LibreWolf to replace Firefox

It seems to have the momentum and support that I believe LibreWolf is now set to become what PureBrowser was. A Firefox fork without the telemetry and forcing of non-free addons/services. Better yet, its easily available on Linux and they’re building up macOS and Windows support.

I am posting this from their latest Appimage and it seems to be working fine. Looks like they’re getting Debian packaging setup too though through a 3rd party repo. Would be nice to see it in Debian’s official repos and PureOS. Wondering if @jeremiah or Jonas have any thoughts on this.

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I admit that I generally opt in to Mozilla’s telemetry and such. Primarily because I think I’m atypical and despite all the new features, still use probably too many addons. So, I’d like them to take note and change things more towards my direction. Otherwise, it’s all the lay people who’s “voices” are heard.

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What do you mean when you say you opt in to Mozilla’s telemetry? Do you allow them to harvest and sell your data? Or is it something else? I’m not very tech educated as you can see.

When you first install Firefox, it asks whether you agree to its sending telemetry data.

Exactly what’s in it, I wouldn’t know and I almost certainly opted out.

If you go to Edit / Preferences, click on Privacy & Security, scroll down to Firefox Data Collection and Use then those check boxes and the links therewith may adequately inform you.

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I don’t know about"Edit" but I have three horizontal bars that I’ve heard called “the hamburger”. Also found the default zoom settings and now I can read this without dragging FIrefox to my other monitor.

Probably was talking about the “edit” in the menu bar, if you have the menu bar enabled.

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the ‘hamburger’ menu or ‘the 3 horizontal lines stacked on each other’ icon is pretty common in the GUI front-end of the GNOME desktop-environment and on the L5 as well so linux fellas/felletes should be quite familiar with it …

G/Web shows me a blank GitLab page with no text in it … does it want something enabled in ‘preferences’ ?

GNOME Web (aka Epiphany), which is based on Apple’s WebKit, is going to become the new default web browser on Librem devices and it configured to protect people’s privacy, so I’m not sure that LibreWolf is really any better than Epiphany.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that The Mozilla Foundation is in financial difficulties and had to lay off 250 employees, which represent 25% of its workforce, so I want to help the Foundation as much as possible.

When you use a program like LibreWolf, you aren’t helping to maintain the 24.37 million lines of code in Firefox. The modern web browser is one of the most complex programs in the world, because it has to support 25 years of different standards, has to have fast multi-threaded performance, and has all kinds of potential security problems. It requires a big programming team just to keep abreast of the constant changes in the web. Anyone who thinks that Mozilla’s huge codebase can be maintained with volunteer labor is deluding themselves.

The problem is that it takes a huge budget to pay its programming staff, and the Mozilla Foundation is paying for the development of many other essential things like Rust, WebRender, WebAssembly, WebGPU and Thunderbird.

We are rapidly approaching a point where Google basically controls the definition of the web and has overwhelming power in the WC3 committees. Google decides to implements a new web feature, and all the other web browsers have to adopt that feature to maintain compatibility, and then Google employees rush it through the WC3 as a new standard.

Chrome/Chromium, Edge, Samsung’s web browser, Opera and Brave are all based on Google’s Blink web engine and V8 JavaScript engine. According to the data at Statcounter, Google’s Blink+V8 currently controls 75.15% of global web browsing on all platforms, Apple’s WebKit+JavaScriptCore controls 19.71%, Mozilla’s Gecko+SpiderMonkey has 3.78%, and Microsoft’s defunct Trident has 1.13%.

If Mozilla fails, we will be left with only two viable web browsing engines developed by Google and Apple, and those two companies will have the power to define how the web works.

The problem is that Mozilla is very dependent on Google, since Mozilla got 95.3% of its revenue from web search royalties in 2018 (from Google, Yandex in Russia and Turkey and Baidu in China). Mozilla just signed another deal to use the Google search engine for the next 3 years till 2023 to get between $400m to $450m per year from Google. Supporting Mozilla means supporting Google’s data collection.

Maybe the solution is to use DuckDuckGo as your search engine and pay 4.99 per month for Mozilla’s VPN service, to help Mozilla become independent of Google.

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Mozilla lost a lot of my respect when they ousted Brendan Eich for political reasons. The new CEO then felt the need to bump their pay up substantially more than what Eich took and still continues to fire people. Mozilla then posts in their blog about how to deal with people who have the “wrong” political affiliation.

I’ve used Firefox daily since before it was even called that and never left for Chrome or any other browser. But after all this, I’m glad Servo was picked up by the Linux Foundation and that we have a fork of Firefox that seems to have momentum that Mozilla has wasted and no longer deserves.

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What do you mean? Mozilla doesn’t collect any data for Google; AFAIK Google supports them to avoid antitrust and does not dictate what they do. As you said, Mozilla is the only hope of free independent web and using Firefox helps to show everyone that it should be supported by the websites. DDG browser has a negligible usage and no one would even notice it in the statistics.

