Mozilla (the developers behind the Firefox browser) are in early stage development of an open source mobile and tablet operating system called Boot to Gecko (B2G). The key differentiator of this mobile OS is that they are marketing this around a privacy permissions model rather than attempting to compete directly with Android, iOS or WP7/8.
At its very core B2G is a Linux-based mobile OS aiming to architecturally integrate tougher privacy standards for mobile web browsing. The banks and AV vendors might just be interested in this open source core architecture, so I’ll be watching this development with interest. So, what are Mozilla looking to do with B2G?
Mozilla is betting on mobile Do Not Track (DNT) as the core feature of B2G – that’s what. It will be used to broadcast your DNT preferences. You will be able to set DNT preferences from the settings menu and your device (Android 2.3 upwards users will be an obvious target) will then broadcast your default settings to every app you open. The aim of this is to maintain your online privacy and deter apps from harvesting your device sensitive personal data.
To be able to use B2G you will first have to flash your mobile device, just how many of you non-techies will do this, is up for debate right now. For the DNT app privacy control to work, Mozilla will need buy in from app developers. The problem here is that app developers are already developing for multiple platforms right now, so it will be up to Mozilla to package a developer SDK with a unified API that allows developers to easily port iOS, Android etc apps to B2G.
I wrote about a Web centric app live model (which this is) in one of my Hakin9.org articles last year. Similar in concept to HTML5 which in essence is web centric, the B2G OS means you never have to download an app. The open source element of B2G reminds me of Android, but whereas Android didn’t focus on security, Mozilla has opted to focus on privacy, permission control and security.
Mozilla will need to work very had to buy in the mobile carriers as well as some of the mobile manufacturers (OEMs). Then they will have to move to secure app developer resource to make the platform appealing enough for developers to join the DNT voluntary program. Most important of all, end users will end up deciding whether this mobile OS will take off or stay on the runway.
Safe surfing folks!