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20 July 2012, 14:37

Mozilla publishes first Firefox OS nightly builds

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Firefox OS logo Nightly builds of Mozilla's open source Firefox OS for mobile devices are now available to download from the project's FTP server for testing. These early builds, labelled b2g-17.0a1, are aimed at developers and run on desktop systems for testing. With the desktop builds for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (source code is also provided), developers can try out the system, and create and test web apps; Mozilla's release engineering team hopes that users will also report any bugs they find.

The Firefox OS platform – first launched in 2011 as Boot to Gecko (B2G) – is the non-profit organisation's browser-centric operating system (OS) for mobile devices. The system's architecture, which runs on top of a Linux kernel, is designed to eliminate the need for applications to be built using platform-specific APIs. Instead, developers can create new apps using open standards such as HTML5.

Zoom Mozilla's web-based Firefox OS for mobile devices
Source: Tony Chung
Phone functionality is implemented as locally stored web applications, removing all user-facing native code and middleware layers from the device. Any APIs needed to fully exploit the capabilities of the phone, such as camera, Bluetooth, USB and NFC, are being implemented as Web APIs and then submitted to the W3C "for standardization".

A number of device manufacturers, including TCL Communication Technology and ZTE, have already signed up to build Qualcomm Snapdragon-based devices using Mozilla's mobile OS; the first consumer devices running Firefox OS are expected to arrive on the market in early 2013 in Brazil.

Further details about the nightly builds can be found a blog post by Mozilla's Tony Chung, while instructions for building and running B2G are provided on the Gaia/Hacking MozillaWiki.

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