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Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi: Now Available

April 14th, 2013 · 42 Comments · other stuff

UPDATE: This was a project done in 2013, and since then I didn’t find enough time to continue it. Please look at the recent Mozilla effort to bring Firefox OS to RaspberryPi for a more usable and up-to-date solution.

It has been quite some time since my last post about Firefox OS running on a Raspberry Pi, but  the questions didn’t stop to come in “when will it be released”? Well, I’m sorry that it took so long (sometimes finding time is not that easy), but finally, here we are: the sources and build instructions are available!

Head over to the Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi Manual, which contains all build instructions, download links to a pre-built SD card image and much more information.

But before you start, please note the following limitations of this current release:

  • No input devices are supported. No mouse, no keyboard.
  • The screen resolution is hardcoded to 1280 x 1024 px.
  • The used Firefox/Gecko used is not up-to-date (it’s using revision 801ba75ac563 from 2013-01-03).
  • Quite some patches are required to get Gecko building, most of which were developed by Oleg Romashin. Unfortunately, they are not yet part of the official Mozilla source tree, and some of them are quite hacky. Progress to get this work upstream is tracked in bug 731498.All those patches are exported into the meta-b2g layer. A source repository for easier development will be made available soon together with instructions how to contribute to the Gecko development.

So what is all of this useful for at this point? I mainly leave this up to your imagination, but I’m using it as public info screen, displaying the weather forecast, room occupation, the next subway connections and today’s lunch menu. All data comes from publicly available web services or is scraped from Internet pages, all client-side with no web server or anything. Here’s how it looks:

Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi powering an infoscreen

Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi powering an infoscreen

I hope you find Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi as useful and exciting as I do, and please send me your comments, suggestions or (best) patches, to make it even greater!


42 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rui Carmo // Apr 14, 2013 at 11:59

    This is great news. One question, though – can we change the resolution on the prebuilt image? I was aiming for 1280×720…

  • 2 Philipp Wagner // Apr 14, 2013 at 12:47

    @Rui: If you use the pre-built image, do the following:

    scp root@your-raspberry-pi:/usr/lib/b2g/chrome/chrome.jar .
    unzip chrome.jar
    vi content/shell.xul
    # change the line 10 to fit your screen resolution
    zip -r chrome.jar content/shell.xul
    scp chrome.jar root@your-raspberry-pi:/usr/lib/b2g/chrome

    If you have vim installed, you can also directly edit the chrome.jar file without unzipping it first.

    If you’re building from source, you can change the patch 0019-adjust_screen_size_1280x1024.diff before building.

  • 3 Rafael Godinez // Apr 20, 2013 at 08:28

    These are excellent news, thanks for the hard work and keeping us up to date.
    If no mouse or keyboard is supported yet, how can we interact with the system?

  • 4 Philipp Wagner // Apr 20, 2013 at 12:32

    @Raphael: Currently, not at all. As I said, I’m using it as infoscreen, where no inputs are necessary.

    But I’m working on the mouse/keyboard stuff, I just wanted to get the release out first and then do the improvements, otherwise it never happens :)

  • 5 Rafael Godinez // Apr 21, 2013 at 10:20

    “Release early, release often” rules :-)

    Thanks Philipp, I’m looking forward to next release , and meanwhile I’ll test this one.

  • 6 Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi: Now Available | Ar... // May 5, 2013 at 18:06

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  • 8 Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi: Now Available | DI... // May 5, 2013 at 22:53

    […] It has been quite some time since my last post about Firefox OS running on a Raspberry Pi, but the questions didn’t stop to come in “when will it be released”? Well, I’m sorry that it took so long (sometimes finding time is not that easy), but finally, here we are: the sources and build instructions are available!  […]

  • 9 Michael Horne // May 6, 2013 at 09:31

    Congratulations, Philipp on this achievement. I’m going to blog about it and keep an eye on how the OS is coming along :-) Be lovely to have another flavour to use on the Pi

  • 10 Firefox OS for #RaspberryPi now available | Raspberry PiPod // May 6, 2013 at 09:37

    […] Philipp Wagner has managed to get the new Firefox OS built and working on a Raspberry Pi. This is an immense achievement as it will truly give us another ‘flavour’ of OS for the Pi. At the moment, the OS doesn’t do very much – it boots but no input devices can be used, so I consider this an ‘alpha’. His development path implies a “release fast, release often” strategy so it will be interesting to see how it develops. He has blogged about this first release here. […]

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  • 13 Dietrich Ayala // May 14, 2013 at 23:12

    Hi Philipp, this is great!

    I’d like to buy you somethings from your Amazon wishlist, but it’s all in German :D Please update the list, and I’ll have a German friend help me out.


    (Project manager, Firefox OS @ Mozilla)

  • 14 Dietrich Ayala // May 16, 2013 at 01:17

    A couple of notes & questions:

    * On Mac, when writing the image with dd, need to do s/disk3s1/rdisk3/

    * The page is currently painted with a portion on the left side off the screen.

    * OMG can’t wait for input support. where do you need help there? anything people can jump in and do?

  • 15 Dietrich Ayala // May 16, 2013 at 07:52

    More notes, re this screenshot:

    * Unicode issues

    * System time is stuck in the past. On the page in Firefox desktop browser there is “5 minutes ago” but in the screenshot as you see it says “in a month”.

