HP releases two beta versions of open-source webOS

The code for two webOS build environments was posted to GitHub on Friday

Hewlett-Packard released two beta versions of its open source webOS on Friday: one for developers that runs on the Ubuntu Linux desktop, and one for the "OpenEmbedded" development environment, intended to help developers port webOS to new devices.

The August Edition, as the webOS team calls the latest release on the project website, consists of 45 open source webOS components and 450,000 lines of code. The two versions were released under the Apache 2.0 license, which is one of the most liberal and accepted in the open source community, the team said.

The beta desktop build includes a version of the webOS System Manager that will run as an application on the Ubuntu desktop, the team wrote. System Manager's functions include rendering the webOS Card View, Launcher, Status Bar and other user interface elements. Core webOS applications such as Calendar and Contacts run within System Manager, and the new version also supports apps built with the third party JavaScript framework Enyo, the team added.

Releasing a version of webOS for the OpenEmbedded platform was a natural choice, the team said, because of its widespread community adoption, excellent cross-compiling support for embedded platforms and support for multiple hardware architectures, the team wrote. The OpenEmbedded build of webOS includes an ARM emulator to run core services such as db8 and node.js, the team said.

Both builds were released on GitHub, and the webOS team encouraged the community to discuss features, bugs and fixes to enhance the beta release.

The two beta versions are not the first source code releases from the Open webOS team. In June HP released the webOS Community Edition, a version of webOS that can be used on legacy TouchPad tablets. The team made some progress with that and the latest release, called LunaCe, brings new features including new gesture-based application switching and Card Stack Tabs, which allows users to stack and group their open windows.

HP announced eight months ago that it would release the code behind webOS after it decided to stop producing phones and tablets using the operating system. The release was planned for September, it said at the time.

The Open webOS team said on Friday that it will announce further plans for the open source OS with the September release.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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