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  • 1 Post By Preemptive
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  1.    #1  
    Those of us here praise webOS for it's various features, but I wonder if it is worth taking a look at any counter arguments and criticism.

    A little history...
    Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS | The Verge

    From this article, it seems the first release of Palm webOS was rushed into production after a first effort (Prima) didn't work as well as expected. I know the 1.x versions were criticised for being laggy and hard on battery life. Perhaps 1.4.5 solved most of it. The article claims that version 2 is what the developers had intended all along.

    Is it also possible that pushing webkit so far was... too far? Or was it truly revolutionary?

    Is it actually a problem that unix-like systems are beginning to dominate? Are there better things like Blackberry's QNX based 10 or even windows phone? Is microkernel better than monolithic? How does webOS compare architecturally?

    Finally, security. This is where Blackberry has always scored. I note the German government has recently ordered thousands, although they will be further 'hardened' for government use.

    webOS has been praised for isolating apps and using synergy to centrally collect personal data rather than sharing it across the device. But in communications terms I guess it is no more secure than anything else. Does it have a good security model? Can it be broken? Can it be improved?

    I was tempted to call this thread, "webOS internals", but of course that's a strong brand around here.

    I'm curious to know how webOS measures up compared to other products and also where it can be improved as webOS-Ports work on Alpha 3.

    Can those of you who know this stuff, share your thoughts?
    Last edited by Preemptive; 11/30/2013 at 09:47 PM. Reason: typo
    ArchonAdvisors likes this.
  2. hilola's Avatar
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    #2  
    I rechecked the date on this post like 3 times to make sure that I wouldn't be responding to a 1-2 year old thread. Is there really any reason to compare webOS to anything else at this point?

    I don't think that there is any question that webOS was indeed rushed and wasn't really ready for prime time when released. Also, the reliance on web-like technology wasn't revolutionary but more of a shortcut that hi fêted performance. Similarly, the plugin method of porting games was also a shortcut.

    webOS seems like it was cobbled together. The UI innovations were easily copied by other platforms.
  3. #3  
    I still think webOS is/was far ahead of the competition in terms of useability. I'm using Android 4.3 with Touchwiz and I have used iOS 7 (to teach iOS users about the upgrade), I still think webOS is better. Notification, card view, Synergy, and gestures make webOS more pleasant to use.

    That being said, webOS needs folders and the ability to place icons on the home screen. I would also like the ability to minimize apps to the home screen that I want to keep running "in the background". Something similar to widgets but more powerful and flexible (minimize the actual app and have it running on a small section of the screen behind apps that are being used, click on app to bring it back to fullscreen, allow it to be persistent). Multiple home screens would be nice. I would also like to see multi-window support like the Galaxy line has. The default browser needs the enhancements plus look and feel of the Advanced Browser. The default browser also needs to support newer standards while keeping it's rock solid support for Flash. I would like to see Google services added like Plus, Now, Voice, Navigation, and Maps.

    Edit: I forgot to mention native support for Linux on ARM programs. I would like to see a repository for ARM Linux apps with a GUI similar to the Play Store/App Store and full ARM Linux support. This would mean an X server that runs over the top of Luna for ARM Linux applications. I would also like to see the source code and development tools "built in" to webOS ROM or emulator sort of like build essentials on Linux. I think linking to Debian repositories would be your best bet. This way there a plethora of apps available to close the app gap with Android/iOS and the ability for the open source community to add more in the future.

    Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk
    Last edited by k4ever; 11/30/2013 at 11:41 AM.
  4. #4  
    I find it amazing, that Palm managed to do in months what all other Linux distros failed to deliver for decades. They gave Linux a good looking, fun to use jnterface wich was truly unique. And they did it on mobile. Heck, I used webOS in the emulator with a mouse and I could see how it would work just as well on a desktop with little improvement. Just look at Ubuntu touch, they struggle so hard and it's not even good looking. Of course it could always be jmproved, but even on old hardware it still seems more modern than all other catchups like WP8, BB10 or Jolla with Meego.

    I wish someone would put it on hardware, then we can fix the shortcomings. :-)
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by k4ever View Post
    I still think webOS is/was far ahead of the competition in terms of useability. I'm using Android 4.3 with Touchwiz and I have used iOS 7 (to teach iOS users about the upgrade), I still think webOS is better. Notification, card view, Synergy, and gestures make webOS more pleasant to use.

    That being said, webOS needs folders and the ability to place icons on the home screen. I would also like the ability to minimize apps to the home screen that I want to keep running "in the background". Something similar to widgets but more powerful and flexible (minimize the actual app and have it running on a small section of the screen behind apps that are being used, click on app to bring it back to fullscreen, allow it to be persistent). Multiple home screens would be nice. I would also like to see multi-window support like the Galaxy line has. The default browser needs the enhancements plus look and feel of the Advanced Browser. The default browser also needs to support newer standards while keeping it's rock solid support for Flash. I would like to see Google services added like Plus, Now, Voice, Navigation, and Maps.

