Yes. Its big news people !! Mozilla have just announced an operating system project. Boot to Gecko – B2G. Apparantly it is highly based on modern web technologies and aims to “displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development”. Alexander Gal of Mozilla announced today :
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.
To that end, we propose a project we’re calling “Boot to Gecko” [http://wiki.mozilla.org/B2G] (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.
The project is focused on the handheld/tablet/mobile experience, but will prototype some stuff for PCs as well. A stripped down Android kernel (not a full blown Linux kernel) will be used to set up a bootable system. Android graphics layer is also to be used. The hope is to have better device support on Android as hardware manufacturers are expected to come out with device drivers for android considering the current boom in the market.
Mike Shaver, VP of Technical Strategy for the Mozilla Corporation, says:
We want to take advantage of the work we’ve already done (and are doing) on Android, and the ease of getting devices that are known to work. Specifically, we’re looking at Tegra 2 devices because they have hardware acceleration of open audio/video formats, and they match what we’ve got automated testing running on.
Project aims to develop APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content. These can be used to develop telephony, camera, bluetooth related web apps. Developing a privilage model is also on the cards to ensure a secure platform. The project itself will come out with applications on the platform to prove out and prioritize the power of the system. All the applications on the platform would be locally cached web applications.
This isn’t just about the web apps you have today. It’s about having your contacts manager, camera, gallery, dialer, SMS app, GPS-integrated maps, launcher etc. be hackable using web tech. That work will help on desktop as well, since many of those pieces are on desktop/laptop machines — if you write OS-specific code to get to them, and you’re allowed by the OS to interpose your version of it.
Entire development will be in the open and code will be released in real-time.
The framework sounds like this (I might be wrong. Correct me if I am) :
[Stripped down Android Kernel] + [Mozilla APIs to expose devices] + [Web Apps]
Sounds like Chrome OS ??
The technology defenitely sounds different from Chrome OS to me. Just the fact that Chrome OS is Linux based makes it different. Also Chrome OS launches into a browser as we know it. But it must be inferred that with the power of new, to be developed APIs, B2G should enable standalone web applications. Additionally, Chrome OS is currently aimed at netbooks while B2G will target handheld device market
Only time can tell if Chrome OS and B2G will battle it out to be the dominant web based OS of the future. Using a google product (android) to challenge another (Chrome OS) would be funny.
This is an exciting announcement of an ambitious project. This could very well make the modern web technologies the heart and soul of the future devices. Go Mozilla Go.