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  • Waterfox Question

    Posted on Nathan Parker Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This topic contains 47 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Nathan Parker 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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    • #1985014 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      I’ve seen that some on here use Waterfox in addition to Firefox. It seems Waterfox offers more privacy-oriented features from what I’ve read about it (such as the lack of telemetry features).

      My school wants me to use Firefox for certain websites.

      Would running those on Waterfox be a good idea, and should I install Waterfox on my Mac as a spare browser?

      I have nothing to hide, but I do like the idea of having more privacy-oriented browsers.

      Thanks!

      Nathan Parker

    • #1985102 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      Why would your school be concerned with which browser you use?

      All of the telemetry stuff in Firefox can be turned off, and it really means off when you say off.  I wouldn’t select Waterfox based on that alone, personally.  I use Waterfox because it allows the large library of classic addons (the kind that defined Firefox from its birth until almost two years ago) to keep working.  Despite Mozilla’s insistence that they had to jettison the classic addons to make Firefox faster, Waterfox remains just as fast as Firefox after all this time on the very same benchmark (SpeeDOMeter 2.0) that Mozilla used to claim Firefox was twice as fast as it had been several versions ago (a claim I verified on my own machine).

      Mozilla is IMO seriously misguided in their belief that imitating Chrome is the way to get people to switch (thankfully, they had different ideas when the goal was to get people away from IE 6), and they’ve behaved foolishly at times, like with the tie-in to some movie promo they clumsily pushed out to unsuspecting users, but they’re still IMO the closest thing to good guys in the browser arena.  I had telemetry on when I used Firefox proper… telemetry in and of itself doesn’t have to be bad, if you trust the company to do the right thing with the data, and what is being collected.  Now I use Waterfox, so naturally telemetry is not an option, and Mozilla wouldn’t really want data on it anyway.

      If you are interested in trying out powerful classic addons that can go well beyond what is possible with the weaker Chrome or Firefox addons, or if you have a need for Java or other NPAPI plugins, I’d say to give Waterfox a shot.  If you’re happy with what Firefox has to offer, you probably won’t gain anything with Waterfox.  That may change if Mozilla keeps lopping off features that only a minority of people use… eventually they’ll get around to goring everyone’s ox.  While only a minority may use any one given feature, everyone is likely to use some other feature that only a minority uses.

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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    • #1985105 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Why would your school be concerned with which browser you use?

      Mainly for our courseware since it gets a little wacky with some browsers. It was more of an issue with IE and earlier builds of Safari. Firefox has worked so well with it that they keep pushing it for the courseware (Blackboard).

      Good points on Waterfox. I do remember when Firefox made the big change. I can’t remember if I used classic addons or if they carried over to the new Firefox. I wish there was still a fork of Safari for Mac that could run classic extensions!

      Nathan Parker

      • #1985936 Reply

        anonymous

        Mozilla has decided to make another big change with moving to four week release schedule. Hopefully it won’t be like Microsoft where normal working code breaks. Announced Waterfox changes, here.

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        • #1986038 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Anonymous #1985936  : According to the Web page on WF releases whose link is the second one you gave, at the end of your comment, WF has been releasing until now every six weeks and from now on it is going to do it every four. It does not look like a really major change, as far as frequency goes.

          More interesting is the announcement that there will be two kinds of Waterfox browser, and all this will start when the current version (56.2.14) is replaced by the next one. As I have understood it, one kind of browser (WF Classic) will be, more or less, the WF that we know and like and will continue to be fully maintained. The other browser (WF Current) will be a continuously modernized version designed to keep up with the latest developments, cool technologies, etc., etc., etc. Also the add-ons and extensions one has installed already in WF probably will still work in “Classic”, but probably not in “Current”. There is no explanation of how we’ll get to choose between “Classic” and “Current.” However and whenever that choice is made available, unless and until I hear repeated, huge praises of “Current”, I’ll play it safe and stay with “Classic.”

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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    • #1985106 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I think the problem Nathan is referring might be this: some Websites are particular about with which browsers they allow people to connect to them. Also, some browsers may have incompatibilities with some Websites that are not intentional, just some quirky software issues. The result might be a failure to connect, or some quirky behavior, as what Nathan has mentioned.

      Waterfox is my default browser, but for accessing some sites I need to use Chrome and for others Firefox. These sites are just a few, but important to me for my own reasons.  They include my on-line banking and my streaming of videos from Netflix. For some reason, since last week Waterfox connects and after logging in I get the usual animated Netflix banner page with the latest movies, etc., but if I click on one of their tiles I cannot download the corresponding video and get instead an apologetic message that the video is not available. I have since discovered that I can do that successfully and watch the video, using FireFox instead.

      So it might be not such a bad idea to have at least the three browsers I’ve mentioned installed and have one as the default browser (Waterfox in my case) and use the other two for accessing only certain Websites.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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      • #1985110 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        If a site was going to demand a certain browser, it would probably be Chrome, with about two-thirds of the market, rather than Firefox, with under a tenth.  That’s why I asked; it’s unusual for anyone to say to use Firefox specifically and not mention Chrome.  If they just wanted Chrome, I can understand why they’d say that… I don’t like it, but if they’re too lazy to test with other browsers, I can see why they’d pick the leading browser (that has a version on every platform) and just demand that everyone use that.

