Mozilla to Take on Android with Boot to Gecko Mobile OS [Firefox]
Mozilla, better known as them that built the Firefox web browser, is planning to take on Android at its own game and build a mobile operating system apparently – not only that, Mozilla say that there’s will be even more open than Google’s mobile OS.
Boot to Gecko, or B2G as it is otherwise known has been unveiled on the Mozilla discussion forum by developer Andreas Gal.
I bet you’re wondering why we need yet another mobile operating system to join BB OS, iOS, Android, Symbian and Windows Phone 7 – well, Boot to Gecko will be purely web-based (kinda like Google Chrome OS) which should mean extremely speedy start-up times and no more trying to squeeze 64GB of memory into a super-slim phone as everything would be stored in the cloud.
This also means that should you kill your phone all your stored stuff is well out of harms way. At the moment, B2G is the first web-based mobile OS to have come out of hiding.
Boot to Gecko will use Firefox’s Gecko engine (hence the name, see?) which happens to be the second most popular layout engine on the web – even more popular than WebKit which is used by Safari and Google Chrome. Gecko plays nice with various operating systems including Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. So it’s already massive, and making it even more open sourcier can only make it better loved.
The new operating system will be partially based on Android, just using the kernel and the drivers to make sure it’ll boot – Mozilla obviously realises that there’s no point in reinventing the wheel and the fact that Android works on many different platforms. With that foundation and the web-based cleverness of Chrome OS B2G, in theory, could be installed on any device that runs Google’s open-source operating system. I wonder how worried Android is?
One of the most interesting goals of the project is to take the core functions of a mobile phone, like texting, making calls or booting up the camera, and make prototype Web APIs for accessing and controlling those things. Then you would be able to access those applications via web pages!
Instead of just releasing the final product, Mozilla will publish source code as it’s developed. The B2G team is trying to find eager members of the tech community to help with the project, so if you know your way around a line of code, swing by this thread in the Mozilla developer forum and say hi!