Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko. A Golden Opportunity for Linux?

From the ‘Just Afirefoxdd Linux’ files:

Mozilla is now in the early stages of building their own operating system. The initial technical project is being called boot to Gecko (B2G) after Gecko the core rendering engine behind Firefox.

It’s a great idea and one that Google has already attempted, twice (ChromeOS and Android). That is a thin operating system as the basis for some kind of gateway to the web and /or apps.

The basic idea is that the web and HTML5 related technologies can be the basis of an operating system.

The more complex truth is that underlying hardware on the ‘bare metal’ requires more than the web. That’s where Linux must fit in.

This is a golden opportunity for Linux, in my opinion.

Mozilla developers can choose to use Linux (or a subset of it) as the base substrate for the barebones OS on which B2G can be built (much like ChromeOS and Android have done). The difference is that Mozilla can do so in a way that works with the Linux community and leverages technology and capabilities that already exist (yeah spinlocks too!).

Android leverages Java, which is something that B2G hopefully will avoid in the quest for a ‘pure’ web platform based on Gecko and web standards.

Then again, Mozilla engineers could choose to go a different route and re-imagine the ‘boot’ of the OS altogether and opt for a new animal. That’s a course of action that is possible but likely not entirely feasible given the complexities of mobile chip architectures.

It is the mobile bit that makes B2G complex. Anyone with 10 minutes of time can build a Firefox OS today with SUSE Studio, (running Linux of course), it’s not that hard. It’ll be interesting to see how this project and Chromeless (Mozilla’s attempt at building app browsers)come together.

At stake and at issue is nothing less than the future of the web.

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