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Mozilla To Shut Down Persona Login System On Nov. 30

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Mozilla will completely shut down its Persona single-sign-on system on Nov. 30 this year.

Mozilla Persona was launched in 2011 and it was supposed to be an alternative to Facebook Connect and OpenID, which would allow website operators to support registration and login on their websites without any passwords.

Users could register with an email and a single password for logging on to multiple services. The Persona concept was straightforward but it did not attract many users and the adoption rate for the service was very low.

Users Not Impressed

In March 2014, Mozilla transferred the little-known Persona project from its full-time developers to a community of volunteers. As the adoption rate of Persona remained unimpressive, Mozilla has decided to completely rid itself of the service.

"When the Mozilla Identity team transitioned Persona to community ownership, we committed resources to operational and security support throughout 2014, and renewed that commitment for 2015," said Ryan Kelly of Mozilla. "Due to low, declining usage, we are reallocating the project’s dedicated, ongoing resources and will shut down the persona.org services that we run."

Not The First

Persona is not the first project that Mozilla has ditched. In early December 2015, Mitchell Baker, the executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation, announced that they are planning to spin off email client Thunderbird and are looking for a new maintainer. Baker said that the company wants to focus its resources on the Firefox browser.

"Many inside of Mozilla, including an overwhelming majority of our leadership, feel the need to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact," said Baker. "With all due respect to Thunderbird and the Thunderbird community, we have been clear for years that we do not view Thunderbird as having this sort of potential."

In December 2015, Mozilla also confirmed that it has stopped the development of the Firefox OS for low-priced smartphones.

"Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HDTVs," said Ari Jaaksi, senior vice president of Connected Devices at the Mozilla Foundation. "However, we weren't able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels."

Firefox OS was meant to compete with the low-cost Android smartphones but its popularity was far less than Mozilla actually expected. A major chunk of low-cost smartphone users in emerging markets preferred Android-based phones to Firefox OS-running handsets.

After Nov. 30, 2016, the Persona.org domain will not be available and all user data will be deleted from the servers.

The community has the option to deploy the project source code for free on their own and without any financial assistance from Mozilla. The Persona system used only emails and no passwords. Mozilla executives suggest that this will make it easy for users to migrate to other forms of authentication.

Mozilla will still have control over Persona.org but Kelly says that Persona's code will be available on GitHub.

Check out Persona.org to see how the service works.

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