Mozilla's new Boot to Gecko (B2G) mobile operating system draws primarily from Chrome OS, but also is similar, in some aspects, to HP's webOS.  (Source: Mozilla)

B2G will be based on an Android kernel and drivers.  (Source: HTC Wallpapers)

Google began shipping Chrome OS "Chromebooks" last month, and is "very pleased" with its sales, thus far.  (Source: Laptop)
New operating system melds aspects of Chrome OS and webOS

If "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", Google Inc. (GOOG) must have at least one fan of its Chrome Operating System (OS) project, as the Mozilla Foundation has announced plans for an operating system that seems eerily reminiscent to the new Google concoction.

Mozilla's new OS is going to be called "Boot to Gecko", or "B2G" for short.  Gecko is the name of the layout engine found in Mozilla's popular Firefox browser.  The new OS is geared towards handsets -- though open source netbooks and budget laptops, like those of Chrome OS, may eventually be in the works as well.

The browser maker is even going to use the Android kernel and device drivers as the base of the operating system, although it intends to "use as little of Android as possible."

Mozilla research engineer Andreas Gal provides more details, revealing that the goal is to make an HTML5-driven web environment, in which web apps provide comparable functionality to traditional apps.  To that end Mozilla will be making available a set of B2G APIs -- including telephony, messaging, camera, and communications (USB, NFC and Bluetooth) -- which will allow developers to (presumably) easily create a B2G web app.

Mozilla seems quite ambitious to these ends.  Mr. Gal says that the goal of the project is to "[B]uild a complete, standalone operating system for the open web [and] break  the stranglehold of proprietary technologies over the mobile device world."

If Mozilla can make an easy to use environment with fully functional in-browser apps -- a goal Google is also striving towards -- the results will pay off equally in the PC world.  Mr. Gal comments that the "[Is not just] to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we're trying to have them run on the web."

While Chrome OS is the most comparable project currently on the market, the operating system also draws comparisons to Hewlett-Packard Company's (HPQ) webOS, whose apps are built around internet languages like Java, XML, Flash, and HTML5.  WebOS, however, is a proprietary, close-source code.

Google has a bit of a step up on Mozilla.  Its first Chromebook -- the Samsung Series 5 -- launched earlier last month, priced at $499.  Despite the relatively high price for a netbook/webbook, the device reached #5 in online retailer, Inc.'s (AMZN) "Computers & Accessories" section.  Google has said it is "very pleased" with sales, though it declined to reveal exact figures.

Chrome OS, along with its open source development counterpart "Chromium OS", was announced in July 2009.  While many dismissed it as "just another Linux distribution", it was the first major Linux OS to deliver a browser-centered UI.  Unlike B2G, Google has made it clear the Chrome OS is only meant for PCs -- not tablets or handsets.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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