Mozilla to Launch New Operating System

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?With Boot to Gecko ? B2G, the new operating system by Mozilla, it has decided to get into a sector which they have been looking at for a while ??operating systems. Such a development is rather logical through the use of web technologies.

It is difficult to not see that the?B2G?project has taken some inspiration from Chrome OS, with the aim being to develop a complete and autonomous operating system for the open web. Gecko is the engine that powers the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.

Process

With B2G, Mozilla is looking at both applications for the desktop computer and mobile devices. It nevertheless appears that B2G is predominantly aimed at?Smartphones and tablets. This can notably be seen in the fields that are being explored by the B2G project.

Boot to Gecko will integrate new web API?s (telephony, SMS, webcam, USB, Bluetooth) and will offer a new security model. It will also allow for applications to be installed and designed. This project?s goal is to develop what seems like a ChromeOS-like operating system where all the apps are based on HTML5.

The new operating system will be ported to run on Android devices as stated on their?webpage.?Android OS is also open-source but the significant advantage of the B2G OS is that the source codes will be?released in real-time.

The compatibility with Android seems to be one of Gecko?s starting points, with it allowing the OS to run in a browser. No dependency on Firefox has been mentioned. This can be seen in a recent posting made by the president of the Mozilla Foundations board of directors on a blog.

Stand alone

In a forum post Mozilla researcher Andreas Gal announced that B2G will “pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web.”

Mr. Gal continued: ?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. ?

The project, he admits, is only in its infancy. And it remains to be seen whether the open source community can create something to compete with Apple, Google and Microsoft. But, that is the goal, according to Mr. Gal.

?We want to take a bigger step now, and find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are?in every way?the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and WP7. ?

Challenges

Mozilla needs to overcome certain challenges for B2G to become a success:

  • New web APIs: build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content (Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.)
  • Privilege model: making sure that these new capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications
  • Booting: prototype a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device;
  • Applications: choose and port or build apps to prove out and prioritize the power of the system.

It will be interesting to see how developers will react to such a system, a ChromeOS-like ?GeckoOS? that is actually popular could mean that developers could focus their energy on building just one application in HTML5 that would run on a large number of devices. As usual, though, this is an uphill fight, as device manufacturers would have to support this system to bring it into mainstream users? hands.

Mozilla, as a non-profit organization, does have the ability to give these kinds of ideas a try to learn from them, whether they succeed or not.

Browsers’ numero uno

IE has long occupied the number one position in the browser market. Only recently, Firefox?has overtaken?Internet Explorer?as the most used browser in Europe, according to?statcounter?a free web analytics company.

In the MENA region,Saudi Arabia and UAE, both had the highest IE users with (73%) and (72%) respectively.? IE was the overall leader in the MENA region, with approximately (42%), Firefox in second with (22%) Chrome in third with (10.5%), Opera in fourth with (1.5%) and Safari in fifth with (1.2%).

As Mozilla’s Firefox is not the most used browser here, it would not come as a surprise if it’s new OS, B2G, will not have many takers in the Middle East region.

Sources: Us.generation-nt, popherald, interactiveme, silicon filter

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