Mozilla announced Tuesday Boot to Gecko (B2G), the open source organization’s entry into the smartphone operating system business. The organization said that it, “believes that the Web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development” with a cloud-based operating system based around HTML 5.
In other words, Mozilla wants to free us from the tyranny of not only proprietary smartphone OSes like Android and Windows Phone, but whole widget devices like Apple’s iOS ecosystem, too. The group thinks it can accomplish this mission with an open source OS and Web apps.
In a blog post announcing the project, the group said, “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.”
The post added, “To that end, 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. It’s going to require work in a number of areas.”
The project is being built from the ground up, except where it isn’t. More specifically, the Mozilla team said that it will be working on a prototype of, “a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device.”
The news has been greeted with a mixed reaction from the tech blogosphere and the mainstream media, with many questions so far centering around whether the market is asking for an open source operating system for smartphones, and if a group that has had so much trouble delivering a fully functional mobile browser is capable of shepherding such a product to completion.
Artist’s rendition of what a Mozilla smartphone might look like