        IE isn’t even a browser anymore, by Microsoft’s own statement (it’s a compatibility solution), and older versions of Safari… well, it would make more sense to say, “If you use Safari, make sure it’s updated!”

        I’ve never personally seen a site that does not work with Firefox or Waterfox.  My bank complains, but I ignore it, and it works fine… it’s a spurious warning anyway, since Firefox (which it thinks Waterfox is, which is basically true) is a “supported” browser, but only on Windows.  Firefox, like Waterfox, works the same on Linux or Mac as on Windows, but on those OSes, Firefox is “unsupported.”  On Mac, it’s Chrome or Safari that are okay, while on Linux, it’s… erm, nothing.

        If I click the bank’s prompts to “download an updated browser,” it directs me to Apple to download Safari, which I am pretty sure is not going to work on Linux.  It simply can’t comprehend a desktop OS other than Windows or MacOS (not that it should be worrying about what OS I use anyway).

        Fortunately, the bank I use now understands what “supported” means, unlike Microsoft or (formerly) Chase Bank.  “Supported” means they will give me assistance (support) if I have a problem.  If you use an unsupported browser, it just means that you’re on your own.  If a site blocks access, as Chase bank used to with certain browsers, or as MS did with newer CPU architectures on Win 7 or 8.1, that’s not “unsupported.”  That’s “prohibited.”

        Fortunately, Chase changed its policy after presumably receiving complaints, and it no longer flatly blocks access.  When Chase used to block access to my “unsupported” browser, I just switched the useragent to indicate I was using a supported one, and all was fine again. There never was an actual problem with the browser… the problem was the presence of a useragent whitelist that never should have been there.

        The thing with useragent sniffing and access denial is not usually a matter of browsers not working anymore, at least not with Firefox and Chrome, which are both meant to be standards compliant, and should both behave substantially the same where it matters.  IE never really was standards compliant (by design), and it’s deprecated anyway.  As far as I know, Safari is built on a standards-compliant Webkit engine (initially developed by KDE as KHTML, forked to become Webkit, and later forked again to become the Blink engine for Chrome).  The days of websites that are “best viewed with” a given browser should be long behind us.

        There is something on the Waterfox site about how to fix DRM issues, like the one you seem to be having with Netflix.  I don’t have access to a Netflix account now, or I would test it… it worked the last time I tried it.  It says:

        If upgrading from previous versions of Waterfox, you will be asked to re-enable DRM. After re-enabling, please allow time for the new plugins to update. You may need to restart Waterfox after the new plugins have been installed to get DRM to work. You can verify your plugins by entering about:plugins in the address bar.

        Since Waterfox gets regular updates, that’s probably related to what happened.  Why it didn’t ask, I don’t know.  Perhaps you should turn DRM off and back on again to get things rolling again.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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      • #1985588 Reply

        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        I am on Pale Moon and I get an error when I first try to run a Netflix (silverlight ) if I do a reload it browsermagically works . No clue why. Mostly watch on my smartaxx tv.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1985278 Reply

      MW
      AskWoody Plus

      I’m not gonna reiterate anything Ascaris stated, he is spot on.  But in answer to your question;

      Would running those on Waterfox be a good idea, and should I install Waterfox on my Mac as a spare browser?

      Yes and yes.

      Waterfox with a Firefox useragent in my experience has given me zero issues on the web for the last 2 years that it has been my primary browser on all my systems.  Nor has anyone else who I have switched over to Waterfox.

      I use Firefox ESR as a secondary browser.  And as stated already it can be modified to neuter the telemetry, and the changes do stay put.  But that requires digging into the about:config settings to do it right.

      I have nothing to hide, but I do like the idea of having more privacy-oriented browsers.

      Preserving ones dignity and self respect is not the same as “having something to hide”.  Privacy is not a dirty word or an immoral concept.  It saddens me to see the peer pressure in modern society to the contrary.

       

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

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  MW.
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    • #1985591 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Thanks everyone for the feedback. I may install Waterfox on my old iMac to take it for a test drive, and if I really like what I see, I’ll install it on my iMac Pro.

      I believe my courseware would work with Chrome and probably even Safari now. Both schools I’ve attended who use that courseware have pushed Firefox for accessing it since the courseware provider has always recommended it. I generally access that particular site in Firefox just to ensure all works flawlessly, plus there’s a couple of sites I’ve had issues with in Chrome or Brave or Safari that Firefox has worked a little better with (they load but there’s a couple of quirks).

      Very valid points on privacy from MW. With the way our society has been getting with big tech and privacy issues, I’ve been trying to balance my usage and not put all my eggs into the big tech basket where privacy issues could occur. I know I can’t 100% avoid all of it, but just knowing I can take some privacy-oriented steps certainly feels good.

