This page is edited only by Chris Lee and Andreas Gal.
Frequently asked questions about the Boot to Gecko project (B2G)
- What is Boot to Gecko?
- Boot to Gecko (B2G) is a project with the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the Web. It is not a product offering yet, but we are working on transforming it into one.
- Could you explain what the overall aim is with the project? What problems are you keen to address with it?
- We believe that the next frontier for Web applications is full device integration, so that Web developers have the same capabilities as those building for OS-specific stacks. Boot To Gecko is intended to identify those missing device capabilities and other application needs, and design standardized solutions for app developers to use.
- When can we expect to see something?
- We showed a developer prototype in February 2012 at Mobile World Congress. See  and much other coverage.
- What is the size of the team working on this project?
- We are leaning heavily on the existing Gecko and Firefox mobile work and the team of hundreds of engineers building those products. 95% of the code in B2G is shared with Firefox. As of the time this page was last updated, more than 30 engineers were working full-time on B2G-specific parts of the system (telephony, messaging, system-level phone integration). In addition to Mozilla contributors, engineers from carrier partners are working jointly with us on the project as well.
- What does it mean for your relationships with Apple, Google, Microsoft?
- We don't expect that it will affect our relationships with other organizations.
- Does this replace work that's already being done on Web APIs for desktop and mobile?
- We are already pushing hard on new Web APIs, and have been for some time. We'll continue to implement and standardize new APIs for Web content while the B2G project ramps up.
- How is this different than the Webian Shell project?
- The Webian shell is an impressive project even in its early stages. Where Webian is focused on a Web-centric desktop experience, we're focused on extending the Web to include more of what is traditionally the domain of OS-specific code. We think we can work together on a bunch of things, and we're looking forward to it.
- How is this different from Chrome OS?
- We’re aiming at mobile/tablet devices rather than a notebook form factor. This is an early-stage project to expose all device capabilities such that infrastructure like phone dialers can be built with Web APIs, and not only “high level” apps like word processors and presentation software. We will of course be happy to work with the Chrome OS team on standards activities, and indeed to share source code where appropriate.
- Do you see B2G as co-existing with other mobile OSes, or competing with them?
- Ideally, the technology pioneered or refined in B2G will make its way into all mobile browsers, so that enhanced open Web applications can be great regardless of operating system or device. We look forward to working with other OS and browser developers on standards activities and even implementations.
- Are OEMs interested in B2G?
- Telefonica and Qualcomm have announced their intent to build a smartphone based on the Boot 2 Gecko project at Mobile World Congress 2012. We will announce a product schedule and launch partners once we reach that stage.
- Whose hardware will you support?
- We are currently using a number off-the shelf developer devices (Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Nexus S), because the devices are commercially available to Mozilla employees and community members. We are working on Qualcomm chipset based hardware platform right now and optimizing B2G to this reference platform. We are in process of finalization of lead OEM partners for shipping commercial B2G devices. That reference platform will likely be very different from the off-the shelf developer hardware.
- Is B2G just introducing yet another platform for devs to code for?
- No, B2G is definitely not designed to be another platform. It's a project to extend what developers can do with the Web, especially in the context of mobile devices, and to do so in a way that leads to interoperable standards. Just as with HTML5, ES5, CSS3 and other Web technology it will reach different browsers and operating systems at different times, but the pace of Web platform development gives us confidence that good Web technology can reach a lot of people pretty quickly. We don't want B2G to lead to applications that only run atop B2G, or only run in Firefox. That's an important difference between what we're doing and proprietary mobile stacks today: we don't want a competitive advantage for Mozilla, we want a competitive advantage for the Web.
- How do you think you'll get the mobile manufacturers and carriers on board with this?
- B2G is designed to build on the success of the Web, and given the early stage of the project it could reach users in many forms. We're working with ODMs, OEMs, carriers and others who share our vision of even greater success for Web-based applications.
- What would B2G offer mobile users that HTML5 doesn't?
- B2G would offer mobile users all the power of HTML5, extended with device capabilities like Bluetooth and SMS, a richer capability model for interaction with the filesystem, and a way to tie these "native HTML5 apps" together. The intent is very much that B2G lead to improved capabilities for the Web platform, not that it replace HTML5 or related tech in any way. Many of these new capabilities will also make sense in desktop browsers, and we look forward to seeing them there as well.
- Will this mean a Firefox Phone?
- With the Boot to Gecko project Mozilla is creating an implementation of a powerful mobile Web platform. The companion project Gaia is the implementation of a Web-based phone user experience. Together these projects bring the Firefox experience to mobile phones. However, at this point we don’t have any plans to build or distribute a custom device.
- I am a web developer. How do I deploy my web application to the B2G platform?
- You don't. By default, your web app will be accessible from the phone just like any other website. If you want to make it installable to the homescreen, you may consider adding a open web app manifest to your app.
- What is Firefox OS's release cadence, and how long is each version supported with security patches?
- Feature releases will available to partners every 12 weeks, along with six-weekly security updates for the previous two feature releases. This was announced on 7/19/2013 at Mozilla's Future Releases blog.