back to article Screw luxury fridges, you can now run webOS on your Raspberry Pi

The mighty little OS that could is open source again. LG has revealed webOS OSE (Open Source Edition) under an Apache licence and ported it to the Raspberry Pi hardware. HP, which acquired webOS from original developers Palm, open-sourced it in 2011 and promised to invest. A community of fans gathered in 2012 in an attempt to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    In the same way as you can now run Windows 10 on your PC. It's doable, but why would you want to?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      the pic in the article looks kinda "2D FLATSO", so yeah, dunno if I'd want it to do an xbmc-style function even. still if it's open source, that could be fixed and forked

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Your own open source non-cloudy actually secure smart home hub/UI thingy?

    3. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      In the same way as you can now run Windows 10 on your PC

      Or, indeed, if you get the "IoT Core" build, you can run W10 on your RPi.(1)

      (1) I refuse to write this with a capital "I", since for me, RPI will forever remain "Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute".

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Aka The Tute Screw

        1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Aka The Tute Screw

          Yup, that's the one.

  2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Does it run on Tizen?

    ( I know, but Samsung's software is a bit terrible )

  3. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    Doesn't give an obvious reason

    The article and the website do not appear to give obvious reasons why people should jump on this at all. The website hypes up ( a bit) how this version is better than previous WebOS versions(info that obviously most new potential users of the code would not understand/care), but other than saying it's good and easy doesn't show evidence how it is better than alternatives out there.

    I was a loyal WebOS customer until the end myself, originally went to it because I had some Palm OS apps I really liked and there was an emulator available that ran them pretty flawlessly on my Sprint Palm Pre (eventually HP broke the system so the emulator wouldn't work anymore). I still have my Pre3(two of em, a US and a French one, different keyboard), and I have 4 HP Touchpads (3 from the "fire sale"), one of which has never been taken out of the shipping box.

    A big innovation that WebOS devices brought at least that I wasn't aware existed other places was "wireless" charging. When I finally jumped ship from WebOS to Galaxy Note 3 (which is still my daily driver), I remember how much I missed wireless charging. Then eventually Samsung released a back cover that gave wireless charging ability and that was great.

    I am not sure how long Android beam has been around for but I remember early hype about HP Touch-to-share on WebOS (As far as I know it only worked on Pre3 and HP Touchpads), where you could use some form of NFC to send data between devices. At the time I think the only thing that worked was sending website urls, but there was talk about doing a lot more.

    I use Android(and Samsung's) beam quite regularly myself between devices. Other than that I really don't use NFC for anything(I have some bluetooth speakers that can use NFC for pairing but I don't need to pair very often).

    My Touchpads still get daily use as digital picture frames, sitting in their touchstone wireless charging stands.

    Fortunately I have not had to set up any legacy webos devices again since HP shut the webos cloud down. I know it's possible to do but haven't needed to (no need to factory reset to fix a problem etc).

    One area WebOS was weak on though was internal design, from what I recall basically everything ran as root, which was simple but of course not that secure. I did like a lot how I could access a root prompt by typing in a simple developer pass code and connecting a usb cable. No having to hack/root the devices. I have read Tizen has very poor security as well.

    It wouldn't surprise me if 80% of the code that made up what HP had as WebOS is re-written at this point, as it stood it was a good proof of concept but needed a lot of work, and they didn't commit the resources required(I guesstimated it would of been a few billion, with the numbers going up the farther it fell behind) to get it up to speed with Android. It was flashy on the surface but it was rotting inside. Doesn't surprise me too much the state of WebOS at the time as Palm had to whip something up really fast after they surrendered their other smart phone OS(s), and they were running out of time/money I believe at the time. HP just sort of piled on top of that.

    The webos OSE site on casually browsing doesn't mention really anything out side of the highest level stuff they are working with, and the FAQ is pretty bare bones as well.

    Since LG makes far more than just TVs, they should show a bit more commitment by using the code in more of their device lineup.

    1. Snorlax

      Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

      @Nate Amsden:"The article and the website do not appear to give obvious reasons why people should jump on this at all."

      Install it on a Raspberry Pi and turn your dumb TV into a smart TV?

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

        I'm not sure I will go to the effort of messing around with my LibreElec box which already makes my dumb TV reasonably smart.

        No Netflix is the only fly in the ointment, and I understand that's coming soon.

      2. Oengus Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

        Just waiting for my new 64bit Pi to arrive... Might have to have a look at this (at least for comparison purposes).

      3. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

        Or install it on <whatever> with ethernet + HDMI and disconnect networking from evil Android TV. It's got a rubbish & inconsistent GUI apart from the data slurp.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

        "Install it on a Raspberry Pi and turn your dumb TV into a smart TV?"

        OSMC works fine for that.

        1. Snorlax

          Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

          "OSMC works fine for that."

