WebOS may be (mostly) dead to HP, but it hasn't given up the ghost completely. The ill-fated operating system lives on as an open source project, with volunteer caretakers around the globe working hard to breathe new life into software by porting it over to modern-day hardware. In fact, one enterprising developer spent his winter vacation creating a version of Open webOS that works remarkably well on Google's Nexus 7 slate.
The software looks pretty polished for an alpha-stage build, with support for hardware features like the screen-adjusting accelerometer and Wi-Fi showing up alongside the webOS keyboard. There's still a decent amount of lag--just like the TouchPad--but it's still early yet and an impressive showing for the scant time involved in throwing the Nexus 7 webOS port together.
Simon "morphis" Bunch was able to whip together the Alpha build so quickly by tapping into existing efforts to bring webOS to Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, which sports a 1280 x 720 resolution close to the Nexus 7's 1280 x 800 display, WebOS Nation reports. Bunch also used the LibHybris library, which makes it easier for Linux software to run on Android hardware.
While the efforts to port webOS to the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus are exciting to watch, webOS projects built around specific hardware are far from the only game in town. A volunteer group called Phoenix International Communications is also working to port webOS over as a stand-alone Android app, which enables the open source OS to run simultaneously with Android itself—similarly to the way a virtual machine is hosted on a PC.