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HP webOS should marry Firefox OS
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Old 12/16/2012, 06:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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While i was wondering why so many companies are spending so much energy to create alternative OSes to Android and the iPhone's one i came up with this idea that should at the same time give a reason to keep living to the webOS/Enyo development and it should give some more power to the Firefox OS initiative.

HP should just join the Mozilla Foundation on developing Firefox OS, switching some of its webkit technologies to Gecko.
I imagine Enyo to power a Gram app store which would exist aside the Mozilla Marketplace and Gram itself to offer services which can be compared to the actual Apple's iCloud or Google Drive, inclusing an online storage service as Dropbox is. Such a platform should result as the favourite one on Firefox' platform after the blend of the two projects.
Nevertheless HP's PSG could focus on designing hardware for Firefox OS, from the low-end (as ZTE) to the higher end, inclusing smartphones, tablets and possibly some hybrid laptop powered by Firefox OS in a way comparable to the Chromebooks.
Not to forget that HP's mobile Firefox OS dedicated hardware could right away count on marketing and commercialization support from world famous carriers as Telefonica (Vivo, Movistar and O2), T-Mobile, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telenor and other african and south Asian companies who already joined Mozilla's project.

To make it short, joining the Firefox OS project HP could get that differentation which it was looking for and concentrate on the hardware and the services front instead of the software itself and, seeing the openess of such project, keep using its beloved UI called Luna. It shouldn't be difficult to make Firefox the default browser of a webOS/Boot to Gecko Firefox OS.

Does it all sounds too crazy to you?
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Old 12/16/2012, 06:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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... Does it all sounds too crazy to you?
Yes it does. WebKit has got some big names behind it, both Apple and Google, which means they will maintain its core forever. WebKit is far from abandoned. So it makes no sense to rewrite Luna for the Gecko engine.

Furthermore, HP is still in freefall and very unlikely to produce a good mobile device at this point. Firefox wouldn't want anything to do with a sinking ship like that. And mergers are a symptom of failing projects.

So to put it kindly, you have some very unrealistic expectations
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Old 12/16/2012, 07:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes it does. WebKit has got some big names behind it, both Apple and Google, which means they will maintain its core forever. WebKit is far from abandoned. So it makes no sense to rewrite Luna for the Gecko engine.

Furthermore, HP is still in freefall and very unlikely to produce a good mobile device at this point. Firefox wouldn't want anything to do with a sinking ship like that. And mergers are a symptom of failing projects.

So to put it kindly, you have some very unrealistic expectations
I was not expecting much credit but:
Gecko is not going to be abandoned either.
Rewriting Luna it's not a must. Firefox OS has its own guidelines.
Enyo can be used to develop apps for every platform, inclused Firefox browser. HP is not even capable to imagine what future to give to the almost defunct webOS. Joining Mozilla and all its partners could give life to all web technologies we might think are or will be related to Gram potential offers. Blending the technologies would be nothing but positive for both project who have similar ideas and it could push the adoption on multiple devices.
If it can't be made because HP actual dufficulties then it's better to say the qorld END to webOS and HP itself, i guess.
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Old 12/16/2012, 01:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Honestly, you stumped me...

I know there is a joke somewhere there in the thread title. I just can't quite make it materialize.
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Old 12/16/2012, 02:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think there's a philosophy difference between HP and Mozilla. Mozilla want "open everything", with no proprietary bits whatsoever, while HP wants to have a Professional Edition, which means something isn't going to be open. Even if HP wanted to, Mozilla would be unwilling to join together.
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Old 12/16/2012, 05:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sgamao View Post
I was not expecting much credit but:
Gecko is not going to be abandoned either.
Rewriting Luna it's not a must. Firefox OS has its own guidelines.
Enyo can be used to develop apps for every platform, inclused Firefox browser. HP is not even capable to imagine what future to give to the almost defunct webOS. Joining Mozilla and all its partners could give life to all web technologies we might think are or will be related to Gram potential offers. Blending the technologies would be nothing but positive for both project who have similar ideas and it could push the adoption on multiple devices.
If it can't be made because HP actual dufficulties then it's better to say the qorld END to webOS and HP itself, i guess.
The point is that neither party is willing or interested in joining efforts. Firefox sees webOS as a failure and will turn their nose at any suggestion that we work together.

