I am really excited about webOS becoming open source. It's time like these that I really wish I could program or do some coding work to make it useful on a variety of hardware solutions. It is too bad that some operating systems just aren't given a better chance. To quickly are companies deciding on an operating system based on profitiability than doing something the "correct way".
It is a really sad business situation that innovators can be when dollar and cents are given more priority than a belief for why they are making such a decision. If HP really believed in webOS as the solution of the future they should have actually put some money behind this and not just released two products and let it flop. At least open source will allow programmers who see it as a unique opportunity or a really useful piece of code will let it continue on. That is one of the great things about the open source community is that it is supported by people who just believe that it is the way things should be done not because it will ever be seen as profitiable option.
One company who I think has done a reasonably good job at capturing a part of a brand well is Lenovo. After buying IBM Thinkpad's line, they continued to make thinkpad laptops. It would have been easy of them to rest of the brand's laurels alone and put out all sorts of crazy computers with the thinkpad name on it really devaluing the brand. Instead, Lenovo continues to make Lenovo laptops as the top of the line mobile computer. The keyboard on my lenovo laptop is just as pleasant to type on as any IBM thinkpad I used and that is one of the defining parts of a thinkpad PC. I believe they do this with the Thinkstation line of desktop computers as well, but I don't own them so don't want to simpy assume this. At least Lenovo seems to have bought the Thinkpad brand because it seemed to them the right way to make a p.c. and they continue to follow that in the Thinkpad brand going forward.
I am excited to see what can be done with webOS done by the open source community, it would be too bad to see another OS perish due to lack of programmer and engineer support.
Funny enough I am trying to put beOS on my netbook which hasn't been too smooth so far. For something that came out at the same time as windows 95, it is really sad that it was unable to catch on. Haiku has done a good job keeping it feeling modern though it is a quite old platform at this point. If I can get the wireless card to work okay I may keep it on netbook for the time being. Always fun to try and deal with driver issues. If there is one thing nice about Linux is it support for most modern drivers.