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Is WebOS now Linux?
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Old 02/04/2012, 07:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey guys! I'm just wondering as a proud Linux user and ******, Is WebOS now Linux?

I know that Android is Linux but if WebOS is now Linux that would be great! Now I have a choice for a different plateform for a smartphone if there will be WebOS smartphones...
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Old 02/04/2012, 08:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i don't know enough technical stuff to speak with any authority on such matters so for the absolutely nothing that my opinion is worth i'd guess not yet. Sadly for webos fans i think it's not as big. And you kinda hinted at it. Android is Linux. Linux is a base for lots of things like other operating systems and running servers and stuff as i understand it. Webos i don't think has a similar level of penetration in any market. As yet nobody is using webos to run anything other then hp devices let alone servers and stuff. the other thing is Linux is something regular people can download and install. Webos isn't released in open source to the public and the public can't yet just download it and install it on anything really. So i don't think it's where linux is at the moment. But to the extent that linux, as a desktop operating system, is sort of a hobbyist OS that has a following but isn't really the dominant option for consumers. By that i mean most people buying a personal computer are choosing windows or mac. And even for windows machines they linux isn't even offered as an option when you buy. If someone wants it they buy it separately they do it. But i think that may be where webos is headed. In that sense similar to Linux: an OS you add to you're phone if you're the tinkerer type. Similar to people comfortable hacking their touchpad and putting android on it. Now if in the future HP ramps up a webos open source tablet that could change it's status. But now i think it's really in flux.
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Old 02/04/2012, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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webOS 'is Linux' just as much as Android or Ubuntu. They all use a Linux kernel.
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Old 02/05/2012, 12:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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webOS always has been Linux.
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Old 02/05/2012, 07:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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To be clear... Android and WebOS are applications built on top of Linux. They provide the Desktop layer and interface libraries for building apps to work in their respective environments. Linux provides the OS level binding to the hardware and provides services like file, multitasking and network.

This is akin to X-windows and Gnome or KDE used on Ubuntu, Suse, etc.
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Old 02/05/2012, 08:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Like earlier versions of Windows were a layer on MS-DOS, I guess.
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Old 02/05/2012, 01:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Linux is a kernel, not an operating system.

You can find Linux in so many different places: servers, desktops, routers, modems, media players, NAS, GPS, phones, tvs, tablets, ATMs, etc, etc... You don't spend a day without using Linux in a way or another.

All these hardware pieces have a software which center part is Linux.

Android has a Linux kernel. Ubuntu (and all other linux distributions) has a Linux kernel. Maemo/Meego has a Linux kernel. And since the beginning, WebOS has a Linux kernel.

Linux (the kernel) and many other parts of WebOS are standard free software that you can find in most Linux based systems. They have always been opensource, and you could already download them on the palm website.

What is worked on now, is making all the other parts of WebOS opensource.


I hope I made it clear.
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Old 02/05/2012, 02:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Perhaps this will clear up any confusion on the matter:
Linux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux is an Operating System. webOS is comprised of a Linux core and a collection of elements that run on top of it, such as it's Core Apps, Mojo, Enyo and LunaSysMgr (The system that runs the user interface).
Therefore, webOS is what's known as 'a Linux'. Just like Android, Meego, Ubuntu or Debian.
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Old 02/05/2012, 04:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SnotBoogie View Post
i don't know enough technical stuff to speak with any authority on such matters so for the absolutely nothing that my opinion is worth i'd guess not yet. Sadly for webos fans i think it's not as big. And you kinda hinted at it. Android is Linux. Linux is a base for lots of things like other operating systems and running servers and stuff as i understand it. Webos i don't think has a similar level of penetration in any market. As yet nobody is using webos to run anything other then hp devices let alone servers and stuff. the other thing is Linux is something regular people can download and install. Webos isn't released in open source to the public and the public can't yet just download it and install it on anything really. So i don't think it's where linux is at the moment. But to the extent that linux, as a desktop operating system, is sort of a hobbyist OS that has a following but isn't really the dominant option for consumers. By that i mean most people buying a personal computer are choosing windows or mac. And even for windows machines they linux isn't even offered as an option when you buy. If someone wants it they buy it separately they do it. But i think that may be where webos is headed. In that sense similar to Linux: an OS you add to you're phone if you're the tinkerer type. Similar to people comfortable hacking their touchpad and putting android on it. Now if in the future HP ramps up a webos open source tablet that could change it's status. But now i think it's really in flux.
At least, you prefaced things w/ the first sentence.