And from a technical standpoint, it's easier to implement support for Firefox apps under the current WebKit system than to rewrite everything...

And when you say that Firefox has its own guidelines, what do you mean by that? In a merger, Luna either has to be rewritten or abandoned altogether. Anyway, this isn't realistic, but if the only reason for your idea is to support Firefox apps, that can be done without a merger.

Ok, i see... you are thinking that Firefox is only the browser... but if you cared to actually read about webOS components, you would see how deeply tied Luna is to the WebKit engine. Many parts of the Luna UI are rendered by a modified WebKit engine, so you cannot just remove WebKit without putting in a significant amount of work to rebuild everything.

One of the members of this community, dkirker is actually working on updating the WebKit engine for openwebOS, on his own time and for no pay. Others, like ShiftyAxel are constantly working on improving Luna and developing it further in the form of LunaCE, also, relying only on donations. So please stop all this crap about HP this, HP that... HP has unloaded openwebOS onto the Homebrew community and we are the ones putting in our time and effort into keeping the OS healthy and viable. Even Gram realizes that, having donated $40,000 worth of build servers to webOS Internals. This whole Firefox idea smells very corporate, and we aren't about to abandon all of the work we've already done, and have some corporation tell us how to do things. They have their system, we have ours.

Last edited by Remy X; 12/16/2012 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 12/17/2012, 02:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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...nevermind that the creator of JavaScript himself (now at Mozilla and on the FirefoxOS team), Brendon Eich, basically said they have no interest in dealing with either Enyo or webOS in any way some months back. That's a pretty big burn, but something one should expect at this point.

webOS as a grand whole is basically a zombie not worthy of dealing with to 99.9% of the mobile market, between developers, influencers, frameworks, and everyday project specifications for mobile sites. Even the common metrics decision makers use to determine which platforms to support no longer carry any information on webOS, instead lumping it in with "Other"--when those metrics even bother including "Other" anymore. webOS is thought of in the past tense. And it's not likely to change anytime soon.

Back on topic and to add to Remy X's great post above mine, Webkit supports exactly -0- of the WebAPI that Mozilla is working on to interface FirefoxOS (and its browser) to low-level hardware such as cameras, accelerometers, etc that allow individual pages you might ordinarily browse on the web to act as full-fledged apps. That's one are where webOS never thought to touch, and one that appeals to front-end developers given the crazy reach their work can have without having to deal with a catalog; they could simply bolt it onto their existing sites and services, if they wanted.

And those developers can start with their own design language from scratch, whereas Enyo is basically a tough sell without a ton of UI customization; abstraction of logic from style is something the great developers look for rather than the restriction of a pre-defined style guide. Has anyone ever seen an Enyo app on Android that used its "Holo" design language? Exactly.

Of course, there will always be a role for downloadable apps, which Mozilla is already inviting with their cross-platform Firefox app store on the Android and Firefox OS versions of their browser. (And perhaps Desktop as well; I haven't checked that one specifically.)

WebRTC might be one step in the right direction, but since Mozilla is actively working with the W3C to make WebAPI an actual open standard (in the future, as it becomes stable outside of Gecko as a production-level proof of concept), Webkit--and, by extension, webOS--will be fundamentally incompatible with it.

Remy X's post fills in the rest quite appropriately. Nothing is even remotely as easy as some non-technical people around here seem to theorize and think it is.
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Old 12/17/2012, 04:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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@ all of you: lot of respect for all your technical knowledge and all the work you do and the passion you have for it.
I actually thought it's just a shame this all work it's taking nowhere (at least it seems like that, at this point).

I wish you good luck. And hope someone will take the rest of webOS which is left in HP over and finally make the right moves and investments.

