One of the biggest promoters of open source software, and the group behind one of the most popular web-browsers (Firefox), Mozilla Foundation, has undertaken a project of developing a mobile operating system referred to as “B2G” or Boot to Gecko, with the catchphrase “booting to the web”. We expect it to be functionally modeled somewhere between Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems. Essentially it is an operating system that boots to the web-browser that can get you browsing the web directly, or use cloud-based application software.
B2G might target a variety of devices ranging from smartphones to tablets and netbooks. Smartphone essentials such as telephony, SMS, camera, Bluetooth, NFC (near-field communication) and USB, will work with the browser via new web APIs. Applications can be cloud-based widgets, or software that uses open developer environments. Basic applications will be functionally identical to many of the apps that ship with Android or even Apple iOS. What’s more, B2G’s kernel and booting substrate will be designed to be 100% compatible with today’s Android-compatible devices such as phones and tablets, so manufacturers don’t have to redesign anything on their side. At this stage the project is still in its infancy, and is seeking community participation, the same participation that made Firefox and Thunderbird applications with the quality of proprietary software.