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The^W New Sync (Firefox 29 and later) #26

posativ opened this Issue Jan 8, 2014 · 14 comments


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posativ commented Jan 8, 2014

Firefox 29 and later introduce a new sync API (Storage API 2.0 to be precisely) which is not that different from the previous API. Unfortunately, Mozilla seems to drop support for self-hosted sync servers and encourages all users to use their Firefox Account (FxA in short) product in-the-cloud™.

Self-hosted. [...] inform the user of decommissioning plans so they can make an informed choice.


If you're running sync 1.1 on our server and have 1 client, there's no harm in using FxA


There will be an ESR release (problably Firefox 31) which includes adapters for both APIs. Unless it is no longer possible to self-host sync servers, I recommend to stay with the Extended Support Release (which is supported for 54 weeks), maybe there is a way to run your own server again.

@posativ posativ referenced this issue in owncloudarchive/mozilla_sync Jan 8, 2014


Compatibility with new Firefox Sync #33


posativ commented Jan 8, 2014

Mozilla continues to support self-hosted server, but the new sync API requires a tokenserver which authenticates against the Firefox Account (if I understand this correctly) and a new Storage API.


posativ commented Jan 9, 2014

More details:

Legacy Sync users will not be able to connect new browsers to Legacy Sync on Fx29+. The login screen for FxA Sync will provide a link to a SUMO page providing further information for users trying to do this (i.e., options are install Fx28 or below or upgrade all your devices to Fx29 and use FxA Sync).


EOL for Legacy Sync is proposed to be Fx31.


And regarding custom-servers (aka self-hosted):

In general, Custom Server support for FxA Sync in Fx29 be somewhere between a "non-goal" and "best effort"


Custom servers should in theory be possible with FxA Sync, but with a different architecture (Token server + Sync 1.5).


@Duncaen Duncaen referenced this issue in arkOScloud/genesis Mar 1, 2014


Firefox Accounts (Sync) #258


posativ commented Apr 7, 2014

FYI: Firefox 31 (aka ESR) is NOT going to support the legacy sync and if you need to pair your Android device, make sure you install Firefox 27 first, pair and then upgrade to Firefox 28.

https://bugzil.la/989756 for more unpleasant details. I'll most likely switch from Firefox to something else and won't integrate the new sync service (FxA + token server + sync account bloat shit).

@posativ posativ closed this Apr 7, 2014


untitaker commented Apr 7, 2014

That's very sad to hear. Please keep us updated on which alternative you have settled.

robgg commented Aug 23, 2014

So, are there any meaningful alternatives? Maybe something that progresses at a saner pace? I don't really want to give up on the comfort of my self-hosted sync, and I'd really appreciate having a browser that behaves a bit more consistently and does not greet me with new 'improvements' once every six weeks. I mean, ESR 31 (afaik without sync support) is just around the corner now, and I don't think it is wise to freeze a browser version theese days...


untitaker commented Aug 23, 2014

I still run the old sync. The LTS must be good enough for now.


untitaker commented Aug 23, 2014

And no, i didn't see any alternatives at all :(

robgg commented Aug 23, 2014

Argh... So it is goodbye to all the years of reliable browsing?
Did anyone check out pale moon?
I mean, syncing is kind of a deal breaker here, but it is not like firefox is changing at a reasonable pace (or in a reasonable direction) anyway. It appears more like panicking/chrome copying, and I'm afraid that in May 2015 (release ESR 38), we will have the same conundrum once again, this time without any hope for legacy sync support.


posativ commented Aug 23, 2014

You can still run the official server(s) implementation by Mozilla. It seems that Owncloud's sync plugin is also stucked with the older version (owncloud/mozilla_sync#33).

@untitaker FWIW I dropped Firefox (+ sync) in favor of just dwb without sync (and history limited to ~2500 URLs). I really just miss a synchronization of my bookmarks, nothing more.


untitaker commented Aug 23, 2014

I desparately need password sync, so going to dwb is a no-go for me unfortunately.

robgg commented Aug 23, 2014

yes, password sync is an absolute must for me too.
(My first me too post in years :)
With different customers and each having their own internet access portal/mail frontends/bug systems/whatever with unique pwds and they are all constantly changing....a nightmare w/o a working sync solution.

orencio commented Oct 11, 2014

Sorry for writing in a closed incident, but since the Firefox sources are accessible, would not it be possible to create an extension usin firefox synchronization sorce code and keep 1.4 sync protocol compatibility?


posativ commented Oct 12, 2014

That's also an option, but it will probably require the same amount of code (rewriting) to backport the old sync to an extension combatible with Firefox 32+ as writing a new sync backend.

I don't know much about the actual sync implementation on the client side. It seems complicated and I would favor a new solution that is not tied to Mozilla Sync at all and can be implemented easily in existing browsers (not necessarily Firefox only).

avih commented Oct 13, 2014

The following is my understanding from reading various blogs and pieces of information.

I think the core Firefox functionality of serializing relevant changes (bookmarks, passwords, etc) into chunks which could then be synced is unmodified with the new sync.

However, the new sync uses Firefox Accounts for "pairing" more devices into an account, while the old sync uses "J-Pike" pairing server - which still runs and also is supposedly not hard to set up.

And the protocol between Firefox and the sync server is probably different.

Therefore, creating an addon which uses old pairing (using existing or custom pairing server) + old protocol over the same kind of interface to serializable changes should be feasible.

I didn't try to look into it enough to estimate how hard it would actually be, however.

FWIW, I still use the old sync with hosted FSyncMS, and after setting up (old) sync on each new system using Firefox 28, old sync still works with current Firefox Nightly (35).

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