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FOSDEM 2008: Mozilla Weave

Dan Mills presented the Mozilla Weave project.

The Problem

The problem right now is that with using multiple browsers you create small data silos. Additionally you create them with all the services you use. The idea now is to weave all this information together (hello Data Portability).

Weave Guiding Principles

  • Provide a basic set of optional Mozilla-hosted online services
  • Ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools
  • Provide users with the ability to fully control and customize their online experience, including whether and how their data should be shared with their family, their friends, and third-parties.

Weave is the layer between you, your browsers and the internet. It’s a platform for Mozilla to build on top of the cloud.

Project Status

  • 0.1 prototype released in late December
  • Bookmarkd and history synchronization
  • Weave services use WebDAV and HTTP auth
  • Symmetric password-based encryption for uploaded user data (method used for prototype, will change later)

Upcoming features

  • 3rd party service API
  • Public-key encryption
  • Granular access controls
  • Sync of additional profile data: cookies, dictionaries, extensions, etc.

Extensions are somewhat tricky though because some extensions might not run on all platforms.

Vision: Install new computer, install Firefox, sync up and everything is setup without further action.

Where to get it and get involved


  • Will this be also available for other platforms? They are not spending developer time on it but it should be possible.
  • He sees also many more bookmarks than people have right now (he has 600 bookmarks). It’s quite open right now what to do with people who have looooots of bookmarks. It might be slow for them to sync.
  • Another problem is that decryption in JavaScript is very slow. And you still might want to use JS because it also might be available via a web UI or phone UI. The more your bookmark lists grows the slower it gets. One possibility is to have C implementation where you can. If it’s not available another option is to reduce security at that point to make it faster. Some providers might choose to provide this but not Mozilla.
  • What’s also missing in the infrastructure is a way to share people between two people. So Weave might help here. Somebody wants to keep the service to stay a plain WebDAV server so setup is easy. But this is tricky to achieve with the upcoming feature. Right now it’s easy to setup, you just need Apache.
  • Somebody said that having password-based encryption is great because you don’t need anything else on a new computer. That wouldn’t work though with a PKI as you need a key installed. (didn’t really get the answer though)
  • personal thought: Might this help in my not having my GPG key around when I need it and thus now having 10 of them

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