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  • Pale Moon vs. Waterfox and their quirks

    Home Forums AskWoody support Questions: Browsers and desktop software Pale Moon vs. Waterfox and their quirks


    This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Sueska 6 months ago.

    • Author
    • #244880 Reply



      I am considering moving on to the the Waterfox or Pale Moon, so I have a couple of questions especially for those who used/tried Pale Moon and Waterfox.  Which of those browsers do you prefer?

      What are their quirks and their workaround? I mean for instance, last I heard about a quirk on Waterfox being a memory leak and that was 6 months ago (was that fixed or is the workaround in about:config still required?).

      Thank you 🙂

    • #244904 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I use Waterfox as my main browser and have not noticed any memory leaks. Then again, I never use it for more than a few hours at a time, at most, and a slow leak might go unnoticed during such relatively short sessions. I have not used PaleMoon.

      I like Waterfox better than FireFox, because it is less cluttered with what I consider unnecessary features and is easier and faster to use. I have it installed in my old Windows 7 PC and in a new Mac and, for me, it works equally well in both.

    • #244920 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      The developers of Pale Moon also have the Basilisk project: which is more pre-Firefox 60.0 than Pale Moon and one of the members of the Pale Moon/Basilisk team is responsible for the Classic Add-On Archive:  I migrated to Basilisk, while I was running FF ESR, and everything works perfectly, although there were one or two tweaks needed to get to perfect.  I was even able to port my FF ESR profile directly into Basilisk, although this is not recommended.  At the time I did my migration, Basilisk was far less buggy than Waterfox, but I don’t know what advancements the developer of Waterfox has made since I tried it in the fall of 2018.  But note, all of these are somewhat slower the Firefox.  How much that matters is a personal decision but, for me, the trade off of keeping my add-ons more than makes up for the slightly slower speed.

      • #244943 Reply


        At the time I did my migration, Basilisk was far less buggy than Waterfox, but I don’t know what advancements the developer of Waterfox has made since I tried it in the fall of 2018.

        What bugs did you experience?  It’s been pretty solid for me.  I still use it, so maybe I can tell you if the bugs are still present or not.


        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.4).

        • #244950 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          I’m sorry, I cannot answer your question. It was so long ago, I’ve forgotten the issues with Waterfox.

      • #253308 Reply


        I see… what features does Basilisk has over the Pale Moon (and Waterfox if any beyond the problem you had with it)? What should I be watch out for on it, assuming it is not same as Firefox glitches listed in below post?

    • #244947 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      Much depends on your usage, hardware, OS, AV solution, add-ons requirements and expectations.

      There are many other variables, both internal and external, and with changes being made around a 6-weekly cycle (primarily to patch Firefox/Mozilla-based security issues when MozCo deign to release the details to the devs) plus patches as-and-when to fix other bugs/add improvements after they’re reported, verified, tested and fixed.

      Test and compare them (Basilisk included) for yourself, none will interfere with your (assumed) Firefox profile (so replacement/moving isn’t a requirement, you can – hardware limitations permitting – use all of them) and then return with any questions (though for specifics it may be quicker getting opinions/fixes/workarounds from their respective forums/support sites).

    • #245106 Reply


      Waterfox vs. Palemoon “Reddit” topic

      though about 1 & 1/2 years old

    • #245214 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I have been using Waterfox alongside Firefox when I switched from FF54 to FF52esr.  Been using it almost exclusively since FF52esr went E.O.L.

      I can’t tell the difference between the 2 during use. I have to look at the task bar or dock to remember.  I can’t comment on the memory leakage, if it is, I never noticed.

      The only issue I am having is when I use it in Mac OS.  But it seems to be an issue inherited from Firefox.

      The links below describe the problem better than I can articulate without writing a small thesis. Plus some of them have videos.

      Right mouse btn instantly clicks first option in Firefox with i3 : i3wm

      Firefox right click context menu gets activated and closes immediately instead of staying open : elementaryos

      Right-click menu often disappears in Firefox right after appearing. · Issue #1728 · mozilla/ · GitHub

      Right click automatically clicks first menu item (on the right click menu popup). | Firefox Support Forum | Mozilla Support

      Trying to copy and paste inside the browser is painful at times.  The problem is intermittent.

      The first link has 2 workarounds that do work in Firefox, but don’t seem to work in Waterfox.

      W7 & W8.1 - Group W (since April 2017)
      Mac Sierra & Mojave - Group A
      Mint Cinnamon - Group A

      • #245217 Reply


        I’ve had this happen in Waterfox, but as I see it (at least as it happens to me), it is a problem with the OS, not Waterfox itself.

        In Windows, the context menu (in Waterfox, on the desktop… anywhere) opens not when you depress the right mouse button, but when you release it.  In KDE, which I use with Waterfox, and I am guessing it is the same on MacOS, the context menu fires on mouse right-button down, and it is then possible to hold the button down and drag down to the context menu option you wish, then release there to select, in the same manner the classic Mac worked when I last used it with its one button.

        If you try to use the context menu Windows style (right click and release to open the context menu, then point at the option you want and left click), you have to be careful keep the mouse still between the right-button-down and right-button-up events.  If not, the OS thinks you are trying to initiate a hold-release menu select, and since you only moved the mouse a few pixels, the first option (which usually appears at the mouse pointer location) is still highlighted when it receives the mouse-up, which it selects.

        The first workaround is to use the button-down-drag-select-release method.

        The second is to be sure the mouse is still when pressing and releasing the right button.  I am a sloppy mouser, so to speak, so I often get issues in games and other applications that select on button-down but finalize on button-up.  These applications typically think that I am trying to cancel the action if I have dragged a few pixels in between, so nothing happens.  The very action of pressing (which is more of a stab, the way I do it when I am moving quick) the button moves the mouse a little.

