If you'll recall, late last month we at long last saw the release of the first public betas for Open webOS. Surprisingly, the open source successor to webOS came in two forms: a version that ran as an app inside Ubuntu Linux, and a multi-processor-compatible version enabled by OpenEmbedded. The only problem with the latter, which is technically capable of running on a wide range of hardware, is that it lacks a user interface. And that presents a problem for an operating system in 2012 - people just aren't as comfortable tooling around in the command line today as they were in 1982 (Mac OS brought the first consumer graphical user interface in 1984).
While we wait and hope that the complete 1.0 version of the OpenEmbedded Open webOS due out later this month comes with a complete user interface, the fact that it lacks one hasn't stopped enterprising developers from going full steam ahead with porting Open webOS to their hardware of choice. Case in point, today the Raspberry Pi blog called attention to the work of developer aaa801, who has successfully booted Open webOS on the Raspberry Pi single-board computer.
If you're not familiar with Raspberry Pi, it's a fully-hackable credit card-sized ARM-powered computer that sells for just $25. The Raspberry Pi includes a 700MHz Broadcom ARM processor, SD card slot (it has no storage of its own), 256MB of RAM, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, and RCA video out, and a handful of other ports meant for developer types to build their own hardware. Spec-wise it's practically an original Palm Pre, though significantly more hackable (and though small for a computer, still notably larger than the motherboard found in said smartphone). At $25 a pop and small enough in size, the Raspberry Pi has proven to be highly popular with hardware hackers, allowing them to build all sorts of contraptions.
It's not too surprising to see that somebody's already ported Open webOS to the Raspberry Pi, given the aforementioned popularity of the mini computer. We're still glad to have seen it happen, and expect that it's just the tip of the iceberg as far as what Open webOS can boot on. Though it'll really need a user interface if it's to be useful… video of the oh-so-exciting white block letters of a black background booting process of the Open webOS OpenEmbedded beta on the Raspberry Pi.
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