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Booting to the Web

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Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development. To make open web technologies a better basis for future applications on mobile and desktop alike, we need to keep pushing the envelope of the web to include --- and in places exceed --- the capabilities of the competing stacks in question.

We also need a hill to take, in order to scope and focus our efforts. Recently we saw the pdf.js project expose small gaps that needed filling in order for "HTML5" to be a superset of PDF. 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.

To that end, we started a project we’re calling Firefox OS, formerly Boot to Gecko (B2G), to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web. It requires work in a number of areas.

  • New web APIs: build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content (Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.)
  • Privilege model: making sure that these new capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications
  • Booting: prototype a low-level substrate for mobile devices (phones and tablets)
  • Applications: choose and port or build apps to prove out and prioritize the power of the system.

We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process. We aren't trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we're trying to have them run on the web.