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Mozilla Handhelds Operating Systems Technology

Mozilla Developers Testing Mobile OS 109

MojoKid writes "Mozilla has been experimenting with an interesting idea called Boot 2 Gecko. Essentially, B2G (as it's called) is a mobile operating system based on the Web, as opposed to what the project's wiki calls 'proprietary, single-vendor stacks.' Mozilla has something here. Open Web technologies provide an intriguing platform for lots of things, mobile and otherwise. The B2G project is still pretty new, but according to the project roadmap, testing has already begun and will continue through the rest of 2011. Messaging, telephony, and battery management aspects of the OS are underway, and contacts, screen/power management, and settings are scheduled. A product demo is scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of 2012."
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Mozilla Developers Testing Mobile OS

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  • by Vandil X ( 636030 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @04:36PM (#37967884)
    The more memory in use, the more energy Mobile devices burn. Mozilla's Firefox is a huge memory hog on personal computers. If they want a shot on the mobile market, they'll need to keep the memory footprint to a minimum.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No it isn't. Firefox uses about as much as Chrome or any other browser. For a long time now. So why don't you repeat some other old bs now, cause this is getting boring.

      On another note, I'm interested in seeing this. Looks like a new idea.

      • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

        This is not true. On my Mac OS X box, I've got Firefox, Chrome and Safari running. I just started Firefox and Chrome.

        Firefox (8 beta) on startup is using 159.3MB of real memory and 166MB virtual with 22 threads running. Chrome (15.0.874.106) is using 50MB of real memory with 219.1MB virtual and 28 threads. Safari (latest on lion, which has been running for days and has 12 tabs running) is using 194.3MB of ram with 358.2 virtual and 13 threads.

        This test isn't fair to safari, but valid for the other two b

        • Have you remembered to sum the memory of all the Chrome processes? Mine has five different processes running with just one tab open, and put together they're definitively using more than that.

          • The same for Safari. The browser and the rendering engine run in different processes with recent versions of Safari, so you have to add the two up. 194MB sounds very low for both...
          • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

            Ah good point. New test of chrome shows two processes with 63.5MB + 42.4MB real memory, 32 threads total and 229.1MB + 118.9MB virtual memory.

            As for safari, it's still running and shows 600MB + 198.4MB real with 649.1MB + 359.8MB virtual.

      • by Shoe Puppet ( 1557239 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @06:19PM (#37968600)

        Firefox uses about as much as Chrome or any other browser

        That doesn't mean it's not a memory hog.

      • I don't know about memory MR AC but I know that FF since FF 4 has just about been unusable on the older office boxes and netbooks that I have to support. I keep a 1.8Ghz Sempron around both as a low power nettop and as a test bed for older office boxes and frankly FF is just scary in its level of suckiness now. You try to launch a new tab and watching AnVir Task Manager I can sit there and watch it pound the living hell out of the CPU and if that tab has video? better go make a sandwich friend it'll be awhi

        • I'm not affiliated with Mozilla in any way, but I'll take a stab at your "why" question. First, Boot2Gecko is aimed at any mobile device but specifically includes phones. That drops ChromeOS and Windows 8 from the list of competitors since as yet they do not plan to support mobile phones. Second, the Mozilla Foundation was founded for the purpose of public benefit through promoting the use of open source software. Out of of Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Rim, and WebOS, only Android is open source. So t
    • by jlebar ( 1904578 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @04:48PM (#37967976) Homepage

      Right now, b2g uses considerably less memory than Android. The difference is about 200mb on the phone I tested on.

      Of course, b2g doesn't currently do much, and our memory usage will probably increase as we add more features. But we're paying close attention.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bemymonkey ( 1244086 )

        How exactly are you counting? Android in all its smartphone iterations up to Gingerbread runs just fine on phones with 192MB of RAM (less than 100MB accessible by the system at runtime!)... does B2G use roughly -100MB (negative one hundred megabytes) of RAM?

        If you're just counting used RAM in a task manager type app in Android: Don't bother - Android precaches very aggressively.

        • by brentrad ( 1013501 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:37PM (#37968280)
          I beg to differ - my original Motorola Droid with 256 MB RAM runs like ass with 2.2 Froyo. It can take 20 seconds to re-draw my home screen after running even a semi-large app, and sometimes it just gets so unresponsive I can't do anything on it.