      Nathan Parker

    • #1985655 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      Ascaris   #1985110 : I tried turning DRM off, closing Waterfox, opening it gain, tuning DRM ON once more, and it did not help. Looking further into this, I found that HTML5 with DRM access  Enabled works for sure with Netflix only with “supported” browsers. There is a rather short list that includes Chrome and FireFox bu not Waterfox.  So it looks as this might be a matter of a recent tightening of a Netflix policy: not to make the effort needed so it is possible to access actual videos no matter which browser one is using, but to only take the trouble to make sure downloading works well with a few widely used browsers. Not deliberately excluding certain browsers, just not helping those using them.

      That is strange, in the case of Waterfox, being a close fork of FireFox, but maybe the differences with FF to make connecting to a site more secure are also making Waterfox different enough not to download Netflix videos? Anyways, I do use Chrome for Netflix now. Google may spy on me a lot, but what are they going to make of the fact that I like certain animated shows meant for “the whole family”, like “The Dragon Prince” or “She-Ra, Princess of Power” (the latter always cracks me up, being so over the top, especially when Adora turns into an 8-foot tall princess superhero) and have no time for scary science fiction dark drama ones such as “Dark Mirror”? What is Google getting out of knowing this that lets them make even more money, huh? That’s what I would like to know!

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

      • #1985779 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I just signed up for a free Netflix trial to test this, and I tried to view the first title I saw.  Sure enough, it told me “Oops! This title is not available to be streamed right now,” or something like that.  Changed the useragent to Firefox 66 (I use the User Agent Switcher extension for this to make it easier), and it worked instantly, just as it did with Chase Bank in the past.

        That’s one more example of why useragent sniffing is bad.  If my browser has the DRM decryption module properly installed and configured, and everything else works, what do they care what browser I am using?  Rather than having a gating mechanism that just flatly denies access based on a simple, easily spoofable string (as I was able to demonstrate by changing it in three seconds), why not detect the decryption module’s presence, or lack thereof, and base access on that?

        Their web site includes an interesting contradiction:

        Supported Browsers:

        Mozilla Firefox version 59 or later on Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.10 or later, or Linux*

        And for the footnote attached to that little asterisk:

        *Due to the many configurations of Linux available, customer support is unable to assist with troubleshooting issues on Linux devices.

        That footnote is the definition of “unsupported.”  So you’re telling me that Mozilla Firefox 59 or later is supported on Linux, but it’s unsupported.

        That leads me to believe that they’re not using the actual definition of “unsupported” as aptly captured in their footnote.  They’re using the Microsoftian definition that Chase used to use before they wised up, where “unsupported” actually means “prohibited.”

        Can you imagine if you saw a sign that said “Right turn on red unsupported” while at a stoplight?  What if you strolled up to a pond and saw a sign that said “Fishing unsupported?”  How about if you saw a sign on a freeway on-ramp that said “Bicycles unsupported?”  What would that even mean?

        “Prohibited” and “unsupported” are very different concepts.  If they want to prohibit something, stop trying to soft-pedal it and say it like it is.  And stop with the silly useragent sniffing and lists of supported browsers!  If you require a given content decryption module, say so: “Using Netflix requires a browser with Widevine content decryption module, version x.xxx.x or newer, such as:” and give the same list of browsers you have now.  It gives customers the same easy to understand list of which browsers are known to work, but doesn’t prohibit ones that actually do work just because they’re not big enough players to be on the VIP list.

         

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

    • #1985905 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I have found the same problem trying, as I do now and then, to read articles in a newsletter that I get weekly emailed by the publishers of a political magazine I subscribed to once, but the newsletter keeps coming anyways. Now, two points of interest: (1) some of the magazine articles with links there might be worth reading, and (2) Waterfox is my default browser. Until two weeks ago, all I had to do was click on a link to an article to find out what it was about, no problems. This was around the time I started to have the problem with Netflix.

      Now, if I do click on a link, I get an error message “502 Bad Gateway”. If I copy the link on the email, paste it on Firefox’s address bar and hit return, I get the Web page with that article all right. It might be too early yet to come to a conclusion, but am inclined to think that, in this case at least, this might be a Waterfox issue more than a Web site issue that those in charge of the servers at the site in question have not yet, or can’t be bothered, to take care of. Or maybe Waterfox needs a patch to fix it.

      As to Netflix: you might be right and now they have there a more restrictive browsers’ policy, for no clear reason, and that might well be that. But “Oops!” is not the same as a clear statement: “No Waterfox allowed here!” So it might be also a glitch that, once more, the servers’ keepers (Netflix’s, in this case) cannot be bother to help solve. At least not yet.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

      • #1986895 Reply

        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Just a note, the newsletter here uses a third party ‘refer-er’, does what you are having problems with do such? Something to look into if so.
        And have you tried reloading as I suggested https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/waterfox-question/#post-1985588

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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        • #1986904 Reply

          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Could be a bunch of things that cause that. Browser settings and addons, perhaps.  It’s always a good idea to test a brand new profile if something like this isn’t working, to rule both of those out before thinking the browser’s at fault.

