Today’s announcement from HP that WebOS will be set free as an Open Source project opens up room for some interesting changes in the mobile landscape. Both CNET’s Stephen Shankland and The VAR Guy think nothing much will come of this move. As both a long time Open Source zealot and a mobile developer, I think there is more there there than they do.
Some friends (Tim and Lwasa) and I are building a digital library for the Mityana Town “O” & “A” Level Mixed Day & Boarding Secondary School (view in Google Earth here) in Mityana, Uganda. Our goal is to provide a small server to wirelessly serve content from the eGranery, Project Gutenberg, and SOS Children’s Wikipedia for Schools, to OLPC XOs the children can use for both viewing the content and developing computer skills. Because Mityana is a remote location with no cost effective Internet access and sporadic electricity, the project raises a number of interesting challenges. The first challenge is finding a robust server solution that has minimal power requirements and can function as a WAP and web server. Another challenge is implementing a solar and battery backup system to enable full operation when the electrical grid is unavailable.
As we work to build this tool, I will be using this blog to describe our activities and hopefully encourage discussion about how best to accomplish our goals.