I've got a question then, if you don't mind: is out there any platform on which you could get satisfaction developing for using your Enyo tools? I mean, saying the webOS is basically dead, where else do you see yourself working on?
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Old 12/17/2012, 05:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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webOS as a grand whole is basically a zombie not worthy of dealing with to 99.9% of the mobile market, between developers, influencers, frameworks, and everyday project specifications for mobile sites. Even the common metrics decision makers use to determine which platforms to support no longer carry any information on webOS, instead lumping it in with "Other"--when those metrics even bother including "Other" anymore. webOS is thought of in the past tense. And it's not likely to change anytime soon.
Interesting little "historical" context:
The same was true for Netscape when Internet Explorer had 96% of the browser market before Firefox (and later Chrome and Safari) fixed that bug.

Yes - webos has been comatose for a year now and is pretty close to death.
And while I agree that a revival is (sadly) unlikely - it's not impossible.

But it needs a player with vision and resources to revive it though - and I doubt that HP(gram) is such a player. It seems to suffer from lack of vision and internal turf wars.
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Old 12/17/2012, 05:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Interesting little "historical" context:
The same was true for Netscape when Internet Explorer had 96% of the browser market before Firefox (and later Chrome and Safari) fixed that bug.

Yes - webos has been comatose for a year now and is pretty close to death.
And while I agree that a revival is (sadly) unlikely - it's not impossible.

But it needs a player with vision and resources to revive it though - and I doubt that HP(gram) is such a player. It seems to suffer from lack of vision and internal turf wars.
Ok, let's forget about HP. Let's say webOS and Enyo developers wants to join another party instead of the dust. Choosing one of the existing ones might be a smart move. If not Mozilla's, where else would you imagine yourself? BB10 maybe?
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Old 12/17/2012, 05:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Marrying Firefox OS and webos might actually have been a good idea.

The high level webos enyo stuff is a relatively easy fit. The low level sdk is a bigger - but solvable - problem.

HP seems incapable of hiring enough webkit talent to really push forward their webkit variant - so it might be more effective to go with gecko. At the end of the day the core engine is an implementation detail that could be exchanged.

webos/enyo brings a great UI and some great core features that are well liked. It was never the reason the platform failed.

But for marketing reasons it might be better to call the hybrid Firefox OS and drop the webos name.
Firefox is a big success while webos is perceived as a failure.

But the reasons why that is not going to happen are not technical. They are strategic. The Mozilla Foundation and HP simply don't have the same interests in the market.
HP wants to make money, while the Mozilla Foundation fights for an open web. Firefox is a great success even as a 3rd place browser - just because it managed to break the IE monopoly and brought back diversity and competition into the market. FF could vanish leaving just Chrome, Safari and IE and the Foundation would still have succeeded in their goals.

HP OTOH needs to show shareholders every couple of quarters how well their strategy leads to profits.
enyo could be the dominating mobile framework in 5 years and still be a failure from HPs viewpoint if it doesn't bring in sizable profits (at least infirectly).
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Old 12/17/2012, 05:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Ok, let's forget about HP. Let's say webOS and Enyo developers wants to join another party instead of the dust. Choosing one of the existing ones might be a smart move. If not Mozilla's, where else would you imagine yourself? BB10 maybe?
A sunk ship joining a sinking one?

Blackberry merging with Palm might have made sense a couple years ago. Unlike HP Blackberry would have really focused on the mobile market. There would have been no internal turf wars and no sudden switch to leave their main market.

But I'm afraid it's too late for that. I don't see RIM/Blackberry surviving. And as a troubled player they don't want to get into the news associated with a deadish platform. It's just the image they want to escape.

When HP looked for buyers last year - Blackberry must have been an obvious choice to talk to. Obviously nothing happened then. Nothing will happen now.

I think that the most likely scenario is that webos is dead in the market - but being kept alive by enthusiats. People who are willing to install a mobile OS themselves on hardware that was planned for Android.
I have a 8GB N7 lying around waiting to get webos installed on it.

