Open WebOS will only run on 'future hardware platforms'

The team behind the open-sourced successor to HP's failed mobile platform has said it will only run on hardware that supports at least the 3.3 release of the Linux kernel
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The upcoming release of Open WebOS will not work on existing mobile devices, the team behind the open-sourced platform has said.

WebOS was the operating system that powered HP's TouchPad tablet and Pre and Veer smartphones, before HP dropped it a year ago, during a time of turbulence within the company. HP kicked off the Open WebOS successor programme in January, but now it appears the full release of the open platform will not function on the TouchPad or HP's phones.

HP TouchPad
WebOS ran on the now-defunct HP TouchPad tablet. Image credit: Jason Hiner

"For Open WebOS we are aiming for support on future hardware platforms where [system-on-a-chip chipsets] support Linux 3.3+ kernel and where open source replacements for proprietary components are integrated," the team behind the new platform wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "Existing devices cannot be supported because of those many proprietary components, including graphics, networking and lack of drivers for a modern kernel."

However, all is not lost for those developers who picked up a TouchPad during its multiple fire sales and want to see improvements made. In June, the Open WebOS team released something called the Community Edition — distinct from Open WebOS itself due to the proprietary issues, but also bringing some components from the fully-open release.

The full release itself is due in September, and is more aimed at allowing developers to port the open OS to the hardware of their choice — as long as it supports at least the Linux 3.3 kernel, which came out in March.

Tuesday's post included some milestones on the path to that release: the emergence of the Luna system manager and core Open WebOS applications such as email, calendar, contacts, clock and calculator.

"We are excited to open up the active development branch of our upleveled System Manager," the team wrote. "This major upgrade incorporates the latest QtWebKit and Qt technologies in an improved architecture. Modern QtWebKit now underlies all applications, providing state-of-the-art support for HTML rendering and I/O. The latest stable release of Qt has been integrated across the system, eliminating alternate rendering paths and providing a clean base for the future."

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