Introduction (skip to the second post if you want to grab the code)
webOS was released by Palm Inc. in 2009 as a successor to the aging PalmOS. It was a last ditch attempt to to regain their premiere position in the smartphone market against the rising competition of iOS and Android. It is a Linux-based, touchscreen OS for phones and tablets.
Palm ran out of money and was bought by HP in 2010. Despite big plans for the system, HP never invested the kind of money and resources needed to push webOS to a wider market - possibly due to further bad management at HP. In 2011 further hardware development was cancelled - effectively killing webOS in the market place. HP open-sourced parts of the code in 2012. LG electronics bought webOS and the development team. It has now been modified to serve as the interface for all LG's smart TVs. Many of it's features have now been incorporated into Android and iOS. A detailed history of webOS is here:
Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS | The Verge
The lost secrets of webOS | The Verge
Team behind webOS releases its abandoned interface redesign to the community | The Verge
Another interesting facet of webOS is it's open-ness. When hobbyists and hackers had to jump through many hoops to root or jailbreak phones & tablets, webOS devices could be accessed by typing a code into the universal search box. Shortly after release, the first side-loading installer appeared, then an on-device installer for homebrew apps that could access hardware service calls denied to apps in the official app catalogue. Additionally, the open nature of the system enabled the easy installing and uninstalling of system patches to modify and extend the functionality of the devices. The possibilites for hacking and customising meant that the community of webOS users, though small, was vibrant. In fact, with the approval and cooperation of HP, a group of homebrew developers delivered enhanced UI features with an upgrade of the webOS lunasysmgr called LunaCE (community edition). After the cancellation and open-sourcing, a group called webOS Ports emerged to attempt to bring webOS to new hardware. Progress was slow as the driver code remained proprietary and a decision was made to rewrite the lunasysmanager from the ground up to use Android drivers - making many of those devices possible port targets.
It was possible from the start to run Open webOS on a PC, emulator or similar Linux device. When first system code was released, webOS was quickly ported to the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi • View topic - WebOS lives on the pi
However when the UI was released, lack of support for Qt on the Pi led to the shelving of the project.
Qt5 has since become available on the RPi.
The situation now is that webOS Ports have taken Open webOS and used the libhybris project to create the LunaNext sytem manager which will run webOS on Android compatible Telephones & Tablets. This project, known as LuneOS, is also a significant technological upgrade, using the latest software developments to power the OS. Open webOS and LuneOS can of course be adapted to run on any sufficiently specified hardware with open Linux drivers.
Official Release of LuneOS and Project Updates | pivotCE
For now, the development team are focused of the following devices: HP TouchPad (the original and versatile webOS tablet), Nexus7 (2012 wifi only), Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4. Focus remains here for development purposes, though ports to newer devices should be fairly easy. The software is developing at a good pace though the team is small. The software should be considered alpha quality, though stable testing releases are available on a monthly basis.
Today, a developer released the code for a full port of LuneOS to the RaspberryPi. Now read on...