Running Firefox OS in your browser

Posted by Trent Nouveau

So you've tried out Google's Chromebook, own an Android phone, use Apple's iPad and work on a PC that runs Microsoft Windows 8.

But what about Mozilla's stripped-down Firefox OS for mobile devices? Sure, you could flash the nascent open-source OS to a Galaxy Nexus or even a Raspberry Pi but what if you just wanted to take the OS for a spin on your PC or Mac?

Well, now you can, courtesy of a 64MB Firefox browser add-on emulator known as r2d2b2g. There are separate versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux, although be warned, as the Windows iteration is reportedly somewhat "crashy" at this point.

As the folks at Geek.com confirm, most of the rapidly evolving operating system is working as expected, with the Firefox Marketplace up and running, along with a built-in maps app, address book and Facebook imporation tool.

Now I just want to say kudos to Mozilla for working on a truly open-source OS. However, I honestly can't help but wonder about the operating system's chances of success in the long-term.

While FxOS will undoubtedly find a warm welcome amongst developers, modders and hackers, it remains unclear if the OS will ever win mainstream adoption, especially when Android and iOS continue to dominate the handset market.

However, if FxOS manages to successfully differentiate itself from the rest of the mobile OS pack, it could build slowly build momentum and even eke out a respectable market share.