Test Firefox OS on the Desktop

Apparently, Mozilla has decided to get into the operating system business … so far, they’ve just got a prototype OS for mobile devices; I wonder if they’ll decide to tackle a desktop/laptop OS next?

Mozilla in recent time has started to expand the Firefox brand from being desktop computer centric to something that is available for other device types as well. Engineers started to work on Firefox for mobile devices such as smartphones for instance, and also on Firefox OS, formerly known as Boot to Gecko or B2G. The latter is an open source operating system designed for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers.

First devices are expected to be released at the end of 2012 or at the latest in the first quarter of 2013. Video demonstrations have been posted on sites such as YouTube that highlight some of the operating system’s functionality.

Mozilla engineer Myk Melez released a prototype Firefox OS test environment that interested users can install as an add-on for the Firefox web browser. Please note that the add-on has a size of about 50 Megabytes, and that it is unstable on Windows. It crashed on a 64-bit Windows 7 system right after start. Good news in this regard is that it does not crash the underlying browser, only the B2G window that it spawns.

firefox os emulator
You can start the Firefox OS add-on with a click on Tools > B2G Desktop. This option is only available if you display the menu bar in the web browser and not the Firefox button.

I can’t really say anything about the functionality due to the crashes. One option that appears to be available is to install a web page as an app.  The add-on is less crash-prone on Mac and Linux systems though. Windows users will have to wait for a new version of the add-on so that they can test it on their operating system as well.

Interested users can download the Firefox OS prototype add-on for Firefox at the Mozilla Hacks website. (via Techdows)

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