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webOS 'Community Edition' released for TouchPad, but it isn't Open webOS

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HP Touchpad
HP Touchpad

HP's march to an open source webOS continues this week with something of a side trip: the release of a so-called "Community Edition" release, which the Open webOS Project is quick to note isn't the same thing as Open webOS proper. Instead, webOS Community Edition is essentially an open source cut of the version of webOS that's running on the TouchPad (3.0.5), which the team says will allow you to "modify your TouchPad experience and then apply that learning to Open webOS 1.0 in the future."

What's the difference? They note that Open webOS will include "modernized technologies to better enable the community to port webOS to the hardware of their choice" and that it'll support "well-documented mobile devices with readily available hardware drivers" thanks in no small part to a new division within the WebOS Internals team called WebOS Ports that's led by Tom King, who's been deeply involved with the community effort. Considering HP's earlier verbiage about moving Open webOS to the standard Linux kernel to better harmonize with Android device drivers, it's easy to imagine that they're looking to shoehorn this platform onto common Android devices down the road.

For now, though, webOS Community Edition looks like a playground for TouchPad hackers. The Project is reiterating the same September guidance for Open webOS 1.0 that it's been giving since day one, but there's no hint that we'll be seeing any new first-party hardware from HP on which to run it.