Boot to Gecko, alias B2G, is the Mozilla Projects new autonomous operating system for open Web.
For the moment, the project is still only in the embryonic phase, and what has been released about it is rather random. Mozilla has decided though 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 – Boot to Gecko – has taken some inspiration from Chrome OS, with the aim being to develop a complete and autonomous operating system for the open web. Gecko, as a reminder, is the engine that powers the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.
With B2G, Mozilla is looking at both applications for the desktop computer and mobile devices. It is 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, NFC...) and will offer a new security model. It will also allow for applications to be installed and designed. B2G is also presented as a low level OS which will be compatible with Android devices.
This 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.
In this posting titled "Mozilla in the New Internet Era — More Than the Browser", Mitchell Baker talks about Firefox functions made available to other platforms, writing: "We now consider Android as a first tier platform".
For the moment, B2G is more an idea than anything else. A page has been written about it though on MozillaWiki. It has been promised that the source code will be published in real time.