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Waterfox, a 64-bit Firefox for all major platforms

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#1 giganerd

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Posted 01 May 2016 - 09:45 PM

Everyone knows Firefox. It's an extremely popular browser known for its versatility and a bit of a focus on privacy/security. Just a bit because Mozilla made the news with some questionable things, especially the Sponsored Tiles may have surprised some regular users. Still, Firefox is on top of everything since it's (mostly) open source and very extension-friendly - something other browsers just can't say about themselves (if they could talk :D).

  • The Chromium part of Chrome might be open source, but Google built in many proprietary parts.
  • Opera is just based on an open source renderer, the rest is proprietary.
  • Internet Explorer, or Edge, is proprietary software in its entirety.

Every other browser you might have heard of is likely to be based on the Firefox codebase, so you don't have much options if you are looking for a FLOSS browser on your PC - it will be some flavor of Firefox, where every flavor alters/hardcodes something else in comparison to the original.

 

Waterfox is no exception: It's based on Firefox. It's even so much based on it, you could think this is Firefox. So what does Waterfox change, and why am I writing about it?

One of the annoyances of Firefox is that Mozilla doesn't offer a 64-bit version officially, there's only a beta. Waterfox is designed to run on those systems, even on 64-bit versions of Windows XP. Also, a few benchmarks have shown that Waterfox increases the browser's performance.

 

But I wouldn't write about Waterfox if there weren't changes related to your "sense of openness" or privacy. So, in comparison to Firefox,

  • there are no Sponsored Tiles - they were completely removed. :)
  • all Telemetry/data collection things were removed.
  • Encrypted Media Extensions (the proprietary DRM part) are disabled.
  • the Pocket integration (also proprietary) was removed.
  • the plugin whitelist was removed, containing mostly proprietary plugins (on install, those plugins will be enabled without the user explicitly enabling them; I think this tech is no longer used in Firefox, anyway, but stlll). As a result, unsigned extensions are allowed to be installed again. Less secure for normal users, but gives you back your freedom of plugin choice AND your ability to run older plugins :)

Want to test it out? Just install it. It uses your existing Firefox profile, so when you launch it you will find everything right where you left it. You can independently uninstall Firefox or Waterfox without issues. :)

 

Download it from the website or just compile it yourself.

 

-- Update 01.01.2017 --

As of Waterfox 50.0, it is possible to build Waterfox on Linux, making Waterfox available for all major platforms. I'm now considering Waterfox again. :)


Always remember:
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Amazon IPs are not dangerous here,
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Same issues are rare! Search for solutions and if not successful open your own threads.

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#2 zhang888

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Posted 01 May 2016 - 10:04 PM

Horrible defaults,

https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/blob/master/netwerk/protocol/http/nsHttpHandler.cpp line 320:

 

mCompatFirefox.AssignLiteral("Waterfox/" MOZ_APP_UA_VERSION);

 

This "thing" will identify itself as Waterfox by default, making you very trackable on the internet since this useragent

is only used by very small number of users. Unless you plan to change it with other 3d party plugins later.


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#3 go558a83nk

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 03:19 AM

Thanks!



#4 S.O.A.

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 04:58 AM

Hello Zhang,

 

Could you hide that with this addon?

 

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/random-agent-spoofer/



#5 zhang888

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 05:22 AM

You can, but the point while making a privacy oriented fork like this is making it secure and anonymous by default,

which is why they try to remove the tracking, or so it seems. But hard-coding such strings opens a bigger risk other

than just using a default official Firefox build.

 

The fact that the developer(s) neglected this, or did it on purpose just to identify their project, brings some serious

potential trust and competency questions against using this fork altogether, imho.

 

A great example of how to do this right is the Tor Browser, no matter what build or platform you are on, it will always

identify itself as Firefox ESR on Windows 7 x64, which is at the moment the most common desktop OS on the internet.

This includes Linux/OSX builds.

 

This is why, if you want a good and private fork of Firefox, you should just download the latest Tor Browser and strip

off the TorLauncher addon from it, making it as good as Firefox, without Tor, without tracking, and with added privacy patches.


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#6 pr1v

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 06:37 AM

I am very satisfied with the stability and speed using Palemoon in GNU/Linux, not a version for this o.s. in Waterfox to test.

#7 giganerd

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 08:03 AM

This browser is neither privacy-oriented nor does it focus on security, zhang. You are wrong. As I wrote, Waterfox is a 64-bit Firefox and is only there to fill this gap. It is not a privacy-oriented browser, just like Firefox by default. The proprietary parts are of course not there since the source code is not available, telemetry is removed because it's not an official thing and it's easier to remove it than to rewrite it. And Sponsored Tiles is of course an argument against free-as-in-freedom software.

Compare Waterfox to the Android Open Source Project, it's the same principle.

(Sent via Tapatalk - this generally means I'm not sitting in front of my PC)

Always remember:
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running TOR exits is discouraged,

using spoilers for your logs is the proper way to heaven.
Same issues are rare! Search for solutions and if not successful open your own threads.

~ Furthermore, I propose that your paranoia is to be destroyed. ~

 


#8 pr1v

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 08:34 AM

This is why, if you want a good and private fork of Firefox, you should just download the latest Tor Browser and strip
off the TorLauncher addon from it, making it as good as Firefox, without Tor, without tracking, and with added privacy patches.

That's a very good point!, you also need to change the network settings to "use system proxy settings" and disable "remote dns".

