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Mozilla changes focus and hands Persona over to community

Mozilla's attempt to bring federated identity authentication to the web has been handed over to its community as the browser maker focuses on Firefox accounts.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor on

Development of Mozilla's federated identity service, Persona, will be handed over to the community as the browser maker intends to continue support for the system, but redeploys its Identity developers on other projects.

"Persona's community has stepped up to lead Persona's development. This includes both long-term volunteers and former paid contributors, all of whom deeply believe in Persona's unique vision for decentralised authentication," wrote Mozilla's Dan Callahan in a blog post announcing the changes over the weekend.

"The Mozilla staff from the Identity team are already working on Cloud Services projects including Firefox accounts and Sync."

Callahan said that Mozilla intends to continue support for Persona, and that Mozilla is not looking to shutter the service in 2014.

"Should we ever consider decommissioning it, we will provide ample notice and a long deprecation window," he said.

Reasons cited for the service failing to see the uptake that Mozilla wanted were the increase in scope of the project adding features that users did not want, not being able to offer user data as do services such as Facebook Connect, and large sites having their own login infrastructure not needing Persona.

A year ago, Mozilla intended to have Persona available to half the global internet user population, and despite integration with Google and Yahoo, the service never took off.

Instead of working on Persona, Mozilla is focusing its efforts on Firefox accounts for the Firefox browser and Firefox OS that will work across Mozilla's Sync, Marketplace, and Find My Device services.

"We believe that these needs are more time sensitive, and thus higher priority, than Persona," wrote Callahan.

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