          It just doesn't have enough free RAM to run very fast with newer versions of Android. When it's really lagging, I run a task killer and free up a bit of RAM, and it runs much better - but not what you could call fast at all.

          It ran much faster with 2.1, but I do love all the new features 2.2 came with so I grin and bear it for now until I can get a new phone.
          • Huh, that's odd. I have a Cowon D3, which only has 256MB too, and it runs just fine (well, more or less, but that's another issue) on Gingerbread. RAM doesn't tend to be a major problem, although I would have loved more (but then it is only a MP3 player/ MID, which it does just fine.)
            • Might be the difference between a cell phone and an MP3 player. Since with a cell phone you have an always-on data connection, you tend to run more always-on background processes, in my experience.

              A lot of the background processes I have are things like Google+ auto-picture upload, Facebook, Google Voice, Weatherbug, work email and Gmail (both push emails), etc. Pretty normal and mainstream apps. They don't take a whole lot of RAM each, but when you run enough of them they add up. I'd guess that if I
          • in all fairness, your lag is likely due to MotoBlur, and nothing inherently to do with Android itself.
            • The original Motorola Droid doesn't have Motoblur, it's vanilla Android.
              • Unfortunately, Motorola's ineptitude isn't limited to Motoblur. Their stock ROMs on the Droid/Milestone were similarly slow-as-molasses... other devices with slower processors and less RAM are snappier than my old stock Milestone :(

          • If you're running Moto's original Froyo firmware that's no wonder. I used to have a Moto Milestone (the GSM version of the Droid) which was annoying as hell in that regard. I now have an HTC Dream lying around for testing purposes, which has even less RAM than the Droid, and with a decent custom ROM that locks the home screen in memory, there are no such problems.

            You luckily still have an unlocked bootloader on that Droid (the Milestone and nearly all of the models following the Droid are locked up really t

    • B2G just sounds like an evolution of webOS. When i saw your sig I assumed you thought so too, as the key is also the one that enables developer mode on webOS phones.

      However, memory only uses more power if it is constantly being accessed; the refresh power is constant if the data is not changing. More power will be used at initialisation, this is true, but the point about phones is that they rarely reboot.

      There may be a penalty but they seem to be working on it.

    • by Hidyman ( 225308 )
    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      The more memory in use, the more energy Mobile devices burn. Mozilla's Firefox is a huge memory hog on personal computers. If they want a shot on the mobile market, they'll need to keep the memory footprint to a minimum.

      This is true, despite what the naysayers try to argue, and truer still if you use addons BUT that isn't why I don't care about Mozilla Firefox on mobile. The real reason is that after all the changes forced on to me on the PC, the recent version and update extension hell, and the arrogance displayed by the developers I would rather poke my eye out than rely on another piece of gear from Mozilla. There is no hope memory leaks and the like will be fixed when the attitude is to deny and force "improvements" on

  • Well now (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Glad to see the Mozilla developers are working on something that's REALLY important, rather than trifling things such as memory footprint and MSI installers.

    • by BZ ( 40346 )

      Except they _are_ working on memory footprint.

      As for MSI installers, those may be important for _Firefox_. Whether they're more important for the _Web_ than having an alternative to locked-down app stacks is a good question.

      Recall that Mozilla's mission is "choice and innovation on the web", not "build a web browser".

  • So one more player in the market - iOS, Android, WebOS, Windows 8,,,? Can they whip out a new rev every month, so that by Christmas next year, we'll be on version 12?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What advantages does this have over WebOS? What advantages does it have over running Android with FireFox mobile as the default browser?

    • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:53PM (#37968420)

      What advantages does this have over WebOS?

      How about a) properly open source so it's likely to survive and b) hasn't just been cancelled?

      What advantages does it have over running Android with FireFox mobile as the default browser?

      How about a) controlled by an organisation which has a history of developing in the open and b) doesn't require all software to be written in Java?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    great, i was just in the process of "booting gecko" off my computer and installing chrome.

    now i will also have to "boot" it off my phone as well.

    to boot, i wonder where i can buy a big enough boot to do all this booting.

  • Should be ok (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler ( 822350 )
    as long as they can restrain themselves from releasing a new major version every 2 weeks like firefox
  • []

    Rounded corners - check
    Grid of icons - check
    Incoming lawsuit...

