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According to a report tonight on The Verge, webOS veteran Brian Hernacki has left HP. Hernacki joined Palm in 2009 as the Chief Security Architect and was promoted to Chief Architect, webOS, in January 2011. His departure may not be as high profile as that of Matias Duarte or Jon Rubinstein, but do know that Hernacki's position was high up on the webOS totem pole. Hernacki was always more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, only once really stepping into the fray of things.

Whether or not Hernacki's departure will be a blow to HP's plans for webOS remains to be seen. Now that HP has their roadmap for open sourcing webOS it'll be hard to slow things down, but losing a talent like Hernacki isn't a good thing. It goes back to one of the things we've been pushing HP to do for some time: be competitive with pay and benefits to ensure your employees don't run for what appears to be greener pastures (not saying that's what Hernacki has done, but we've seen it often enough to know it's a problem). The people working on webOS are talented, dedicated, and passionate folks, but they're all still real people with real careers and real lives to lead.

Even with the "it'll live forever" feelgood vibes of going open source, there's no guarantee of a future for webOS if the uptake rate can't justify HP's investment. Everybody at what's left of the webOS Global Business Unit is putting their livelihood on the line by sticking with HP and webOS isntead of leaving for Twitter or Facebook or Apple or Google or any other company that would be thrilled to have such employees. When the people at the top, the leaders, are heading for the hills, that's when you really have to worry about the lower ranks, the people who are actually getting the work done. Treat them right.