Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5062/mozilla-developing-open-web-os

The developers at Mozilla have been busy; Firefox 8 is just around the corner and now they seem to be developing an experimental mobile operating system. They're calling it Boot 2 Gecko, or B2G for short. The most interesting idea that seems to run through the core of the project is to base the OS on the open web in lieu of the traditional proprietary vendor strategy.

Mozilla seems to be very serious about using open technologies and services for their OS. This should come as no surprise however, as Mozilla stands for open-source and the open web. In following that dictum, Mozilla has elected to use both the Android and Reliance Industries Limited backend to implement messaging. Telephony is the same, but also uses libaudio which is derived from Linux. Battery functions will be processed mostly via the Linux functions upower and sysfs, but with some Android elements as well. Contacts is derived from Android and also uses HTML5's IndexedDB. All of these functions are set to be powered by the Gecko rendering engine, tying into the Open Web mission.

The system platform will be something Mozilla is calling "Gonk". Gonk will be comprised of the linux kernel and some low-level userspace libraries derived from Android. It will not have any of Android's Java libraries or stacks.

For this platform, Mozilla seeks to build a new HTML5 WebAPI to power most of the functions of the phone over the next 3-6 months. They're choosing to incorporate elements of other open mobile operating systems, but at the heart of this project is their new HTML5 WebAPI. Mozilla is going to be using JavaScript API’s for real-time communication capabilities in order to enable applications to render in the browser.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy ambitions of this project is that Mozilla intends on creating an Open Web App Store. They’ve got an HTML5 based prototype for testing, and hint at the possibility that by purely using HTML5 users could demo open web apps without any sort of installation or software upgrades.

This is a very apt undertaking by Mozilla as they’ve always been heavy proponents of Open Web, but whether or not they’ve got the ability to turn that passion into a functional mobile OS remains to be seen.

Milestone 1 - Developer Phone Features

Gecko Based Features

  • Messaging:
    • Android Backend
    • RIL Backend
    • SMS IndexedDB Database
  • Telephony:
    • Outgoing calls on Android
    • RIL backend
    • Mute and speakerphone-toggle through libaudio
  • Battery:
    • Android Backend
    • Linux upower Backend
    • Sysfs Backend
  • Contacts:
    • Android Backend
    • Native IndexedDB Backend
  • Open Web Apps and Store

System (Gonk):

  • Dalvik Cache Removal
  • Developer tools
    • Valgrind
    • OpenGL debugger
    • OpenGL profiler

User Interface:

  • Full- featured web browser
  • Settings manager
  • Apps store
  • eBook reader
  • Camera
  • Gallery
  • Media player
  • Distinct look-and-feel

Source: Mozilla Wiki

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