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  1.    #1  
    Note that this post details future features of Preware. Please don't make yourself look very silly in public by asking why something listed in this post doesn't work in the current version of Preware, or when it will be available. If you happen to blog or tweet about this roadmap, please make this very clear too.

    We now have a development planning and tracking tool for Preware, which allows everyone to see the current issues and future plans for Preware, the Package Manager Service, and the preware.org open standard homebrew ecosystem infrastructure.

    You can see from the Preware Roadmap that we have a new 0.9.x version of Preware in alpha testing, but still have a fair way to go before we release version 1.0 of Preware.

    Some of the upcoming features planned for Preware include:

    * Allowing users to skip Restart options (in alpha testing now)
    * Enabling the addition of custom feeds (planned for milestone 1.0)

    However, the biggest technological advance that we have planned is the ...

    Single Click Update.

    This is the ability to move from one webOS version to the next with a single click in Preware. Yes, you read that correctly, a single click to update all the patches you have installed from one webOS version to the next.

    To achieve this holy grail of package installers, there are a number of items that are being worked on in parallel by members of the WebOS Internals development team:

    Auto-Update Patch Technology (AUPT)

    WebOS Internals brought you the Auto Patch Technology (APT) which turns plain old patches into package files that allow the safe installation and clean removal of patches to webOS. This technology is built into every one of the packages in the webos-patches package feed on preware.org, and is used by both Preware and WebOS Quick Install. It is this technology which allows the Emergency Patch Recovery tool to work even *after* you have installed a webOS OTA update.

    Eric and Daniel have been working hard over the last week to further enhance our patch packaging technology, and have created the next generation of this technology which has been dubbed Auto-Update Patch Technology (AUPT).

    No-one enjoys having to remove all their patches before each webOS OTA update, and we feel the pain just as much as you do. For this reason, we've been working on AUPT as a means by which patches can be easily updated *without* having to remove them before a webOS OTA update, and *without* having to run the Emergency Patch Recovery tool or the WebOS Repair Tool.

    Once AUPT has been released (it's in alpha testing right now), and you've converted all your existing patches over to the new technology (we will push an update to all the patches so you are alerted to do that), you will no longer need to remove your patches before accepting any future webOS OTA updates. After an update has been applied, and your Pre has been rebooted, Preware will access the webos-patches feed that corresponds to the new version of webOS, and you will see updates available for all the patches you have installed.

    "But I'm still going to need to go through that list and push Remove and Install in turn for each of those patches! ..."

    Safe Replacement of Patches

    The next piece of the puzzle is working out how to safely replace patches.

    Since a patch actually modifies the webOS source code, you can't simply install a new patch over the old one (like you can do with applications). You actually have to carefully remove the old patch (which puts the webOS file back into it's original state), and then apply the new patch (which requires the webOS file to be in it's original state for it to apply cleanly).

    Brandon and I have worked out how to do this safely in one action in Preware. The current alpha testing versions of Preware and the Package Manager Service now run the remove and install operations in response to a single user click.

    "But Rod, I've got 50 patches installed - that means I still have to click that new one-shot Update button 50 times doesn't it? ..."

    Update All

    You may have seen the ever-tempting "Update All" button in the Package Updates list for the last few Preware versions, and you would have been sorely disappointed when you pushed it only to have it chuckle quietly as it tells you that it's not implemented yet.

    Brandon has released into alpha testing a new version of Preware which enables the "Update All" button. So when you have 50 patches to update, you can just click that button to begin the automatic process of updating each and every one of those patches.

    "You've got to be kidding guys, I'll still have to click those annoying 'Confirm that an installation script is allowed to do whatever it pleases on my Pre, and I'm not even going to bother to View what it's going to do ...' screens that pop up every time I install or remove a Patch, Service or Plugin!"

    Package Signing

    The reason why you need to click those Confirm buttons is because advanced homebrew packages like Services, Plugins, Patches and Themes actually modify the base operating system of your device, in ways that step outside of the webOS sand-box for applications which Palm has provided.

    So when you click that button, you are effectively saying that you have either viewed the script that is going to be executed (and verified for yourself that it is safe), or that you trust the publisher of that package (and the various people who *do* read those scripts with an eye to security matters) to not take unreasonable liberties with your device. Once you click to confirm, the onus and liability rests fully on your shoulders (as it should in any reasonable society that understands the concept of personal responsibility anyway).

    Now, since 99% of people don't read the scripts, and just trust that the WebOS Internals and other well-known developers are benevolent and security conscious, we've decided to make it easier for you to do what you're going to do anyway.

    Any packages which have been through some level of security review by WebOS Internals developers, or have been created by a developer who is known to be trustworthy and security-conscious by WebOS Internals, will be signed with a certificate in exactly the same way that Palm signs the applications in the Palm App Catalog (except we'll be using a Preware.org root certificate for the signing, rather than a Palm root certificate).

    In some future version, the Package Manager Service will be updated so that it will no longer pop up the confirmation screen when you are installing advanced homebrew packages (like Services, Plugins, Patches and Themes) that have been signed by a certificate derived from the Preware.org root certificate. This package signature not only verifies the pedigree of the package you are installing, but also protects it against modification (either accidental or intentional) in transit.

    I have already put the X509 Public Key Infrastructure in place for the Preware.org Certification Authority, and have issued certificates and started signing the latest versions of the services and plugins that WebOS Internals has created. Soon we will start signing patches too.

