Mozilla targets mid-2012 release for open-source mobile OS


Open-source software development initiative Mozilla plans to release its web-based mobile operating system in mid-2012, with developers scheduled to get their first look at the OS by the end of 2011.

Mozilla first announced the open-source mobile platform, dubbed Boot to Gecko, in late July. At that time, Mozilla researcher Andreas Gal explains that the initiative seeks to "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 [Windows Phone 7]." According to a new roadmap posted to the MozillaWiki, Mozilla developers will begin using B2G as their day-to-day phone during the current quarter--beginning in the first quarter of 2012, Mozilla will begin demonstrating B2G-based products, complete with open web apps and a corresponding storefront. Productization will follow in the second quarter.

In July, Gal indicated the Boot to Gecko build requires work across a number of segments, including development of new web APIs to expose device and OS capabilities. Engineers must also make sure these capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications. In addition, Mozilla plans to prototype a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device and must port or build applications to prove out the system. Mozilla has vowed to perform all B2G work "in the open," releasing source code in real time, presenting all successful additions to the appropriate standards body and tracking all resulting changes.

Mozilla vice president of technical strategy Mike Shaver previously stated the organization will integrate elements of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile OS in Boot to Gecko, but adds "We intend to use as little of Android as possible, in fact. Really, we want to use the kernel + drivers, plus libc and ancillary stuff. It's not likely that we'll use the Android Java-wrapped graphics APIs, for example."

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