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Running Boot to Gecko on your desktop

B2G localization: you can now start familiarizing yourself with B2G & Gaia by running the desktop builds.

If you want to preview B2G and Gaia, you might be interested in knowing that the release engineering team started producing desktop builds which you can run on your desktop computer a few days ago.

As Ben Hearsum explains in his blog:

Please note that these are NOT full B2G builds. These are developer-targeted builds which only run on desktop machines, and cannot be flashed onto a phone or tablet. These builds are primarily useful to developers, QA and localizers working on Gaia. They can also be used by anyone who wishes to test out their websites or apps through a B2G-like client.

Also note that these builds are not localized yet, although you will find that a few locales have been enabled and that some strings show up translated.

What you'll need

  • internet connection
  • GNU make (On Mac OS X, you'll need XCode and XCode's Command line tools, to be installed from the Preferences dialog)
  • git

To keep things organized, I created a separate directory for the desktop builds. On my machine, it's ~/moz/b2g/desktop/.

Get Boot to Gecko

You can download the desktop builds from

  • On Linux, download the build ending with linux-i686.tar.bz2 and extract the archive into your working directory (e.g., ~/moz/b2g/desktop/). You'll end up with a b2g directory in your current working directory.
  • On Mac OS X, download the build ending with mac64.dmg. Mount the image and copy the application into your Applications folder.
  • (The Windows builds are also available, but I don't have a Windows machine to test and provide specific instructions. I'll be happy to edit this post if you send me some.)

Get Gaia

Now that we have a build of B2G, we need to download Gaia and create a profile for it which will store our settings and the webcache.

Clone the Gaia repository and create a profile by runnning the following commands in your working directory:

    $ git clone gaia
    $ DEBUG=1 make -C gaia profile

Run it

You're good to go. Make sure you're still in your working directory and run B2G with:

    $ b2g/b2g -profile gaia/profile

Or, if you're on Mac OS X, run:

    $ /Applications/ -profile gaia/profile

Hint: the Esc Home key behaves like the main hardware button, allowing you to quit Gaia apps.

Update it

There are no autoupdates for the desktop builds of B2G yet. The builds are produced every night, however, so you can just re-download them and extract like I described it above.

For Gaia, just cd into your Gaia repo clone, and pull the new commits:

    $ git pull

Bonus: a script

I whipped up a script that does all of the above for me. If you're on Linux, you're welcome to use it.

Go to your working directory and download the script:

    $ curl -O
    $ chmod +x

Lastly, just run it!

    $ ./

If you need help...

Don't hesitate to ping me (stas on in #l10n, #gaia or #b2g. And, as always, the newsgroup is your friend.

Published on 20.07.2012

Staś Małolepszy

Thoughts about the Internet, the information society, Mozilla and human-computer interactions.

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