Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mobile Happiness with Firefox OS!

As I described in a previous post back in mid June at the start of the LibriFox "Summer of Code", I am not as a rule an early adopter of new technologies, and am now making regular use of a mobile phone for the first time in my life.

I just purchased a Nexus 5 and so far I am delighted with it.

Here is why:
  • I was able to easily root the device, install MultiROM Manager, and then make it dual-boot (triple boot, actually, since I installed Ubuntu as well) with Firefox OS.  I will be using Firefox OS as my main OS, and I'm happy to say that the version v2.2 pre-release image I found here is working great.  The only app that doesn't work is the FM radio, since the Nexus 5 unfortunately doesn't have an FM chip. What it does have that I really wanted was 4G connectivity. Browsing the web or loading a location map through the mobile data connection are quite pleasant now.
  • Alex Hirschberg completed a wonderfully successful "Summer of Code", delivering the LibriFox app to the Firefox OS Marketplace.  For me this is a "killer app" that alone makes having the phone worthwhile.  That's why I setup the "Summer of Code" in the first place, and I am completely satisfied with the results that Alex delivered.  I would not hesitate to fund "Summer of Code" again next year, provided I can find another graduate at least half as good as Alex. Here is a screen shot of LibriFox running on my phone:
  • As a regular Capital Bikeshare user, I thought I was going to have to boot into Android to use BikeShare! Not so. DC Bike Finder will serve my needs nicely, and keeps me from having to reboot. Here is a screenshot of DC Bike Finder running on my phone:
What drew me to Firefox OS in the first place was a developer environment that lowered the barrier to entry (see my April 16 post, Firefox OS and Lowering the Barrier to Entry into ICT) and would thus be a platform friendly to student learning. With a mobile device that I like to use and feel closely connected with thanks to contributing to it through LibriFox, I am excited about the prospect of further developing the Firefox OS curriculum inroads we began last year and seeing both how far we can progress in the new year and what surprises our journey will bring.


  1. Hi,

    I am trying to fund engineering students in India to work on FireFox OS. I don't mind providing some funding to your projects, however the dollar-to-rupee conversion rate may inhibit large funds :-(

    Great to read your post, very motivating.

    Can you tell me more about how you set up the goals of the project and how to identify useful projects for Firefox OS?

    For me, important issues are secure screen lock and data (micro-SD card or otherwise) encryption. I would also like a nice keyboard, swipe-style, and a tor browser, but fast.

    Your thoughts on these?

    Thanks again.

    1. We should see what the latest changes from Mozilla mean in terms of the future of the OS. I love my FXOS phone, and certainly hope to keep using it.

  2. Alex's LibriFox app really is a "killer app" for me, and keeps me using my dual-boot (Android / Firefox OS) phone in FXOS more than 80% of the time. I'll be watching what happens with FXOS closely to see if continued effort with the project makes sense. I hope so!