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Nyx HAL released
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Old 03/21/2012, 03:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So this is a call for everybody in the know to enlighten us: After noticing about the release of Open webOS' Nyx hardware abstraction layer, I'd like to know more, and most of all, if it's of any help to make webOS reach commodity hardware. This is the only thing I know, from the Nyx project repository:

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Nyx is the webOS portability layer used to isolate the remainder of webOS from dependencies on the hardware and core OS upon which it is running. It is implemented as a shared library that exposes a uniform client API and that expects to call into a series of platform-dependent modules that implement the API for a particular device
So I understand that it's merely an API that webOS must use to talk to the drivers. In fact, it defines the way to talk to several specific hardware bits down there. Then, with the manufacturer's documentation (almost always secret, or hugely expensive) someone writes the drivers, which hopefully translate the queries sent to Nyx to whatever the corresponding hardware might be able of.

Does that mean that there's already Open webOS code that uses Nyx?

Could some webos-internals superhero come over here and tell us more?

Mind you, the name "Nyx" might be cursed... :-D
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Old 03/21/2012, 12:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for opening this thread. I would also greatly appreciate it if someone who is knowledgeable about webOS could give some insight also. I posted this on Derek's article yesterday.

>>>I understand that HP's work on Open webOS is supposed make it easier to port webOS to other hardware but I'm not at all clear on how much easier it is. Any chance we can get a technical resource from HP (or maybe one of our developers) to do an article (or an interview) that has more detail on what the vision is for webOS and some informed speculations on how it fits together?

>>>For example, when new versions of Android (and Android devices) use the 3.3 and upcoming 3.4 Linux kernels, I expect this would mean the associated Android drivers will also run under those kernels. But some drivers are not open source (they are binary blobs, for example, supposedly the cellular radios will never be open source). From a quick look at the source file names, it looks like Nyx includes mappings for at least battery, charger, display, firmware, haptics, keys, led, sensors, and touchpanel.

>>>What would an OEM or webOS Internals need to do to get webOS running on a new device? Would they need to reimplement all the functions in the Nyx layer to call their Android counterparts? What drivers from Android would be able to be reused (as-is) and which would need all-new webOS specific drivers or webOS tuned drivers? And how is porting easier with the LSK and Nyx work as compared to what was required up to this point?

After some further thought on my end, I would speculate that Nyx is probably to help the design of code in the rest of webOS to abstract the drivers instead of calling them directly. I guess Palm/HP never had the chance to do this previously (such an abstraction should have helped Palm/HP in porting to new devices - porting webOS now means making a centralized code change in Nyx instead of many different changes from varied functions across webOS). So I guess the true benefit of the move to the standard Linux kernel and Nyx won't really be realized until the rest of Luna and higher-level functions of webOS are also released as open source later this year (and will presumably have been reworked to use the new LSK/Nyx driver architecture before then).

Assuming that is correct, I'm still not clear on how this ties into the reuse of drivers for Android. Would webOS be able to leverage all the Android drivers for a device - making a dual boot install of webOS on an Android device a snap (for example, could webOS be installed on any device supported by CM9)? Or are there some areas where webOS specific drivers are needed and/or optimization for webOS would still be required.
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Old 03/22/2012, 01:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This article contains some additional high-level information on the LSK 3.3 release in connection with Android.
With Linux merge, expect Android flowers to bloom | Deep Tech - CNET News

It looks like LSK 3.3 has some gaps and 3.4 is going to be important for adding a lot of power management features and open source graphics drivers (for example Intel, AMD, Samsung Exynos)
[Phoronix] New Power Management Phases For Linux 3.4 Kernel
[Phoronix] DRM Work Piling Up For The Linux 3.4 Kernel

Intel is dropping proprietary/closed powerVR graphics in their SOCs and moving to their own graphics that use open source drivers.
[Phoronix] Intel Valley View: Atom SoC With Ivy Bridge Graphics

Intel isn't big in the mobile space (tablets/phones) right now, but should get a boost with the release of WIndows 8 and is expected to make a push in late 2012 and 2013.
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Old 03/22/2012, 02:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Okay, I know that this is great...


... and somebody can translate to simple mortals? I don't know speak olimpic greek...

Best Regards...
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Old 03/23/2012, 02:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Those are very interesting and insightful articles, Scotland, a very nice read. That "phoronix" site is very potent, as the technology it covers: Linux. As it's getting everywhere, anyone talented enough can benefit from its achievements, even in places not thought of beforehand. The merging with Android might complicate things in the long run, but I'd say the kernel itself is a very well administered project - How many years has it been running? How many products use it (webOS being one)? I'm sure this is Microsoft's main worry: Students in their free time taking out market opportunity from their hands, even getting attention from the industry.
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Old 03/23/2012, 02:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rnp View Post
somebody can translate to simple mortals?
I'd say all things covered here sum up to "technology keeps getting better". I won't say programming is easier than ever, but the tools used to craft webOS just got a notch or two better. That doesn't mean the work is done, but anyone can make a great webOS (for example) given enough time and knowledge.
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