As others have said, it is, and always has been Linux. The UI (Luna) is just a UI, like Win 3.x sitting on top of DOS or OS X Finder on UNIX, and any old UI would do. In the background, however, is Linux, which we dont directly interact with. Furthermore, it's setup is closer to the norm than we think: a web server running web pages and web apps. This pretty much mirrors - or more appropriately, is a part of - the Linux server penetration (in design, not necessarily practice, although quite a few users are serving up web sites on their Pre).

Whether webOS becomes like Linux desktop depends on a combination of devs, Enyo, device and device makers and other events in the mobile space. Its way too early to say. People w/ the know-how can hack it onto devices currently, but will only get so far due to its closed nature. So, is it Linux? Sure! But is it like Linux? Not quite.

edit: I see that others have chimed in since I started writing this (I paused to look at CAF, EPL and La Liga). I did not refresh before posting so this may not be as relevant now.

Last edited by p41m3r; 02/05/2012 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 02/06/2012, 08:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bokal View Post
Linux is a kernel, not an operating system.

You can find Linux in so many different places: servers, desktops, routers, modems, media players, NAS, GPS, phones, tvs, tablets, ATMs, etc, etc... You don't spend a day without using Linux in a way or another.

All these hardware pieces have a software which center part is Linux.

Android has a Linux kernel. Ubuntu (and all other linux distributions) has a Linux kernel. Maemo/Meego has a Linux kernel. And since the beginning, WebOS has a Linux kernel.

Linux (the kernel) and many other parts of WebOS are standard free software that you can find in most Linux based systems. They have always been opensource, and you could already download them on the palm website.

What is worked on now, is making all the other parts of WebOS opensource.

I hope I made it clear.
Linux is definitely an operating system, as are Unix and it's derivatives as well as SPE from IBM, RSX and VMS from Digital, etc. However, it is debatable whether CP/M and MS-DOS meet the strict definition and are more like monitors on steroids.

I actually found SPE/VM a fun environment to work with. It basically gave you a virtual personal computer that you could attach disks and tape drives, specify memory limits, etc. You could set up a "batch" machine to run jobs non-interactively. VMS had one really neat feature... Automatic file revisioning! You had a complete history of changes for every file, so it was easy to roll back to any version. The command syntax seems to be the model that MS-DOS followed (forward slashes for command switches) which is why ended up with the back slash in for path delimiters when they added some Unix syntax.

My first personal was pretty much a toy based on the RCA 1802 micro. My second used a Z-80 that I overclocked to 4 Mhz and ran CP/M which came with almost nothing. As a new EE graduate with little money, I ended up writing my own C and Pascal compilers, Forth interpreter and tools like full screen editors so I could get away from machine code and BASIC. I learned a lot of stuff while writing stuff like spread-sheet applications and hacking all sorts of hardware on this machine. These skills made me a hot commodity throughout my continuing career.
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Old 02/06/2012, 08:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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lets not forget, apples ios is also linux based...
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Old 02/06/2012, 09:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Not only is webOS linux based, but it uses many open source linux based packages already in its creation:

Open Source Packages - opensource.palm.com - Palm

Most of these packages you would find in almost every desktop linux distro like Ubuntu

Some parts are proprietary code, however, but this will change once Open Web OS 1.0 is released.
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Old 02/06/2012, 09:02 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mtiberio View Post
lets not forget, apples ios is also linux based...
I think you'll find it's UNIX-based. Linux is based on UNIX iirc.
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Old 02/06/2012, 09:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think you'll find it's UNIX-based. Linux is based on UNIX iirc.
BSD to be specific. Jobs built NeXt on top of BSD Unix. When he came back to Apple, he pushed Mac OS/X to be built on that as well. Unfortunately, Apple never gave back any of their "enhancements" to the BSD community beyond the initial "Darwin" project. What separates OS/X from the other Unix distributions is that they decided not to use X-Windows, but created their own display hardware API. At the time, that decision was based upon some features missing in X-Windows. Instead of contributing to X-windows to get the few missing pieces they went proprietary. This decision is the main reason they had to substitute the command key for the control key that X-windows used (an abomination in my opinion). The latest version of X-windows has all of the features that they could possibly want and more, plus they would have been able to seamlessly interoperate with all Unix/Linux/etc. systems that use X-Windows.

Linux was originally based on Minix, a very small unix-like operating system used for teaching. Afterwards, Linus diverged and it is really a different beast than Unix now. It has made a nice niche in embedded devices (i.e. phones and tablets) where Unix is still geared towards backend computing. Palm once did have plans to build PalmOS on top of Linux (before the WebOS concept was born). It's interesting to note that Linux is just the kernel and the GNU project provides all the non-gui userland stuff. Without GNU, Linux wouldn't have gotten any traction.
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Old 02/06/2012, 12:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Krothie View Post
Hey guys! I'm just wondering as a proud Linux user and ******, Is WebOS now Linux?

