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Roaming Profiles for Firefox

Just collecting ideas here. You're invited to discuss/revise/add...

Main Firefox roaming bug: bug 249343.
Plans for Profile Sharing in Mozilla 2 (the Platform)

Description: Share a server hosted profile between multiple browser installations. Enable secure storing and transmission of bookmarks, mail headers, passwords, cookies etc. Take your browsing environment with you.

Note: There are several Projects/Extensions trying to do similar stuff: Bookmark sharing, publishing in Composer, Calendar remote storage/syncing... In my opinion this general functionality (user files transfer and syncing) should be part of Core.

Two general schemes for roaming:

  • file:\\ based on a LAN, a lot of work and discussion already went into this.
  • http:\\ or similar to a web server (possibly DAV or LDAP enabled). Would be really nice to have a PHP script that allows a relatively simple install of such a feature for the user.
  • How about a peer to peer approach? The other approaches require you to have/set up a server. Many users may not have access to one. Instead you could use thunderbird to 'mail' updates to itself. Then when you log onto a new machine, it would receive the special mail file with for example a set of bookmarks. This would then be synchronized with whatever bookmarks are on the current machine.

Basically it 'd be a great step forward to be able to share a profile between the work (corporate) environment and home.

Check Ben Bucksch' comment in bug 147344.

From bug 31732 comment #9: (Robert Towster)
I really love roaming but it would be nice to be able to start up anyone's mozilla, and do something like "File - Login" and it would prompt me for the roaming server name, my ID and password. Using that it would retrieve my roaming profile. It would also be nice to provide "File - Logout".. followed by a confirmation box that gives the option to save the profile or not.

This isn't really a roaming issue, but it could be enabled through the same capabilities as roaming. One problem I have is introducing non-techies to Firefox. There are certain extensions that I think are important, and I want them to install. I'm not talking about a 'standard' extension bundle, because my set of extensions may be different than yours. Anyway, since they are non-technical they don't have the inclination or ability to search through extensions to find specific ones. I would like to be able to 'export' some or all extensions from my current system and 'import' them simply to a destination site. This export/import process could be used for roaming so I can synch extensions across my desktop/laptop; it could be used as mentioned above to set up new users; individual users could even post 'my favorite ff extensions' on their web site as recomendations for others.

Login/Profile Selection:

  • Always login as... (default; similar to win2k, xp, OSX logon options)
  • Must always login (also activates master password)
  • Must login and choose profile directory (also activates master password).

mail -> share only sent mails
choose a protocol: HTTP(DAV), FTP, LDAP

Guest mode: create a temporary profile that is deleted "onBrowserLogout" or after a user selected time has passed. [it's not exactly roaming, but related]

Things not to store by default:

  • browser cache
  • mail bodies
  • ...
Also see: bug 147344: Breaking up the profile for roaming, sharing and performance

Other relevant "bugs":
bug 228629: [Tracking] Critical roaming bugs
bug 210870: LDAP Roaming
bug 124029: Roaming - 4.x-HTTP-compatible

Thanks to Ben Bucksch for his considerable work already spent on this over the last years! Thank you also to Pete Zha and others.