Boot to Geko: The Mozilla mobile OS project

By on July 27, 2011
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Mozilla reveal their web powered OS project similar to Chrome OS but for mobiles only.

Mozilla, home to the brains behind Firefox, is planning to build its very own mobile OS. The project called Boot to Gecko or B2G broke cover on the Mozilla Developer Group yesterday. Its aim is to create a standalone operating system that will use web technologies to deliver all of its applications. This may sound very similar to Chrome OS, but the main difference is that Mozilla is focused on being mobile OS only. Interestingly, it plans to build Boot to Gecko on an Android foundation.

Dr Andreas Gal, a researcher at Mozilla, explained the plan for Boot to Gecko to developers. He says the project will take the primary functions of a mobile device (making calls, sending texts, accessing the camera, USB, Bluetooth and NFC) and build web APIs to handle them. That will then allow developers to create safe ways for web pages and web apps to access those functions.

The open-source project will take Android as its starting point but only at a very basic level using the kernel and drivers to make sure whatever they produce can actually be booted on hardware. If the team behind the project manage to get it off the ground it could open up the potential for a truly open-source mobile OS.

On a personal note, a web-only OS is something I would never prefer on my PC or mobile phone. Internet outage or low credit on GPRS handset could be catastrophic for such OS. I have personally used Chrome OS and didn’t like this aspect one bit. And if my phone starts to behave same way to manage phone operations and apps via web powered apps then this could mean less reliability, more data usage and rampant malware applications. Still, it’s very early days for the project to comment on its capabilities and flaws but we will be intrigued to see what Mozilla can come up with.


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Dad in the day, Gamer by night. Loves everything Geek. By profession an Engineer but my hobby has been Video gaming on PC since 1989.

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