          Sometimes the error message is the correct behavior, given the circumstances, and “working” is not.  It’s not unheard of that having things like third-party cookies set to reject will cause errors like this… in which case this isn’t a bug, but is expected behavior, and the browser that accepts third-party cookies by default is the bit that’s wrong (because that has big privacy implications)… which means that working as expected would be the “wrong” thing and generating an error would be the “right” thing.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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        • #1994449 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Sorry Wavy for not answering earlier to your comment.

          (1) I have no problems using the links in the articles in the AskWoody Newsletter, so it looks like a problem is just with using that other Newsletter’s links. Since the links themselves are OK, when I use them as URLs in FireFox, probably the problem is in the newsletter’s server side, not in Waterfox.

          (2) As to my troubles with Netflix: did you mean by “reloading” the same as “refreshing the page”? If you meant “refreshing”, I tried that several times, but did not help.

          Besides, the fact that the message tells me that the movie I just clicked on its tile to get it started “is not available to watch instantly” is  in clear conflict with the fact that there is this big, colorful link to the movie I just clicked on and can download with FF or Chrome with no problem at all, in the first place. So not all is well with Netflix and it very much looks like what is not well is that they don’t want to allow streaming with browsers not in their short list, one that does not include Waterfox. Why not allow streaming with unlisted browsers that work just fine when doing that? Beats me. It really does.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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          • #1994498 Reply

            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            I just tried Netflix again and refreshed and it worked. I am on the latest Pale Moon.

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
          • #1995203 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            I think the reason that so many websites only “support” the browsers on their whitelist, and deny access (or at least complain about) anything else, breaks down to a mixture of laziness and ignorance.  They’ve tested the browsers on their whitelist and they know they work… they have no intention of trying to test every smaller browser out there, nor should they be expected to.  Netflix actually has a much larger list of “supported” browsers than many others, like the one I mention so much, Chase Bank, that used to block access to any desktop browser that was not among the handful they’d declared to be “supported.”

            If they really meant “supported,” it would not be so bad.  Reasonable people will understand that a company cannot support every program of a given type in existence (and you can’t make policy based on trying to please the unreasonable ones.  It will never be possible).

            The problem comes in when the site owners block access to browsers they have declared to be “unsupported.”  Not only is that a gross misinterpretation of what the word “unsupported” means, but it’s an insult to the customer as well, who has chosen a given browser for reasons unique to himself, only to be told “no” not because that browser has a known issue that makes it problematic, but because the site owner hadn’t bothered to test it and went the most cynical route possible for an untested browser.  Yeah, I did say they shouldn’t be expected to test them all… but they should be expected to test all of the ones they don’t allow, and to have a good reason for the prohibition.

            A lot of site owners seem to think simplistically.  Ban all the browsers except the ones we know will work, and the cost of support will go down.  But does it?  Now you have people who would have been able to use your service without a problem, using their “unsupported” browsers, who find that they cannot access a service they paid for and expect to receive.  Regardless of whether that browser is officially supported or not, the odds of getting a call about that is a lot higher than from the person who just used the site and had everything work.  At the very least, you’ve taken a customer who would have received your web site service and been happy and turned him into an unhappy customer, and that’s not good for business.

            The way that Netflix implements their “support” is even dumber.  If it simply said “Hey! You’re using an unsupported browser.  Go away!” like Chase Bank used to do right up front, people would know what the issue is.  They would be annoyed, but they’d know.  Netflix doesn’t do that, of course… they make it seem that it’s going to work, allowing the customer to sign in, show him the list of things to watch, then to say “cannot stream that right now” or whatever it says, along with an error code, is guaranteed to generate tech support calls.  It doesn’t make it clear that it is about an unsupported browser at all!  The way they’ve done it, they have not reduced their tech support burden… they’ve increased it.  The person ends up just as annoyed that it doesn’t work as they would have been with the Chase method, but now they’ve added more tech support calls too.

            The best approach would be to maintain a list of known good browsers for using their service, but to allow all others to give it a fair try.  If it works, it works, and all parties are happy; if not, the person can be informed that “we know these browsers work with our service.  We would be happy to help you get one of them working, but if your browser is not on the list, we don’t know enough about it to assist you,” or something like that.  The person is never told that their browser is disallowed just because they say so, and all of those calls from people who have browsers that work, but are on not on the supported list, will be eliminated.

            That’s the ignorance part.  It doesn’t reduce support calls to deliberately increase the number of people who can’t use your service without problems!  It increases the number of people with problems, and it definitely increases the number of customers who are angry with the provider of the given service.  That’s all that useragent sniffing does when it is used as Netflix uses it.

            Chase Bank reverted their policy of banning browsers outside of the few they wanted to “support.”  Why they did this, specifically, I don’t know, but if it had been good for business, they would have kept it.  Netflix should do the same.

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            • #1998195 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              I’ve been experimenting with the Netflix 1080p addon for Firefox, and as part of that process, I created a new Waterfox profile, and I tried to use Netflix with that.  Indeed, it did pop up a message alerting me to their lack of “support” for browsers not on the list.  Somehow, Oscar’s and my configurations of Waterfox apparently blocked that message, so it just mysteriously failed to work.

              FWIW, the addon works, but only on some titles.  I am guessing that the ones that don’t work are not offered in 1080p, and rather than falling back to 720p, it simply fails to work at all.  It would be nice for the addon to have a button to toggle the forcing for 1080p.

