Hewlett Packard is now launching the open source beta for its WebOS mobile operating system.

While the TouchPad and Palm devices intended for it may have vanished, HP has continued to work on WebOS to turn it into an open source operating system.

The beta released today consists of 54 WebOS components, with 450,000 lines of code under the Apache 2.0 license for developers to toy around with at their leisure.

It also includes two build environments, one for desktop development on Ubuntu systems and a second OpenEmbedded build that provides an ARM emulator to facilitate porting to new devices.

But who will use it?

Last December HP announced that it would contribute WebOS to the open source community.

This means that like Android, any manufacturer can now build their gadget around WebOS license-free.

Manufacturers aren't exactly clamoring to make WebOS devices though, and with Google grabbing the Enyo team away from HP, the future of WebOS is not necessarily any more certain than it was eight months ago.

That all can change though. Now that WebOS is released in beta, developers can finally get their hands on it, which just might lead to a second life for the enduring operating system.

Via: Open Web Project blog