• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

Looking for a Firefox replacement

Recommended Posts

th3rEsa    90

I've been using Mozilla Firefox since its humble beginnings as Phoenix (from the ashes of the Mozilla Suite). Having been a rather proud user for quite a while (I even wrote some popular Firefox extension), I don't quite like the direction Mozilla is taking, including the oversimplified Australis UI and some other weird decisions; however, the latest beta 43.0 made DownThemAll! 3.0 (beta), one of the last extensions which stuck me to Firefox, not work anymore due to some signing issues. DTA!'s author had already said that he will stop further development when Firefox gets rid of XUL support which will be "soon" anyway.

So, basically, that's the last straw for me. Mozilla is not interested in having me as a user and extension developer anymore, so I'll happily leave if any browser can replace Firefox well enough.

Requirements

I have a couple of "requirements", features I learned to love and I wouldn't want to miss. "The browser" should be able to give me most of the following functionality (the more, the better) right from the core or with extensions:

  • An RSS icon in the address bar so I can see if the particular page has an RSS feed available.
  • A decent JavaScript blocker, such as µMatrix or (at least) NoScript.
  • Bookmarks with online backup/synchronisation.
    I've been using Xmarks since it was called Foxmarks, but I could live with moving my bookmarks to a different online service as long as it's in some way integrated in my browser. Pocket doesn't work for me, I need real folders.
  • Something like bookmark groups. For example, I open certain links once a day. In Firefox I have "open all in new tabs". It would be awesome to have that in the new browser too.
  • Tabs on the left side of the browser window. I use to have a plenty of them open at the same time and I like to keep an eye of them.
  • Support for user scripts.
  • Something like Firebug which allows me to modify a website's CSS on-the-fly.
  • A decent replacement for the combination of FlashGot and DownThemAll!, pretty much allowing me to download any media from any website with support for parallel downloads, pausing them, etc.
  • KeePass integration. I use KeePass to hold my passwords in a secure place and I wouldn't want to have them stored in a browser ever again. (Sorry - reasonable paranoia.)

What I have tried

The obvious solution, using SeaMonkey, has not worked for me - it lacks too many extensions. I also had a glance at Vivaldi which is promising and looks nice but I'll need to wait for its extensions before I can decide, I guess.

Pale Moon looks interesting, but I'm rather unsure concernings its future now that it has been completely forked from Firefox. While its author "promises" future XUL support, the main problem is that there mainly is only one author. Of course I had a look at the first beta of Pale Moon 26 so it could be an alternative, but I'd love to have more input.

Discuss! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

AFAIK, Vivaldi uses Chrome's extensions. Pale Moon is likely your best bet in this situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kozukumi    293

Sadly Firefox is the last browser that gives the user a good experience while being very customisable. Sadly with XUL extensions being deprecated in the long run it will leave no real option except for Firefox forks but like you said the issue they will have in the long term is how can they continue to support XUL. Very sad the state of browsers in the near future. ######## Google with Chrome getting popular because Mozilla were too damn slow to pick up new features and stay competitive. Now Mozilla are trying to turn Firefox into some weird Chrome wannabe. It sucks as that is the opposite direction they should be going. They should be about ultimate customisation as well as performance and compatibility but nope, that is too hard, so they will just dumb Firefox down to Chrome levels and then wonder why they continue to keep losing users :(

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xendrome    5,582

What's wrong with using Chrome? I'm sure there are extensions/plugins to accomplish all of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
th3rEsa    90

Doesn't Chrome even have any of those? :s

Pale Moon will probably break a lot if I disable the "Firefox compatibility" mode as it would require the add-ons to have separate PM compatibility. Oh, and it crashes instantly when I try to install Firebug. I know, it's still a beta and all, but... edit: Firebug is not even compatible with Pale Moon as of now. :(

Any more ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
th3rEsa    90

What's wrong with using Chrome? I'm sure there are extensions/plugins to accomplish all of this.

I have never seriously used Chrome (it always felt bloated and restricted to me, but now that Mozilla turned Firefox into another Chrome clone, it doesn't matter anymore), so I'm happy to have you around to help me find the particular extensions. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

Chrome has never felt bloated to me - just the opposite actually when compared to Firefox. After re-reading your requirements list, Chrome might work well for you too, depending on extensions.

I'd install Chrome and try searching the Chrome Web Store for Chrome extensions to try and see if they fill your needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
remixedcat    2,767

waterfox

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
th3rEsa    90

waterfox

Nothing but a 64-bit Firefox. Makes no sense.

