How you can support homebrew software development

Over the past weekend, HP/Palm hosted a developer conference in NYC. Traveling over 30 hours to take part was Rod Whitby, the gentleman behind webos-internals. If you’ve found yourself putting your Palm Pre (or Pixi) in developer mode and downloading Preware, then you’ve been using software developed by webos-internals. As you can imagine, it gets rather expensive to purchase new phones, which is required to offer support for the rather large homebrew community. To help support the movement and purchase of new phones needed, they are in the midst of a campaign drive. If you’ve found their software useful, you can donate here. The group has already started work on updating patches to work in webOS 2.0.

Is MyTether a Black-Eye for Homebrew?

Last week, myTether released an update to their application that added support for Verizon’s new Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus. For those unfamiliar with the app, it allows you to utilize your Palm Pre Plus or Palm Pixi Plus as a wireless modem, allowing you to use your webOS device to connect a laptop to the Internet.


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Palm’s App Catalog Experiencing Growing Pains

There was a sense of joy or perhaps relief when the first paid apps started appearing yesterday on Palm’s App Catalog. The tally put the App Catalog with over 125 apps, most of which still are free. Still in beta, the Palm App Catalog’s launch of paid apps suffered from a few issues, some of which aren’t resolved.


Those who hit the store later in the evening were surprised to find just one paid app available, despite reports to the contrary making their way around the Interwebs. Palm had to remove the paid apps due to a “security issue” or should we say it was giving the store away, literally. Those who had downloaded “homebrew” apps found themselves offered an option to upgrade for free. Homebrew apps by definition is beta software and at times a limited version of what’s available as a paid version in the App Catalog. While some developers have received donations for their development in homebrew, it was not intended to offer free upgrades to those who downloaded the free version. Those with more known-how were also able to use the SDK to create spoof applications, which could then be upgraded to actual paid apps.

Those who were clamouring to spend money in App Catalog were hit with mysterious memory limits, despite having available memory on their Pre. It appears that Palm uses some sort of partion that used solely for apps. This would mean that despite having some of your precious 8GB available, your apps partition might be packed. As of now, the only way around this is to delete apps to make room for the new apps.

Palm has already addressed the security issue and paid apps are back online. To our knowledge, the memory issue still exists. So, how about you? What’s your experience been using the Palm App Catalog.

Moving the Palm App Catalog in the right direction

Palm today is rumored to be introducing paid apps into the Palm App Catalog. It’s still not clear if this will mark the removal of the beta tag that had adorned the store since it was launched back in June. Since it’s inception, the App Catalog has seen a slow, but steady stream of free applications. The process of downloading apps is seamless and borrows from the highly successful App Store model developed by Apple. The frustration for many users has been the lack of applications and we’re hoping that the introduction of paid applications paves the way for an increase in the quantity and quality of apps.


Much of this frustration has been offset by the availability of homebrew apps, which numbers well over 200 applications. This week, a  developer voiced his frustration with the process of getting free apps accepted into the official catalog. In Palm’s defense, the task off getting a fully functional App Store running is not easy and will only improve in time. The company has hired Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer to help run their developer program. The two founded and led a team creating developer tools for Mozilla. Making it easier for developers to get both paid and free apps in the App Catalog should thankfully be part of their mandate. Galbraith was quick to respond to concerns voiced by Jaime Zawinski, a move that shows Palm is committed to getting this right. Making it easier for developers to submit free applications results in more free applications for end users through the traditional outlet.

Offering developers the opportunity to sell their applications will certainly expand the App Catalog. We’re guessing that some application developers were likely sitting on the sideline until this feature was introduced. Even existing applications will get a boost in functionality at a price. Pivotal Labs’ Tweed will be available as a paid app. It will share similarities to the free app, but with a host of new features.

The App Catalog’s process has been slow, but methodical. Today marks a big step in the right direction. What are your expectations? What’s on your checklist of apps you’d like to see today? What price are you willing to pay for that app? Sound off in the comments or in our Palm Pre forums.

Decision To Decaffeinate

Just days after our announcement, EverythingPre at this point has decided to remove our Homebrew Apps downloads section. If you are interested in downloading Homebrew Apps, we suggest you visit the Homebrew App Gallery at Pre|Central (registration required). They have done a great job of setting up a comprehensive downloads section complete with a rating system.


You can still discuss Homebrew Apps in our forums. Not a member, register now.

We look forward to Palm and webOS developers adding applications to the Palm App Catalog, offering Palm Pre owners a wider selection of apps, without having to go through non-traditional methods to enjoy third party applications.

Welcome Homebrew App Developers

Last week, we polled our readers to gauge interest in homebrew apps. Over 64% of our readers have an interest in homebrew apps, while just 17.4% are waiting for more apps to appear in Palm’s official App Catalog. Almost 1/5 of our audience were not sure what homebrew apps are and how they get installed. Clearly, there is a great interest in homebrew apps among our readers, so we’re reaching out to homebrew app developers to add their homebrew apps to our downloads section here at Everything Pre.


If you are a developer, we would like to invite you to share your application with the Palm Pre community by adding your app to our Homebrew Downloads section. To add your application, simply register and then select submit your file in Homebrew downloads. We’ve set up categories to make it easier for our readers to find apps, but we need apps. Join us in building a great homebrew app file repository for Palm Pre owners.

For those wondering, homebrew apps are typically applications developed by a single developer or user. Some might appear in the App Catalog at some point, but for now there are a number of methods that allow you to install apps on your Palm Pre. For those interested in discussing homebrew applications, available apps or how to install, please visit the homebrew apps section of our forums.