Firefox OS is Mozilla's open source mobile operating system based on Linux, open web standards and Mozilla's Gecko technology. Not only that, it's an open source project that aims to provide a reinvention of what mobile platforms can be. Firefox OS is free from proprietary technology while still providing the power to allow application developers to create excellent products. In addition, it's flexible and capable enough to make the end user happy.
This set of documentation is aimed mainly at web developers and platform developers who want to learn how Firefox OS works, how to contribute to the project, and how to build their own custom versions of the software and install it on devices. For those who want to create and distribute their own web apps, the App Center and Marketplace Zone are good places to go.
The basic promise of Firefox OS
For Web/platform developers, the most important part to understand is that the entire user interface is a Web app, one that is capable of displaying and launching other Web apps. Any modifications you make to the user interface and any applications you create to run on Firefox OS will involve standard web technologies, albeit with enhanced access to the mobile device's hardware and services.
From a product perspective, Firefox OS is Mozilla's branding and support services on top of Boot to Gecko (B2G), which is the operating system product's engineering codename. The user interface of Firefox OS is called Gaia, and includes the OS's default apps and system functions.
To find out more about the platform architecture, go to our Platform guide.
Current and future plans
Firefox OS version 1.4 is currently in development, with 1.3 coming close to being a stable release build. There are many phones available in wild, both consumer and developer models. To find out more about our releases, see our Firefox OS developer release notes and phone guide.
Boot to Gecko and Gaia are developed by teams of engineers inside Mozilla plus many external contributors from the wider Mozilla/open source community. If you want to talk to the community about any aspect of Firefox OS or Gaia development, a good place to start is our mailing lists and IRC channels, detailed in the below info box.
To file bugs, use our Bugzilla system, and file bugs against the Firefox OS components. If you are not sure what component to file a bug against, feel free to ask.
Building the operating system
The B2G operating system is based on Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine, and sits on top of a Linux kernel and userspace hardware abstraction layer (HAL) called Gonk. The Gecko talked about here is basically the same Gecko used in Firefox for Android, or Windows, or Mac OS X, etc. Gonk is basically another porting target of Gecko.
Contributing to Gaia
To contribute to Gaia, you don't need much more than a solid knowledge of web development. To learn about getting Gaia up and running, consult our Quickstart guide to Gaia development.
There are a number of useful tools available to you for debugging Gaia and other web apps running on Firefox OS. To learn about these and much more, consult our guide to Hacking Gaia.