• Waterfox G just gets better and better


    I have been using Waterfox G for a while now. After Waterfox Classic ceased to be usable on a number of sites, I switched back to Firefox proper, for which I used Aris-T2’s outstanding custom CSS (stylesheets) to reconfigure the browser UI. Specifically, it repurposes the bookmarks toolbar as a status bar, and if bookmarks toolbar functionality is needed, it adds that function to the bottom of the URL bar. It works quite well, but if you were to say it’s kinda hacky… well, yes, but that’s on Mozilla for unceremoniously ripping out so many features.

    Waterfox-G has a native status bar, like the one Firefox had long ago. It gives the user the opportunity to place the tab bar below the URL bar, which was the way Firefox was prior to the “let’s copy Chrome” era began.While I did these with Aris’ stylesheets, having it native is much more appealing, and I won’t have to keep redownloading, reinstalling, and reconfiguring the Aris stylesheets each time Firefox changes and breaks something else.

    Waterfox G also has the rather interesting feature of allowing the use of Chrome and Opera addons alongside the Firefox ones.

    The Waterfox builds from the Linux repos run by Hawkeye/Venghan (also one of the mods in the Waterfox Reddit channel) also contain the OpenSUSE patches to integrate well with KDE Plasma. Mozilla refuses to fix this, for reasons known only to themselves, but Waterfox from Hawkeye has it covered.

    Most recently, Waterfox G6 also reintroduced the pref to disable the automatic firing of a select-all when the URL bar is clicked, which has been a pet peeve of mine ever since Mozilla removed it for rather spurious reasons. It’s literally one line of code, but they claimed it was removed in part to reduce the maintenance burden, when Firefox is a behemoth with 21 million lines of code. It’s a drop in the ocean, and a fairly straightforward one that is not likely to cause unexpected problems, so they’re just making excuses here.

    Mozilla also claimed there was an edge case where Firefox would not behave correctly if the select-all was set to OFF. So everyone in the world has to have it permanently set to ON because there is a rare instance for a small handful of people where it misbehaves IF it is set to OFF? Would it not be better to suggest to those few people to leave the hidden pref in its default setting of ON rather than force it on for everyone? There are a lot of prefs in about:config that can mess up *fox if they are set incorrectly. That’s why the warning about being careful is there.

    Finally, Mozilla claims that all OSes behave that way, so it just makes the browser behave like the OS, which they imply is an important thing. But the OS I am using right now (KDE Neon) doesn’t behave that way… so not only is their premise wrong, but it also denies me this supposedly important consistency between browser and OS. And really, why is it their concern how the OS behaves? Getting the OS to behave the way the user wants is between the user and the maker of that OS. Getting the browser to do what the user wants is the thing Mozilla should be concerned with. It’s the user’s wishes that set the baseline, not the default OS settings.

    I suggested this change in the Waterfox Reddit channel, and when I checked back to see if there were any responses, MrAlex94 (lead dev) said it was done and would be in the 6.02 release. I got my updates for the day and it was already waiting to be downloaded… and it’s fantastic to have it do what I want once again.

    I was surprised by the fast response for sure.

    And now on to another bit in the Waterfox changelog. There is a mention of some performance optimization not present in Firefox, so oft-repeated code paths are streamlined (Javascript is specifically mentioned). Well, that’s the very thing that the SpeeDOMeter 2.0 benchmark tests (at browserbench.org). Does it work?

    I tested Vivaldi 6.2 against Waterfox G6 (6.02) and Firefox 118, all current as I write this. With no addons (clean profiles with default settings), Vivaldi, based on Chromium, is the runaway leader, scoring a hefty 251 on my Dell XPS 13 on Linux. Waterfox G6 came in second with a respectable 203, while Firefox scored 180.

    That is the best way to judge the efficiency of the browsers themselves, but I don’t use them with no addons. I use them with extensions… lots of them. While testing them in this configuration introduces a confounding variable (I am testing browser performance and addon performance at the same time), it is the way I would personally experience the web with each of them. All three browsers are set up with the addons needed to bring them the same functionality. The two ‘foxes use the same addon setup, so their numbers are more directly comparable.

    With the addons, Vivaldi again took the lead with 159. Waterfox comes in a close second at 151, while Firefox scores 144. That’s not much of a difference!

    I like Vivaldi, and if I had to choose a Chromium-based browser, it would be my choice for sure. But all three of my daily use PCs are laptops (though the Xenia mostly is used with a mouse) so the way the browsers behave with touchpads is important. Every Chromium variant I have tried stutters and judders terribly with “precision” touchpads in Linux, and while I try to ignore it, it just gets the better of me and I have to go back to *fox. Waterfox and Firefox are so silky smooth and perfect with touchpad scrolling…

    I also find the way the Acer’s precision touchpad works in Windows 11 to be quite awful, and there is no way to adjust it that I know about. The support for the precision feature is in Windows itself, and there are no driver packages from Synaptics that would be more configurable.

    So, yeah, Waterfox G is by far my favorite desktop browser.

    Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
    XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
    Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

    6 users thanked author for this post.
    Viewing 2 reply threads
    • #2591065

      I’d like to try this out as sort of a streamlined browser with few bookmarks, but I didn’t see how to use Chrome extensions. Do you know how to get those? I saw an article that said to install add-on ‘Chrome Store Foxified’, but that isn’t available in the add-ons page.

      • #2591146

        Tou can go to the Chrome Web Store using Waterfox and add them from there.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2591175

      I end up using Vivaldi since it has several features I like and use frequently, like the choice of panels like downloads, SpeedDial, or the mail window.  But I use DuckDuckGo for searching.  So I was pleased that it became available for IOS for my iPhone.  But by itself alone DDG doesn’t have the features offered by Vivaldi.  So I debate security over convenience.  And I use the Chrome extensions from their store.  You have to work on how you can avoid invoking Bing, which I consider the hunter gatherer.  If you use it to hunt, it gathers as much info on you as it can.  Good review.

    • #2607475

      I use waterfox and also have firefox. When a security vulnerability is discovered, i notice firefox releases an update rather quickly, while waterfox takes much longer to update.  I assume security vulnerabilities that affect firefox, affect waterfox, is it safe to use waterfox during that time until it releases a patch version that firefox already released?

    Viewing 2 reply threads
    Reply To: Waterfox G just gets better and better

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use all available BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information: