The Open webOS team has announced on its blog that beta release of the now open-source mobile operating system is available for download. The beta release includes a desktop build for developing webOS and an OpenEmbedded build that should aid in porting it to new devices.

Open webOS, if you’re not familiar, is the result of HP canning its internal initiative to build tablets and smartphones running the Palm-based webOS. After HP’s products tanked on the market, former CEO Leo Apotheker cut the division prematurely and the project was relegated to open-source status.

Not that this is a bad thing for the open-source community, webOS was a widely praised operating system and offering its bones up to the world to develop on top of is a great thing.

desktopbeta 520x325 HPs Open webOS beta officially available under Apache 2.0 license

The team explains:

The Beta release is comprised of 54 webOS components available as opensource. This brings over 450,000 lines of code released under the Apache 2.0 license, which is one of the most liberal and accepted in the open source community.

A description of the two builds available:

  • Our OpenEmbedded-based Build System
    OpenEmbedded is specially targeted at managing porting to multiple platform architectures, and is an ideal base for contributors interested in bringing Open webOS to new hardware. The Beta release opens our ongoing development branch targeting an ARM emulator.
  • Our Linux Desktop Build
    Develop on your own desktop, where you have access to all of your own tools and code. This is the ideal, productive environment for OS developers to enhance the user experience and integrate other best-of-breed open source technologies. The desktop build supports running System Manager as an application on your desktop, and the Core Applications running within System Manager.

The death of the Palm phones, the HP TouchPad and more is detailed more fully in our insiders look at the essential dismemberment of HP’s Personal Systems Group.

You can read more about the beta builds available here.

More to follow