               

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

    • #1994420 Reply

      hhodges
      AskWoody Plus

      Good discussion.  I still use Pale Moon even though it’s ‘slower’ than Waterfox mainly to allow use of the older add-ons.  FireFox depreciation of classic addons might protect the clueless but I’m not clueless.  Besides it’s interesting to visit a site that attempts to force load an extension to see it tell me my browser doesn’t support the extension; that alone has saved my from myself.  I’ve not found a way to enable Flash for Pale Moon, but that’s dangerous addon anyway.

      I hate Chrome and use Brave instead.  The constant Chrome updates that I can’t seem to control bother me as Chrome constantly calls home.  Don’t know if that makes me more vulnerable to exploits, but I only use Brave on those sites that require Chrome.

      For those nefarious sites that I often might visit I run older Firefox using Browser-In-A-Box as a sandbox that I hope ill save me from folk attempting to interrupt my calm day.  That older Firefox does allow classic extensions that I find useful.

      As I upgrade stuff, I hope to run much in a virtual machine hoping I can still use older software safely without fears of bad actors.

       

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    • #1994506 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      There are now two different versions of Waterfox being released simultaneously. One is called “Classic” and it is the same as what has been available until now and still fully supported. The other is called “Current” and it is said to be updated to keep up with new developments on the Web.

      One can get either of them from here:

      https://www.waterfox.net/releases/

      Also, both versions are, from now on, called “yyyy.mm.x” where yyyy = year, mm = month of year, x (if present) = hot fix No.. So, right now, the latest is “2019.10”, having been released on  October 2019. The only way to tell “Classic” from “Current” is in the name of the app, that includes the corresponding word (e.g. “classic”).

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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    • #1994589 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Thanks everyone for the comments. I also prefer Brave to Chrome. I only keep Chrome around when I have to test in Chrome proper, but for anything that works well in Chromium-based browers, I use Brave instead.

      Since I’m on a Mac, I generally use Safari since it syncs well with my iOS devices, but at times I need to dip into other browers.

      There are now two different versions of Waterfox being released simultaneously. One is called “Classic” and it is the same as what has been available until now and still fully supported. The other is called “Current” and it is said to be updated to keep up with new developments on the Web.

      Between “classic” and “current”, which one do you recommend?

      Nathan Parker

      • #1994642 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan

        I have replaced Waterfox 69.0.3 (the previous version) with Waterfox “Classic” 2019.10. I prefer to keep using something close to what I had, until I hear, repeatedly, things about the “Current” version that are so great they make me want to change to “Current”. At the moment, things are working with “Classic” same as before, haven’t noticed any problems, all the few apps I normally use with Waterfox are working.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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      • #1994651 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Between “classic” and “current”, which one do you recommend?

        I’m not Oscar, but I can still answer that!

        To me, Waterfox Classic “is” Waterfox.  It’s the one we’ve all used to get back pre-Quantum Firefox, with all of its powerful addons, the lack of which was the biggest blow to Firefox that Mozilla has ever dealt.  It also removes the Mozilla telemetry, experiments, and restores NPAPI plugin functionality, but the restoration of the Classic addons is the main reason to use Waterfox Classic.

        The “current’ branch of Waterfox is subject to the same addon limitations as Firefox itself.  For people who don’t trust Mozilla because of their clumsy handling of telemetry and the way they rolled out a promotional tie-in with I, Robot without asking, this version of Waterfox may be what you want.  It has the telemetry removed, and it won’t enroll you in Mozilla experiments without your knowledge.  You can turn these things off in Firefox, but in Waterfox current, you don’t have to.  I am not really sure what other changes have been made to current Waterfox… but if it is restricted to things you can also turn off in Firefox, I’d just go ahead and turn them off and call it a day.

        Of course, it could also be that there are future plans that are not yet implemented, or possibly even conceived yet.  I would like to see some small changes to Firefox that would make a big difference… things like bringing back the unread tab state that Mozilla removed a few versions ago, the old addon manager that was removed in 70, and other similar things, and there will certainly be more things in the future as Mozilla unceremoniously lops off more features.

        I’m concerned over the possibility that Mozilla has designs on removing userChrome.css, which would be a blow approaching that of the loss of Classic addons.  They have not indicated any intent to do so, but they’re Mozilla, so we already know they love to remove features, and particularly those that allow people to customize Firefox, and they’ve already started the process by requiring a pref to be set to use them, which was how they also began with many of the other things they soon ripped out. If that came to pass and Waterfox current reverted it, it would have Waterfox swooping in to save the day like Superman a second time.  That’s all speculation for the time being, though.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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    • #1995046 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      Let me throw out a question: How does Waterfox current compare to PaleMoon?

