Mozilla wants Firefox OS to have a feed on Raspberry Pi

Mozilla is angling for Firefox OS to have a place alongside Raspbian as a tool for teaching and bringing web programming to robotics and drones.

Mozilla is hoping its Firefox OS can capture the interest of developers building media players and robotics with Raspberry Pi boards.

Two years on from developer Oleg Romashin demonstrating a port of Boot to Gecko (also known as Firefox OS) for Raspberry Pi, Mozilla is rallying support from web developers to bring the OS up to par with Raspbian, the most commonly used OS among the several options available for the $35 boards.

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Mozilla kicked off the campaign at MozFest 2014, held over the weekend in London, with the goal of releasing a downloadable or flashable version.

So far all it's got is an early version for Raspberry Pi devices, which as it warns is "literally demoware" cobbled together based on the work of Romashin and Phillip Wagner who released a Firefox OS build for Pi last year. The demo version runs inside Raspbian.

As it notes on its Hacking b2g Raspberry Pi page, Firefox OS builds for Pi are "wildly insecure" and therefore shouldn't be connected to a network "unless you don't mind getting completely pwned". The goal clearly is to move beyond this state and to make it a safer product for general hobbysts to play with.

Nonetheless, Mozilla's wiki offers a place for contributors to share knowledge and track bug fixes along the way as well as laying out an ambitious list of milestones to make it useful for hobbyists, such as the ability to read from sensors and control motors, LEDS, solenoids, slave boards, as well as having Firefox OS powering a flying drone.

It also wants the OS to be a competitive option for media player Pi devices, for it to be ready for those just learning programming, as well powering robotics applications using common web programming languages.

The aim is for Firefox OS to be at parity with Raspbian as a hobbyist OS by 2015, when it will launch a series of development challenges to consolidate targets outlined this year.

Stepping up efforts to get Firefox OS would seem to make sense, at least for Mozilla, given the growing interest in Pi devices among developers who've turned the devices into everything from smartphones and tablets to cameras and wearables.

Following its July launch of the improved Pi B+, the UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation last month announced it had shipped 3.8 million units since starting sales in 2012. Mozilla may also benefit from other Pi-based projects such as the Kickstarter-funded Kano kit, which has shipped over 17,000 kits to 86 countries.  

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