Print 12 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Sep 3 at 8:26 AM

It's not exactly good, but it's novel certainly

Palm's fallen mobile operating system webOS still manages to make headlines even three years after its new owner, Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ), laid it to rest.  Once viewed as a stronger challenger to Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in the premium smartphone space than Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, the OS is today finding new life thanks to several projects, one of which targets mobile devices.
Official support from HP for the now-defunct catalog of webOS devices ended in Jan. 2012 with the release of webOS 3.0.5.  Now at last there's some fresh material for webOS die-hards, thanks to the Open webOS Project.
webOS is now sponsored by South Korea's LG Electronics, Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575) which bought the OS in Feb. 2013 to use as a Smart TV platform.  The new owner is allowing a coalition of fans and veteran webOS developers to bring new open source webOS builds to mobile devices.  The project builds upon the earlier efforts HP, who began open-sourcing parts of webOS, starting with the release of the Enyo, a cross-platform JavaScript framework SDK.
At its core webOS was somewhat similar to Android, using many open source software components and an Android kernel.  As a result it's been fairly easy for the project to freshen the core software.
Started in early 2012, the open webOS project quietly went through several test builds before launching Open webOS 1.0 in Sept. 2012.  In Jan. 2013, a build of OWOS 1.0 launched as an aftermarket ROM for the Nexus 7, an Android device. Since then much of the work has been put towards updating this codebase and porting it to new mobile devices.
The HP Touchpad is among the devices supported by the new "LuneOS".

The fruits of that labor were finally shown this week by WebOS Ports, a companion group of the Open WebOS project.  The group this week announced the launch of LuneOS -- a freshened version of webOS.  LuneOS is based on the latest open source Linux web/GUI framework packages including QT 5.2, QML, and WebKit 2.
The just released launch build of LuneOS is available for the Nexus 4 and HP TouchPad.  The Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 (2012 Wi-Fi-edition) are also supported, but will not receive ongoing support with future releases.

Screenshots of LuneOS in smartphone form

PivotCE, a Palm enthusiast project associated with the release, describes:

The first eye catching change is the new name we’ll be using for our project going forward. The distribution will be called "LuneOS" instead of "WebOS Ports Open webOS" because it wasn’t very catchy.  Lune is the French translation of moon and refers to the user interface we all love so much in legacy webOS, LunaSysMgr, which is named after the Latin/Spanish translation of moon.

The release model for LuneOS is a rolling one where each of the releases will get its own name from a list of coffee beverages. This first release is "Affogato".

All work for each release is visible to the public and users can also update to unreleased stages to support the developers with testing and bug fixing. Our overall aim is to deliver high quality software which is stable and satisfies the needs of our users. We plan to have a new release at the beginning of each month.

The project's evolution since its June 2013 Alpha 2 build includes revamps of many of the core apps (Memo, PDF app, file manager, Calculator, Email), support for Wi-Fi internet access, and a rewrite of the SysManager, which handles tasking on the target mobile hardware.

The project borrowed Android's telephony system and graphics drivers.  The developers plan to later integrate Android's open source camera and sensor drivers, as well as Android's open source hardware-accelerated video decoding packages.

The Wi-Fi enabled LuneOS has revamped versions of many of the core webOS apps.

This is obviously a very limited release for a small set of devices -- including deprecated webOS devices that have few current users.  And the developers involved realize that.  Their ambitions are much more down to Earth than Meego's resurgent "Sailfish OS" effort by Jolla.  As they say:

The main focus of LuneOS is to provide an operating system which is driven by the community and continues what we love(d) about webOS. We’re not trying to reach feature comparison with Android or iOS but rather building a system to satisfy basic needs in the mobile environment.

Despite the limited scope, the developers involved are excited that LG is allowing them to make the most of webOS' second chance at mobile life.  If you have a compatible device and would like to check out the LuneOS, the installation instructions can be found here.
In related news, HP recently settled with shareholders who were disgruntled at the death of webOS.  The settlement is reportedly worth $57M USD -- more than enough to buy some devices to run LuneOS on.

Sources: PivotCE, via Engadget

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Late 2014 and still...
By retrospooty on 9/2/2014 11:25:02 AM , Rating: 3
I miss the task switching UI every day. No-one has matched it ease of use. Android, IOS and BBOS10 all have something similar but not near as good. Android L probably being the closest yet, but still not released for the masses.

RE: Late 2014 and still...
By synapse46 on 9/2/2014 11:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
I agree! They were way ahead at the time. I still have my palm and miss using it, I actually tried turning it on a while back but it wouldn't work without a carrier account apparently.

RE: Late 2014 and still...
By Arsynic on 9/2/2014 12:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
webOS was my favorite. If Palm beat Apple to the punch with this, they would be the market leader today.

RE: Late 2014 and still...
By retrospooty on 9/2/2014 12:52:27 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe... Palm's issue was always hardware. Carriers were sick and tired of dealing with the astounding failure rates. If not for that, I think they would have had some huge deals and still be around today.

RE: Late 2014 and still...
By Samus on 9/3/2014 2:15:45 AM , Rating: 2
Things that killed Palm:

-Long WebOS development (2006-2009)
-Initial Sprint exclusivity
-Initial hardware quality (especially the Palm Pre/Pre Plus)
-Léo Apotheker, the dipshit HP CEO that canned a well-executed purchase by former HP CEO Mark Hurd.

Jon Rubenstein never wanted to sell Palm to HP, but his real fears were realized after Mark Hurd left.

Fortunately the real iPod and iPhone inventor is happy improving technology behind the scenes at Qualcomm.

RE: Late 2014 and still...
By retrospooty on 9/3/2014 8:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
That was all bad, but it goes further back than that. Palm had horrible defect rates going back to before the handspring buyout/merger. The Treo 180 and 270, 300 were horrible, as were the 600, 650, and all the later ones right up to and including the Pre. Had they not had those issues they wouldn't have most so many customers and carrier support and would have been making bank, and wouldn't have ever had to sell to HP to be made part of Apothekers legacy of lame.

By melgross on 9/2/2014 11:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
So the question is, other than for hobbyists, what is the use of this?

RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 9/2/2014 1:02:18 PM , Rating: 3
Other than that? Not much. Maybe as a token for the other major players to say "Hey, look -THIS is how you do a UI"

WebOS on toddays hardware with a few speed tweaks (and of course apps) would absolutely rock.

RE: Why?
By bigboxes on 9/2/2014 1:15:20 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. I loved to mod my Pre. Just hated the build quality. Still have that sucker. Preware made modding it so easy. Had the 500Mhz overclocked to 1Ghz. Of course, I started carrying a spare battery around, but still...

still miss it
By IlllI on 9/2/2014 11:48:20 AM , Rating: 2
a couple years after selling my last touchpad, i still miss webos. they had, and still have the best multitasking on a mobile device i've ever used. it was just so fluid and intuitive. some of their features they incorporated are still ahead of their time today.

RE: still miss it
By Chadder007 on 9/2/2014 12:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
I loved the multitasking and email browser.

By chrisb2e9 on 9/2/2014 6:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
I still have my touchpad that I bought during the fire sale. It just collects dust now, I don't even keep it charged. Could I put this on it? maybe, it is running android now... But I don't see the point. It's such an old device, good only for email at this point. I'll get a new tablet come Christmas this year. Even though it served me well, I think it's time for the touchpad to get recycled.

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