@Boo Berry: Well, last time I checked (for fun), I couldn't find sidebar tabs or KeePass...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
remixedcat    2,767

They do things a bit differently than the regular builds

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shiranui    1,920

Lynx

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Royalty    175

I think Chrome and Firefox would be your best choices as of right now. Nothing else really compares.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
remixedcat    2,767

Lynx

safari 1.0 alpha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
th3rEsa    90

Oh, we're funny today...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
B.Jay    19

Well, I think the lack of a really usable extension API is Chrome's (as well as any other browser based upon Chromium) Achilles heel...

While I switched over to Chrome long ago as Mozilla went "speed pacing version numbers" I always kept a "Portable" Firefox install around because the convenience of dta! (downthemall!) and the efficiency of NoScript was/is simply unparalleled on Chrome.

Anyhow ... while the extensions around for Chrome are a lust-lacker in comparison to what you can get for Firefox (oh how that will take a nosedive once Mozilla rids XUL) - the bare minimum that somewhat work for me are ...

- "Ghostery" (also available on Firefox) to keep annoying user-tracking at bay.
- "AdGuard" (browser extension, there's also a version you install as a Windows application that is totally independent of the browser - worth every Cent) to keep the Ads away
- "Nicer Bookmarks" to have a sane Bookmarks/Favorites menu. Doesn't give you separators (you still have to work around with "bogus bookmarks" to shoehorn a separator line in) but the best bookmenu there is (EDIT: totally forgot: Nicer Bookmarks also allows you to open bookmarks inside a Folder at once - closest thing to Firefox's Bookmark Groups you can possibly find /EDIT).
- "Tabs to the Front" to open new tabs "to the front" (and not into the background - the most annoying "feature" of Chrome, if you ask me)

A extension like "No Script" or "dta!" doesn't even exist for Chrome ... but in terms of "No Script" you could use Chrome's built-in JavaScript management system --- disallow by default and whitelist the sites you want running scripts, or blacklist the really bad ones. Same goes for Flash ... either let Ghostery or AdGuard take care of blocking Flash or set Chrome to "Click to Play" in the settings. There's FlashBlock around for Chrome, but that one somehow leaves something to be desired.

As for Firebug: Never tried that one, but Chrome's "Developer Tools" (CTRL+SHIFT+I) is lightyears ahead of Mozilla "DOM Inspector" ... give it a try - for my use cases I found it to be good enough (though YMMV).

That leaves us with the problem of dta!. Up to this day I haven't really found something worthwhile to go with Chrome, hence why I keep a jailed "Portable Firefox" around. There are download managers like EagleGet and Free Download Manager ... but I'm not really impressed by them ... seems dta! + dta! Anti Container is still unparalleled (that's why I agree with you that the demise of dta! with Fx 43.0 will hurt a lot).

Bookmarks sync: Well... isn't ownCloud capable of syncing your bookmarks? Shouldn't be too hard to setup given you have a small home-server around. That being said ... to sync bookmarks I actually use Chrome's built-in sync to sync between Chrome instances across my boxes/OS's and Firefox Sync to keep Firefox synced. Once in a while I simply export my bookmarks from Chrome and import them into Firefox - in case I added new ones or changed something around that's to much of a hassle to edit manually.

Password sync: I switched over to "Enpass Password Manager" (ditched LastPass) and am syncing the vault via a Syncthing shared folder (set Enpass to sync "via Folder" and put the folder exporting the vault to be inside your "intern data" Syncthing share - disable "Relay servers" and "Proxy" in the properties of the share if you don't need to sync with some device outside your LAN).

Anyhow, nice topic you opened up here - let's see if someone found a worthwhile replacement for dta!. ;)

Edited by B.Jay
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
th3rEsa    90

I already use Adguard, so all I need is a JavaScript compliment. :) About the Bookmarks and Passwords thing: I prefer to have them right accessible in my browser, so I'd need extensions for that. :(

Firebug is rather a "better web development toolbar" than a DOM Inspector replacement. AFAIK it doesn't even support inspecting the browser chrome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

Nothing but a 64-bit Firefox. Makes no sense.

@Boo Berry: Well, last time I checked (for fun), I couldn't find sidebar tabs or KeePass...

Yeah, don't think there's sidebar tabs, but there is KeePass extensions - I currently use this one and it works great!

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ckp-keepass-integration-f/lnfepbjehgokldcaljagbmchhnaaogpc?hl=en-US

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
B.Jay    19

Firebug: Like I said, have a look at the "Developer Tools" and see if it cuts your needs. There's even a flag in "chrome://flags" to enable experimental features for the DevTools to ramp the functionality up a bit, though keep "experimental" in mind - may be somewhat buggy. After briefly glancing over the "Firebug" extension page ... I don't think you'll find something like that for Chrome ... the API isn't up for that.

