“I trust Mozilla more than Google; the problem is Mozilla trusts Google more than you”

Google is the default search engine on Firefox. All their app store screenshots feature Google Search. No self hosted F-Droid repo. It’s again Google Play.

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 pinging sites out of the box

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 legit reasons for the average person choosing Chromium - pages render much faster, a better UX (Material UI), native Android support, hardware-accelerated graphics that work better. Better Audio/Video bandwidth efficient codecs, cross device PWA compatibility support, and other cutting edge features the Chromium devs bringup.

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. That’s 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 on their browser.

The average user doesn’t have the time to disable all their telemetry, ads and other nonsense with every new update

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 hardened Brave is the best. 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?

Sadly.. Firefox. With all the Mozilla crap disabled. Oh, I don’t really care about security bugs that Firefox is vulnerable to. I do acknowledge it is a problem, that has to be solved for the general public, but I’m no boomer that visits shady websites everyday. 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, imo. 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.

firefox

Here’s how my browser looks like. Quite minimal. Get’s the job done.


What’s Mozilla been doing?

pay

Swiper no swiping

The current Mozilla CEO - Mitchell Baker, took another yearly payrise. At a time when the browser is struggling to survive. Get the pun? Swiper the fox?

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. I am trying to build a browser. Yep, just as an experiment - even if it’s really hard I don’t see anyone trying otherwise ๐Ÿ˜”. All hail the Chromium monopoly.


Here’s what Mozilla should do. IMO

  • 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. ๐Ÿค‘
  • Do not bundle non-free addons & cater to the oPenSouRcE 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 community focused privacy plugins.

The fact that it is not Chromium is the only ‘real reason to stick with Mozilla’ If Firefox falls, Mozilla is dead. Google holds Mozilla hostage & feeds them just enough to defend against anti-trust laws ๐Ÿšจ


Lunduke’s video; note ~ 2018


I plan to stick to hardened Firefox + ungoogled-chromium & can not recommend vanilla Firefox to everyone - until it fixes itself


UPD: I made an easy to use guide for hardening Firefox called that you can find here