Firefox OS (Boot2Gecko) for Raspberry Pi

1 minute read

Two weeks ago my Raspberry Pi finally arrived. Immediately I started looking around for a way to get Firefox OS (formerly Boot2Gecko, B2G) running on it and found work-in-progress patches for Mozilla by the awesome Oleg "romaxa" Romashin. With those patches, Gecko renders directly into a OpenGL ES framebuffer without using an X Server. Nice! So the plan was to use those patches for the "Firefox" part of "Firefox OS" - now only the "OS" part was missing. I had two ideas for it: it should be as minimal as possible and for best performance it should be a hardfloat build. For this task PTXdist came handy. It's a tool that allows you to build a complete Linux-based operating system (kernel and root file system) from source based on rule files. Again I wasn't the first one using PTXdist on Raspberry PI and after some googling I found a GitHub repository from "fabricega" (I don't know his full name unfortunately) that I could use as basis for my work.

So that was the idea: build Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi by combining Firefox with a PTXdist-built Linux.

Fast-forward two weeks. Welcome today! After many sleepless nights, a couple switches of the GCC and binutils versions (and full rebuilds of everything), different Linux kernels and some work on Oleg's patches, I finally got it all working together! In the mean time Oleg posted a Youtube video of Firefox OS running on Raspberry Pi that made it to the homepage of Many people seem to be excited by the idea of running Firefox OS on Raspberry Pi, which is great.

Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi combines two exciting projects, and I'm sure those two will have a great future together.

A lot of work remains to be done, and I'll post patches and more documentation on how to build all of it in the coming days, but let's get started with some images (and watch Oleg's video if you didn't do so yet!):

The Gaia email app on a LCD screen. The Raspberry Pi running this is not in the picture unfortunately (it powers a 1280×1024 screen without too much trouble!)
Firefox OS User Interface “Gaia” running on a TV, powered by a Raspberry Pi.
Firefox OS Web Browser running on a Raspberry Pi. “Welcome to a new, open and powerful mobile world!”