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By 12 December 2011 | Categories: news

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Last month HP’s CEO Meg Whitman laid out her plans for getting HP “back on course”, which involves a new focus on Windows tablets as well as on the company’s R&D operations. One question remained though, what would the PC and printer maker do with webOS?

Now the company has announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community, while the company plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. According to the company, the combination of the webOS mobile platform and the development power of the open source community, will lead to an opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.

Benefits of webOS to open source community

HP stated that webOS offers a number of benefits to the entire ecosystem of web applications. For developers, applications can be built using standard web technologies, while the software’s single integrated stack offers multiplatform portability. For device manufacturers, webOS provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers as well as other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.

The company will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:
  • This project’s goal is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform.
  • HP will be an active participant and investor in the project.
  • Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation.
  • Software will be provided as a pure open source project.
  • HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.

Interested parties can have their say and provide input into the project by going to HP’s developer website. Whether any enhancements to webOS will see it back in operation on any of HP’s future devices remains to be seen.

“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

In  related news HP also recently announced that it has acquired Hiflex Software, a German-based software solutions provider specialising in web-to-print and management information systems solutions for printing services.

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