Bookmarks sync: Like I said ... ownCloud (a Raspberry Pi 2 running Raspbian + ownCloud on a somewhat suitably sized SD card would suffice) - there are extensions to sync your bookmarks - or use the built-in sync.

Bookmarks menu: Again ... Nicer Bookmarks is possibly the best option you can find.

Password sync: Either use LastPass (you already use LastPass' Xmarks bookmark sync) or use a locally installed password manager (Enpass, KeyPass, ...) and install the browser extension (Enpass) - or see if KeyPass' auto-fill finally works (never worked for me) - and sync the vault across your devices to keep it in-sync and up-to-date.

As for JavaScript ... there are a few extensions around on Chrome's Web Store, but IMO none of them is really good (or even close to NoScript). I actually resorted to using Chrome's built-in management system as that's about as lacking as the extensions.

But yea, with the upcoming changes to Firefox (digital signing requirement, demise of XUL) an era of highly sophisticated pluggies will actually come to an painful end ... not that I'm really greatly surprised, Mozilla totally lost their minds a long time ago so "royally ret**ded" decisions coming from them don't really surprise me anymore (sorry if that sounds rude, but they really work hard on train-wrecking Firefox).

Another option would be to stick to Palemoon (forget Waterfox ... runs like a dog on everything non-Intel CPU) and "wait and see" how that "sticking to XUL" works out on the long term. If Moonchild is able to pull it off then he's clearly the saviour of a lot of Firefox fans ... if he can't then you at least postponed "Judgement Day" for a while. ;)
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

They do things a bit differently than the regular builds

Waterfox is just optimized differently depending on Intel/AMD processor and supported SSE instruction set. The downside to Waterfox is it isn't updated by MrAlex for every new Firefox release due to whatever reasons (real life? college? Intel compiler issues?!?), which *may* pose a security risk when running an out-of-date Firefox build. When/if it is updated in the future, it follows Mozilla's source code meaning it'll suffer from depreciated XUL too.

If I were to use an 'optimized' Firefox 64-bit Windows build, I'd just use pcxFirefox. Personally, I also avoid Cyberfox too and just use vanilla Firefox 64-bit now on Windows. I don't notice any performance differences on my high-end machine when comparing Firefox 64-bit, pcxFirefox, Waterfox, Pale Moon or Cyberfox with real-world usage.

If you absolutely need XUL with Firefox in the future, Pale Moon is basically your only choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TAZMINATOR    12,416

waterfox

Pffftt.  Waterfox is crap.

You should try 64bit Firefox that just released.    Go try it out.

 

Listen to Boo Berry and try his suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

I wouldn't call it crap... it's just the lack of updates for whatever reasons (as I said, it seems real life and compiler issues seems to be the main reasons) poses a potential security risk when running older Waterfox builds. It's for that reason alone I don't recommend Waterfox anymore - I don't recommend any third-party Firefox builds, actually.

Though that shouldn't matter as Waterfox isn't a viable alternative for the OP regardless, as it follows Mozilla's code changes and isn't a fork like Pale Moon is now.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
remixedcat    2,767

palemoon has compatibility issues and the dev is arrogant into making the users push the "choice" thing on devs. Not cool.

 

BTW sec.issues can be solved by installing Common Sense Anti Virus 2016 Enterprise Edition

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TAZMINATOR    12,416

I wouldn't call it crap... it's just the lack of updates for whatever reasons (as I said, it seems real life and compiler issues seems to be the main reasons) poses a potential security risk when running older Waterfox builds. It's for that reason alone I don't recommend Waterfox anymore - I don't recommend any third-party Firefox builds, actually.

Though that shouldn't matter as Waterfox isn't a viable alternative for the OP regardless, as it follows Mozilla's code changes and isn't a fork like Pale Moon is now.

I know you didn't say crap... but I did... I have tried it...  I went back to FF..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

BTW sec.issues can be solved by installing Common Sense Anti Virus 2016 Enterprise Edition

The typical user usually lacks said common sense. :p

And an antivirus wouldn't really be effective against browser vulnerabilities. ;)

palemoon has compatibility issues and the dev is arrogant into making the users push the "choice" thing on devs. Not cool.

Oh, I agree. Pale Moon really is a complete mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boo Berry    2,264

I know you didn't say crap... but I did... I have tried it...  I went back to FF..

Haha, I used Waterfox when it started - even helped MrAlex a couple times too. But yeah eventually stopped using it too when I didn't notice any performance differences between Firefox and Waterfox.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.