Brave vs. Firefox ESR? Which one is better

I have both installed on my L5 and I am waffling back and forth to decide which one I want to use moving forward. I initially thought Brave was better but I noticed that it is quite a resource hog compared to FF. I’ve tried both with and without hardware acceleration but wondering how that should be set for the L5, currently I have hardware acceleration off for both browsers. I have also had the phone bog down or even lock up with both but probably more so with Brave and looking at TOP shows how brave opens up a new process for each tab and it quickly gobbles up resources so my thinking is it’s not the ideal browser to use. I do know that the arm64 version is still in development so maybe these things will improve over time.

Regardless just curious what people are using and why?

Can’t speak for Brave/ESR on the L5 yet. I had been a FF ESR user for a long time. However, I had the opposite experience that you did, where ESR was a resource hog on my L13. I switched to Brave and have loved it. I don’t think I’ve heard the fan kick in or my laptop slow down as I did with ESR. That said, maybe the experience is different on the L5 with the different architecture. I’m anxiously awaiting my phone, where I intend to go with Brave by default and see what I get with it there.

I’ve tried both. I prefer Brave to Firefox. Brave is much snappier. However, Chromium works best, sorry to say.

Have you disabled hardware acceleration in either case?

I do not think so. How do I do that?

It’s in settings for both browsers for FF you have to disable the recommended settings. I would just like to know from the dev team what we should be selecting here because I know this setting can cause issues I believe.

Hello raenrfm,

just use both and pick your favorite with plugins you like. I love to know how to edit Firefox to meet my preferences (no Cookies, use umatrix or ublock origin… and adjust some switches in about:config).

However and for your phone. Try to minimize your traffic and use mail, RSS or Bots in a smart way, to collect Data from the old Internet with scrips and Bots, and just push the finished news you want to your phone through RSS, Messengers or Microblogs.

This way you have the control how to edit and transcript data. Like news to simple html with pictures and Text. Youtube-Videos to just one mpeg or webm File. And you could view that data with less blobs and more security. Cause Browsers are nearly full cruise ships with too much stuff you likely do not want.

However (ok it is not accepted) download a Video temporary with programs like the old youtube-dl Script and just push the Video and not the Comments the Stars the Likes and so on to you is kind of worth it.

Afterwards you end up to use a browser here and there… but it is like search engines. If you know where you find stuff, you do not need a search. Just beginners use it that way.

Today we are on the way to a future, where Apps kill the Browser Star singing and “Syntetic Relaitionships (like Chatgpt*) kills the Apps”.

So yes try to create your own Internet-Relay for Offline work. Try to set up your own Neural Network which try to handle, search and accumulate the important information for you, under your own control without too much proprietary 3erd Party Code.

In really few cases on the road its not important what Browser you use then. Just that what can display the information you need.

Have a good Day,


Does brave tor window work on the L5?

That would be a big positive, if so. I do not think that tor browser itself works on the L5 yet?

There is an arm64 build of Brave that I’m running you have to set up the repository and install it that way, but I think it’s still pretty new and developing. It isn’t really adaptive either yet, but I’m hoping it will be as I do like using it on my PC’s and laptop, but my other concerns with it have been that it doesn’t always release the wwan0 interface when you are connected to a wifi network and hence it will smoke through your data plan without you realizing it when you think you’re on non-metered wifi connection.

Can you use Tor within brave on the L5? For example, by tapping the hamburger menu on the top-right of brave and selecting “New private window with Tor”?

EDIT: You can also invoke brave with Tor by the below command:

brave-browser --tor

A while back, in Brave I opened at private window and pasted in an onion address. Nothing happened after that. So my conclusion was “no”, TOR doesn’t work.

I don’t have L5 yet, but I’m pretty sure that I will stick on Firefox. Why? It’s the tool I know very well and it’s not Chromium (never a good idea to have no alternative). And as long as I know my tool, websites have no chance to do any harm to my device, but I have the know to manipulate websites with stuff like “iron-overlays” against ad blocker. Also using Firefox on other devices and be able to share profiles.

Anyone who tried LibreWolf? I am curious how that fares.

See also earlier discussion:

So I have been using FF ESR with hardware acceleration disabled and I find that it’s actually running much better. I also noticed that the phone is charging better on my Nexdock so perhaps the hardware acceleration was causing some issues.

Give it a try disabling it and see if I’m right about that…for those using Brave and FF ESR that is. I’m curious if that is actually the case.

Not to rez this thread, but because I missed this. I just wanted to mention that for me Brave is FAR more usable then Firefox ESR on the L5. ESR has better touch input but sadly fails to render things properly and crashes or slows down a lot when trying to use GUI elements there.

On the flipside, Brave works well after making some modifications to improve the amount of horizontal real estate the GUI needs. I turn off the wallent, VPN, etc icons, for examples. After this Brave just works really well.

You do need to use tab groups to help keep the tabs from cluttering things too much. But there is a tab quick search feature that works well. This doubles as an easy way to close tabs as well.

Brave also handles PWAs really well. Firefox ESR does not, and web is really not that compliant just yet. Really hoping that improves, but it does feel like Gnome Web has kind of been abandoned.

On top of all of this I have talked to Brave’s team and even CEO on several occasions via Twitter. I believe that these comments have even led to Brave being compiled for aarch64. But beyond this they directly fixed bugs that were present on the aarch version. So Brave’s team is just really helpful and there is aggressive active development there. The same hasn’t been something you could say about Firefox for a long time, unfortunately.

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Epiphany engine got vulkan acceleration recently plus other acceleration so at end it will feeling like Butter on Librem 5 also Phosh_GTK4

My take - after spending months tinkering with web app setups across epiphany, Firefox-esr and brave:

Generally very performant ( I think it has the smoothest scrolling across all browsers) but for some reason hasn’t been updated for librem5 in over 2 years. This makes it incompatible with many sites, etc. Flatpak version appears to be regularly updated but that version doesn’t support web apps. Also, I don’t like the super large titles that waste valuable screen space on the librem5 - especially when using web apps.

In general, has the best performance for web apps (via PWA plugin). However, this is totally undermined by a serious memory leak that crashes my entire phone if I leave web apps running for about a day. It is also incredibly resource hungry, as shown in activity app, using up huge amounts of memory.

This is the flatpak version. In general fairly good performance (not far away from Firefox) but there are some random sites such as that actually work far better on brave (maybe because it blocks the ads there?). However, there is a setting in brave that optimises the non-focused tabs - I have found this to be amazing for limiting memory usage and keeping performance fairly snappy. This translates fantastically well to web apps too, where they have very small titles/borders, etc. you will need to override their window sizes though, but unlike Firefox which hangs the system, I have found Brave to be very stable (don’t install the current version of brave though - something is broken and you’ll need to roll back so hopefully they’ll fix that soon ), allowing me to have my top 5-6 web apps open at all times. The other great thing is notifications work very well on brave and show up in the Lock Screen, when you tap it, it takes you to the correct web app instance as well. Some small snags are there isn’t an easy way to change icons, but it can be done manually. Also, the current issue with the latest version of Brave on flatpak.

Right now, I tend to use Brave for all my web apps due to reliability, notification integration and the best resource management. If I want to open another browser window to quickly search for something, I will either still use Brave or occasionally epiphany if I know it’s a site that still works (as that is still the fastest/smoothest browser).


1.60.118 fixed the problem for me. Not sure when that will be rolled out to the flatpak. I am just using the deb version myself.

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Thanks for the heads up, just installed the deb over the flatpak version and it works :slight_smile:

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