  • 16 Philipp Wagner // May 16, 2013 at 22:03

    Hi Dietrich,

    thanks! I’m extremely busy at the moment, so I can’t look deeper into it, but just for now:

    * Page painting: are you sure that the resolution is set to the right value? Please see the instructions above. And also ensure that your overscan settings are right (it might be that your display has overscan enabled and cuts of some portions of the screen)

    * Input support: Oleg already had mouse support working, I’m not exactly sure about the keyboard support yet (I guess that will be a bit more work). I’m working on getting the patch repository updated and online, so that anybody can help with it as well.

    * Unicode: I’m not sure if it’s unicode or a font issue, in my installation here UTF-8 characters like “ü” work without problems.

    * System time: the time should be set using ntp since the Raspberry Pi has no RTC. Could you have a look if this is not working?

  • 17 Dietrich Ayala // May 20, 2013 at 21:18

    * Page painting: fixed with resolution change detailed in earlier comments

    * Input support: awesome news about getting patch repo going. Definitely lots of interest, so hopefully will help accelerate things if more people can easily test and contribute!

    * Unicode: All I did was flash your build.

    * System time: Do you mean it should be set automatically via NTP? Or I need to set up NTP?

    Thanks! Also, I asked a team member in Germany to pick up something off your Amazon wishlist. Thanks again for keeping this project going!

  • 18 Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi: Now Available | Ki... // May 21, 2013 at 13:47

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  • 19 Firefox OS je dostupný pro Raspberry Pi » RASPBBERRY Pi // Jun 3, 2013 at 10:11

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  • 20 Marcio // Jun 3, 2013 at 22:03

    This is great work ! thanks. BTW some work on “infoscreens” for Gecko

  • 21 Patrick // Jun 6, 2013 at 20:25

    Great stuff, can you tell me what the infosceen software is you are running. Looks like just what I need. Thanks.

  • 22 Philipp Wagner // Jun 8, 2013 at 13:48

    @Patrick: I’m running a custom-built HTML page that fetches the data from different sources (e.g. the Yahoo weather API) using JavaScript and displays it. I guess most of it would be of no use for you (since all data except for the weather are especially written for our site, e.g. room occupation information), but if you want to take a look at it I can provide you with the source code of course.

  • 23 Patrick // Jun 19, 2013 at 19:48

    I would be interested in taking a look. I am trying to do the same thing but more generic. I am attempting to learn Javascript at the same time so all I have is some prototypes so far.

  • 24 Oender // Jun 23, 2013 at 21:12

    Hi Philipp,

    thanks for the great work. Right now I’m fooling around with. I’m just curious if webgl is working for you? Any WebGL Demo would fail for me. Any ideas on that?
    Best regards

  • 25 Philipp Wagner // Jun 24, 2013 at 00:26

    @Oender: WebGL didn’t work the last time I tried it, but I didn’t investigate any further what the problem is.

  • 26 Oender // Jun 24, 2013 at 09:53

    @Philipp: Thanks for your response. I’ll try to investigate that and respond back what I found out.

  • 27 Salvador // Jun 28, 2013 at 23:41

    what is the status of this project? were you able to improve the mouse and keyboard issue?
    Thanks for your time for this, many people would be benefit with your work ..


  • 28 Manuel Lama // Jul 8, 2013 at 10:51

    Hi Philipp. I was wondering…how to modify Firefox OS code to allow input from keyboard and mouse. Do you need to modify Html5 or use another language?

    I am a almost complete noob in Firefox OS. I have tried for months to put a image into my Optimus L5. With ironic result. It did not work. ^^’.

    Anyway, I suppose this has nothing to do with GAIA. I suppose.

    If you need help with the project, I have a Raspberry PI. I can help as a tester and sometimes as a code analyst…

  • 29 Robin // Aug 13, 2013 at 09:56

    Hi Philipp. I’m using a Sandisk Ultra SD card with 8GB of memory and Win32DiskImager.

    I decompressed the firefox OS file and wrote it to my SD card which got renamed to raspberrypi (F:), and the green led lights up for two seconds on the pi.
    Any ideas for a solution?

    Here’s the firefox OS direct download:

  • 30 Robin // Aug 13, 2013 at 09:59

    Hi again. I forgot:
    There is no response from my pi, just a black screen.

  • 31 Philipp Wagner // Aug 13, 2013 at 10:03


    it might be that you have a version of the Raspberry PI containing a DDR memory that is not supported by the currently used firmware. You can try to mount the boot partition on your PC and replace the firmware with the newest one found on the Raspberry PI git (


  • 32 Robin // Aug 13, 2013 at 12:25

    Hi philipp. I replaced all the firmware on my SD card. It boots up, but there’s an error in the login section:

    login: pi
    password: raspberry
    login incorrect

    I don’t know much about Linux, so i’m thankful for all help I can get.


  • 33 Philipp Wagner // Aug 13, 2013 at 12:37

    Username is root, password is empty (see, Connect to your Raspberry Pi)

  • 34 Dave // Sep 9, 2013 at 23:13

    I have hard coded 1680×1050 in shell.xul and screen.js. If I run ./b2g it will open full screen (lock screen) but if I “B2G_HOMESCREEN” it always shows at 320×480. I have looked everywhere and have come up with nothing. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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  • 38 Tijo // Oct 12, 2014 at 12:37

    Hi All
    Any update for the keyboard support of FirefoxOS in Rasp pi

  • 39 Philipp Wagner // Oct 16, 2014 at 22:56

    I currently don’t have time to work on this project any more. So no, no updates unfortunately.

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