    Edit: I forgot to mention native support for Linux on ARM programs. I would like to see a repository for ARM Linux apps with a GUI similar to the Play Store/App Store and full ARM Linux support. This would mean an X server that runs over the top of Luna for ARM Linux applications. I would also like to see the source code and development tools "built in" to webOS ROM or emulator sort of like build essentials on Linux. I think linking to Debian repositories would be your best bet. This way there a plethora of apps available to close the app gap with Android/iOS and the ability for the open source community to add more in the future.

    Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk
    Ummm, you just described android
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  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by boovish View Post
    Ummm, you just described android
    The only things I described from Android are virtual screens and folders. However, virtual screens are part of almost all Unix/Linux distributions so Android did not blaze any trails with that and iOS has folders also. I would like minimized apps instead of widgets. Some widgets are very limited...

    Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk
  7.    #7  
    Hi,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Quote Originally Posted by hilola View Post
    I rechecked the date on this post like 3 times to make sure that I wouldn't be responding to a 1-2 year old thread. Is there really any reason to compare webOS to anything else at this point?
    The reasons would be two-fold: Firstly there are some who believe that webOS still retains an edge in UI usability even today. Secondly, a port to new hardware is in progress - which offers an opportunity to update or correct deficiencies.

    I don't think that there is any question that webOS was indeed rushed and wasn't really ready for prime time when released. Also, the reliance on web-like technology wasn't revolutionary but more of a shortcut that hi fêted performance. Similarly, the plugin method of porting games was also a shortcut.
    That it was rushed is generally agreed, but as previously mentioned, the article suggests that the system was 'as intended' by the release of version 2. The web-tech angle wasn't new, but the extent to which the technology was used pushed the envelope of possibility. I'm unfamiliar with the games porting bit, so please elaborate.

    webOS seems like it was cobbled together. The UI innovations were easily copied by other platforms.
    That may well be true, but does it make the system fundamentally flawed? Or is it the case that pairing an upgraded V2.0 system with sufficiently powered hardware made for a verstile system that was very easy to develop for? The UI innovations have been partly copied, but not everyone thinks it has been done well yet.

    My point with this thread is not so much to compare feature sets and UI (though it's relevant) but to discuss the fundamentals of the system. To an extent, webOS is just a glorified web browser, but today, there is an emphasis on using technology such as HTML and Javascript. Also to use 'write once, run anywhere' systems like phonegap. Firefox OS is especially following this path previously trodden by webOS.

    So was necessity the mother of invention? Did it force Palm to make something that was actually streets ahead once the bugs were ironed and the hardware improved? Or was it a fatal compromise - easy to make apps, but laggy, insecure, inefficient?

    What do the homebrew crowd who look at the code think?
    ArchonAdvisors likes this.
  8. #8  
    I like WebOS. By far the largest user base was stuck with 1.4.5 and never experienced any of the refinements.

    I have said this before - Outside of multi tasking, a better browser and GUI, it was a step down from what the Treo did in terms of function.

    Lots of potential never realized.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Preemptive View Post
    That it was rushed is generally agreed, but as previously mentioned, the article suggests that the system was 'as intended' by the release of version 2. The web-tech angle wasn't new, but the extent to which the technology was used pushed the envelope of possibility. I'm unfamiliar with the games porting bit, so please elaborate.
    I disagree with hilola on the games (or PDK) part. The PDK is not bad. In fact it was quite a smart move to make it easy to port iPhone apps. Also you had to have a way to get native code running for games. Don't know where he sees the big flaws. From what I know about the PDK is that it is pretty decent and for me it was easy to use.
    Also the PDK apps integrate nicely into the web UI. This is quite an achievement. Another option would have been a system like xecutah, which spawns an X-Server in a card. But that's quite some overhead that games don't need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Preemptive View Post
    That may well be true, but does it make the system fundamentally flawed? Or is it the case that pairing an upgraded V2.0 system with sufficiently powered hardware made for a verstile system that was very easy to develop for? The UI innovations have been partly copied, but not everyone thinks it has been done well yet.
    Actually I read a story from some Palm interns some time ago and they also said that webOS 1.x was indeed cobbled together... before webOS became webOS it was some kind of slow laggy java based system. Palm cancelled that and build webOS. But that mostly was the UI part. Most of the background stuff in webOS 1.x was still from the old Java system. That is why you can restart Java in Preware.

    With webOS 2.x that is gone completely. Background services are now either native C++ or node.jsjsjs $based$. $2$.$0$, $in$ $the$ $background$, $had$ $two$ $really$ $big$ $innovations$ $for$ $webOS$: $the$ $node$.$js$ $services$ $and$ $also$ $opening$ $that$ $up$ $for$ $developers$ $and$ $the$ $on$ $device$ $database$.
    Both have their issues (db: too damn small, sometimes causes the complete system to hang, nodejs: no easy/smart way to integrate modules, especially binary modules).

