“I trust Mozilla more than Google; but Mozilla trusts Google more than you”
Google is their primary & only ‘real’ source of income. Ironically their only real competitor. Do they want to promote privacy friendly social media? I see no PeerTube or Mastodon accounts to follow; it’s again Twitter & YouTube. So much from a browser company that pushes for the open-web. They haven’t dared to bite the hand that feeds them. They violate many of their original goals listed in their Mozilla manifesto.
Firefox by default, is more invasive of your privacy than Brave, should you not change the default settings
Telemetry on first launch, pocket pinging so many sites, without your consent. Hold up! I’m not saying use ‘Brave’ or ‘Chrome’ or some other Chromium based browser. Using non-free DRM modules & location services from Google. With $500 Million Dollars rolling in every year, it seems like the browser is built for satisfying Google’s needs at this rate.
Choosing Firefox comes at a cost — which benefits Google regardless of Firefox’s popularity
Google does not care much about Firefox, as long as it exists they don’t
have to face many anti-trust violations. Chromium has a 90% browser
marketshare, more specifically
browser engine marketshare. There are
legitimate reasons: an average person chooses Chrome because they expect
pages to render much faster, a better UX (Material UI), native PWA /
Android support, hardware-acceleration that works better, better
audio/video codecs (YouTube) and other proprietary Google ecosystem
integrations with Gmail and Gsuite.
If you tweak Firefox and Chromium to the maximum:
The only reason you’d use Firefox is that it’s not controlled by Google: or is it?
Google funds Mozilla’s life support but somehow their codebase seems to favour user-freedom. At least they market the browser as something that prioritizes - open standards, unlike the Chromium project. But even that is slowly fading away with many proprietary Google components like (Widevine CDM) for DRM and geolocation support.
Firefox also has many security issues (process sandboxing/site isolation). They implement web technologies very late (PWAs). Mozilla turns telemetry and other bloatware, on by default. Things like Brave are upfront and less invasive in terms of network requests / telemetry. Do note: Brave has other intentions like shilling their BAT crypto in mind. Privacy is a by-product and more of a marketing term: on their browser.
When people ask what daily browser should I use? I suggest LibreWolf: a sanitized version of Firefox, for security oriented users I suggest ungoogled Chromium & Brave. There are no legit alternatives that aim at Chromium’s speed and security. Smaller browsers focus on one sided platforms and a specific use case. For the forseeable future we have to live with Chromium/Gecko duopoly, both funded by Google. If top notch syncing features and upstream security updates are your concern use a hardened Brave profile. Although I do not recommend using Brave in the long run.
LibreWolf is what Firefox should be
Brave pricks Google’s ad market share by blocking ads by default
What do I use?
Firefox — with all the Mozilla crap disabled. For my usecase: I don’t really care about security bugs that Firefox is vulnerable to. I do acknowledge it is a problem, that needs to be fixed, for the general public, but I’m no boomer that visits shady websites everyday and keep my install up-to-date. Here is how to tweak your build of Firefox to do the same.
Stock Firefox is a pain to configure but is very customizable. Even more than Brave or Vivaldi. Refer the archwiki, arkenfoxuserjs, LibreWolf config files on GitLab. If you’re geeky enough you should be able to use Firefox as per your needs. Remember! Firefox is free/libre software. Use those software freedoms.
Here’s how my browser looks like. Quite minimal. Get’s the job done.
What’s Mozilla been doing?
Swiper no swiping
I don’t think Firefox will die. There will always be someone forking or patching abandoned code. But Mozilla not acting, is a painful thing to watch. I will still continue using a non-Chromium browser, in this case: Firefox as nothing better exists. For some weird reason I thought it would be a good idea to try build a web-browser from scratch. Even if it’s really hard I don’t see anyone trying otherwise 😔. It’ll be a good research project! All hail the Chromium monopoly.
Here’s what Mozilla should do:
- Stop draining funds in unproductive campaign programs and politics.
- You’re a browser company, stick to that or you’ll lose more and more users.
- Ask help and ideas from users before the 3 year search contract with Google is over. 🤑
- Do not bundle non-free addons & cater to the free-software crowd, stick to the original founding principles, based on free/libre software.
- Release Firefox Fission ASAP, on all platforms including Android
- Change your release schedule, for the STABLE release switch to the ESR model with timely security patches. Leave the cutting edge features for the beta testers (nightly editions).
- Increase funding for the security team & finish Site Isolation, keep all the new features for the Beta and Nightly editions.
- Start an F-Droid repo and focus on a de-googled, BigTech free experience.
- Remove all anti-features, telemetry, etc, in the STABLE releases of Firefox, keep it in the Nightly builds and of course OPT-IN
- Ask users for donations and effectively show us why you’ll beat Chromium/Google in performance than shake their hands.
- Get away from Google, and eventually add uBlock Origin as a prebuilt addon with other privacy addons.
I’m sticking to hardened Firefox & can not recommend vanilla Firefox to everyone, until it fixes itself
The fact that it is not Chromium is the only ‘real reason to stick with Mozilla’. If Firefox fails, Mozilla is dead. Google holds Mozilla hostage & feeds them just enough, to defend against anti-trust laws 🚨
UPD: I made an easy to use guide for hardening Firefox called /vulpes