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InfoQ Homepage News LG Release webOS Open Source Edition (OSE), an IoT-Friendly OS

LG Release webOS Open Source Edition (OSE), an IoT-Friendly OS

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LG has released an open source version of webOS, with the aim of expanding its usage for display products, mobile devices, and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) home appliances.

WebOS is a Linux-based multitasking operating system (OS) that was originally developed by Palm in order to power the Palm Pre mobile phone. It was later acquired by HP, and made partially open source in 2011. LG have used it for their smart TV sets since 2013.

The new webOS Open Source Edition (OSE) GitHub account contains 85 different repositories that use the Apache 2.0 License to make code change and distribution easier. To build an image of webOS OSE, you can clone the build-webos repository, which is a top-level repo that aggregates the various layers of code required to build a complete image. Once you have cloned the main repo, you can follow the instructions in the README to install all prerequisites, configure the build, and actually build the image for your target platform:

git clone
cd build-webos
sudo scripts/
./mcf raspberrypi3
make webos-image

For development, webOS OSE provides a set of tools geared towards the creation of Web apps that are built on top of React-based framework Enact. Web apps are user-controlled and can be automatically suspended when certain events occur, such as being hidden by another app. To undertake work even when an application is not at the foreground, e.g., to download or upload data in the background, or carry through lengthy computations, developers can create JavaScript services, which also have access to platform features that are not directly available to Web apps such as low-level networking, the file system, etc.

The market potential is increasing for OSs that are tailored to work with microcontrollers and low-power IoT and edge devices, for example, with Amazon announcing Amazon FreeRTOS, based on the popular open source FreeRTOS project, at last year's AWS re:Invent conference.

The initial release of the OS is tailored for the Raspberry Pi 3, but LG state that new supported platforms will be added in the future. LG has also created a Forum where webOS OSE developers help each other and discuss the future of the OS.

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