  • Considering how even Android manufacturers lag behind the current version I really hope they don't do the same rapid release as with Firefox.

  • So... Basically, the same as the original iPhone, then?

  • Sounds like these guys had the same innovative idea... 2 years later. Just hope it works out better for them than the last crew.
    • by migla ( 1099771 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @06:57PM (#37968822)

      I don't think the point is that it's a novel idea. The point is that mozilla is in it for your freedom. And while webos didn't slaghter the marketplace, it's not like everyone else is saying this web thing is not the shit. They're all saying it's the shit, aren't they.

      Hence we might need for there to be a b2g, lest control of the information and communication technology is yoinked away fro us.

      • The problem with that, as we have seen with Linux on the desktop and OpenMoko, is that simply yelling "free as in freedom!" won't give you ANY advantage in the marketplace. Just look at the lines when the new iShiny comes out and those things are so locked down they make Gates blush.

        No for this to have a chance they can't just be freer than the other guys they are gonna HAVE TO be better, and not by a little either. They are gonna have to have a better memory footprint (so folks can run more apps and get be

        • by Rennt ( 582550 )
          If you think the only point of being in the race is to win then of course this looks silly. But Mozilla ain't that kind of company. I'd argue that having a Free new mobile OS about can only be a good thing for the market, no matter what minuscule percentage they manage to capture - and I'd wager Mozilla feels the same way.
          • Oh so you agree that the "year of the Linux desktop" stuff should be thrown in the bin and this is a hobbyist OS? You can't have your cake and eat it to friend, either this is "Bob's OS" that will be as rare as a set of mint condition purple velvet bell bottoms or they will have to step up, your choice, can't be both, its one or the other.

            BTW if they are truly taking that attitude its already dead, yes? because i hate to break the news to ya but to rip off a former POTUS its the APPS stupid. Nobody is gonna

            • by Rennt ( 582550 )

              Oh so you agree that the "year of the Linux desktop" stuff should be thrown in the bin...

              Well, yeah? I thought we generally agreed that was a load of hyperbolic nonsense. As for the rest of your diatribe, did you actually read my comment? As in, actually comprehend it? Seems you went off in an entirely unrelated direction there friend.

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @07:48PM (#37969166)

    Must get on!

    • Much like personal computers, the internet, or even mobile phones themselves? All fads and companies were just getting on the bandwagon?
  • Last I checked, it STILL doesn't support Flash on Android. I'd love to use it because I happen to like the synced bookmarks feature but no flash was a deal-killer. I therefore use Dolphin which works great and allows a manual bookmark sync.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Dolphin for Android sends every URL you visit to their servers God knows why.I guess you missed that story when it was on /. Just my opinion, but that puts it pretty low on the list of best browsers.

      Also, I'm pretty sure flash isn't firefox's problem, but rather Android itself, or your hardware manufacturer. They pay for the license, not firefox.

  • Qt (basis of Safari, IIRC) would seem to be a good place to start something like this....

  • Sorry Mozilla---unlike the PC, where everyone can download and install Linux, you cannot just download and install a mobile OS unless you are in a tiny minority. Your only hope is open hardware, which, good luck with finding any.

    Not trying to dissuade you from exercising your right to tinker, just trying to understand why I should care.

    How about a firefox for iOS instead, mmmh? Wouldn't that be a better usage of your resources? Lots of us here would love that.

    • Closed software. You should know its not possible to make a Firefox for iOS. Only for jailbroken devices.
      Apple does not allow competing browser engines. They all use Safari's webkit and/or remote rendering to run on iOS.

      • Does opera mini not use a competing browser engine? It must, since it compresses stuff, the render just feels different and is resistant to my adblocker :-P

        Unless I'm misremembering, I think opera mini proves competing engines are allowed by apple, and that yet again Mozilla = focused on the wrong goals lately.

        • no, opera mini engine does not run on iOS

          its all remotely rendered.

          Mozilla is not allowed to have gecko on iOS. Pure and simple.
          They *are* actually pondering make a jailbreak-version-only

  • would you say they intend to build some sort of "web" "OS"? Perhaps? Maybe there just might be one for sale somewhere... that might carry along with it the patent for the smartphone?

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