Here we can see, “Why You Shouldn’t Use Firefox Forks Like Waterfox, Pale Moon, or Basilisk”
Mozilla Firefox is an open-source project, so anyone can take its code, modify it, and release a replacement browser. That’s what Waterfox, Pale Moon, and Basilisk are—alternative browsers supported the Firefox code. But we recommend against using any of them.
If You Don’t Like Firefox Quantum, Use Firefox ESR Instead
We like Firefox Quantum, which is quicker and more modern than previous releases of Firefox. However, if you would like to stay using your old add-ons that do not add Firefox Quantum, we recommend Mozilla’s Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) instead.
Firefox ESR is predicated on Firefox 52, supports traditional XUL Firefox add-ons and NPAPI plug-ins, and can continue receiving security updates directly from Mozilla until July 2, 2018.
Yes, Mozilla has done some things we’re not crazy about. The Mr. Robot “Looking Glass” add-on was ridiculous, and we’re not thrilled about what they’re doing with Cliqz in Germany. But, after taking some deserved public heat, they’ve made policy changes, and we’re hopeful they’ll do better within the future.
Even if you don’t completely trust several Mozilla’s business decisions, your browser is too important to be left to a little community of enthusiasts. On the other hand, we expect it’s best to travel with an enormous project with an excessive number of developers who receive tons of security attention. That’s why we recommend against using these smaller Firefox-based browsers and why we also recommend against using alternative browsers supported by Google Chrome. Here are our concerns with a number of the more popular Firefox alternatives.
Waterfox Is Firefox ESR, But With Slower Security Updates
Waterfox is predicated on Mozilla Firefox, and it’s probably the foremost popular alternative browser supported by the Firefox code. It made a reputation for itself by being a 64-bit browser that supported the Mozilla Firefox code when Mozilla only offered 32-bit versions. However, Mozilla Firefox is now a 64-bit browser on 64-bit versions of Windows, so that’s not a reason to use Waterfox anymore.
Today, Waterfox is predicated on Firefox ESR. It advertises support for traditional XUL Firefox extensions and NPAPI plug-ins like Java and Silverlight. These are both features of Firefox ESR, so you don’t get to switch to Waterfox to urge them. After Firefox ESR reaches the end of Life, “a “new” browser are going to be developed to follow the ethos of Waterfox of customization and choice,” consistent with the Waterfox blog.
Waterfox also has another different feature. It disables Pocket by default, but you’ll disable Pocket yourself in Firefox. Likewise, it won’t send telemetry data to Mozilla, but you’ll disable that from Options > Privacy & Security > Firefox Data Collection and Use in Firefox. Finally, encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which are required for sites like Netflix, also are disabled by default—and, again, you’ll disable them yourself in Firefox, if you wish.
Overall, using Waterfox is essentially a bit like using Firefox ESR and changing a couple of settings…with one big difference: security updates arrive in Firefox ESR much faster than they do in Waterfox. So whenever Mozilla releases security updates for Firefox ESR, the Waterfox developers need to integrate those updates into Waterfox before delivering them to users.
Check out the initial major release: Mozilla released Firefox 57 on November 14, 2017. Waterfox’s developers released Waterfox 56 that incorporated the safety updates found in Firefox 57 on November 30, 2017. We don’t think waiting quite a fortnight for security updates may be a good idea!
Here’s a newer example from a minor release: On January 23, 2018, Mozilla released Firefox 58 and Firefox ESR 52.6 with a spread of security fixes. Three days later, the Waterfox project said it had been performing on integrating these patches on Twitter. Finally, on February 1, 2018, Waterfox 56.0.4 was released with these patches. Meaning Waterfox users waited nine days for security patches from a minor release, compared to using Firefox. We don’t think it’s a simple idea to attend that long.
In the future, this may only get more complicated because the Waterfox developers attempt to make their browser. Therefore, we recommend staying away and just using Firefox ESR.
