Published: November 19, 2012 10:10 AM
By Romain Thuret
Translated by: Hugh Ehreth
It may not be out for smartphones and tablets yet, but a prototype of Mozilla's upcoming open source operating system, Firefox OS, is available for download as a browser module.

If you're one of the hundreds of million Firefox users in the world, and you like free and open source software, then this may be for you. Mozilla's mobile OS is currently available for download as a prototype to install on PC, Mac and Linux (not for mobile devices yet). If you're interested, all you have to do is go here and download and install the module and you'll see what Mozilla's teams have come up with in a 6-inch virtual mobile screen on your computer.

Firefox OS

At first sight Firefox OS looks a whole lot like its biggest future rivals, iOS and Android. There's a shortcut bar at the bottom of the screen and pages with rows of icons (large, rather crude-looking icons, if you ask me). Basically, we've seen more original attempts with Windows Phone. But that isn't necessarily the point with Firefox OS, whose stated goal is to offer a free, open and simple user experience. And the freedom is indeed there. You can see it in the settings, for instance, where the Do Not Track feature allows you to stop all data from travelling from your device to websites and search engines.

Firefox Os

The simulator's pretty advanced. You can browse through almost the whole system, go to Firefox Marketplace and even download new apps. There's a "developers" section too, because, let's not forget, the module was put online primarily so that the teams developing the OS could test their apps.

Firefox OS

But anybody can download it and you can actually go pretty deep into the experience by adding Google accounts, importing Facebook contacts and photos and even reading and sending e-mails. Naturally, it also has a fully functional Firefox browser.

Firefox Os

As far as you can tell from the simulator, Firefox OS is fast and easy to use. It's the type of OS you could easily picture sprouting up on entry-level devices, at least at first. The only question now is whether or not it will assimilate well with mobile device hardware.


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