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1995099 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Wavy: Great question! I am not familiar for Pale Moon yet, but here is some information about it, showing that is available for both Windows and Linux, while versions for “other systems” are now under development — meaning, first of all, “macOS”:

        https://www.palemoon.org/

        https://www.palemoon.org/roadmap.shtml

        Also look here:

        https://www.palemoon.org/faq.shtml#What_are_the_differences_with_Firefox

        This is an excerpt:

        “Firefox and Pale Moon have similar roots in the Mozilla Community code, and Pale Moon has been originally based on Firefox code, but as a product, Pale Moon has diverted significantly from its sibling, and has its own code, development path and future, independent of what the Mozilla Corporation does with Firefox.

        “Starting with v28 of Pale Moon, it is also using an independently-maintained platform to build on, called UXP. This platform focuses heavily on the XUL interface language and its unique features, and continues and expands on the platform-for-many-applications premise behind what has always been Mozilla’s strength. Mozilla, on the other hand, has moved to a singular product in Firefox and is working on removing XUL-technologies from it. This makes for a rapidly-increasing gap in how similar both browsers are and it’s been long since past the point already where they should be directly compared.

        Note that Pale Moon will never adopt the Australis (Firefox 29 and later) interface and aims to remain a fully XUL-driven browser with full user interface customizability.

        Also please note that Pale Moon has not run rampant with its releases and even though there is a big gap in version number between the two, you should never assume Pale Moon is somehow an “outdated Firefox”. Pale Moon is a completely separate product with its own roadmap, direction, versioning and release schedule, unlike other “Firefox-based” browsers out there that are primarily re-builds of a stock Mozilla Firefox.”

        I hope someone here might amplify on this.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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        • #1995756 Reply

          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          I was more interested in Waterfox info as I have been on PaleMoon for several years.

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1995137 Reply

        dg1261
        AskWoody_MVP

        How does Waterfox current compare to PaleMoon?

        I started using PaleMoon 6 yrs ago, but switched to Waterfox 2 yrs ago.

        I liked PaleMoon, in part because they weren’t on the “we’ll update it every few weeks whether we need to or not” bandwagon.

        Unfortunately, the PaleMoon developers started disabling the bulk of FF add-ons about 2 yrs ago, and even today there are still relatively few add-ons available.

        Broad add-on support has always been one of the big attractions to FF, and IMO forks like PaleMoon and Waterfox need to allow FF add-ons whenever possible. You don’t want to get into a situation where choosing a FF fork means a smaller library of add-ons.

        I may be wrong, but my impression of the PaleMoon debacle two yrs ago was add-ons were being disabled for political or philosophical reasons (e.g., NoScript), not necessarily because their code was incompatible.

        Whether or not that’s true, the fact is nearly every one of my favorite add-ons is blocked by current PaleMoon versions.

        That’s why I switched to Waterfox, and why it’s my primary browser today.

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1995256 Reply

          Mele20
          AskWoody Lounger

          Whether or not that’s true, the fact is nearly every one of my favorite add-ons is blocked by current PaleMoon versions.

          That’s why I left Pale Moon two years ago when Basilisk first became available. All my XUL extensions work fine on it. Two updates back, my most important extension suddenly had problems. I had to use Classic Addons Archive and install an earlier version and then it worked fine. My other extensions (I have bunch of them) have not had problems when Basilisk updates. I LOVE Basilisk and CRT is fine on it so I don’t have to endure Fx stick like, childish looking icons like the ones on Fx 60.9 ESR. Basilisk is not perfect but close to it and very stable on Windows 10 1803 and Windows 8 Pro.

          I have Waterfox (not the latest version…too many reports of horrible problems with Classic and Current both) but it can’t run some of my extensions and Basilisk can. The only drawback to Basilisk is the developers as no matter how polite one is their forum can be brutal and problems are always the fault of the user. Luckily, there are few problems in Basilisk but if one does have a problem you need a thick skin if you post there.

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          • #1995443 Reply

            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Mele20: “I have Waterfox (not the latest version…too many reports of horrible problems with Classic and Current both)

            I have not heard, yet, any stories, good or bad, about these two new releases of Waterfox. I have installed “Classic” just yesterday and, so far, noticed no changes in how Waterfox works compared to the previous versions. But these are early days, and also it all depends on how one uses the browser.

            So, if there are such stories on the Web and you know which sites have them, please, provide some links so those of us who are using Waterfox and now, with the two new upgrades available, sooner or later will have to choose between them, can learn which are the problems we should be aware of. Thanks, in advance, for your help.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

    • #1995096 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      The “current’ branch of Waterfox is subject to the same addon limitations as Firefox itself.  For people who don’t trust Mozilla because of their clumsy handling of telemetry and the way they rolled out a promotional tie-in with I, Robot without asking, this version of Waterfox may be what you want.  It has the telemetry removed, and it won’t enroll you in Mozilla experiments without your knowledge.  You can turn these things off in Firefox, but in Waterfox current, you don’t have to.  I am not really sure what other changes have been made to current Waterfox… but if it is restricted to things you can also turn off in Firefox, I’d just go ahead and turn them off and call it a day.

      Great info. Thanks for that!

      Nathan Parker

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1995772 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      Unfortunately, the PaleMoon developers started disabling the bulk of FF add-ons about 2 yrs ago, and even today there are still relatively few add-ons available.