The only way I can see webos revived in the market is by either:
a) a hungry newcomer - upcoming chinese/indian/korean/brazillian company that wants to establish a new name in the market. A company that is already making a lot of hardware but so far only for other big brand companies.
b) one of the current Android players (LG, HTC, Samsung) who want to be more like Apple and need their own platform for that.

A variant of b) would possibly be Nokia. Currently Nokia is devolving to be MS manufacturer (and not even successful at that). They used to be the worlds biggest cell phone manufacturer - not that long ago.
They might decide in the last second that the current plan isn't working out so well. Currently it's failing. But if it would be more of a success they would also be even more dependent on MS. Either way they stop being a player. But coming in late as the umpteenth Android manufacturer isn't so hot either. So there is a tiny chance that they might try an Apple turnaround. Symbian is also dying and much less evolved than webos for modern smartphones. They killed their Meego investment (and again Meego was even less established than webos).

Wild card: Nokia, RIM and gram merge. Individually they are all loosing/lost. Together - quite a team. RIM has back-end services and customers that still have value. Nokia still has worldwide market presence, resources and a good image when it comes to solid hardware. gram would bring an OS that RIM already tried to copy and Nokia lacks. Not likely to happen and difficult to make a success out of big mergers - but it might make sense on paper.
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Old 12/17/2012, 06:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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[snip]
Marrying Firefox OS and webos might actually have been a good idea.

The high level webos enyo stuff is a relatively easy fit. The low level sdk is a bigger - but solvable - problem.

HP seems incapable of hiring enough webkit talent to really push forward their webkit variant - so it might be more effective to go with gecko. At the end of the day the core engine is an implementation detail that could be exchanged.

webos/enyo brings a great UI and some great core features that are well liked. It was never the reason the platform failed.

But for marketing reasons it might be better to call the hybrid Firefox OS and drop the webos name.
Firefox is a big success while webos is perceived as a failure.

[/snip]
But what would be the point of this exercise? Just to prove it could be done? I can think of a dozen better ways to blow a $100,000+.

Ok... If FirefoxOS keeps their name, their engine (Gecko), and has already appropriated our card-based interface and gestures (but not gesture area), and has openly rejected Enyo, what would webOS bring to the table? If you spend the time coding to allow for backwards compatibility to older webOS apps, what would that give? HP's rotting app store filled with neglected and abandoned apps...

At least Firefox is starting anew with none of the baggage.

WebOS will have Gram, and Gram will slowly be given the remaining pieces of legacy ecosystem as it's being spun off. But they are looking to the hobbyist hackers (Homebrew) on this forum more than to themselves when it comes to direction, so we just have to work harder. At the end of the day the fate of webOS falls to us.

As for Enyo, it can exist without webOS, and webOS apps can be written without Enyo. So as a developer, i'm not terribly attached to it. I wouldn't take Enyo and go to another platform, because as someone with another day job, contributing to webOS is my hobby and using Enyo isn't.
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Old 12/17/2012, 10:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The last post make much sense to me.

The only point is that, we like it or not, there are constantly three paths which are involved anytime we talk about webOS and its possible future:

webOS itself as we know it; HP; Gram.

webOS can, thanks to many of you here, live on without any of the other two elements. I'm not a techie at all but just a curious person. I'm actually a very happy Android (and Google) user on my Galaxy Nexus, but it seems to me much unbelieveble that projects more or less limited compared to webOS, as Firefox OS, Tizen and MeeGo still see a future and that none who's seriously involved in the mobile business doesn't pick up this platform and make it great.
The thing is that HP is going nowhere thanks to webOS and the other way around.
"HP might find the way to make money through a merger with a promising project as Firefox OS is by selling services though Gram which could offer services thanks to its webOS technologies", it was the idea i was coming out with. But probably that is never going to happen because HP doesn't even know how to go further yet on the mobile question.
webOS developers can just keep doing what they are doing now and they don't really need to move on another platform to keep doing that, and this is actually what the last post of Remy X makes quite clear.
Gram is together a big hope and a nightmare right now for webOS lovers and developers.
A hope because as a standalone company could start to find a real market for the webOS technologies.
A nightmare because it could keep staying forever as now is: a nice looking logo on a blank page.