If you mean that Google is the search engine then it’s not a huge loss in my view, since most people got used to Google anyway and would complain if the search engine was different. I change it in a couple of clicks and never even think about it.

Happy user of Firefox since a long time.

As @amosbatto said:

I don’t see any evidence that the organization actually pressured or encouraged Eich to resign, and he clearly was not fired. (quote from lwn.net)

See also my earlier post on the topic:

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At least the “standards” are getting published. Both Netscape and Microsoft used to push extensions without standards, which other browsers had a hard time following. Their market share dictated adoption by users. This was a much worse scenario for competition.

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It doesn’t help much, when such “standards” require huge resources to implement which no one apart from Google/Apple has. (I can’t show a specific example though apart from unrelated .docx format).

Great blog post by Drew Devault about this: https://drewdevault.com/2020/03/18/Reckless-limitless-scope.html

He also has two others I highly recommend reading regarding Firefox: https://drewdevault.com/2020/08/13/Web-browsers-need-to-stop.html & https://drewdevault.com/2020/10/22/Firefox-the-embarassment-of-FOSS.html

Would like to note he was one of the main devs for wlroots which is used on the Librem 5 through phosh.

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Mozilla doesn’t collect the data, but Google pays Mozilla to set Google as the default search engine in the Firefox browser (in most of the world outside Russia, Turkey and China) and the majority of people never change the defaults. In other words, Firefox is a vehicle for Google to collect people’s search data. Google’s agreement with Mozilla is secret, so we don’t know for sure if Mozilla also gets a per click or per purchase royalty from Google’s advertising, but I suspect that is the case, because the agreements are always announced within a range like “between 400 and 450 million dollars per year” rather than an exact amount.

Yes, Google supports Mozilla to avoid anti-trust, but it does make it much harder for Mozilla to oppose Google when it gets roughly 90% of its revenue from Google. I guess that you would have to check what the Mozilla representatives say on the W3C committees when Google proposes something that benefits it, but hurts the smaller companies or the general public. See this article:

Here is a good summary of the problems with Mozilla:

All of that being said, Mozilla does have a history of standing up for an internet based on free/open standards that is based on FOSS and the digital rights of users, so I want Mozilla in the room when they are debating W3C standards. Without Mozilla, we would have likely seen Microsoft take over and control the internet standards in the early 2000s, so Mozilla saved the open internet.

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I’m happy with a LibreWolf alternative.
I was done with Mozilla after they did this…

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Isn’t RAIR Foundation considered a hatespeech/conspiracy theory group?

From the horses mouth then:

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Mozilla calls for (in this article):

Reveal who is paying for advertisements, how much they are paying and who is being targeted.

Commit to meaningful transparency of platform algorithms so we know how and what content is being amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.

Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.

Work with independent researchers to facilitate in-depth studies of the platforms’ impact on people and our societies, and what we can do to improve things.

It seems to me that more transparency about where information (or disinformation, or misinformation) is coming from would be a good thing, no?

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If you take the words at face value, sure. But there’s more to it:

Changing these dangerous dynamics requires more than just the temporary silencing or permanent removal of bad actors from social media platforms.” (emphasis mine)

So at a baseline, they’re advocating silencing “bad actors.” Who are these bad actors? Mitchell Baker doesn’t specify.

Reveal who is paying for advertisements, how much they are paying and who is being targeted.

While this seems “more transparent” on its face, it’s aimed at making it easier to target advertisers for conservative programs. There are many examples (1), (2), (3) of this, and there are entire organizations (for example, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants) dedicated to targeting advertisers in an attempt to shut down conservative shows and organizations by depriving them of funding.

Commit to meaningful transparency of platform algorithms so we know how and what content is being amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.

Again, at face value, this is just making more knowledge available, and more knowledge is better, right? But it leads to

Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.

And there it is. The important questions here are, what counts as a factual voice? And what counts as disinformation? We can get an idea of what Baker considers a “factual voice” by following the link in the quote. The link leads to an article by the New York Times saying that Facebook has rolled back a change to its news feed algorithm that prioritized certain publishers (CNN, NPR, and the New York Times are named) and deprioritized others (Breitbart and Occupy Democrats are named). So, while “factual voices” and “disinformation” may remain vague terms that I won’t attempt to define specifically in Mozilla’s place, the gist is that Mozilla would like to see specific publishers permanently favored over others.

Work with independent researchers to facilitate in-depth studies of the platforms’ impact on people and our societies, and what we can do to improve things.

More vague wording. What does “improve things” mean? Again, I won’t presume to speak for Mozilla, but it seems safe to propose that its meaning falls in line with the other things called for in this article, including silencing people they don’t like, making it easier to go after someone’s advertisers, and carefully choose which news gets shown to people and which news gets buried.

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