HP has confirmed that it will formally and finally hand over the Linux-based webOS mobile operating system to the open source developer community by Fall 2012, with a date in September having been openly discussed. Version 2.0 of Enyo, the webOS developer tool, will be packaged along with this offering and the technology will then sit under an Apache 2.0 license. These moves are likely to please developers with a penchant for the OS that was left out in the cold for a period after the company discontinued its TouchPad product, which had originally been a home for the technology.
When the intention to move to open source was initially announced last month, Meg Whitman HP's chief executive said, "WebOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected, and scalable. By contributing to this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices."
HP is promising a direct, well-planned roadmap to give developers some stability, and the initial release will indeed feature Enyo 1.0, which should allow current developers of Enyo apps for webOS devices to distribute their apps to other platforms. Going further, Greenblatt explained that the new release includes the core of Enyo 2.0, which will be the foundation for Enyo going forward.
"It expands Enyo's 'write once, run anywhere' capability to even more platforms, from mobile devices to desktop web browsers. It works on many of the most popular web browsers, including Chrome, IE 9, Firefox, and Safari," he said.
According to developer notes on enyojs.com, HP also said that, "We wanted to open-source Enyo as soon as possible, but in a way that reflected our vision for Enyo as a truly cross-platform framework. With this goal in mind, we decided to cleanly separate the core bits of Enyo into a cross-platform package and release that first, then follow up quickly with an updated UI toolkit and additional features over the next few months."
HP has also confirmed that further webOS releases would include a distribution of WebKit with support for HTML5, Silverlight, and Flash via the use of plugins. The company has justified the "partial release" of Enyo 2.0 in this way because it wanted to "clean up an earlier version", rather than making the decision to simply add new features. HP also said that it "reflects an urgency" to get the code into developers' hands.