It's a forum a we cannot make business decisions here. The only thing sure is that i'm still thinking that Windows Phone is bringing quite a boring competition to iOS and Android's own turf.

Firefox OS it's not even out yet and we don't know how good it might be. It certainly brings some world famous brand to the party and the ability that no one else has right now of the competitors to build a serious app store.
I respect your faith in webOS, but, forget about Enyo and what Brendan Eich said, if i was one of you now, i would probably look at Mozilla to bring my ideas and apps.

Or, at least (or maybe even better) to Jolla's Sailfish.
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Old 12/17/2012, 06:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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@sgamao,

Thank you for taking the time to listen rather than argue

You are neither the first, nor the last person here hoping that a large corporation would take over webOS, so that the users could just sit back and relax. But any chance of that has passed long ago.

I think at this point, the subject of this conversation has been settled, and the only thing for us to do is to keep moving forward. Having Gram is better than having no-one, and HP, as inept as they are, still hope that webOS would live on (otherwise they would not have open-sourced it).

But all of the innovation is happening here, in the Homebrew community and not at Gram, because by the time Gram was spun off, most of the interesting and creative people have left HP's Palm division (which became Gram), either by their own will or by being laid off. So this is a very strange arrangement, not found anywhere else. If Homebrew manages to produce and maintain a world-class product, Gram will be more likely to attract hardware manufacturers, and if somehow hardware will reach a critical mass to become relevant again, we will see a few developers returning here, the ones that have no luck making money on other platforms. The road is dark, but i'm cautiously optimistic. I enjoy using webOS, i enjoy this community, and working to save what we still have is worth my time
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Old 12/28/2012, 06:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi, i hope you had a good Xmas.

Coming back to this conversation because i was thinking if it wouldn't be a good idea then to mesh up the webOS with the Tizen project, wealthy supported from Samsung, Intel and the Linux Foundation and sharing a webkit hart with the once' Palm's one..
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Old 12/28/2012, 08:18 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Oh no. Not again...



You know, that's like asking the United States to become a part of the European Union.
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Old 12/28/2012, 08:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Oh no. Not again

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You know, that's like asking the United States to become a part of the European Union.
ahahahah... ok ok, i'll shut up!

happy new year.
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Old 01/13/2013, 03:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I dont care if Tizen, WebOS, Firefox OS, Ubuntu OS are separate and don't join forces, but what they SHOULD do is standardize the app creation for each.

When you make an app for linux, the .deb or .rpm compiled version usually works with all different linux OS platforms, aka Mandrake, RedHat, Ubuntu, Fedora etc.

I dont think there is an issue with phones having many different OSes, I think the issue is expecting developers to make apps for Tizen, Firefox, WebOS, Ubuntu OS etc etc.

All these open-source phone OS'es should get together and standardize the app creation process, so that one SDK is required to build apps for each OS.

Thats the only way I see any of these Open Source mobile OS'es becoming popular.
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Old 01/13/2013, 07:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I dont care if Tizen, WebOS, Firefox OS, Ubuntu OS are separate and don't join forces, but what they SHOULD do is standardize the app creation for each.

When you make an app for linux, the .deb or .rpm compiled version usually works with all different linux OS platforms, aka Mandrake, RedHat, Ubuntu, Fedora etc.

I dont think there is an issue with phones having many different OSes, I think the issue is expecting developers to make apps for Tizen, Firefox, WebOS, Ubuntu OS etc etc.

All these open-source phone OS'es should get together and standardize the app creation process, so that one SDK is required to build apps for each OS.

Thats the only way I see any of these Open Source mobile OS'es becoming popular.
closest to that is html5 apps but again they still cant do everything required on their own, even then html5 isnt the saving grace over flash many think it is, their both as slow as each other in differing places.

i understand and share your views but tbh companies make more cash having the segregated markets, forcing ppl to repurchase the same apps on new eco-systems, i doubt it will change when it allows for more income.
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