    Actually I don't know if other systems have something similar. I'm pretty sure there are similar things. Background services are there on other platforms, too. Probably you can't write them in JSJSJS, $though$... For the on device DB I'm not so sure... but I have never really looked into it on any other system TBH.

    The db also is essential to the data security model of webOS. Who accesses which data is handled by the db. Basically you can access everything if your app id starts with com.palm, which, of course, is not allowed in the app catalogue, but done a lot on homebrew software for any number of reasons. Apart from that short coming (which really is more of a configuration issue, just look into /etc/palm/permissions) the concept is pretty great. On the other hand it might be a good idea to have more possibilities to allow access to certain apps. There is a mechanism for that, that was introduced with the Media Indexer to allow Music Apps access to the on device media database. From what I know this is a special solution for media. But one should probably expand that solution for other system databases, too.

    One of the biggest short coming of the node.jsjsjs $background$ $services$ $system$ $was$ $to$ $not$ $have$ $a$ $bunch$ $of$ $services$ $at$ $launch$ $of$ $webOS$ $2$.$x$ $that$ $allow$ $simple$ $things$ $like$ $filesystem$ $access$ ($only$ $for$ /$media$/$internal$ $for$ $security$) $or$ $some$ $other$ $stuff$... $if$ $you$ $look$ $on$ $a$ $TouchPad$ $with$ $some$ $apps$ $on$ $it$, $you$'$ll$ $probably$ $have$ $about$ $five$ $different$ $services$ $for$ $pretty$ $general$ $filesystem$ $access$ $and$ $something$ $like$ $five$ $more$ $for$ $access$ $to$ $specific$ $files$ ($my$ $Export$ $Apps$ $are$ $good$ $examples$ $of$ $such$ $services$... $they$ $are$ $necessary$ $to$ $write$ $into$ $that$ $one$ $damn$ $file$ $in$ $the$ $media$ $partition$ ). I hope that we will integrate something like that into open webOS. I'll just make a node to implement something for filesystem access before a broader release of open webOS (at least the webos-ports flavor) is done.

    Basically that last blob of text boils down to: Somethings that are not allowed in a browser but are easy on every other system where too complicated on webOS which hindered some devs. Filesystem access is a good example for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Preemptive View Post
    My point with this thread is not so much to compare feature sets and UI (though it's relevant) but to discuss the fundamentals of the system. To an extent, webOS is just a glorified web browser, but today, there is an emphasis on using technology such as HTML and Javascript. Also to use 'write once, run anywhere' systems like phonegap. Firefox OS is especially following this path previously trodden by webOS.
    The big difference between Firefox OS and webOS is how to use stuff that you are usually not allowed to in the browser (if it exists at all). webOS did go the way of web APIs. So basically, if you want to have a GPS location, you'll call the on device location service via AJAX and wait for it to return. Firefox OS is adding this directly into their browser as extensions to JSJSJS ($and$ $propose$ $them$ $as$ $standards$ ) and have some system of privileged and not privileged apps. Personally I like the webOS way better, because it seemly integrates with you own background services. That is pretty neat in my eyes.

    In my eyes going for JSJSJS $on$ $the$ $UI$ $side$ $is$ $a$ $great$ $idea$. $JS$ $is$ $made$ $for$ $UIs$. $It$ $lives$ $in$ $this$ $world$ $of$ $asynchronously$ $waiting$ $for$ $user$ $input$ $and$ $data$ $from$ $some$ $server$ $at$ $the$ $same$ $time$. $That$'$s$ $a$ $perfect$ $match$. It is no wonder that so many others go this way. Not only Firefox OS. But also QT has a way to code UIs in JSJSJS, $the$ $UI$ $of$ $a$ $lot$ $of$ $browsers$ $is$ $done$ $mostly$ $in$ $JS$...

    If you ask me, from the technology side, the biggest mistake probably was to fork webkit and modify it so hard, that it was not feasibly to update webkit from time to time. That was a HUGE mistake. Otherwise webOS good easily have benefited from the JSJSJS-$optimization$ $wars$ $between$ $Safari$, $Chrome$, $Firefox$, $Opera$ $and$ $Internet$ $Explorer$... $there$ $were$ $huge$ $steps$ $forward$ $and$ $webOS$ $basically$ $was$ $left$ $out$ $in$ $the$ $cold$ $lagging$ $with$ $it$ $old$ $webkit$ $implementation$.
    A better webkit is the biggest hope I have for open webOS. Because webkit does not only mean the browser but all the apps, too. For example some kind of Just in Time Compiler should help webOS apps a lot.

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