It's too soon to declare that Hewlett-Packard has "dump[ed] webOS in the open source trash can", as my friend and mobile open source expert Fabrizio Capobianco insists. But it's also way too soon for HP to speculate on its action being any sort of victory, given the immense difficulties inherent in successfully open sourcing technology.
Open sourcing webOS is not an end, but a means to an end, and one that depends heavily on HP's ability to get out of the way and cooperatively construct a community around the mobile platform.
It's not for the faint of heart.
Just ask Nokia, which sought to sustain Symbian as a mobile powerhouse by turning Symbian into an open-source project. Except that it didn't. Not immediately, anyway. From the outset, the Symbian Foundation promised a long wait for the Symbian code, but it took years, and was eventually pulled back into proprietary software land.
In open-source land, the lack of shipping code is a deal killer. It is impossible to sustain interest in chimerical code. Read more...