Upfront, my apology that this update is coming later than promised.
The purpose of this note is to give you an update on the transition of B2G OS for smartphones (which we’ve known as Firefox OS for smartphones) to a volunteer/contributor community owned, open source project.
Let me start with the action:
Please fill out this Doodle with your availability for the transition project kickoff meeting.
As you know, we are ending the development of Firefox OS for smartphones, which includes staff involvement in this project. However, we know that ending staff involvement abruptly would hurt Boot to Gecko (B2G) as an open source project.
I’ve watched from the sidelines as some of you have organized efforts to keep B2G for smartphones evolving as an open source project in the years ahead – this is inspiring. Mozilla will invest some resources now that will support a transition process that sets your volunteer efforts up for success.
We are still working out the details – and want non-staff input – but we are planning for this investment to be approximately 5-10 staff members (exact details are still being worked out) for the next 4-5 months (again details to be worked through, with your input). Most of this effort would go toward reducing the complexity and ongoing maintenance costs of the B2G code base (more details below).
Volunteer community ownership:
The Connected Devices leadership team’s priority for this effort is ensuring non-staff ownership coming out of the transition period. As you all know, this means volunteer involvement right now!
I have taken on accountability for ensuring this “ownership” transition is done as well as possible within the resource and time constraints. For my own role, this means serving and facilitating a bigger team of staff and volunteers who can come together to make this happen.
From a brief analysis by staff, there are a number of important topics to be discussed and decisions to be made:
- Determining the relationship between the B2G OS for smartphones project and Mozilla moving forward
- Code transition specifics
- Mentoring/get information to volunteer leaders/contributors
- Build and test infrastructure
This is a big set of topics already, and there may be more. Identifying these and making decisions will require staff and volunteers working together in the months ahead.
To get this started, I’m organizing an open B2G OS for smartphones transition kick-off meeting. If you’re interested in guiding this project in the months ahead, please fill out this Doodle with your availability for this meeting.
This meeting is open to anyone, and specifically designed for volunteer or staff community members who want to be involved in this transition period.
I will take on “chairing” this first meeting, and have the following topics in mind as agenda items:
a) State of the code + code transition plan as it stands (staff leading conversation: Gregor Wagner or Fabrice Desré)
b) Goals/areas of decision for the transition period
c) Overall roadmap for transition, including specific timing
d) Forming Working Group(s)
Let’s aim to keep this first meeting to ideally 60min and maximum 90min.
Please add any other topics to this email/Discourse thread, or ping me on IRC or Telegram at geroter.
Naming the project
Aside from the above, there is the issue of the name of the project. You’ll notice that I have been using B2G OS instead of Firefox OS in this note.
The current thinking by our brand team is to reserve the “Firefox” label for products that are actively being brought to market with users. This might include any new Connected Devices products – they would only get the Firefox or Fox name once they were being marketed to potential users.
I’d like your feedback on this, but my recommendation would be to start calling this project B2G OS for smartphones right away (instead of Firefox OS), with the volunteer community leadership of the project figuring out later if there’s another more appropriate name.
Basic technical outline of the code transition work:
The goal of this plan is to reduce the gap between B2G and other Mozilla products (Firefox Desktop and Android) to limit the potential for breakage coming from platform changes, and to overall improve the webiness of B2G by removing apis that won’t become web standards.
This effort spans several areas of the codebase:
- deprecating packaged apps and security model
- process model
- low-level APIs
- making Service Workers actually work
We’ll give more details of this on the kickoff call, and will publish a draft overall plan to the project wiki over the coming few days.
To finish, I look forward to working together on making B2G OS for smartphones a first class open source project owned by the community, built for the community and still very much advancing Mozilla’s values.