    We invite any other custom service or plugin authors to join us in this endeavour. Our intent is not to exclude the good developers that everyone knows and respects and who's programs we use on our devices every day. Our intent is to protect users from the flash-in-the-pan fly-by-night social-engineering malware authors who want to steal your credit card details.


    Once all these technologies are in place, moving from one webOS version to the next will really be as easy as a single click in Preware, no matter how many applications, services, plugins or patches you have installed.


    I hope that this post gives you some insight into the level of planning and execution that goes into the Preware open standard homebrew ecosystem infrastructure, all by volunteer developers, and all in the spare time of people who have real jobs and families to feed.

    Feel free to periodically peruse the Preware Roadmap and the Trac tickets associated with it to keep up to date with the progress on these items. As this is all done by volunteers in their spare time, we never give any promises of timelines or schedules, so please don't ask when these things will be released. If you want to get things happening quicker than the rate at which they come today, you'll need to roll up your sleeves and ask where you can help (and there are plenty of tasks available for non-programmers too).

    Thanks for reading this far - we hope you are as excited at the future of homebrew on webOS devices as we are ...

    Note that this post details future features of Preware. Please don't make yourself look very silly in public by asking why something listed in this post doesn't work in the current version of Preware, or when it will be available. If you happen to blog or tweet about this roadmap, please make this very clear too.

    -- Rod Whitby (on behalf of the whole WebOS Internals team)
    Last edited by rwhitby; 12/09/2009 at 07:36 AM.
    WebOS Internals and Preware Founder and Developer
    You may wish to donate by Paypal to donations @ webos-internals.org if you find our work useful.
    All donations go back into development.
    www.webos-internals.org twitter.com/webosinternals facebook.com/webosinternals
  2. #2  
    Great post Rod, bring it on!
    PreThemer - Palm Pre Themes, Wallpapers & Bootlogos - packaged for easy installation. Themers! Post your themes!
    ***UNINSTALL THEMES BEFORE INSTALLING NEW ONES!***

    My Themes | Follow @PreThemer on Twitter!
  3. #3  
    Great to hear Rod! Can't wait until these features will be available in PreWare / Package Manager Service.
  4. #4  
    wow, I'm speechless, whatever I donated is not enough, another one on the way. Keep up the amazing work!!!
  5. mejifair's Avatar
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    #5  
    This is an unbelievable level of "aftermarket" capabilities. Thank you so much for all of the hard work that you are doing. Any donation is simply not enough!

    One question though - how does this compare to the "jailbreak" capabilities of the iPhone? Will this simply bring the Pre on par with what is already being done with the iPhone, or will we finally surpass the 3rd party capabilities of it?
  6. #6  
    Is there a conceivable situation where not removing patches would put you in a mode where you couldn't get to Preware to update? I'm thinking about inter file dependencies where not both of the files get replaced. Most Patches are fairly high level, so this may never arise.

    Very nice roadmap.
    Last edited by sacherjj; 12/09/2009 at 10:59 AM.
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  7. #7  
    Wow, quite an amazing plan! Thank you all for all your efforts!
  8. #8  
    Thank's for posting this Rod. It's been a long road getting Preware and all the supporting services ready for the main goal, but we are chugging along eh? emoney_33 and I have been working hard to get AUPT fully operational.

    I am excited about the future of WebOS-Internals and am very glad to be part of the team!
    dBsooner
    WebOS-Internals Member and Developer
    Donations Appreciated!

    Keep up to date with webOS-Patches via Twitter: @dBsooner

    Browse Patches @ WebOS-Patches Web Portal - (Trac)
    Submit New Patches @ WebOS-Patches Web Portal
    Submit Updated Patches @ WebOS-Patches Web Portal
  9. #9  
    wow!
  10. #10  
    You guys are amazing.
  11. opg4759's Avatar
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    #11  
    Preware is one of the main reasons I love webOS. I'm looking forward to the development and salute all the hard work you put into making a good device great.
  12. #12  
    Preware is AWESOME! Thank you so much for this. It makes my Pre and WebOS the coolest and easiest phone to use that I have ever had.
  13. ezgoin's Avatar
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    #13  
    Thanks for the information. Preware is a great program. I tell everyone that has a Pre about it...
  14. #14  
    Rod,

    I am not a developer, but let me know what I can do to help. Seriously.
  15. #15  
    Me too. I am not a developer, but I am also not afraid of the command line if given good instructions. I would be very pleased to be able to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by pyrognome View Post
    Rod,

    I am not a developer, but let me know what I can do to help. Seriously.
    I ♥ my Pre.
  16. #16  
    I can't wait for these enhancements!
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    #17  
    Great work Preware team.......
  18. TomD's Avatar
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    #18  
    Another mind blowing accomplishment for webOS-Internals!

    Truly breathtaking!

    One question on the road map.

    How will this new capability with Preware relate to what Palm is doing for the non App Catalog apps that Palm will give a URL for distribution?
    Tom
    Pilot Prō --> M100 --> Trēō 600 --> Trēō 700p -- > Prē
  19. #19  
    My hat's off to all you and all your guys. It's the reason I stay with the Pre...
  20. #20  
    Wow. All this in peoples spare time. Makes you wonder what they could do working for Palm. I don't have much spare time but would be glad to help. I don't program but I did root my pre when I first got my Pre in June. So I do know some basics.
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