      There are quite a few, but in comparison to the (tens of ?) thousands that were available to the older FF browsers it does pale, I would say the ones listed on the PM website are likely of a better quality. I still run NoScript on PM, however I am looking for a less bothersome alternative that does cross site script blocking. (need to do a LOT more research here). I have no clue why Mozilla has gone down the path they have, maybe they caught brain parasite from Microsoft. THe functionality of the addons is limited and the new G AWFUL GUI.

      That you find the addons still functional suggests I should take a closer look. Has WF maintained the old FF GUI? That is important to me.
      EDIT
      I see on review that

      has some answers and perhaps WF is headed down the same ill path as FF 🙁
      There was supposed to be a link to Ascaris’s post #1994651 above but is failing to display 🤔

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  wavy.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  wavy.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  wavy.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1996058 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Has WF maintained the old FF GUI? That is important to me.

        Which one?  There was the old old GUI, then there was Australis, and now it uses Photon.

        If you meant the old old one… well, how’s this screenshot grab ya? <g>

        Screenshot_20191031_013323

        Is that the kind of look you wanted, or did you mean Australis?

        Waterfox by default uses Australis, not the UI in the screenshot, but its ability to use powerful XUL addons (Mozilla calls them legacy; I call them classic) means that things like Classic Theme Restorer are available.  CTR has hundreds of options to customize every last bit of the Waterfox UI… restoring the old appearance as I have is just one of the things you can do with it.  I wish all of the UI options within it were part of standard Firefox!

        perhaps WF is headed down the same ill path as FF

        I don’t think it is.

        Mozilla has been trying to turn Firefox into a facsimile of Chrome for the better part of a decade, copying the Chrome update schedule and numbering scheme, the UI (both Australis and Photon), the feature set (removing feature after feature, with the only justification in the bug tracker being “Chrome doesn’t do this”), and of course, abandoning its own addon API and adopting the Chrome addon setup.

        “Coincidentally,” Firefox’s market share has been on the decline for nearly exactly the same period of time.

        Until we got to the point where the classic addons at the core of what it meant to be Firefox were replaced with the WebExtensions addons that were at the core of what it meant to be Chrome, it was always possible to use addons to put back what Mozilla hacked off (like the status bar shown in the image, not to be confused with the Mozilla “add-on bar” that replaced it, only to be hacked off itself).  The removal of those addons brought back all of Mozilla’s past mistakes that we’d vanquished long ago, since the addons we’d used to do it no longer worked.

        Waterfox isn’t trying to follow Mozilla’s lead and become Chrome by any means.  You have to remember that Waterfox started out as a means to offer Firefox users on 64-bit Windows a 64-bit version of Firefox.  Mozilla stubbornly refused to offer one for years after it had released 64-bit versions for Linux and Mac.

        When Mozilla finally offered a 64-bit Firefox for Windows, Waterfox shifted to removing some of Firefox’s less popular features, like telemetry and Pocket.  That was the second role of Waterfox… a slightly-tweaked version of Firefox.  In time, it became the Firefox derivative that still let you use NPAPI plugins if you wanted to (what a concept– letting the user decide!), among some other such things.  Otherwise, it was pretty much a dead ringer for the current Firefox at any given moment.

        Then, of course, Mozilla famously announced they were dropping the classic addons.  A new role for Waterfox was born… it was to be the Firefox fork that didn’t cut off the classic addons.

        Until that point, Waterfox had been releasing versions that were essentially the same as the Firefox version that was current at the time, other than the changes as I touched on above.  Now it stopped advancing at 56, the last non-Quantum version, with all of the security fixes backported, but not the features (which was the whole point for those of us who wanted to keep using the classic addons).

        Many of the Waterfox fans didn’t care about the classic addons, and they wanted a Waterfox that kept up with the current versions like it always had.  Messages asking for this were all over the Waterfox subreddit, and the dev apparently decided to give them what they had asked for.  That’s where the Waterfox current version came from… not from a desire to copy Chrome, but to keep pace with Firefox as Waterfox had before the Quantum release of FF.  It’s actually closer to the original idea behind Waterfox (in its second role) than the Classic version is.

        The developer, who goes by MrAlex94, has said that the plan is to keep both versions.  I can’t predict the future, and I do worry that a small project like this could disappear as so many have, but as it stands, I see no reason not to believe the developer in his stated intent.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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    • #1995781 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      This post just will not die 🤣

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  wavy.
    • #1995782 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      Whether or not that’s true, the fact is nearly every one of my favorite add-ons is blocked by current PaleMoon versions.

      That’s why I left Pale Moon two years ago when Basilisk first became available. All my XUL extensions work fine on it. Two updates back, my most important extension suddenly had problems. I had to use Classic Addons Archive and install an earlier version and then it worked fine.

      I am curious what extensions are failing in PM. I know that Web extensions(??) are available in PM, but XUL still seems robust.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1996017 Reply

        dg1261
        AskWoody_MVP

        I still run NoScript on PM …

        You have NoScript on a current version of PM?

        I had NoScript on an old version of PM, but have switched to Ublock Origin with other browsers (Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Waterfox). I’d take either, but as far as I can see, both have been removed from PM’s add-ons library.

