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HP said Friday that the open-source community will obtain access to the underlying code for webOS under an open-source license. The goal is to enable developers, partners, and other hardware manufacturers to commercially release ongoing webOS enhancements as well as new platform versions.
A Question Of Commitment
HP said that its own engineers will continue to be active in the development and support of webOS as the platform evolves. The company also plans to contribute the application framework for webOS known as ENYO to the open-source community.
"There are many mobile Linux derivatives that have small communities of developers interested in keeping them alive, and webOS may generate more excitement than others due to its usability advantages," Hilwa said.
Hilwa believes, however, that it is unlikely webOS will ever become a threat to the top mobile platforms available in the marketplace today.
"It is unlikely that any of these will achieve critical mass without deep-pocketed corporate sponsors with ecosystem building skills," Hilwa said.
As for just who will benefit from HP's generosity will depend on the nature of the open-source license under which webOS is released, Hilwa said.
"A good question for HP would be to what degree they will be using webOS internally for printers or in other embedded settings," Hilwa said. "The more they use it, the more they are likely to invest in evolving the code."