Pale Moon Is Based on Very Outdated Firefox Code
Pale Moon is predicated on older Firefox code. the present version of Pale Moon is predicated on Firefox 38 ESR, originally released in 2015. The prior release was supported by Firefox 24 ESR, which was released in 2013. The project uses an older Firefox interface created before the Australis theme and still supports XUL add-ons.
Rather than being supported by Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, Pale Moon is predicated on “Goanna, “an open-source browser engine that’s a fork of gecko. (In open-source software, a “fork” is when someone takes the prevailing code of a project, copies it, and develops it themselves from that time forward, getting into a special direction.)
While Waterfox is predicated on code currently supported by Mozilla, Pale Moon is predicated on much older code. As a result, it won’t have the new web features or performance improvements of recent versions of Firefox, nor does it support watching certain sorts of video with DRM.
More importantly, basing a browser on such old code makes security patches harder. Pale Moon’s developer tries to stay up with Firefox security patches, but he’s maintaining old code that Mozilla has abandoned. Mozilla reportedly has over a thousand employees, while Pale Moon has one primary developer, trying to take care of an enormous amount of code that’s becoming increasingly outdated. The older code also omits features that help modern browsers secure, just like the multi-process sandboxing features that have finally arrived in Firefox Quantum.
Besides, Pale Moon tends to perform worse on browser benchmarks than modern browsers, which isn’t surprising given its age. The developer disagrees with browser benchmarking, but it’s not surprising a browser-supported four-year-old code could be slower than a contemporary one.
Basilisk Is a More Modern, But More Unstable Pale Moon
Basilisk may be a new browser from the creator of Pale Moon. While Pale Moon is predicated on Firefox 38 ESR, Basilisk is predicated on newer Firefox code. The developer functions on the “Unified XUL Platform (UXP),” which may be a fork of Mozilla’s code without the new Servo and Rust code that creates Firefox Quantum so fast. It also doesn’t enable any multi-process features.
A future version of Pale Moon will support this code, but immediately the developer considers Basilisk an unstable development platform.
This fits Pale Moon’s quite weird history. the prior major version of Pale Moon was supported Firefox 24 ESR, thanks to a disagreement about where Firefox was headed. But the developer eventually had to modify to Firefox 38 ESR to urge more modern features. The developer is doing an equal thing again, basing this remake largely on the pre-Quantum Firefox code. We don’t see the purpose of resisting new features only to form a serious leap to them every few years anyway. Just persist with a browser that’s continually updated, like Firefox.
As for why you shouldn’t use this browser, apart from an equivalent security and usefulness concerns inherent with Pale Moon, even the developer says it’s “development software” that ought to be considered beta.
These aren’t the sole Firefox-based browsers out there, but they’re the foremost popular—and most others will likely accompany similar issues. It’s best to stay with a browser that features a big team behind it so security problems are often caught, fixed, and patched as fast as possible.
- Is the basilisk browser good?
Basilisk may be a decent Firefox fork if you would like the legacy extensions support. The team behind Pale Moon actively develops it. It is potentially an excellent option for users who want the classic look and feel of Mozilla’s Firefox (before the Quantum update) without compromising on the fashionable web support.
- Does Firefox focus hide your IP address?
Focus, therefore, is about privacy and speed, but it’s not an anonymity shield. It’ll stop advertising tracking and erase what was viewed on the device itself, but it won’t (and wasn’t intended to) stop ISPs from the recording which websites are visited from a given IP address.
- Is Chrome still the simplest browser?
Google Chrome leads the online browser market with a 63.63% share, consistent with Statcounter. Apple Safari follows 19.37%, Mozilla Firefox at 3.65%, Microsoft Edge (Chromium) at 3.24%, and Opera at 2.16%. Internet Explorer remains in use with 0.81%, while Microsoft Edge’s “Legacy” is fading out at 0.32%.
- Are we seriously getting to sleep on a Google-owned web?
- We need to heal the division within the Firefox community