B2G OS community (for their weekly Tuesday meeting)
SUBJECT: B2G OS and Gecko
the end of 2015 Mozilla leadership had come to the conclusion
that our then Firefox OS initiative of shipping phones with
commercial partners would not bring Mozilla the returns we
sought. We made the first of a series of announcements about
changes in the development of Firefox OS at Mozilla. Since then
we have gradually wound down that work and, as of the end of
July 2016 have stopped all commercial development on Firefox OS.
This message recaps what transpired during that period of time
and also describes what will happen with the Firefox OS code
base going forward.
particular, through various channels we announced:
would stop our efforts to build and ship smartphones through
carrier partners and pivot
with Firefox OS to explore opportunities for new use cases
in the world of connected devices.
OS was transitioned
to a Tier 3 platform
from the perspective of support by Mozilla's Platform
Engineering organization. That meant as of January 31, 2016
no Mozilla Platform Engineering resources would be engaged
to provide ongoing support and all such work would be done
by other contributors. For some period of time that work
would be done by Mozilla’s Connected Devices team.
had ideas for other opportunities for Firefox OS, perhaps as
a platform for explorations in the world of connected
devices, and perhaps for continued evolution of Firefox OS
TV. To allow for those possibilities, and to provide a
stable release for commercial TV partners, development would
continue on a Firefox OS 2.6
parallel with continued explorations by the Connected
Devices team, we recognized there was interest within the
Mozilla community in carrying forward work on Firefox OS as
a smartphone platform, and perhaps even for other purposes.
A Firefox OS Transition
was launched to perform a major clean-up of the B2G code
bringing it to a stable end state so it could be passed into
the hands of the community as an open source project.
the spring and summer of 2016 the Connected Devices team dug
deeper into opportunities for Firefox OS. They concluded that
Firefox OS TV was a project to be run by our commercial partner
and not a project to be led by Mozilla. Further, Firefox OS was
determined to not be sufficiently useful for ongoing Connected
Devices work to justify the effort to maintain it. This meant
that development of the Firefox OS stack was no longer a part of
Connected Devices, or Mozilla at all. Firefox OS 2.6 would be
the last release from Mozilla.
we are announcing the next phase in that evolution. While work
at Mozilla on Firefox OS has ceased, we very much need to
continue to evolve the underlying code that comprises Gecko, our
web platform engine, as part of the ongoing development of
Firefox. In order to evolve quickly and enable substantial new
architectural changes in Gecko, Mozilla’s Platform Engineering
organization needs to remove all B2G-related code from
mozilla-central. This certainly has consequences for B2G OS. For
the community to continue working on B2G OS they will have to
maintain a code base that includes a full version of Gecko, so
will need to fork Gecko and proceed with development on their
own, separate branch.
realize that these decisions are painful for those of us who had
high hopes and dreams and work tied up in Firefox OS — in the
idea of an open source, user-centric, Mozilla mission-based
operating system for the mobile space. We also recognize that
this decision makes it much harder for the b2g community to
continue its work. We wish we could have found another way.
However, we believe that these have been necessary decisions and
the best possible way for Mozilla to continue on its mission.