Open-source software has a lot going for it: it encourages collaborative creativity, it lets development of a project continue even if its creator loses interest, and it can serve as a great resource for a new programmer who’s learning the ropes. What we don’t see enough of is companies embracing the contributions of open-source hobbyists and integrating their changes into commercial products. That, however, looks to be just what HP’s been up to, as some improvements prepared by WebOS Internals have made it into the operating system’s most recent update.
WebOS Internals prepared a modified webOS kernel with its own series of enhancements. Along with the finished kernel, the group provided source code for its additions. One of those, known as “compcache”, appears to now be showing up, albeit in a modified form, in the new webOS 2.1 kernel that’s going out to Palm Plus users in Europe.
Compcache increases the effective memory of Palm devices by compressing and decompressing data in real-time as it’s accessed. These techniques are presumed necessary in order to cram webOS 2.x onto older Palm hardware. Since the new code doesn’t quite match what WebOS Internals generated, the company may have taken it upon itself to improve performance even more. While we’d like to think that this could mean a cheery future’s in store for Palm devices still waiting for webOS 2.x, we’re not holding our breath until we hear something from HP.