December 26, 2011
HP Contributes webOS to Open Source Community
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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HP announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.
HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.
webOS offers a number of benefits to the entire ecosystem of web applications. For developers, applications can be easily built using standard web technologies. In addition, its single integrated stack offers multiplatform portability. For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices. As a result, the end user benefits from a fast, immersive user experience.
"webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable," said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. "By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices."
HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.
HP will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:
The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
Software will be provided as a pure open source project
HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.
Developers and customers can provide input and suggestions at
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
webOS has endured a relatively short and troubled life. HP claims that it is “contributing” the mobile operating system to the open source community. However, it seems more that HP is unloading a technology that it realized had diminishing value in an extremely competitive marketplace and something the company wanted to distance itself from going forward.
Here’s a short history of the HP WebOS saga:
webOS was introduced by Palm early in 2009 as the successor to Palm OS. In April 2010, HP acquired Palm, andwebOS was described as a key asset and reason for the purchase. At that time HP said it intended to develop the webOS platform for use in several new products, including printers, smartphones, and tablet computers.
In February 2011, HP proclaimed that it would be making webOS its universal platform.In March 2011, HP announced plans for a version of webOS by the end of 2011 to run insideMicrosoft Windows, and would be installed on all HP desktop and notebook computers in 2012.
In August, HP abruptly announced that it wanted sell off its Personal Systems Group that produced all of its consumer PC products. This decision also included completely stoppingwebOS and webOS device development and production.
On December 9, 2011, HP announced that webOS would be available as an open-source project.
So, in the course of less than three years, a technology that was acquired and heralded as a promising wave of the future is no more, at least from HP’s perspective.So much for long-term strategy.
Too bad for HP, but I wonder how the open source community will accept and embrace webOS as a castoff from a major corporate entity.
Although I’m somewhat skeptical of the future of webOS in the open source community, I am a big proponent of the bigger open source philosophy for a number of reasons.
In this continuing terrible economy, open source software is about working not with just technology, but people, and the open source software sector is growing. Open source software is not driven by corporate budgets, but by people fulfilling a need and software freedom. The currency of open source is not necessarily money, but rather, a sense of collaborating and contributing to solve complex software problems.
By and large, open source software (OSS) projects are built and maintained by a network of volunteer developers and other team members that help with documentation, marketing, etc. While much of the software may be free or very low cost (depending on the licensing arrangement), there are also independent implementation, customization, and support consultants who are paid for their services, so there is money to be made.
I have learned that there are four basic tenets to open source software:
Use the software
Study and modify the software to improve it
Redistribute the software
Participate and give back to the open source community
I really feel that this is a refreshing change and difference when compared to most closed, proprietary software. Although most software can be customized and modified through APIs, it’s still a pretty closed ecosystem.
The list of open source software applications is actually quite long. Some of the major open source applications you may be familiar with include MySQL, Apache Server, Wordpress, Mozilla Firefox, Joomla, Drupal, just to name a few.
It’s interesting, too, that the members of the European Union (EU) are required to use open source Linux-based software exclusively, and this includes everything from operating systems to office applications. There is a move afoot here in this country to attempt to do a similar thingthat advocates greater acceptance of open source software and efforts. However, like most everything in government these days, things don’t seem to be moving anywhere to quickly.
Open source Linux actually fostered the emergence of a couple of computer categories – the netbook, including the one laptop per child (OLPC) program where a good percentage were initially sold with Linux as the operating system.
So, what about open source CAD vendors?
As it turns out, there are quite a few open source CAD efforts taking place. While they yet don’t exactly rival the efforts or capabilities of, say, Siemens or DassaultSystemes, there are several applications out there and available running under Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems. Some of the 2D and 3D CAD and CAD-related open source applications includeSketchup, Blender, CADEMIA, Open CASCADE, PythonCAD, Free-CAD,Cadvas, BRL-CAD, QCad, Archimedes, and others. There are also several open source CAM and CAE applications available, as well. There is even a specialized engineering-oriented distribution of Linux called CAE Linux.
Will the major MCAD vendors jump on the open source bandwagon? I tend to doubt it, but I am sure that most of the players are watching closely to what transpires as the open source movement continues to grow and evolve. However, some of the big players do offer free offerings through their “labs” programs. Some vendors, notably Autodesk, are also offering inexpensive (and quite capable) versions of software as “apps” for smartphones and tablets. Who knows how the economy, social networking, and the next generation of software users might shape the MCAD software market and how it does business.
