Marketplace closing - how to backup copies of apps?


(Will) #1

EDIT: See second post for how get an archive for personal use written by @mossroy . Thanks @vmx for the link :slight_smile:

Hi everyone,

The Firefox Marketplace for web apps will close in on 30th March:

The Marketplace will shut down on March 30th, 2018. If there are any apps that you would like, and have not downloaded yet, please do so before that date. See the wiki for more background.

The wiki says:

We announced in March 2016 that the Firefox OS Marketplace will remain open until at least January 2018. We have since made the decision to shut down Firefox Marketplace on March 30th of this year. Thank you so much for your participation in this project. Together we grew Marketplace to touch over 50M unique users, in over 30 countries and 50 languages and explored the boundaries of the web across multiple platforms. Your contributions and expertise have been greatly appreciated! With sincerest thanks, Firefox OS Marketplace Team

I know I can download and install apps now, but what about if I have to restore my phone from recovery or reflash it? Marketplace will be gone, so how can I store a backup of the apps I want to keep?

I assume there’s some work-around where I find the address of the server where Mozilla is keeping the apps, download the packages I want to keep and then somehow sideload them onto the phone. This is a bit of a hack, is anyone left who knows a more accessible solution?

Cheers :slight_smile:

PS - here’s my work-around method. AFAIK it’s only feasible to do from Firefox Desktop, not the FirefoxOS phone itself:

  1. Go to marketplace.firefox.com My Apps page: https://marketplace.firefox.com/purchases (you need to login)
  2. Use Firefox dev tools (F12 on my box), use the Picker (right of Inpector) then click on any button that says “Install” (even if greyed out).
  3. In the highlighted HTML, right click and Edit, then copy the “data-manifest_url”, which should look like this: “https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/56a871cb-134c-40b2-9cb2-d5ed8c06171c/manifest.webapp
  4. Paste this into the address bar and go there
  5. This is a manifest file for the app package. Save this file
  6. Then copy the “package_path” field, which is a XIP file with an address like this: https://marketplace.firefox.com/downloads/file/271152/file-manager-1.0-beta2.20150315.zip. Download this ZIP file.

So the ZIP contains the app, and the manifest says how to install the app. What I’ve not tried yet is how to install this myself. I don’t even know how this will work for privileged apps.

Can anyone help?


(Volker Mische) #2

Someone wrote a backup script. According to the author it’s not 100% reliable, but it’s a start: https://github.com/mossroy/marketplace-backup


(Lapineige) #3

Thanks @vmx :slight_smile:

I propose to provide you a Nextcloud folder to store the backups (but keep a local copy ;), I just need someone to do a backup and give me its approximate size.


(Will) #4

Thanks @vmx! I see from the IRC logs that @mossroy wrote this a few weeks ago, great!

@lapineige, as discussed on telegram, I’ll run the script and combine my downloads with everything in your Nextcloud you get from everyone else, then we can all replicate the archive.


(Rabimba) #5

I have the archive.
It roughly is around 14GB.

I can easily host it (matter of fact it is right now hosted). But not entirely sure we are allowed to distribute the hosted files by ourselves.


(Lapineige) #6

Not 100% sure, but I’d say yes for all the free softwares, as long as we credit the authors. (which is not that simple…?)


(Rabimba) #7

I am more concerned about this part

I asked Mozilla if I could host these apps : they did not agree, as their developer agreement only allows Mozilla to distribute the apps. They also refused to host this by themselves, or to let me do it on one of their servers.


(Mossroy) #8

Hi,

The script indeed downloads all the apps from the Marketplace. I noticed that the API did not always return the same result, so I’m not 100% sure it downloads everything.
I ran it several times as a workaround.
I also end up with 14.5GB.

Technically, the result can easily be shared. But there is a license issue : if we want to re-distribute these apps, we need to check that the developers allow us to do so. Each developer signed an agreement to deploy an app on the Martketplace, that only allows Mozilla to distribute it.
Anyway, if the app has been released with a Free Software license, we have the right to redistribute. But I did not find any simple and reliable way to find all the apps with such license. The JSON information does not have a license field.


(Will) #9

Ah, big shame we can’t put the archive somewhere for others to share. But that’s software licences…

At least we can all use your script @mossroy (thanks again) and get the archive ourselves.

Following the link you gave to the API docs: https://firefox-marketplace-api.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html
I also couldn’t find anything in the API that would indicate the licence or copyright status.

The marketplace agreement https://marketplace.firefox.com/developers/docs/policies/agreement
says that:

You hereby grant to Mozilla and its affiliates a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license under all of your rights necessary to make your Marketplace Content and related Brand Features available in connection with the Firefox Marketplace, third party marketplaces, and on any devices that support Marketplace Content. For clarity, without limiting the foregoing this license means that we can distribute and promote your Marketplace Content so that it can be (a) discovered and installed by users directly from the Firefox Marketplace (b) made available for download/distribution from third party marketplaces, and discovered and installed by users from such third party marketplaces that distribute Marketplace Content, and © pre-loaded by Mozilla Partners on Firefox OS devices, and discovered and used as a preload on such Firefox OS devices. Marketplace Content may be accessible on any platform capable of running open web technologies and on multiple devices, such as phones, tablets, desktop computers, and TVs.
To me this means Mozilla could give someone permission to host the entire archive for distribution, if Mozilla wanted to.

