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Waterfox browser will not enforce add-on signing like Mozilla Firefox
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Waterfox browser will not enforce add-on signing like Mozilla Firefox

by AshwinDecember 30, 2015

Waterfox developer, Kontos, has officially announced that the 64-bit browser, will not be following in Mozilla’s footsteps to impelement add-on signing.

Waterfox browser

Or should I say forced add-on signing? Mozilla implemented the so called security feature, in Firefox 43, which was released earlier this month.

Though the current version of the browser does allow you to disable the forced check of add-ons, from the preferences, the toggle is a short lived one. Beginning with Firefox 44, scheduled to be released on January 26th, the option will be removed from the browser, making add-on signing a mandatory one. This essentially means that no third party add-on will work on the browser, beyond the date, unless the developer of the extension submits their creation to Mozilla’s respository, and it is approved.

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Waterfox, here is a brief intro.

It is based on the source code of Firefox, and looks and works identically. Waterfox came to existence, in 2011, thanks to the work of Alex Kontos. Yes the browser is maintaned by just one person. Don’t let that fool you though, because Waterfox is incredibly smoother than Firefox, and has been my daily driver for a few months (replacing Vivaldi, which I was testing for a month). It doesn’t slow down the PC drastically unlike Firefox, which likes to eat up all of the available RAM.

Kontos replied to a query about add-on signing in Waterfox to say:

No versions of Waterfox should be using extension signing 🙂

This will allow users to install third party add-ons, without them being disabled. For e.g: Enhanced Steam, which is distributed on the developer’s website.

This is how Firefox should work, instead of killing many popular add-ons. But the sad fact remains, that since Mozilla will implement the rule next month, most add-on makers who do not host their extension at the repository, are likely to abandon their project for good.

Firefox 64-bit was released recently. And now that we have an official 64-bit version from Mozilla, is there a point in using Waterfox?

The answer is a big yes, because Waterfox does not implement the advertising content (tiles), etc that Mozilla packs into Firefox. There is no built-in implementation of the Pocket reading service in Waterfox either.

Basically, Waterfox is a debloated version of Firefox, and that alone says why it is worth using more than Mozilla’s browser, and an excellent alternative. It still does support Firefox Sync, and uses the same profile for saving the settings too.

The developer is active on Reddit, helping users, and listens to user feedback regarding features they want to be improved, removed or added back (which were removed from Firefox). Waterfox will be implementing the Electroysis multitasking feature, which will enable the browser to make each tab use its own individual process, as it will prevent the browser from crashing, when just one tab crashes.

Download Waterfox for Windows and Mac OS X from the official website. All 64-bit plugins work with it.

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