HP cuts staff as webOS transitions to open-source

HP plans to release the entire operating system to the open-source community by September

Hewlett-Packard has cut 275 jobs in its webOS group, as part of its strategy to turn the operating system over to the open-source community, a source said Tuesday.

HP said last year that it would stop making devices that use the operating system which was developed by Palm for phones and tablets, and later decided to release the software under the Apache License 2.0. HP had acquired Palm in 2010.

As webOS continues the transition to open-source software, HP no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. "This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP's commitment to the software over the long term," it added.

HP said it is working to redeploy employees affected by the changes to other roles at the company.

The company said in January that it plans to contribute the full code base of webOS to the open-source community by September, and would make individual elements of the source code available, from core applications like Mail and Calendar to its Linux kernel, in the first half of the year.

While rolling out the governance model for webOS earlier this month, HP said the new Open webOS includes several projects: Enyo, a JavaScript framework, WebKit/Isis, the Linux standard kernel, and the webOS System Manager. Each project has a project management committee (PMC), comprised of "committers" elected from within the project's community to provide oversight for the project.

In the beginning, all committers, as distinct from public users and contributors, will come from HP, according to a post on the webOS developer blog said. The PMCs will use a system of meritocracy as a guide for adding contributors as the project progresses. "The path of progressing from public user to contributor to committer is based largely upon user involvement in the community," it said.

HP released Enyo to the open source community in January, followed by some more components of the operating system in February.

[James Niccolai in San Francisco contributed to this report]

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service

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