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Mozilla Firefox is an open source project, so anyone can take its code, modify it, & release a new browser. That’s what Waterfox, Pale Moon, và Basilisk are—alternative sầu browsers based on the Firefox code. But we recommover against using any of them.

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If You Don’t Like Firefox Quantum, Use Firefox ESR Instead

RELATED: What"s New in Firefox Quantum, the Firefox You"ve sầu Been Waiting For

We lượt thích Firefox Quantum, which is faster & more modern than previous releases of Firefox. If you want lớn keep using your old add-ons that no longer work in Firefox Quantum, we recommover Mozilla’s Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) instead.

Firefox ESR is based on Firefox 52, supports traditional XUL Firefox add-ons and NPAPI plug-ins, và will continue receiving security updates directly from Mozilla until July 2, 2018.

Yes, Mozilla has done some things we’re not crazy about. The Mr. Robot “Looking Glass” add-on was ridiculous, & we’re not thrilled about what they’re doing with Cliqz in Germany. But, after taking some deserved public heat, they’ve sầu made policy changes và we’re hopeful they’ll vì better in the future.

Even if you don’t completely trust some of Mozilla’s business decisions, your browser is just too important to be left to lớn a small community of enthusiasts. We think it’s best khổng lồ go with a big project with a large number of developers that receives a lot of attention lớn security. That’s why we recommover against using these smaller Firefox-based browsers, & why we also recommend against using alternative browsers based on Google Chrome. Here are our concerns with some of the more popular Firefox alternatives.

Waterfox Is Firefox ESR, But With Slower Security Updates


Waterfox is based on Mozilla Firefox, and it’s probably the most popular alternative browser based on the Firefox code. It made a name for itself by being a 64-bit browser based on the Mozilla Firefox code when Mozilla only offered 32-bit versions. However, Mozilla Firefox is now a 64-bit browser on 64-bit versions of Windows, so that’s not a reason to lớn use Waterfox anymore.

Today, Waterfox is based on Firefox ESR. It advertises support for traditional XUL Firefox extensions and NPAPI plug-ins lượt thích Java and Silverlight. These are both features of Firefox ESR, so you don’t need to switch to lớn Waterfox khổng lồ get them. After Firefox ESR reaches kết thúc of Life, “a “new” browser will be developed khổng lồ follow the ethos of Waterfox of customisation and choice”, according khổng lồ the Waterfox blog.

Waterfox also has some other different features. It disables Pocket by default, but you can disable Pocket yourself in Firefox. It won’t skết thúc telemetry data to lớn Mozilla, but you can disable that from Options > Privacy & Security > Firefox Data Collection và Use in Firefox. Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which are required for sites lượt thích Netflix, are also disabled by default—&, again, you can disable them yourself in Firefox, if you like.

Overall, using Waterfox is basically just like using Firefox ESR và changing a few settings…with one big difference: security updates arrive in Firefox ESR much faster than they vày in Waterfox. Whenever Mozilla releases security updates for Firefox ESR, the Waterfox developers have to lớn integrate those updates inkhổng lồ Waterfox before delivering them to lớn users.

Let’s look at the most recent major release: Mozilla released Firefox 57 on November 14, 2017. Waterfox’s developers released Waterfox 56 that incorporated the security updates found in Firefox 57 on November 30, 2017. We don’t think waiting more than two weeks for security updates is a good idea!

Here’s a more recent example from a minor release: On January 23, 2018, Mozilla released Firefox 58 & Firefox ESR 52.6 with a variety of security fixes. Three days later, the Waterfox project said it was working on integrating these patches on Twitter. On February 1, 2018, Waterfox 56.0.4 was released with these patches. That means Waterfox users waited nine days for a security patches from a minor release, compared lớn if they were just using Firefox. We don’t think it’s a good idea khổng lồ wait that long.

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In the future, this will only get more complicated as the Waterfox developers try to lớn make their own browser. We recommover staying away và just using Firefox ESR.

Pale Moon Is Based on Very Outdated Firefox Code


Pale Moon is based on older Firefox code. The current version of Pale Moon is based on Firefox 38 ESR, which was originally released in 2015. The prior release was based on Firefox 24 ESR, which was released in 2013. The project uses an older Firefox interface created before the Australis theme, và still supports XUL add-ons.

Rather than being based on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, Pale Moon is based on “Goanna“, an open-source browser engine that’s a fork of gecko. (In open-source software, a “fork” is when someone takes the existing code of a project, copies it, and develops it themselves from that point forward, going in a different direction.)

While Waterfox is based on code that’s currently supported by Mozilla, Pale Moon is based on much older code. It won’t have sầu the new web features or performance improvements of modern versions of Firefox, nor does it support watching certain kinds of đoạn phim with DRM.

More importantly, basing a browser on such old code makes security patches harder. Pale Moon’s developer tries khổng lồ keep up with Firefox security patches, but he’s maintaining old code that Mozilla has abandoned. Mozilla reportedly has over a thous& employees, while Pale Moon has one primary developer, trying khổng lồ maintain a huge amount of code that’s becoming increasingly outdated. The older code also omits features that help make modern browsers so secure, lượt thích the multi-process sandboxing features that have sầu finally arrived in Firefox Quantum.

Besides, Pale Moon tends to lớn perform worse on browser benchmarks compared lớn modern browsers, which isn’t surprising given its age. The developer disagrees with browser benchmarking, but it’s not surprising a browser based on four year old code might be slower than a modern one.

Basilisk Is a More Modern, But More Unstable Pale Moon


Basilisk is a new browser from the creator of Pale Moon. While Pale Moon is based on Firefox 38 ESR, Basilisk is based on newer Firefox code. The developer is working on the “Unified XUL Platform (UXP)”, which is a fork of Mozilla’s code without the new Servo and Rust code that makes Firefox Quantum so fast. It also doesn’t enable any multi-process features.

A future version of Pale Moon will be based on this code, but right now the developer considers Basilisk an unstable development platform.

This fits Pale Moon’s kind of weird history. The first major version of Pale Moon was based on Firefox 24 ESR, due khổng lồ a disagreement about where Firefox was headed. But the developer eventually had khổng lồ switch khổng lồ Firefox 38 ESR to lớn get more modern features. Now, the developer is doing the same thing again, basing this new version largely on the pre-Quantum Firefox code. We don’t see the point of resisting new features only lớn make a major leap lớn them every few years anyway. Just stiông chồng with a browser that’s continually updated, like Firefox.

As for why you shouldn’t use this browser, aside from the same security & usability concerns inherent with Pale Moon, even the developer says it’s “development software” that should be considered beta.

These aren’t the only Firefox-based browsers out there, but they are the most popular—& most others will likely come with similar issues. It’s best to stiông chồng with a browser that has a big team behind it so security problems can be caught, fixed, and patched as fast as possible.

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