Mozilla’s been teasing its “Firefox” operating system for a while now and other than the odd video of it in action, we haven’t had a chance to try it ourselves. Good news, then, that Mozilla has decided to make public its desktop developer builds, so users running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X can have a play around.
Mozilla tester D Knight posted the news on his blog, along with some basic instructions on getting it working. I’ve had a go myself on a Windows 7 machine, so I can expand a bit on what’s required.
If you’ve only a passing interest, sorry to disappoint but, you can’t just download the appropriate build for your system and expect it to run — you’ll just end up with a black screen. The builds are designed for developers and require you to clone the Boot 2 Gecko repository and generate a profile before it will function correctly.
On Linux, cloning a Git repo is straightforward. On Windows, it’s only a little more complicated as you need to install msysgit and, if you like context menus and UIs, TortoiseGit. Once you have Git installed, you can use the following commands to set up a local B2G repo. These apply to any OS:
git clone git://github.com/mozilla-b2g/gaia
make -C gaia profile
/path/to/b2g -profile gaia/profile (eg. Tonys-MacBook-Air:MacOS tchung$ ./b2g -profile /Users/tchung/Desktop/DailyB2G/07172012_desktop/gaia/profile)
Of course, you’ll want to run the clone command in the directory you want to keep the B2G repo, otherwise it will be pulled into whatever path you ran Git from.
Once it’s up and running, you’ll want to check out the Gaia Hacking wiki for more detailed instructions on using the OS. One thing to note is that the build isn’t designed for phones or tablets. So no, you won’t be able to whack it on your handset and show off to your friends. Well, unless you’re very enterprising.
Desktop Builds now available for Firefox OS [Dknite’s Lair]