Discontinued in 2017, Firefox OS is an open-source operating system. It was designed by Mozilla and other external contributors for desktops, smart TVs, dongles and handheld devices. It is based on the Firefox web browser’s rendering engine, Gecko, and the Linux kernel. And it was released commercially in the year 2013. 

Firefox OS was designed as a community-based alternative operating system. It could run web-based applications directly or those that were installed from an application marketplace. The applications generally use open standards and approaches. They include HTML5, JavaScript, a robust privilege model, and open web APIs. 

They can communicate with the hardware directly. One of the best examples of this would be mobile phone hardware. With Firefox OS, Mozilla got the chance to compete with operating systems that were developed commercially. Some of these operating systems were iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry 10. 

Then, in 2015, Mozilla announced that it would no longer develop the new Firefox OS smartphones. The end of the development was announced in September 2016. Firefox had a few successors. They were the B2G OS, H5OS, and KaiOS.

History and development

On the 25th of July 2011, the ‘Boot to Gecko'(B2G) project was announced by Andreas Gal. He was the Director of Research at Mozilla Corporation at the time. The proposal of the project was to pursue the goal of building a complete and standalone operating system. It was to be built for the ‘open web’. 

The intention was to fill in the gaps that kept web developers from building high-end applications. The announcement of the project identified certain work areas. One of them was the new web APIs. They were to expose the capabilities of the device and operating system. There was also a low-level code involved, which was to boot on a device compatible with Android. 

Andreas Gal expanded on the aims of Mozilla in 2012. He described the current set of mobile operating systems as ‘walled gardens. Firefox OS was presented as a more accessible operating system. Andreas Gal also said that no proprietary software or technology was involved in the operating system of Mozilla.

End of Firefox OS

In February 2012, Firefox OS was demonstrated publicly on smartphones that were compatible with Android. By the 16th of December 2014, 14 operators in 28 countries across the world were offering Firefox OS phones. On the 8th of December 2015, Mozilla announced that it would discontinue sales of Firefox OS smartphones via carriers. 

The next year in the month of May, Mozilla announced that Firefox OS smartphones would be discontinued. After the release of version 2.6, the development of Firefox OS for smartphones was to cease. Around this time, it was reported that Acadian Technologies would take over the mission of developing carrier partnerships. 

This was for developing its own Firefox OS derivative called H5OS. It was announced in January 2016 that Firefox OS would be used in Panasonic’s UHD TVs. In the month of September the same year, Mozilla announced that it had ceased work on Firefox OS. Finally, this operating system of Mozilla was discontinued in January 2017.

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