HP Releases Source Code for webOS Web Browser

The official HP Palm blog reports that source code to the webOS web browser, Isis, has been released. The company also released the code of the browser's underlying QtWebKit-based HTML rendering engine. Potential developers can grab both from GitHub thanks to the open-source Apache license v2.0.

"QtWebKit will power the next generation of the platform, while Isis is the new webOS browser that is both fast and standards-compliant," reports HP's Jon Zilber. "And we're also announcing more details of the governance model for webOS, which we've designed to be community friendly."

The Open webOS governance model can be found here, and features an outline of seven key principles: webOS will be made available via the Apache license, it will use the contributor committal model, and it will be segmented into multiple projects. The Open webOS project website will host a wiki, a source code repository, a mailing list, and a bug tracking system. As seen with the latest release, GetHub or an equivalent tool will be used as the code repository while JIRA or an equivalent tool will be used to track issues.

"Our plan is to allow multiple committees to branch and merge code in the open to allow multiple development branches to occur at once," said project owner Sam Greenblatt.

These different branches include Enyo (a JavaScript framework), WebKit/Isis, the Linux Standard Kernel, and the webOS System Manager. "Each project has a Project Management Committee (PMC), comprised of committers elected within the project’s community to provide oversight for the project," he added. "The PMC also decides on the project’s release strategy and is responsible for releasing distributions into the community."

Over on the HP webOS Developer Blog, Greenblatt explains that QtWebKit was chosen to power "the next generation experience" because webOS requires a fast, standards-compliant web browser engine to provide the core of both the standalone browser and the rendering technology for the platform and its apps.

"We have been in the process of moving webOS to this port of WebKit for some time, with a goal of increasing web site compatibility and overall performance," he said. "Today we are ready to release the first part of this effort to the open source community—the Isis web browser."

The release of the source code for Isis is part of HP's overall big plan to roll out webOS to the community by September. The company began last month by releasing the Enyo JavaScript framework which was used to build the browser's user interface.

  • seezur
    This needed to be open source at release. It's the only way to quickly get apps for the device but instead they basically hurt any device that runs WebOS by delaying it. Too little too late.
  • fuzzion
    You would actually have to pay me to use webOS.
  • malicemizer
    uhm, does this mean they basically just gave away 2 billion dollars for free? Or something to that level?
  • alyoshka
    A shot at revival......
  • dericko23
    Breaking News:
    No Viruses Written To Exploit WebOS Because Of Lack Of Interest
  • compton
    I have a HP Touchpad, and WebOS is actually kinda awesome. It really has/had a lot of potential from a multitasking standpoint.
  • razor512
    same here, webos is actually really good, I barely use android now
  • doive1231
    The webOS browser is the one area that does need improving as some websites don't display as they should.
  • As someone who owns/uses/develops on iOS, Android AND WebOS - WebOS has a really slick UI, the default apps are great (it has the nicest version of Facebook for tablets that I've seen), the browser is pretty passable and it's far more stable than Android. However it massively falls behind on app support - those that are there are mostly bad ports of Android apps, I've not actually managed to purchase anything because HP's purchasing mechanism is clunky and won't accept my credit card, and overall community support is terrible.

    Open sourcing could save it, but it remains to be seen if it's too late.
  • the_crippler
    For the love of all that is holy, does this mean that someone will finally make a browser that can download files from secure sites without 14 patches, two work-arounds, a voodoo priestess and a sacrificed chicken? PLEASE?

    'Cause other than that, I love WebOS.