Bootstrap Your System to Build Firefox

September 18, 2012 at 05:00 PM | categories: Mozilla, Firefox

If you've looked at the build instructions for Firefox lately, you may have noticed something new: support for system bootstrapping!

Now checked in to mozilla-central is a framework for ensuring your system is capable of building mozilla-central and Firefox. You just need to download and run a single Python script and it performs magic.

Kudos go out to a community contributor, kmm (name wasn't revealed) for doing the legwork for tracking down and verifying things worked on all the Linux distros. Richard Newman and Jeff Hammel also helped with code reviews. Just hours after it landed, Landry Breuil contributed support for OpenBSD!

Currently, bootstrapping works for the following:

  • Ubuntu Linux
  • Mint
  • CentOS 6.x
  • Fedora
  • OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8
  • OpenBSD

If you want to add support for an additional OS, please file a Core : Build Config bug. Likewise, if you encounter an issue, please file a bug so others don't get tripped up by it!

Bootstrap support is definitely in its infancy. It still needs features like better prompting and opportunities for user choice (e.g. support MacPorts on OS X - currently it only works with Homebrew). But, I think it is much better than what existed previously, especially on OS X.

I consider this bootstrapping component just one piece in a larger mission to make developing and building Firefox (and other Gecko applications) easier. This should (hopefully) lead to more development involvement. The next component to land will likely be mach. It's (finally) been getting some review love (thanks Jeff Hammel!), so I'm optimistic it will land in the next few weeks.