Mozilla plans mobile operating system for phones and tablets

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Mozilla plans mobile operating system for phones and tablets

Jenny Williams

Mozilla plans to create a new mobile operating system (OS), aiming to use web technologies to deliver all applications and functions on phones and tablet devices.

The project, called "Boot to Gecko", will use Mozilla's Gecko engine from its Firefox browser as the foundation for a mobile OS. Mozilla plans to create web APIs [application programming interfaces] to handle mobile phone functions, such as SMS messaging, Bluetooth connectivity and even near-field communications (NFC) capabilities and, ultimately, create web applications equal to native mobile apps.

Andreas Gal, a Mozilla researcher, said the ultimate goal of the project is to break the stranglehold of proprietary technologies over the mobile device world.

Gal wrote in a forum post that Mozilla wants to allow developers to build web applications equal to native apps created for mobile operating systems, such as Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

"We propose a project we're calling 'Boot to Gecko' (B2G) to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web," he said.

Gal added that work is needed to build new web APIs and a privilege model to ensure "capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications".

The source code will be released in real-time as it is being written.

"This project is in its infancy; some pieces of it are only captured in our heads today, others aren't fully explored. We're talking about it now because we want expertise from all over Mozilla - and from people who aren't yet part of Mozilla - to inform and build the project we're outlining here," Gal said.

Mozilla recently re-established its Enterprise User Working Group. The organisation acknowledged challenges for IT departments to deliver mission-critical applications through Firefox.

"We are re-establishing a Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group as a place for enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers to discuss the challenges, ideas and best practices for deploying Firefox in the enterprise," said Mozilla.


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