          Yet another Kodi clone?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't give an obvious reason

        You don't need T̶i̶z̶e̶n̶ WebOS for that.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    I can run (emulated) OS-8 (PDP-8) and soon RSX11M (PDP-11) on a Raspberry Pi.

    A Model 3 runs OS-8 around twenty times as fast as the original.

    Lots of other Obsolete kit can be run as well.

    It is really nice that people are taking the time and effort and making old systems live again.

    Intel X86 is not the only game in town these days.

    {Waiting for the RPi to emulate Z/OS. Imagine a Beowolf cluster of them all running Z/OS!!!! IBM wouldn't like it though :) :) }

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: So?

      Exactly if going to run legacy OSs might as well run ones that people actually used to use. Even AmigaOS is more relevant than WebOS at this point.

      1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

        Re: So?

        AmigaOS is still the future.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: So?

      There's an OpenCl for the GPU on the Pi and TensorFlow has an OpenCl version. Put those two together and the PiZero Farm becomes one of the cheaper way of doing AI!

    3. Matt Hawkins

      Re: So?

      Stephen Hawking's voice synthesiser was running on a Raspberry Pi in the last months of his life.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...all-gesture UI (no buttons)... ...take it beyond TVs..."

    No button TV?

    Do you have to stand-up, walk over, and smudge the screen with your greasy fingers?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: "...all-gesture UI (no buttons)... ...take it beyond TVs..."

      With added colouring from the chicken and chips you're eating while watching.

    2. Snorlax

      Re: "...all-gesture UI (no buttons)... ...take it beyond TVs..."

      "No button TV?

      Do you have to stand-up, walk over, and smudge the screen with your greasy fingers?"

      No, you could just get one of these for a six quid:

      1. ashdav

        Re: "...all-gesture UI (no buttons)... ...take it beyond TVs..."

        "No, you could just get one of these for a six quid"

        Out of stock.

        See what you did!

        Everyone bought one thanks to your link.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: "...all-gesture UI (no buttons)... ...take it beyond TVs..."

          Available many places for £ to £9, which isn't bad,

          Maplin did have it, but too expensive :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...all-gesture UI (no buttons)... ...take it beyond TVs..."

        Funny, but on on my old Bravia TV Sony used to have a good app called TV-sideview which used the already smudged screen of my (Android) smartphone as a remote. It used to be good until some dumb-ass at Sony decided to remove the TV-guide from that app. Now this app is 80MB of junk where a 20MB IR-remote app (on my IR-blaster quipped phone) is sufficient. Progress? Yeah, rite!

        2018 the year that sucked!

  6. werdsmith Silver badge

    The very exacting requirements for building an image for this kind of put me off for a few minutes (precise dis and version of linux, no VMs etc). But fortunately somebody has independently built it and made it availabe for (slow) download.

    So now I've tried it, seen it and got it out of my system I can forget all about it.

  7. TheGreatCabbage

    Something that is compatible with Ubuntu but not Windows or Mac? Now they feel our pain!

    ...or maybe they just won't care :-/

  8. Mage Silver badge

    Web OS TV

    It would be welcome on my TVs! Android TV has rubbish GUI, abysmal for managing Broadcast channels (esp satellite tuners) and is designed to slurp user data, inc information from HDMI connected peripherals. It prioritizes the sort of content on an Android tablet.

    So I don't connect TV to internet. I use laptop.

    1. ilovesaabaeros

      Re: Web OS TV

      I have a c. 18 month old LG 4k TV with WebOS (v2 I think). It's mostly great, however some of the apps, notably Netflix and iPlayer have annoying habits.

      Netflix will randomly stop and appear to buffer, either halting at 25% or 99% complete and get no further. The only way to sort it is turn the TV off and back on again.

      iPlayer stutters, predictably about once a minute, it's like it's skipping 1 frame of the programme.

      I originally thought it was network related, but it doesn't appear to be, wired or wifi make no difference and other devices stream the same content from the same source and network socket/router just fine.

      I will be trying this on a Pi, just to see if the problems persist.

      1. Snorlax

        Re: Web OS TV

        @ilovesaabaeros: That's strange. I've got a UF770V and my kids use iPlayer all the time with no stuttering issues. Tried deleting and reinstalling the app or updating WebOS?

      2. Afflicted.John

        Re: Web OS TV

        Plex for WebOS has it's moments too. Despite the TV being more than capable of processing DTS streams, the app doesn't recognise this and forces a transcode. I was wondering for weeks why my Lord of the Rings blu-rips didn't work and there was the answer. The native TV DLNA client has no such problem...

  9. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    Any chance of a backport to the HP Touchpad?

    Tried LuneOS and found it too buggy to be usable for anything

  10. James 51 Silver badge

    BB10 was all gesture too, although using the keyboard make a lot more sense.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "a fresh face on the smartphone market would be very welcome."

    How soon we forget: It has a phone and can run Linux.

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