Question on Mozilla support for self-hosting

James Sundquist sundquistjames at
Mon Apr 2 22:47:08 UTC 2018

Hi Mark,

Just want to follow up with you.  I would love to see better support from
Mozilla for selfhosters.  I am genuinely interested in Mozilla as a pioneer
for freedom and privacy, even from their own services.  I know your time is
valuable, and I’m continuing to ask others for their opinions.  This is
what I’ve understood.

- Those who want an easy to install, well documented solution do not rely
on Sync 1.5
- [Sync 1.1 was absolutely one of the most popular selfhosted, easy to
install apps used in Owncloud for years, requiring users simply install a
package from the Owncloud app store with a single click.](
- Selfhosted users on Nextcloud and Owncloud still use Sync 1.1 with the
Palemoon firefox fork to maintain this simple experience, despite no
support from Mozilla.
- Sync 1.5 documentation is terrible or non-existent
- Sync 1.5 is too difficult to install, with some snap packages available,
but others not packaged at all.
- Sync 1.5 is too resource intensive for some to want to install on their
- [Sync 1.5 breaks authentication in Nextcloud Floccus bookmarks extension,
probably the most popular selfhosted Bookmarks solution in 2018, and is no
longer encouraged at all by Nextcloud Bookmark devs as of March 2018(
To quote the Floccus readme on github:
> Historically this was once possible using the mozilla sync app
<>. However, it's not very
easy anymore <> to
run your own sync server and it still would only work with firefox.
- Nextcloud Bookmarks would love API support for tags when syncing data
from the Firefox browser.

There is a lot of FUD, but it makes sense that Mozilla would care about
such things more than any browser in existence.
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 4:15 PM Mark Hammond <mhammond at> wrote:

> On 22/03/2018 6:13 am, James Sundquist wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I asked for input from a Nextcloud Bookmarks dev in this thread.  Hope
> > it is helpful.
> >
> There is a huge amount of misinformation in that thread. We'd welcome
> the Nextcloud devs talking to us here to get actual facts instead of the
> FUD that seems to dominate now.
> > I think, as was pointed out before and has lead me to creating floccus,
> > that, while hosting your own firefox sync server is nice and a nextcloud
> > app that does that would be useful to many, we would be, once again, at
> > the mercy of mozilla since we basically replicate infrastructure that
> > they probably perceive not as an API or standard that needs to be
> > maintained, but as a private service that they can change whenever they
> > like.
> To be frank, the fact you want to integrate with Firefox at all does put
> you at the mercy of Mozilla to some degree.
> Also, it would be largely impossible to write an effective sync client
> today using only webextension APIs and I doubt that will ever be
> possible in the future either - for example, our current bookmark
> syncing has custom SQL tables that join to existing SQL tables and
> execute SQL directly - web extensions are simply never going to offer
> that capability (and you simply can't make a reliable bookmark sync
> engine without that capability.)
> The differences between Sync 1.1 and 1.5 are almost all related to
> authentication, and it *is* possible to self-host all parts of the new
> stack. I'd recommend you encourage the Nextcloud devs to talk with us
> directly about how they might move their 1.1 implementation to 1.5.
> Hope this helps,
> Mark
>   (I know this might be changing, as more people implement sync
> > clients, but I don’t think many will do so.) However, I’m happy they
> > have adopted the WebExtension quasi-standard, as I expect this to be
> > much more stable – even more so, since a lot of extensions depend on it
> > rather than just a few people running their own sync infrastructure.
> >
> > That being said, the landscape for WebExtension support in Firefox still
> > leaves some things to be desired, from my perspective as the developer
> > of floccus: It’s currently impossible to access bookmarks’ tags with a
> > webextension, and Firefox for Android doesn’t offer access to bookmarks
> > at all, which is a major drawback for me. Still, I feel things are
> > improving and we’re getting closer :slight_smile:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 7:23 PM Mark Hammond <mhammond at
> > <mailto:mhammond at>> wrote:
> >
> >     On 2/03/2018 1:26 pm, James Sundquist wrote:
> >      > Hi,
> >      >
> >      > I’m interested in improving Mozilla Firefox support for open
> source,
> >      > self-hosted solutions that do not require Firefox Sync servers for
> >      > bookmarks, tags, history, and passwords.  Here is my question on
> the
> >      > status of Firefox support for self hosting + how the current 1.5
> Sync
> >      > implementation could be improved for the greater community.  I’m
> >     excited
> >      > to hear your thoughts!
> >      >
> >      >
> >
> >     That thread has a link to our docs for self-hosting a sync server,
> which
> >     seems to be what you are asking for.
> >
> >     You also say in that thread that "I know the self-hosted community is
> >     not satisfied with the current implementation of Sync 1.5 Afaik.",
> but
> >     that's not our experience - we can certainly do a better job on
> >     documentation, but we really need feedback on the areas that need
> help
> >     and try to be responsive when we notice things that can be improved.
> We
> >     also try to act on bug reports and pull requests in a timely manner.
> >
> >     In that vein, we are happy discuss how things could be improved for
> the
> >     greater community - what did you have in mind?
> >
> >     Cheers,
> >
> >     Mark
> >
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