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Classic funeral

If you’ll recall, back when the Pre first launched, there was plenty of consternation about the possibility of not being able to run your old Palm OS apps on the new webOS platform. Hearing the pleas of the faithful, Palm enlisted long-time Palm OS developer MotionApps to build a Palm OS emulator for webOS, the aptly-titled Classic. After some sixteen months on the market, MotionApps has decided to close development of Classic and cease further sales. Actually, it’s more like they’ve been forced to shut down development, as it seems webOS 2.0 doesn’t contain the Palm OS ROM needed to make Classic possible.

Indeed, we just installed Classic on our webOS 2.0 device and though it launches, it immediately brings up an "Illegal Operation" error, "The application <> performed an illegal operation and cannot continue."

We’ll let MotionApps’ blog post on the matter do the explaining:

We are sad to announce that Palm has removed Classic’s ROM from the new webOS 2.0 device ROM which will result in Classic not working if utilized with Palm’s new webOS 2.0.

This is contrary to our agreement with Palm and was done without our approval or consent. Based on this action, MotionApps will immediately stop selling Classic. However, as a courtesy to our clients, we will continue to support existing Classic customers on webOS 1.x for the immediate future.

MotionApps is also giving the source code for Classic to Palm, since it’s of no use to MotionApps anymore they’re giving it to the folks in Sunnyvale so they can “can do what they want to do with Classic and make it available with webOS 2.0.”

Honestly, we can’t say we’re shocked by Palm removing the Palm OS ROM from webOS 2.0 (though we’re slightly miffed that they’d break an agreement with a developer). The last version of Palm OS (5.4.9, to be specific) was released more than four years ago. While there are some apps and APIs that are still not possible or available on webOS, we can’t imagine that there are many Pre and Pixi users that are reliant upon Classic.

So, while we’re saddened to see Palm OS unceremoniously axed like this, we’re also glad to see Palm cutting the strings of the distant past and moving on with a more modern platform. If you’re going to miss Classic in webOS 2.0, we’re sorry, but it looks like it’s time to move on.

We're reaching out to Palm now to see what they intend to do with the Classic code. Perhaps with the new APIs and the ability to run hybrid PDK/SDK apps, there's a chance that Classic can live on as a proper SDK app in the Catalog instead of depending on special, dedicated code in the webOS ROM.

Source: MotionApps; Thanks to ToddK in the forums, SilvrDrgn, and RafRol for the tip!