all the benefits that come (especially the patent umbrella), then I believe phone makers will take that shot. Even Samsung is having to spend a lot of money maintaining and growing BADA. If they could just plop a truly free OS onto their phones, one they don't have to maintain, per se, then why not? In the end, profits, or potential for, will drive these decisions.

This is why I like Tim, real reasons to be cautiously optimistic. Derek is good and perhaps he's been the closer recipient of more pain but a little more :) would do this place good.

So maybe I don't understand the "open-source" idea well enough, but wouldn't that also mean that some of the best features of webOS may now find it's way into competing OS's? Now that the source code is supposedly publicly available and free to use, what keeps Google from borrowing the card based multitasking for Android or Microsoft borrowing the back swipe for WP7? Or can they do that, as long as they say where the code came from?