Mozilla Desktop Environment?

Snooping around the Internet news sites, I ran across a discussion on the Mozilla planning list about the potential of a desktop environment built out of Mozilla and their GUI language XUL (O.K. I found it through the trusty Slashdot, I’m sure you did too :).

I always thought the idea of building a desktop around a browser was intriguing and to me this is the promise of mobile tablet-like devices. But simply using Mozilla and it’s plug-in architecture might be overkill. I think simply using the browser function with JavaScript would do the trick. Imagine, you fire up your tablet, the operating system boots and the window system comes up, and it could be any operating and windowing system, and the only thing that gets launched is the Browser. Small and fast. Perfect for mobile.

You’d probably have some dynamic HTML pages locally on the device to do desktop-y things like managing files, writing documents, playing media files, etc. Maybe that does require some help from Mozilla and its set of plug-ins. And add in Internet connectivity and AJAX and you can get a whole suite of applications that can leverage the power of the servers out on the Internet or at your office as well.

Once I get some time, I really want to dig deeper into the RAP (Rich AJAX Platform) project at Eclipse and see how their tools can be used to build such applications. And Mozilla probably is the platform of choice on the device since it is open source and readily available and works on many platforms. This all leads to some really interesting combinations of open source pieces to make something really different and fun for people to use. And Microsoft says there is no innovation in open source…