I guess you refer to Sprint in the US and it's CDMA system.
My understanding is that the OP was sceptical of the openwebOS project and favoured maintenance of the existing equipment. In general, the responses seemed to agree that this approach would ultimately be a development cul-de-sac and the open source project, if not an ideal situation, was the only game in town with a future.
The development efforts seem slow, so any benefits of it that can bug fix or improve the experience with the hardware that's out there would help keep us all onboard until there is a new webOS on new hardware.
As a far as I'm aware, openwebOS is 'ready' as a generic system, but needs work for any specific hardware - at this time, the Gnex reference (documented) device. This work is being done by webOS ports, while others develop features of the generic system to bring out the potential we all see in webOS.
If the Gnex hardware is entirely open, then that port may also be fully open source, but if webOS again becomes a consumer product, certain (most?) hardware configurations will be proprietary and will necessarily contain closed code to run that hardware. If things go well and new webOS phones start to gain market share, carriers will follow the money. I think the Pre was first released on Sprint and even if they remain wary of HP, they would deal with someone else and a webOS sprint handset would appear again - even if the CDMA part of it wasn't open. So, yes, now it's GSM only, but in the future...
I think stock Android on the Nexus is open source. Other phones have tweaks from manufacturers and carriers that maybe aren't. Presumably Google offer Nexus so that the home brewer can play and any useful development can feed back into the core. This is why I suggested a reference device for webOS - even if it's just a spec or virtual device at first. Of course, Android has the largest share of users and percentage-wise, home developers.
I just read Derek Kessler's latest post about ecosystem. I've never heard of 'continuous client' before, but I feel this echoes my previous post. If webOS is to get back in the market, it needs an ecosystem and a user base and I hope that if any HP/Gram decision makers follow these forums, they offer any fixes, new features, upgrades and retro (Classic/PalmOS) stuff they can find to the users. Then Mr Kessler can write it up, we can play with it and in some cases, develop it so there is a feeling of progress. When webOS finally makes it to new devices, what's left of the user base will be buying them and evangelising the system. I think everyone here is hoping for, rather than betting on webOS and it needs all the help it can get.
Feel free to correct any wrong assumptions I've made here.