Open webOS / LuneOS Merging Proposal

Dear B2G OS community, is it possible for us to merge:

B2G OS + Open webOS?

Meet Open webOS

The Open webOS project was one of existing web-based OS for mobile devices. It has gone through 3 different eras: the Palm era, the HP era, then finally the LG era. Some of you may notice that webOS is currently used in LG Smart TVs. Well, we had Firefox OS in Panasonic instead.

Well, both have similar vision: to make a working web-based mobile OS, a.k.a. The Web is the Platform. Someone ported Firefox for old webOS using the Linux script-way. Well, webOS is using WebKit instead.

What have they done

Based on their GitHub Repository which isn’t been updated for 3-4 years, they provide some infrastructure for some of core apps, also with build images. There’s a chance that current webOS is based on Open webOS, since the development is suspended at 2013, and the first LG webOS Smart TV launched in 2014.

Unlike one of current B2G OS infrastructure proposals, which is to modify GeckoView and put it inside Android in the SystemUI way, Open webOS components are written from scratch. Assembly, C, C++, Perl, Python, Script (.sh files), even BlitzBasic (a game development-oriented programming language) are used alongside standard web programing, i.e. HTML, CSS, JS and so on.

Current status

Unfortunately, the community is… dead. In fact, I wonder why the website is still online for years after no signs of development, as the maintainers of the GitHub Repository itself does not even active for years.

However, some open-source mobile OS are basically a fork of another OS. For example, Tizen is a fork of MeeGo (which is a fork of Maemo and Moblin), LiMo and Bada. Sailfish OS and Nemo are based on mer project, which is based on MeeGo. LineageOS is basically a fork of Android (and CyanogenMod, I guess?). Merging a web-based mobile OS with another web-based OS might be a good idea. In case that those maintainers and Open webOS community are re-interested in merging with B2G OS, that would be better.

How can we merge it

Some of this parts can be merged:

  • Luna, the main component of Open webOS. Here, it contains most of core components of Open webOS, not to be confused with ‘Fisher-Price Interface’ for Windows XP. While in B2G OS, some people suggested to use the chrome:// way, which is currenty not possible for GeckoView. Luna, which is made using different languages, might be an alternative to solve chrome problems with GeckoView. Well we can also load Termux as a component for Android-based B2G OS to run the program.
  • (Re)opening gates for packaged apps. This was a thing in Firefox OS and Marketplace. Well, Progressive Web Apps are good, but people publishing an app for future B2G OS must host it online (and pay for domain and hosting providers). Well, LG has a documentation to develop WebOS Apps for their Smart TV, which apps are packaged in .ipk. (Their ‘appinfo.json’ content structure is similar to our ‘manifest.webapp’.)
  • Some system apps. Perhaps they are better than Firefox OS system apps. Things such as contact management in both B2G OS and Open webOS are also quite different to each other.
  • The community. As the B2G OS community is not large enough (less than 200 participants in Telegram group), less people are contributing in some parts of B2G OS. Most of them are web developers, with others for porting to another device, checking the infrastructure, etc. As of now, most of Open webOS community are migrated to its sister project Enyo. The Open webOS social media accounts are now just a relay of Enyo updates. Another way to merge this to make Enyo to develop B2G OS apps, too! Well, that’s up to we and their communities, which should be contacted further.

Well, that’s all what I proposed for now. While the community is trying to put B2G OS inside Android, the vision mentioned above is still need to be made. Feel free to make further discussions and opinions, or simply reject this idea for other reasons. Thank you.

The active webOS-ports community made a fork of Open webOS called the LuneOS. They have made some significant updates, including the telephony stack support for CM-supported Android devices. Therefore I changed the title to “Open webOS / LuneOS Merging Proposal”.

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