Mozilla Enters Mobile OS Race With New Boot to Gecko (B2G) project

Mozilla announced their new experimental project “Boot to Gecko” and made it clear that they are also entering the tablet/mobile operating system race. Boot to Gecko (B2G) operating system emphasizes standards-based Web technologies which initially will focus on tablets and smartphones. Mozilla made the official announcement at their Google Groups ““.

According to the announcement, Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko initiative got motivated by their belief that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development. B2G is still at the earliest stages of planning but the core building blocks of the project already exist.

If everything goes as planned, B2G will become the first “proper” open-source mobile operating system. Mozilla will also publish the source code of B2G as it’s developed in real-time and not waiting, like Google does to the Android platform, releasing the source code when it is a mature product. If this happens, it could make the overall development process a lot more open.

Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development. To make open web technologies a better basis for future applications on mobile and desktop alike, we need to keep pushing the envelope of the web to include — and in places exceed — the capabilities of the competing stacks in question.

We also need a hill to take, in order to scope and focus our efforts. Recently we saw the pdf.js project expose small gaps that needed filling in order for “HTML5” to be a superset of PDF. We want to take a bigger step now, and find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are — in every way — the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and WP7.

To that end, we propose a project we’re calling “Boot to Gecko” (B2G) to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web. It’s going to require work in a number of areas.

* New web APIs: build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content (Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.)
* Privilege model: making sure that these new capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications
* Booting: prototype a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device;
* Applications: choose and port or build apps to prove out and prioritize the power of the system.

We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process. We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we’re trying to have them run on the web.

This project is in its infancy; some pieces of it are only captured in our heads today, others aren’t fully explored. We’re talking about it now because we want expertise from all over Mozilla — and from people who aren’t yet part of Mozilla — to inform and build the project we’re outlining here.

Mozilla is hosting a code repository on GitHub, but the repository doesn’t have anything yet. If you are looking for some more information about the project, you can refer to the B2G wiki page.

We will bring in all the latest updates about Boot to Gecko project here at My Technology Guide. Stay connected with us. :)

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