Unless you have been living under a rock (or at the very least away from access to XDA), you will have likely noticed that a somewhat unlikely company has become developer’s best friend. Sony’s mobile division has gone through massive changes in terms of ideology and support of developers and the mobile scene. Said support ended up earning them the OEM of the Year “award” (essentially consisting of bragging rights for an entire year) due to their continued investment in the community with time and resources from their engineering teams. On top of that, they are trying to abide by the law of the land, also known as GPLv2, by releasing kernel sources in a very, very timely fashion. However, their love for what they do seems to not stop where Android ends. Much like Samsung/Intel has done with Tizen OS, the Japanese manufacturer is exploring other venues to further the evolution of mobile platforms. The most recent development, announced at a press conference, introduced the new project that they are working on together with the telecom giant, Telefonica: Firefox OS.
We have briefly covered this new OS a few times in the past. The first indications and projects on this came from the Boot2Gecko project (which is the code name for FFOS), in which ports of this OS were/are being done for several Android devices. The OS itself, in case you are not familiar, is a web-based OS that mainly uses open web standards for all of its application and overall ecosystem (somewhat similar to Chrome OS). The main appeal of this is that it is not restricted by proprietary hardware or even by specific coding languages, thanks to a wide array of APIs for developers to bring their applications. The OS structure essentially consists of 3 parts: Gonk (middle-ware including HAL, libraries, and the Linux kernel), the Gecko runtime layer for running and managing code, and Gaia, which is your UI/desktop/user environment. Seeing the growing success of Chrome OS and web/cloud based technologies as a whole, taking a crack at this is a rather obvious choice.
Sony decided to start off small and has provided a free, easy to set up, developer version of this OS to current Xperia E owners. This is but a preview, alpha version of the OS. As such, quite a few things may/will be broken. In other words, if you are going in on this thinking of making it your daily use OS, you may want to rethink things. Having said that, if you are a developer trying to get a glimpse of what Sony and Mozilla have in store for the near future, you should definitely check it out. The announcement has all necessary instructions and requirements to install this on the Xperia E, and who knows? Maybe with enough tweaks, blood, sweat, and tears, it could end up getting ported to newer Xperias as well. Only time will tell at this point.
Good move Sony, good move.
You can find more information in the original article.
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[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]
For those unfamiliar, Boot to Gecko (B2G for short) is a mobile operating system currently being developed by Mozilla. According to Mozilla, the purpose of the OS is as follows:
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.
What that translates to is more options for mobile users in terms of what kind of operating system they choose to run. There may come a time when there are devices capable of running Boot 2 Gecko, Android, and the newly open sourced webOS. The winners in all this are the end users and developers, who will have more stuff to play with than ever before.
Earlier this year, we brought you news of B2G being ported to the Samsung Galaxy S II. Afterward, it kind of disappeared for awhile. It’s back again, this time on the Motorola Defy. Posted by XDA Recognized Contributor m11kkaa, the ROM is still pretty rough. It is booting, and the touchscreen and sound work. Unfortunately, those are the only things that work.
This ROM isn’t usable as a daily driver, and likely won’t be for quite some time. However, the bugs are being worked out, as development continues and more developers get interested in the project. It may only be a matter of time before Defy users have fully functioning B2G on their devices. For more info, check out the original thread.
February 27, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
You could be forgiven for not having heard of Mozilla’s new project called Boot to Gecko. Truth be told, I knew very little about it until XDA Senior Moderator and Recognized Developer pulser_g2 revealed that he had it running on a Samsung Galaxy SII.
So what is Boot to Gecko? It’s a completely open source project from the nice people behind Firefox and the aim is “to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web”. Check out the official Mozilla Wiki for a complete run down of the project. It’s also being widely reported that B2G will be showcased at MWC 2012.
B2G is not a new version of Android, nor is it based on Android. Although it shares some of the same low level building blocks such as the Linux kernel. This does not however, mean that B2G will run Android applications.
The team behind this are currently developing the project using Galaxy S II and information on how to build B2G for yourself is available via the Mozilla developer network. If you just want to jump in and try it out for yourself though, pulser_g2 has taken care of that for you already.
Obviously due to the project still being in it’s infancy, functionality is limited and this won’t be suitable for daily use. Confirmed as working though are;
Pulser_G2 states that he has set up an automated build system an hopes to build this daily, which will allow you to follow the development of this exciting new project as closely as possible.
The thread containing the build and instructions on how to get started can be found in the original thread.