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Mozilla Plans To Build Mobile and Tablet OS, Boot To Gecko
engine




msg:4344017
 12:53 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Mozilla Plans To Build Mobile and Tablet OS, Boot To Gecko [download.cnet.com]
Mozilla revealed preliminary plans today to take the Gecko engine that drives its Firefox browser and turn it into an open-source operating system that will eventually work on phones and tablets.

Called Boot to Gecko, it is known that the source code will be released to the public "in real-time," wrote Andreas Gal, a Mozilla researcher. Gecko is the rendering engine that powers Firefox and the e-mail client Thunderbird. By contrast, while Google's Android mobile operating system is open source, the main development work on it does not become available until after Google has green-lit its publication--sometimes not until months afterward.


 

J_RaD




msg:4344044
 2:24 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

will consume all your devices ram, crash and reboot.

do we really need yet ANOTHER OS?

Sierra_Dad




msg:4344188
 7:10 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good luck getting several gigabytes of RAM on every mobile phone.

No, I don't think we need another mobile OS, but I guess users will decide that.

graeme_p




msg:4344200
 7:47 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

It will have a lot of appeal to smaller manufacturers who have been double crossed by Google's closing the source of Android 3.0 and releasing it to the big players first.

We do need another OS. Competition is good, trying things is good, and this also has the advantage of being open source and guaranteed to stay that way.

phranque




msg:4344285
 11:29 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

the target is chrome, not android.

graeme_p




msg:4344371
 6:02 am on Jul 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is more like Chrome technically, but given support for Open Web Apps (and therefore providing app stores etc.) I would say its targeting both, and (as things stand) Android is a bigger target.

J_RaD




msg:4344680
 8:26 pm on Jul 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

its like all of the sudden "mobile/tablet OS" means fisher price OS.

graeme_p




msg:4344779
 1:48 am on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Initial discussions make this look like it will be less of a "fisher price" OS than the others:

[groups.google.com ]

J_RaD




msg:4345240
 10:24 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

the web stack is a crappy API for building applications.

graeme_p




msg:4345807
 5:43 pm on Jul 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well its either use the webstack (and at least they are trying to improve the API, or use iOS and be stuck with Apple controls (which are also crappy, at least for those developers whose apps are not approved, and the rules changed as those with ebook apps just found out) and only Apple hardware, or the uncertainty of living whatever Google is trying to do (now its open, now its closed).

Sierra_Dad




msg:4345880
 2:49 am on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

You can write HTML 5 and have it be usable in both closed system iOS and "open source when it's convenient" Android. That said, I have used the Android SDK to develop for Android, and I have no idea whether this webstack is closer to HTML 5 or to SDK style development.



We do need another OS. Competition is good, trying things is good, and this also has the advantage of being open source and guaranteed to stay that way.


Competition is good for the end user, and for hardware manufacturers, but whether it is favorable to Boot to Gecko remains to be seen. It's going to have to be something more than "we're more open source than everyone else". Linux is dominating the desktop market, right?

Small hardware manufacturers will benefit. Some developers consider opensourceness to be a moral or religious issue; I worry more about whether it will have more than one digit of market share.

End users won't care. Try explaining to your average neighbor why they should buy a Boot to Gecko because it is more open source than Android. I'm sure they will be thrilled that they don't have to wait for tech support, they can just download the source and debug it themselves.

J_RaD




msg:4345914
 2:37 pm on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)


Well its either use the webstack (and at least they are trying to improve the API, or use iOS and be stuck with Apple controls


In the end the web app will be slower; or at least not faster. And it will either be cross-platform and less feature rich or equally feature rich and equally not cross-platform. Where's the point?

I've often said we have an over abundance of web developers..... When all you know to use is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, which isn't the best solution for every single thing on earth.

graeme_p




msg:4346103
 7:38 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Linux is dominating the desktop market, right?


No, but it is dominating the server market, and "mostly open source" Android is the biggest tablet and smartphone OS. Even the second biggest desktop OS is built on an open source base.

The problem with Linux is not that it is open source, but that it lacks marketing and branding. Mozilla already has a brand (Firefox) and has shown it can do marketing.

End users won't care.


I would say that is because they do not know what is in their own interests. The average user buys a computer largely based on how pretty it is (or "how many giga-hertz it has" or something equally inane).

But a good many of them use Firefox (entirely open source).

I'm sure they will be thrilled that they don't have to wait for tech support, they can just download the source and debug it themselves.


Because whenever someone has a problem with Windows, all they do is phone MS tech support and it gets fixed for them? Right!

Support will be provided by device vendors in any case, and they can buy support from specialists as needed. The reality is that home users do not expect much support, while businesses can buy support for open source as and when needed (and they STILL spend a fortune on Red Hat licences and the like).

graeme_p




msg:4346106
 7:52 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

@J_Rad, performance does not always matter. I use lots of applications which are largely written in a scripting language, using C libraries for the performance critical bits:

Firefox (UI in XUL/javascript, rendering engine etc. in C)
Deluge bittorent client (python)
Quod Libet (Python)
Komodo Edit (Same components as Firefox, plus the Scintilla library)
Ruby Ripper

and a lot more.

I never feel any of the above is sluggish compared to equivalents written in C - except, sometimes, Firefox.

For most of what people will do on a Smartphone or tablet, a few standard libraries would give them what they need.

Of course I would far prefer something more flexible, and I hope that Boot to Gecko will allow that. You CAN install ARM Linux binaries on Android, but its not something people often do - lack of X Windows means you are limited to command line apps. Maybe Mozilla can provide a bit more flexibility?

J_RaD




msg:4346204
 2:37 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)


No, but it is dominating the server market,


(WEB)-server market


"mostly open source" Android

thats QUICKLY changing, for the worse.


But a good many of them use Firefox (entirely open source).


but they use it for the equally insane reason.... someone "told them it was better" I've seen countless users that use firefox and have no idea why they use it...many times its because they can theme it and "make it pretty"

graeme_p




msg:4346450
 1:49 am on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not just the web server market, its made huge in roads into traditional Unix markets. Do you know what OS the London Stock Exchange recently switched (after a disastrous switch to Windows), for example?

Yes, insane reasons, otherwise known as good marketing.....

J_RaD




msg:4346473
 2:58 am on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

the disastrous switch probably didn't have much to do with windows itself.

graeme_p




msg:4346492
 3:36 am on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

No, it was mostly to do with .net and the system developed on top of it - but as MS was heavily involved in developing the system it was here fault anyway. It was also supposed to be a showcase for Windows ability to scale....

I just discovered that WebOS seems to be the most flexible mobile OS. You do not need to root it to get root (just install the SDK), and they support installing Linux packages, and even provide a full package manager. It might be less open source than Android, but its more open from a user point of view.

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