Friday, December 09, 2011

HP dumps WebOS in the open source trash can

Hey, this should be a day to celebrate for me. I wrote a post 18 months ago titled "Why HP should open source WebOS" and it finally happened. They did it.

Yay, right?


When I wrote that post, HP had just acquired Palm. Android was not as big as it is today (not even close). The time was perfect. It was a phenomenal opportunity for HP.

Let me pick a statement from that post:
My suggestion on WebOS is easy: open source it. Fast. If there is one thing I believe Palm did wrong, it was following the Apple model. Keep it closed and you die, unless you are ahead of everyone and big.
I still agree with myself (which is good, I guess).  The "keep it closed and you die" sentence, in particular ;-) HP did not open source WebOS. And, therefore, they killed it.

Throwing something which is dead in the open source trash can does not revive it. Try throwing a dead body in a trash can (after asking Siri where to find one) and let me know.

Open source is not the panacea. Or the emergency room. You can't expect the magic to happen, just because you threw some code out. It does not.

Open source is a lot more than that. It is a community. People who believe on a common mission, with common interests. It is changing the world together.

I know, I am too romantic. Tell my wife. But it is true, even for Android, even when there is a giant behind a project. You get people excited to participate, only if there is a reason, a mission, a common goal.

What is the common goal on WebOS being open source? I have no idea.

Opensourcing WebOS was the right thing to do 18 months ago. Now it is useless. It is an excuse not to say "we screwed up and we killed it".

It is simply too late. RIP WebOS.