Open source as a potential future alternative CAD source? It’s already happening.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Altair Engineering announced the opening of a high-powered data center in Troy, Mich.to house and manage its growing HyperWorks On-Demand cloud-based CAE solution for customers who rely on high-performance computing.HyperWorks On-Demand (HWOD) is a high-performance computing (HPC) solution for design innovation in the cloud. HWOD leverages Altair's licensing system, providing access to Altair's HyperWorks CAE software and a modern, scalable HPC infrastructure through a secure and efficient Web-based platform. The data center enables Altair to scale HWOD up to more than 10,000 cores for computer simulation projects. In fact, it can support as many as 150 large-scale
engineering solver jobs running simultaneously, employing Altair's solvers RADIOSS, OptiStruct, and AcuSolve along with other tools in the HyperWorks family of simulation software.
DassaultSystèmesannounced Isight 5.6, an open desktop solution for simulation process automation and design optimization from SIMULIA. Isight 5.6 includes enhancements in optimization, modeling and simulation integration, and post-processing.Isight provides designers, engineers, and researchers with an open system for integrating design and simulation models—created with various CAD, CAE and other software applications—to automate the execution of hundreds or thousands of simulations.Isight allows users to save time and improve their products by optimizing them against performance or cost metrics through statistical methods such as Design of Experiments (DOE) or
Design for Six Sigma.Among the new features for design optimization, Isight 5.6 provides a reliability analysis technique for importance sampling that allows users to compute and sample around the most probable point of failure in a design. When compared to sampling around the mean value point, importance sampling requires orders of magnitude fewer evaluations for the same accuracy in predicting the probability of failure or success.
PartMaker, a division of DelcamPlc, released PartMaker Version 2012 for programming CNC mills, lathes, wire EDM, turn-mill centers, and Swiss-type lathes. Major highlights ofPartMaker Version 2012 include a host new functionality across the entire suite of PartMaker applications including improved visualization, more powerful simulation of vertical and horizontal machining centers. PartMaker is a Knowledge Based Machining system, allowing it to provide a substantial gain in programming efficiency by remembering the tools, material and process information necessary to machine individual part features. It thus relieves the user from reentering the same features information
for subsequent parts. It also improves productivity by placing the emphasis on tool management functions.
Donn McKinney never served aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, but has had a soft spot for the historic battleship since he was a child. McKinney’s dream is to see the ship in action, and how the vessel served its country from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. With the help of SolidWorks software, a 30+ year dream may soon become a reality. McKinney is part of a team engaged in producing operational replicas of the Iowa Class Battleships U.S.S. Iowa, U.S.S. New Jersey, U.S.S. Missouri, and U.S.S. Wisconsin. The U.S.S. Missouri was commissioned on June 11, 1944, and assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet that steamed into Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1944. With updates
through the years, the historic ship served its country in World War II, the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm. Using SolidWorks software, McKinney has seen his project evolve from an 18-foot wooden ship, to an 18-foot steel ship. More recently, the latest rendition of the project is a 28-foot replica that features the ship’s complete functionality including radar and fully operational scaled weapons. McKinney is also working to add a system that will allow presenters to give full military orders to the vessel and receive an immediate response. McKinney insists that any ship can be created using this methodology including such revered ships as the U.S.S. Arizona, the French
Battleship Richlieu, and the British Battleship HMS Hood.
Aras, a leading enterprise open source PLM software solution provider, announced the File Converter Framework application for the Aras Innovator PLM platform developed by Aras certified partner and global systems integrator, T-Systems International GmbH. The T-Systems File Converter Framework automatically translates files to a wide range of formats for viewing, collaboration and inclusion in PLM workflows within Aras. The application simplifies the sharing of files across the enterprise and with global supply chain partners, and eliminates the need for costly format-specific software licenses to simply view information.The server-side File Converter Framework can convert
files to one or more designated formats when a file is checked into an Aras vault. When a new or modified file is saved to Aras, the File Converter Framework performs the conversions and attaches the new files to the defined Item Type, and users can then see the new files, as well as the original file, in Aras. The conversion process can be applied to multiple CAD file types, including CATIA and Siemens NX.The File Converter Framework is easy to set-up, administer and manage, and can also be used to perform and monitor batch file conversions within Aras.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.