        I have not looked into it yet to see if KDE has a way to change this behavior, and I have no idea about Mac either.  That would be the third workaround, and the best one, I think.  KDE does allow one to change the drag threshold, but I am on my Swift now, not at home where my mouse is.  It’s not the same on the touchpad… I have never seen the issue with a touchpad.

        The fourth would be to override the system setting in the application, as the prefs mentioned will do.  This does not work in Waterfox because Mozilla checked in the fix after Waterfox forked.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.4).

        • #245220 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris: ” and I am guessing it is the same on MacOS,

          I have been using Waterfox in my new-ish Mac laptop for over a year. I use no mouse, but a trackpad instead. Pressing it with two fingers and holding does the same job as pressing on the “right button” — except that Macs’ mice famously have only one button! The track-pad equivalent to the corresponding action with the one-button mouse: pressing the track-pad with one finger and holding (= depressing the one button and holding) while also pressing Control, works too.

          I am not sure what is the problem with “cutting and pasting within the browser”, unless it means doing that from and to the address bar, which I have not had any problems doing, so far.

          Generally speaking, I have noticed no problems worth mentioning during the time I have been using this browser. However, as Satrow #244947  has already pointed out, the installed software, PC’s hardware and the manner of use of the browser might affect its performance — and the consequent user’s degree of satisfaction. To outline my own way of browsing, which does not involve anything very special or particularly demanding of the browser and, as already said, does not give me any trouble: searching the Web for information, particularly of relevance to my own work; reading the news at newspaper, opinion, trade and PC user’s discussion sites; streaming video. I click off the browser, normally, after at most a couple of hours, and turn off the machine before I go out, or when I finally call it a day. Both the Mac and the Win 7 PC have 1 TB and 750 GB of hard disk (SSD in the case of the Mac) and 16 GB and 8 GB of random access memory, respectively. The Processors are I-7 4-core, x64 in both – of different vintages. My Internet connection is via fiber optic “pipes” at 100 Mb/s (although the router I use is considerably slower), usually with only one device connected at any given time. Few applications installed by me, all pretty much vanilla: add blocker, flash player, a couple of compilers, a few things for watching and downloading video and ripping DVDs, Chrome and FireFox. And that about covers it. Same story with Waterfox in my Windows 7 PC.

    • #253352 Reply


      Thank you very much for your replies 😀 It is helpful to me.  I also hope that anyone in future could use this thread if they are thinking of switching to Waterfox or Pale Moon.

    • #311469 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I’ve been using Pale Moon for quite awhile mainly for extensions that FF refuses to allow. It is less a memory hog than FF. In my Win10x64 box it runs reasonably fast and stable even with a lot of tabs. In my Win7x32 portable (only 2M RAM) it runs well until tabs result in ~ 800k memory usage when it simply gets too sluggish. But killing the process and restarting keeps it lively.

      Sadly later extension from FF are incompatible unless tweaked using skills I don’t have. The extensions Print/Edit and google translate are incompatible.

      My love for FF was it’s extensible add-ons. Mozilla’s desires to save me from myself forced an end to our relationship. Haven’t tried other alternatives yet because PM meets my needs.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #328574 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I wanted to write an update on what I find to be the state of the Waterfox/Pale Moon/Basilsk browser comparison.  The week of January 11, 2019, was not a good week for Basilisk.  A decision was made to reverse the attempt to make Basilisk fully compatible with WebExtensions.  What this did, summarily, was to disable any WebExtension a person might be running.  If this was all the reversal did the problems that ensued would not have been as profound.  However, there seem to be quite a number of extensions people have been running, for some time, in the pre-Firefox 60 days, which were hybrid extensions.  These extensions had, at least, some WebExtension code inside them.  For instance, I had two of these, and one of them had pre-WebExtension code in it since November 2017.  When I updated Basilisk my partial WebExtension code extensions failed to work in some manor or another.  Others had similar experiences when they updated Basilisk.  Eventually, I was able to get back my extensions, by finding old versions of the extensions that did not contain any WebExtension code, but it was not a pleasant task, although some on the Basilisk/Pale Moon support page tried their best to be helpful.

      Additionally, Basilisk made another change, at the same time as the WebExtension change, that being the look of the Add-Ons Manager.  Gone was the familiar pre-Firefox 60 look we Firefoxers are all familiar with and it was replaced by the same simple, less informative, Pale Moon Add-Ons Manager look.

      At the same time I was having trouble with Basilisk, I gave another look at Waterfox.  The strides the Waterfox developer has made since I tried it last year are amazing.  I was able to port my Basilisk profile right into Waterfox and, with a tweak here and there, a reinstall of some extensions, I was up and running in no time.

      Over the course of a couple of days, I compared the modified Basilisk browser, with my extensions restored, with the Waterfox browser, with my pre-existing extensions in place, and I have come to the conclusion that I now prefer Waterfox.  It seems faster and less quirky than Basilisk.  Thus, it has become my post Firefox 59 browser.  Additionally, I have a suspicion the decision to start using the Pale Moon Add-Ons Manager might signal that, at the very least, the developers of PaleMoon and Basilisk are contemplating merging the two browsers at some point.

      So, if you are running Basilisk, or Pale Moon, and have a 64-bit OS, Waterfox may now be the best successor to pre-Firefox 60 around.  It is for me.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #328607 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Thank you everyone for this browser discussion. I am looking for a replacement for Firefox ESR 52.9 which is end of life now. Tried Palemoon in the past ~2016, but don’t remember what issues caused me to un-install it. My goal is to keep a few of my legacy firefox add-ons with a browser that continues to get security updates. Planning to give Waterfox a try.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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