Time to move away from Firefox.


Very Active Member
Dec 23, 2020

It looks like it's time to move away from firefox, as I'm very anti-google and anti-advertising/tracking. What would you guys recommend? I'd like something privacy/security focused, and I don't need fancy features, just plain old browsing functionality. i.e. I type in a URL or load a search engine. Open source would be ideal.
Tor browser. Based on Firefox, but enhanced for privacy/security. If you are really serious about this topic there are Linux distro's created specifically for this reason. I don't have experience with those.
My approach is a hybrid one. Mostly browsing carefully but not restricted with Chrome/Chromium or Firefox, if I need more privacy/security browsing via VPN and for best privacy/security using VPN + TOR.
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I am not really worried. There surely will be an option to disable any ads. If not, we'll see a fork in no time. There are already some nice forks out there anyways. Anything is better then Chrome based browsers.
The reason you don't like ads is because they are not relevant to you because you don't submit enough reviews
The reason I don't like ads is because they waste my time and obscure the actual content.

Websites went way beyond the point at which ads were tolerable.

Interesting - for my use it is probably still the best combination. I sometimes forget that my VPN is not activated and I sometimes forget that I am not using TOR :)

I don't think there is perfect privacy or security. Pretty sure if I was targeted by experts or a government they would find out my identity. AI in combination with mass data crawling will make it even easier in the future. I think everyone has a unique presence on the internet and you can't hide that via a VPN or secure browser.
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The reason I don't like ads is because they waste my time and obscure the actual content.

Websites went way beyond the point at which ads were tolerable.
I agree ads and cookie warnings ruined the internet. Especially forums have really obnoxious ads.
Especially forums have really obnoxious ads.

That's why I'm a big fan of ad blockers. As an example I've never seen an ad here in all the years that I've been a member.

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I don't trust the forum you linked to. I get a line at the top "Unfortunately, your browser is unsupported. Please switch to a supported browser to view rich content, log in and reply." (visiting with Pale Moon) and can't scroll.

Well, that's ironic. That's Purism's support forum :oops: (If you don't know, Purism is a company that produces privacy respecting hardware and software such as the Librem 5 phone). I just loaded that page with 'Web' browser and didn't get the warning, page loaded fine.
Palemoon user here, however...
In fact, I have a few browsing modes. I use PM as my daily driver because I need certain features, like accessing common functions without these 10+ key RPG gaming mice, so my toolbar is just full of things I can use with touchpad, like dropping down the back/forward menus from dropmarkers near their buttons, changing the referral address, changing user agent, including a few "explosive" ones I crafted intentionally for sites that discriminate on user agents (literally stuffing their databases with things they don't want to have), Greasemonkey, RSS, eMatrix, URL regexp processor, Adblock with a selector, and a small dropmarker for undoing closed tabs.
Most of these extensions don't work with Firefox, that's why I switched to PM. Unfortunately, they don't work with the newest PM either.
Another mode is when some site really wants more advanced browser, or uses more complex things - I have a Firefox for this specific cases, and I can open every link in it. However, it's quite hardened.
The last mode is the VM with FF or Chrome, this is a last resort, it's also a bit modified not especially to mitigate, but definitely to confuse spyware components (macros, macros, macros). Generally... After I used this at work because I had to, the operators of the service sent an official letter to my employer :).
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More advanced browser: Mostly messing with JS so much that it starts to be indistinguishable from late-90s ActiveX. Mostly WebAssembly, sharing of desktop/devices, GPU.

Tell us more.

The VM is configured the way which is almost like a weird search bot (no, not this Google or Bing one, this one which looks for mail addresses to send cryptocurrency trading offers), may introduce itself with user agent containing texts which are forbidden to keep in USA and some EU countries, lots of things are forward-buffered and I usually keep the cache for some time. This is made purely for these greedy sites which use technologies to harvest data. The forward buffering is forced on because I may need the information I browse later and I can then read them offline, without mesing with the dangerous sites on the Internet.
I work in science and I am totally open with the fact that I use these "Pirate bay for scientists" portals, which allow to bypass paywalls, as modern publishers are parasites. So, once we had a small course about searching for papers, and we got an access to some papers database. Whoever had a portable PC, needed to enter there and find something as a exercise. I asked them a few times do they REALLY want it to be done on my private PC, but yes. So here we go!
There was a Java-based downloader which was used to download PDF chosen from their WWW site. The message passing between WWW and Java was done by string taken from the document DOM which was scanned entirely. Of course running totally untrusted Java code is not something I would do in my OS, so here goes the VM.
I found that programmatically, every "related paper" can be opened not in the new page, but in a sub-div, means, they're part of the same DOM, and the JS concatenates it to the string passed to the Java downloader. Because "related papers" are also interesting, I experimentally configured my forward buffering to 250GB and recursively opened "related papers" tree to the 5th order.
This was a really useful feature, useful for scientist. Imagine downloading, with one click, all related and cited papers, so it is possible not only to read a paper, but also cited publications to know where some information is taken from!
Well, the funny thing is that after I filled four or five caches of data, a few weeks later, the supervisor got a letter that there is an "automated querying". Then I shown that the "automation" is done on the publishers side and framing people to violating ToS is something terribly inappropriate for someone who pretends to be an engineer association.
Finally, they had to have the wider problem, as they introduced Google's Captcha.
And for the web developers, an useful hint: It does not matter that you ask the browser to disable forward buffering. This is finally always a browser's decision, so don't try to control the user even more.
That’s quite sad actually about research paper paywalls. Are scientific advancements now more restricted than when Tim Berners-Lee invented the hyperlink?
That’s quite sad actually about research paper paywalls. Are scientific advancements now more restricted than when Tim Berners-Lee invented the hyperlink?
The whole research empire is broken.
The whole thing is funded by taxes but papers are being locked away from the public by publishers like Spriger for example.
You need expensive subscriptions to access papers that were funded by the public.

The whole University system is based on "Make as many papers as possible because else you have no chance to become a professor".

Check this: