Jul 26th, 2011

Today, Mozilla (the Firefox guys) revealed their plans to build an operating system very much like Google’s own Chrome OS where apps run off of a browser but for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The project is being codenamed “Boot to Gecko” because it takes the Gecko engine from Firefox and transforms it into an open-source operating system. Sound familiar? Well, it should.

It’s not too much unlike the idea behind our beloved Android operating system and is bringing back memories of that Mozilla concept phone running off of Android. In fact, Boot to Gecko will actually be based off of Android even thought Mozilla’s VP of Technical Strategy insists they will try to, “use as little of Android as possible.” Basically, they need Android’s kernels and drivers simply to get the device booting.

Taking to heart the idea of open source, developers working with the project intend for it to become a “complete, standalone operating system for the open web.” Instead of building apps using the Android SDK, the platform will instead focus on HTML5 based applications. The company wrote on their blog:

“We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process. We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we’re trying to have them run on the web.”

Which devices can we possibly expect to run this new Mozilla OS? Shaver mentioned that the company is looking towards Nvidia Tegra 2 devices because they offer hardware acceleration of open audio and video formats.

As far as their intentions go, Mozilla’s Andreas Gal says their ultimate goal is to break “the stranglehold of proprietary technologies over the mobile device world.” Reminds me a lot of Android when it first started. Android has done pretty well for itself when faced against closed OS’s like Apple’s iOS and although Boot to Gecko is still in its infancy, it’s interesting to see another open source rival step into the ring. Maybe we’re closer to the Mozilla Seabird than we thought…

[Via Mozilla]