I know that Android is Linux but if WebOS is now Linux that would be great! Now I have a choice for a different plateform for a smartphone if there will be WebOS smartphones...
WebOS has always been Linux. Linux is the underlying operating system for webOS just like it is with Android, Ubuntu, and others. The difference between them is the choice of user interfaces. Desktop Linux users Xorg combined with KDE/GNOME/XFCE/etc to draw the windows. Android uses Dalvik. WebOS uses Luna.
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Old 02/06/2012, 12:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Linux is a kernel, not an operating system.........I hope I made it clear.
No you didn't. Linux is an operating system. The Linux kernel is the core of the operating system. The operating system consist of the kernel, drivers, and utilities/services used by applications to interface with the computer's hardware.

What has confused everyone is that these companies have taken the Linux operating system and put their own user interface on it, have done tweaks to it, and/or changed the application deliver systems. The core, drivers, and most of the utilities/services are still Linux. These are called distributions in the Linux world (DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD.). With Ubuntu your get standard Linux with some additional system management tools, a tweaked version of the GNOME desktop environment, and a package deliver system based on apt-get from Debian Linux using .deb extensions for the applications. With Android you get some tweaked utilities/services with a custom UI called Dalvik, the Market for your application deliver system, and applications using the .apk extension. With webOS it is pretty much the same as Android, but instead you have a custom UI called Luna, the App Catalog is your application deliver system, and applications use the .ipk extension. Of course if you notices all of the applications are package specifically for their distribution.

This is just to simplify everything for you. There are more difference when we start talking about the application programming environments and toolkits used along with the different processor architectures that each distribution is made to support. The good thing to take out of webOS using the standard Linux kernel instead of a custom one it uses now is that the standard Linux kernel supports more architectures and has more driver support. This will allow webOS to run on normal desktop computers because it can be easily re-coded for the processors that the desktops use (x86).

Last edited by k4ever; 02/06/2012 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 02/06/2012, 11:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mtiberio View Post
lets not forget, apples ios is also linux based...
You are incorrect. IOS is BSD based and not Linux based.
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Old 02/07/2012, 01:50 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Interesting read. I need to fill in some gaps: I get webOS is the clever idea of a user interface that's actually done in HTML (years after, others embrace it). Instead of making their own kernel (such as Windows Phone), Palm chose to use an existing kernel.

My question is, how come that a Linux kernel can make a phone call, for example? I guess it's all a matter of adding the cellular radio to some funky "/dev/whatever" mount point, but I'd need explanations about how it all works. And finally, I'd like to know how many clever tricks is the web browser doing, in order to have access to the operating system, something regular web browsers aren't teached to.
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Old 02/07/2012, 02:25 AM   #19 (permalink)
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At least, you prefaced things w/ the first sentence.
ha ha. i had too cause don't fully understand most of the developer stuff so I'm not afraid to state when my opinion is spoken not from a thorough understanding but really very limited knowledge.

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As others have said, it is, and always has been Linux. The UI (Luna) is just a UI, like Win 3.x sitting on top of DOS or OS X Finder on UNIX
What's really bad is like Derek Kessler explained that to me when i asked him like a few days before i wrote that. Like right after they announced the schedule and i asked if the references to linux where a way to address the perceived problems that he tried to rebut. Obviously he said it wasn't going address that. But the ridiculous thing is he explained it to me and i still forgot. See, my eyes sort of glaze over when stuff get's too deep down the tech rabbit hole. (Said by someone who spent like 7 hours today unsuccessfully trying to load OS 10.7 onto a PC with an old AMD processor and run it in vmware or virtual box. never got it to work. lol. But i tried.)


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Originally Posted by p41m3r View Post
So, is it Linux? Sure! But is it like Linux? Not quite.
i think i was trying to allude to the latter.
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Old 02/07/2012, 07:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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i think i was trying to allude to the latter.
As many might since "Linux" is used to mean a lot of different things. In it's strictest sense, it is the OS kernel. It has built-in services like scheduling (semaphore, mutex process, threading and multitasking), I/O (files, sockets, pipes), etc. but without a user interface layer, it can't do much. Along with Linux is a specification of where files should live (/etc, /bin, /usr, /var, etc.) and other published standards.

On top of the kernel the GNU tools are usually included. This provides the commands to do useful things like copying files, listing directories, etc. like MS-DOS commands.

For Desktop users, there are GUI layers which comprise of display managers (usually X-Windows) window managers (nautilus, metacity, etc.) coupled with a look and feel (Gnome, KDE, etc.). It is this layer that Palm created for WebOS (luna). Notice that you have two reboot options, device reboot and luna reboot for the two different layers.

This topic could easily fill volumes (and I tend to go on too long) so I'll stop here.
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