News of the game-changing browser Operating System – Boot to Gecko (B2G) – first made the rounds in July last year. Backed by Mozilla, the Browser OS follows a 3-phased build and will debut by summer this year.
Presently developers and users remain confined to using apps developed for an individual platform. Developers then follow-up by rewriting apps, varying them, according to the OS and user-base they want to reach. Given the reach of today’s mobile technology, this is an archaic practice feel developers of B2G. Poised as the next generation in Operating Systems, B2G will allow devices to run apps on the web.
The goal of B2G is to break free of the tie-down proprietary technologies enforced while using mobile devices, in any part of the world.
‘Booting to the Web’ is the platform Mozilla aims to build with its newly aligned browser OS. The developers believe that the future of browser technology is no longer in ‘single-vendor stacks for application development,’ but in standalone, Operating System that can deliver Open web technologies for mobile and desktop computing alike. The final goal is to ensure that ‘capabilities of competing stacks’ are optimized.
The project has taken ‘the hill’ to find and fill out the holes in building apps, when completed will ensure apps built on particular OS – whether Android, iOS or WP7 — will continue to work natively when required to work on other OS as well.
The Project aims to deliver-
1. Build new Web APIs Prototypes : such that devices and OS are exposed to typical mobile content like SMS, NFC, Cameras, Telephony or the USB
2. Secure Expose: A privilege model to be adopted so that there is safe exposure to pages/applications
3. Low-Booting Prototype: Build low-level prototype substrate acceptable to mobile devices
Innovative yes, but how effective will B2G be?
With their advanced Operating System, developers needing to spend time on developing innovative apps for multiple OS, will be overcome, giving them more time, resources, tools and technology to develop better performing applications on a single OS.
As a first step to build capability, B2G developers are not basing it on Android. Instead, they are using only the basic blocks of Android – Linux kernel, liusb – so that manufacturers incur less costs on building B2G and can work on older hardware. Additionally, B2G will not run on Android stack, ensuring flexibility.
B2G Road Map
Beginning as a 3-stage project, B2G, is likely to reach production stage by the second quarter of 2012. With the MileStone-2 will start this quarter with demonstrations of the product, while Milestone-1 had developers using B2G as their every day phones. The third quarter will see the release of the OS.
B2G, the open source project proposed by Mozilla has a lot riding on it, as there is high expectation that it will redefine the browser paradigm. With B2G HTML5 apps can bring same function features as traditional apps and establish itself as the OS of the year 2012.