Mozilla is making some serious progress on its Boot to Gecko mobile operating system. The company launched the project for a light-weight mobile OS based on web standards last summer and according to the folks at Ars Technica Mozilla could announce a major partner at Mobile World Congress later this month.
But if you want to get a sense of how the operating system will look you don’t have to wait. Since the user interface is written using HTML and other web languages you can download an early version of the Boot to Gecko (B2G) user interface and run it in a Firefox web browser now.
Just download the latest software from github, unzip it to a folder on your computer, and open the homescreen.html file in your browser.
B2G actually consists of several components, including a Linux kernel and some basic software to interact with phone hardware, the Gecko rendering engine used by the Firefox web browser, and the user interface. What you’re doing if you fire up the homescreen in a desktop web browser is just interacting with the UI.
But that will give you an idea of what the OS looks like, how it scales to different screen sizes (just try resizing your window), and what some of the apps including the web browser, maps, and phone dialer will look like.
At this point Boot to Gecko looks a lot like other smartphone operating systems, but that could change as the platform evolves. One of the key features is a reliance on web-based apps, so that apps you install on a Boot to Gecko device could theoretically be run just as easily in any other web browser.