Is this what you already asked them?


(Mossroy) #10

That’s VERY interesting.
I did not take the time to read this license in details. I trusted the people I talked to on #marketplace (IRC) that Mozilla did not have the right to let us redistribute that.
eviljeff said :

we can’t grant rights we don’t have - the developer agreement only talks about Mozilla distributing the apps

If this is wrong, there might be a legal way for us to redistribute (IF Mozilla accepts to let us do so)
I think this should be asked to Mozilla (on #marketplace or by any other way). I might do that later today on IRC.

NB : I had already setup an HTTP server to make all the content available. It’s still there, only disabled. I can re-enable it at any time.


(Will) #11

Well, it’s very interesting that on #marketplace they told you that, it certainly doesn’t seem in line with the developer agreement. I pulled up the IRC logs, you certainly seemed to get a lot of pushback.

There’s a discussion going on in telegram at the moment if you’ve got time to join in.

Apart from IRC, my only other suggestions for contacting Mozilla about this are:

If, after reading all the above carefully, you have a further question about the licensing terms of anything created by the Mozilla project, please send the question to licensing@mozilla.org.

Let’s hope we can get your HTTP server re-enabled!


(Ben Francis) #12

Hi everyone,

I asked internally for some clarity on whether Mozilla could provide a full archive download and what the situation is regarding re-distribution of app content.

The short answer is:

In order to distribute an app on your website, you must have permission from the app developer. Mozilla cannot and does not authorize you to distribute any apps offered on the Firefox Marketplace.

The long answer is:

Mozilla announced in early 2016 (after announcing discontinuation of Firefox OS development) that it would keep Firefox Marketplace open until at least January 2018. Earlier this year Mozilla announced it would shut down Firefox Marketplace on March 30, 2018. Users have been encouraged to download any Firefox Marketplace apps they would like prior to March 30, 2018, and all app developers were notified of this decision as well.

There are legal, technical and resource constraints preventing Mozilla from authorizing a third party to continue to host Firefox Marketplace or the Firefox Marketplace apps on another site. Mozilla will not be authorizing a third party to do so.

Mozilla was authorized to offer the apps on Firefox Marketplace (for download and use by individuals) by having an agreement in place between Mozilla and each app developer/owner. Anyone else who might want to offer the apps through their own website is responsible for obtaining the appropriate and necessary rights and permissions from the applicable app developers/owners for each app - Mozilla cannot and does not authorize any such distribution, or the use of any Mozilla trademarks with any such distribution.

Sorry I can’t be any more help. I would suggest that you download the apps you want for your personal use and note down the developer information and support contact details for those apps if you want to ask the authors for permission to modify and re-distribute them, before the Marketplace is shut down at the end of the month.


(Will) #13

Thanks @benfrancis

Gutted. It’s a clear message, the answer is no we can re-distribute. However we can download and keep for personal use.


(Mossroy) #14

@benfrancis : thanks for this feedback. I suppose we can take that as an official answer from Mozilla?

I understood the “no” answer, but I’m still puzzled by the justification of this “no”.

I’m not a lawyer but, to me, the developer license is clear : it does allow Mozilla to grant a “third-party Marketplace” to re-distribute the apps (see the emphasized excerpts from @madbilly above).

It seems to me that Mozilla could. But Mozilla does not want to.

There’s a difference, even if the result is the same…


(Will) #15

I agree, I don’t understand the “does not want to” part. Worryingly, it’s very like Microsoft’s attitude to everything it got from Nokia - now the only place to get lost apps and firmware is from dodgy sources. This is surely not something that Mozilla wants to happen with the legacy of Firefox OS.

Which definition, or example of “legacy” does Mozilla consider Firefox OS to be?
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/legacy

The example of the ancient Greeks or the example of war?


(Cyril SAINTIGNY) #16

Hi @lapineige, this is a nice idea. I hope you can make it.


(Cyril SAINTIGNY) #17

haha @madbilly!
The (not so) funny thing is I dropped my FirefoxOs phones (because of the lack of development of apps and lack of japanese language support) for a Nokia Lumia!

As I read on this editorial, http://lug68.org/edito/20180219, why could MOZILLA not keep the Marketplave alive? What are the costs of keeping a few gigs online?

Were they paid by somebody or some thing to shut it so that the tremendous success of such a nice piece of software disapears from all memories: yes, a small player compared to Alppe, Microsfot, Glougle (and roid), could market nice working phones so quiclky and efficiently, and then,for no reason: well, we’ll stop it.

too bad!


(Will) #18

Yes it’s disappointing. However, if you want to download the apps then the script from mossroy works well. We can only speculate why they won’t keep an archive of the marketplace as a legacy.


(Gomfgomf) #19

Hello everybody.

I am passionate about firefox os users, alcatel one touch Fire E.
Unfortunately, the marketplace is no longer available. A pity.
I have just come to this forum.

Can someone please provide the apps to me? Please as download or by e-mail (zip)?
Please please. That would be nice.

Thank you

(Please excuse the english. Created with google translator.)


(Will) #20

There’s some useful information on the mailing list:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mozilla.dev.fxos