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Mozilla hopes to challenge Raspbian as RPi OS of choice

Project to port Firefox OS to Raspberry Pi is under way

The Mozilla Foundation staged a Mozilla Festival in the UK over the weekend, and one of the projects developers delivered was a port of Firefox OS working to the Raspberry Pi.

Mozilla has big ambitions for its OS on the Pi, stating the following four objectives for a future Pi-compatible release:

  • Be at parity with Raspbian/RPi as a hobbyist environment. Users will be able to read from sensors and control motors, LEDs, solenoids, slave boards, etc. A modified Fx OS for Raspberry Pi will be able to fly a drone;
  • Be competitive with other media player OSes available for Rpi;
  • Be competitive with other IDEs for FxOS on Raspberry Pi targeted at beginning programmers, like IDLE and Scratch;
  • Enable programmers (via DOM/CSS) to develop robotics etc. by building a declarative model of a reactive system. With one type of output device, the actual electronics could be interfaced with. With another type of output device, the model could be simulated on a client computer.

Beyond those ambitions, Mozillans also plan to ensure “the custom PiFxOS media player UI will be competitive with other media player OSes available for Rpi” and also hopes to develop robotics development tools.

For now, it's possible to run Firefox OS as a virtual machine inside Raspbian, if you follow these instructions and make sure “... your Raspberry Pi isn't visible to the public Internet and is on a secure LAN” because there's lots of code running as root.

It appears the weekend's hacking may have advanced things so a bare-metal install of Firefox OS on Pi has become possible, at least if the Tweet below is any guide.

There's no word on just when Firefox OS will be made available in easier-to-install form, but when that does happen it will probably give developers rather more reasons to consider Mozilla's spawn for the Pi, and other projects. ®

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