#9 giganerd

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 12:37 PM

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/review-firefoxs-unofficial-64-bit-variant-waterfox/

 

April 20, 2012, 1:43 AM PST

 

Definitely up-to-date. :P


Always remember:
There's a guide to AirVPN,

Amazon IPs are not dangerous here,
running TOR exits is discouraged,

using spoilers for your logs is the proper way to heaven.
Same issues are rare! Search for solutions and if not successful open your own threads.

~ Furthermore, I propose that your paranoia is to be destroyed. ~

 


#10 iwih2gk

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 05:47 PM

zhang888 wrote: should just download the latest Tor Browser and strip off the TorLauncher addon from it

 

Can you please elaborate on how to "strip off" the TorLauncher addon?  I would love to enjoy some of the privacy settings of the TBB without using TOR for some specific times where I need the speed directly from my ISP.  This would not be too often but there are times I would enjoy such a setup.  I am using debian through and through so forget anything windows related.

 

Even some simple links if you don't want to key a "how to" here.

 

Please.



#11 S.O.A.

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 06:43 PM

zhang888 wrote: should just download the latest Tor Browser and strip off the TorLauncher addon from it

 

Can you please elaborate on how to "strip off" the TorLauncher addon?  I would love to enjoy some of the privacy settings of the TBB without using TOR for some specific times where I need the speed directly from my ISP.  This would not be too often but there are times I would enjoy such a setup.  I am using debian through and through so forget anything windows related.

 

Even some simple links if you don't want to key a "how to" here.

 

Please.

 

I too would like to know how to strip the Tor browser Zhang.

 

Regarding the privacy of Waterfox, maybe an experienced AirVPN Watefox user could change this part of Waterfox and release there own version (cough) Giganerd (cough) :D You could call it GigaFox :D



#12 pr1v

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 07:41 PM

Zhang already posted that you must disable TorLauncher addon, and I also answered to change the network settings (in Tor Browser), that's all.

#13 cm0s

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 03:03 AM

what pr1v said

cheerz

#14 giganerd

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 06:49 AM

I personally experienced a performance boost when I switched to Waterfox, but I see how this doesn't need to affect all system setups.

Since Waterfox is missing many proprietary and annoying parts of Firefox, one may choose to use this for a more "clean" browsing experience. A default UA string is a trifle, since you can change that.

(Sent via Tapatalk - this generally means I'm not sitting in front of my PC)

Always remember:
There's a guide to AirVPN,

Amazon IPs are not dangerous here,
running TOR exits is discouraged,

using spoilers for your logs is the proper way to heaven.
Same issues are rare! Search for solutions and if not successful open your own threads.

~ Furthermore, I propose that your paranoia is to be destroyed. ~

 


#15 daberg

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 04:34 AM

Thanks to the OP!  I don't really think 64bit execution will help me in my situation, but I like the following:

  • there are no Sponsored Tiles - they were completely removed. smile.png
  • all Telemetry/data collection things were removed.
  • Encrypted Media Extensions (the proprietary DRM part) are disabled.
  • the Pocket integration (also proprietary) was removed.
  • the plugin whitelist was removed, containing mostly proprietary plugins.../

 

gave it a shot, now got a new default browser for my old macbook! Thx



#16 giganerd

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 05:31 PM

As of Waterfox 50.0, it is possible to build Waterfox on Linux, making Waterfox available for all major platforms. I'm now considering Waterfox again. :)


Always remember:
There's a guide to AirVPN,

Amazon IPs are not dangerous here,
running TOR exits is discouraged,

using spoilers for your logs is the proper way to heaven.
Same issues are rare! Search for solutions and if not successful open your own threads.

~ Furthermore, I propose that your paranoia is to be destroyed. ~

 


#17 pr1v

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 07:07 PM

Now that it's in GNU/Linux I will give it a try and see if it can replace Firefox, the problem is I can't see the sums to check the integrity of the download... Do you know where is it?

#18 pr1v

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 07:29 PM

The only strange thing is that everytime I start Waterfox in GNU/Linux it asks me to restart the browser to update it, and there's nothing to update.
I also installed "User Agent Switcher" addon and created a new entry named Tor with its user-agent: "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/45.0" (I had to create a new entry in about:config as "useragentswitcher.reset.onclose" and set it to "false", so in every reboot the default entry is not reset.

As my alternative browser to "do some other things" (my main browser is Tor) is very good :)

#19 giganerd

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 08:07 AM

I can't see the sums to check the integrity of the download

 

Did you manage to find them?

 

The only strange thing is that everytime I start Waterfox in GNU/Linux it asks me to restart the browser to update it, and there's nothing to update.

 

I had something similar with some Waterfox 40+ on Windows 8.1. I believe it's a bug but I need to check for myself.


Always remember:
There's a guide to AirVPN,

Amazon IPs are not dangerous here,
running TOR exits is discouraged,

using spoilers for your logs is the proper way to heaven.
Same issues are rare! Search for solutions and if not successful open your own threads.

~ Furthermore, I propose that your paranoia is to be destroyed. ~

 


#20 pr1v

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 08:29 AM

I can't see the sums to check the integrity of the download

Did you manage to find them?

The only strange thing is that everytime I start Waterfox in GNU/Linux it asks me to restart the browser to update it, and there's nothing to update.

I had something similar with some Waterfox 40+ on Windows 8.1. I believe it's a bug but I need to check for myself.[
I didn't find it but being honest I haven't searched it too much :)





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