         

        I am curious what extensions are failing in PM.

        I use a couple old browser extensions for webpage error-checking, Firebug and HTML Validator, when I’m debugging html code. They worked fine in PM24 but not in the current PM. To be honest, they might not work in new FF or WF “Current”, either, but they do still work in WF Classic.

        Also, the Capital One “ENO” extension (for virtual credit card numbers) works fine on FF, WF, and Chrome, but fails on PM.

        My real credit card number is *never* input anywhere online; I only use virtual numbers. That makes me virtually immune if/when an online merchant suffers a data breach. I’ll never make any online purchase without a virtual number, so as far as I’m concerned that’s a show-stopper for PM.

         

        Has WF maintained the old FF GUI? That is important to me.

        I’m not quite sure what you mean, but note you can download a portable version of WF and check it out for yourself. It doesn’t get permanently installed, so if it turns out you don’t like it, you can just throw it away.

         

        • #1996358 Reply

          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          5.8.1.7 works fine for me, later versions ???
          I do not believe it is an updated version. Maybe not goo long term.

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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      • #1996111 Reply

        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        I am curious what extensions are failing in PM. I know that Web extensions(??) are available in PM, but XUL still seems robust.

        WE extensions are not available in Basilisk and Moonchild has said they never will be. Since it is the development browser, I doubt WE extensions are available, or ever will be in Pale Moon, but I am not certain as I stopped using it two years ago when Basilisk was first offered. WE extensions were BRIEFLY available (limited) in Basilisk, and I installed several, but then Basilisk was reset to fork off Fx 52 ESR which never had any WE extensions so I lost the ones I had.

        I had a terrible time with one of my favorite extensions finding an old XUL version that would work and it works but it refuses to place its icon correctly and instead sticks it in an odd place where it should not be and until this latest version of Basilisk it was interfering with Tree Style Tabs because it puts itself at the bottom of the tabs column. It’s an extension that has to be interacted with frequently so it matters where its icon is at.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1996106 Reply

      Mele20
      AskWoody Lounger

      There is no portable version of the two latest versions of Waterfox as far as I can see. I’d like to download a portable version of the new Current Waterfox while keeping my older Classic version profile, etc intact.

    • #2003059 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      I installed Waterfox and signed in with my Firefox account. Is there a way to import all my Firefox extensions into Waterfox, or do I have to install them manually?

      Nathan Parker

      • #2003079 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan: I don’t know how you can get your FF extensions imported automatically to WF. But, looking around for an answer to that, I found instead something else that also might be useful:

        https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/import-bookmarks-data-another-browser

        I have not tried this, because I don’t have anything in FF that I need to have also in WF, but it is not unlikely that the procedure described in the article of the link also has a more or less exact counterpart in WF, being in many respects the same as FF and both belonging to the Mozilla family.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2003121 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I don’t know if it is possible to use a Firefox account with Waterfox.  Waterfox has its own sync sign-in, I believe, that is probably the same Firefox stuff redirected to new servers.  I’ve never used the sync feature in FF or Waterfox personally, so I am not aware of the specifics.

        Once upon a time, Waterfox used the Firefox profile directly, but this changed some time ago… I am thinking after it was announced that Firefox would have its classic addon ability cut off.  At that point, the profile formats would have been the same, but Firefox is constantly evolving, while Waterfox Classic is static at v56.  If it is Waterfox current you are using, the format of the profiles is probably the same, so you could try copying your Firefox profile over to Waterfox and see how it goes.  I do not know how MacOS (as a fellow *nix OS) does it, but in Linux, it would be ~/.mozilla/firefox to ~/.waterfox (one step shallower in the path).   That’s with Waterfox Classic.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by  Ascaris.
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      • #2003388 Reply

        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan
        FEBE & CLEO would likely work for you.

        http://softwarebychuck.com/

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2003744 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      FEBE & CLEO would likely work for you.

      Sounds good. Which one do you recommend I use? And would I backup the extensions from FF then import into WF?

      Nathan Parker

    • #2003745 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      I don’t know if it is possible to use a Firefox account with Waterfox.  Waterfox has its own sync sign-in, I believe, that is probably the same Firefox stuff redirected to new servers.  I’ve never used the sync feature in FF or Waterfox personally, so I am not aware of the specifics.

      When I clicked to sync, it took me to the actual FF sync login directly through Mozilla.

      Nathan Parker

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2003751 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      FEBE & CLEO would likely work for you.

      Sounds good. Which one do you recommend I use? And would I backup the extensions from FF then import into WF?

      I can only say use which is appropriate Cleo does a simpler thing and reinstalls extensions (I have never reinstalled but may soon on my new box) FEBE can transfer everything. I have no guarantee that it will work in WF. Do a burner install and try it!

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2003752 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Do a burner install and try it!

      Sounds good. I’ll try this on my old iMac and report back. Thanks!

      Nathan Parker

    • #2007708 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      One issue I’ve found with Waterfox is 1Password’s extension doesn’t load, since Waterfox is not on the whitelist of supported browsers.

      So if someone who knows the developer to Waterfox can let him know, that’d be great.

      Nathan Parker

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

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