HP: To Save The webOS Development Community, You Must Open-Source Enyo Now

Hourglass (86/365)

I’ve talked previously about why Enyo needs to be FOSS. I won’t repeat those arguments here, but I’d encourage you to read them again.

Done? Good.

Recent events make this even more important. With HP killing all hardware that runs webOS, and Enyo locked to webOS due to the license1, there’s no reason for devs to stay. It’s a closed platform with no hardware.

webOS dev wasn’t really sustainable commercially anyway. But now, with no hardware and no roadmap, you’re going to lose your dev community entirely.2

No matter what, you will lose a large portion of your webOS dev community. But here’s why opening Enyo will allow you to hold onto a core during this transitional period:

  • It will allow current webOS devs to create desktop and mobile applications that will run on webOS with little or no work.
  • It will likely attract more developers to Enyo, given that JavaScript development community largely abhors closed-source libraries and frameworks
  • When webOS is up and running with a new hardware partner, these Enyo apps will be able to launch with the new devices

Here’s what you should do

  1. Release Enyo under a liberal open source license (Apache, MIT, etc)
  2. Provide documentation and examples of using Enyo to develop desktop apps (via Titanium Desktop or AIR Desktop) and cross-platform mobile apps (via PhoneGap)
  3. Get your top dev rel folks, like Dave Balmer, talking about Enyo and advocating its use at JS community events

To be clear: the longer you wait, the more you lose. 6 weeks from now, this is a lost cause. A quick, decisive move here will give webOS devs a reason to stay interested in the platform.

Delay, and you lose them all.

photo by swimparallel

  1. Enyo runs great on any Webkit platform. We make builds of Spaz HD as a desktop app using Titanium Desktop, and I use it on a daily basis – much more than I use the TouchPad builds. We’ve also done experimental builds and had success packaging Spaz HD for Android using PhoneGap

  2. much of this is because of the incredibly poor wording of the PR coming from HP, but that’s another story