It seems that the privacy community has a love/hate relationship with Firefox and Mozilla in general. Some will say it is because of their out-of-the-box privacy settings and others will say it is because of the Mozilla organization’s “pro-censorship” stance.
As someone who has had a near perfect experience with Firefox, I’ve not really understood people’s hatred of it. I use a custom profile configuration that I made with ffprofile.com and there’s only 1 website that I have to use on Brave due to extreme lag on Firefox running the site.
Considering it is basically the only non-chromium browser out there in the mainstream, I feel like we should do more to speak of the positives of Firefox instead of constantly raging at the negatives. That’s not to say we can’t complain at all, but I don’t see a world where people start to migrate to Firefox if half of our discourse is over how bad it is.
Firefox and Mozilla generally gets a lot more criticism because “they’re supposed to be the good guys” so every privacy violation, etc. seems much more egregious. I personally prefer using Librewolf or even Brave to Firefox since Firefox requires too many modifications from the default for it to be in a place where I’m comfortable with it in terms of privacy. I used to use it as my main browser and getting all the settings tweaked and maintained with Arkenfox was a huge pain.
I do agree that the internet is much better off privacy-wise with Mozilla than it would be without it though.
I can agree with that. Brave is a much better out-of-the-box experience. It just sucks that Firefox isn’t a great alternative to Chromium as it once was.
I identify as falling in the boat of being overly-critical of Firefox when they’re overall a net-positive for the community. Nobody’s perfect, and ultimately I think it’s better they’re here and if they weren’t (big time!)
One massive shift for myself has been meeting the people behind these projects and realizing they’re real people who have to make difficult decisions that won’t please everyone. It’s easy for us to sit behind the computer screen and nitpick—but there are real people who dedicated their entire livelihoods to various services.
Healthy discussions, criticisms, and honesty can be shared in a productive way. Something I have to remind myself as I’m not perfect either. Just something I wanted to share (Context: Just spent time getting to know the Nextcloud team in Berlin and it’s always so eye-opening to IRL engage with people behind some of our favorite projects)
One of my favorites things I get to do at Techlore is interviews, which I think are a beautiful way to humanize the people behind our favorite services.
Yes it does deserve the hate sometimes as they doesn’t listen to it’s community and green is the only thing they care about.
+1 for FloorP
it’s smooth and cool asf
Meh, as a company they’ll always get both, and the reasonable stance left feels like getting your priorities straight and value the good and the bad and choose a compromise or abandon, if you don’t want to get stuck in perfectionism loops.
Don’t forget that Librewolf is just a tweaked Firefox fork. So, without Firefox, it cannot exist.
They absolutely do not deserve the majority of the criticism they receive. Firefox is not perfect but they have done a tremendous amount to advance privacy. Firefox like many other major privacy-respecting projects is in a bit of a ‘damned if they do, damned if they don’t’ situation.
In order to appease the most vocal, hardline, privacy purists, they’d have to make a bunch of decisions that would keep them from being a viable semi-mainstream browser. People–even privacy conscious people–have other priorities along with privacy, and they want a convenient, user friendly experience. That entails balancing privacy & convenience (in the default configuration).
Firefox has found a great middle ground in my opinion. Because the default configuration is pretty privacy preserving and at the same time user friendly and familiar, but they’ve built in the options to make Firefox as private as yo want. A well configured Firefox is every bit as private as any competitors. We can have our cake and eat it too.
But Purists (and less informed, newer users) are upset that Firefox by default doesn’t enable all these features, and in many cases don’t realize that all the privacy enhancing things that projects like Librewolf do were built into Firefox (by Firefox developers), and don’t understand that most users are turned off by some of the usability tradeoffs that those of us who are serious about privacy care about.
The tl;dr of it is Firefox needs to balance various goals (privacy, usability, convenience features) if they hope to stay relevant, and gain market share, but in doing so they upset some of the more black & white thinkers in the community who will turn on a project that makes these compromises. But the alternative is to become even more of a niche browser, with an even less sustainable path forward.
I agree, adding on to what you said:
Not only could it not exist without Firefox, but almost every single privacy feature in Librewolf was built by and for Firefox, and is included with Firefox. The majority of the work, time, money, that enables Librewolf to be as private out of the box as it is, can be attributed to Mozilla and Mozilla developers. Librewolf is more akin to Firefox ‘pre-configured’ for privacy as opposed to a distinct browser.
Its value is in simplifying and standardizing configuration, compared to doing it yourself, or using a project like Arkenfox. So for inexperienced people, or people who just don’t have the motivation or experience to configure their browser themselves I see the value. I think Librewolf is a great project. I have used all three approaches, and value all three approaches. But it frustrates me how many people don’t understand that the features Librewolf enables by default were/are present and possible in Firefox, and were built by Firefox dev’s. If you love Librewolf you love Firefox, you just prefer a more opinionated browser that makes more choices on your behalf ootb.
@xe3 wow, how beautifully put. An exemplar tribute. Could be framed and put on a wall or set in stone
My addition would be that the same can be said about the Tor Browser. Almost every feature of it was made possible by Mozilla, but enhanced and standardized by the Tor Project. Most likely there would be no Tor Browser (and Mullvad Browser !!!) as we know it without Mozilla, or it would be based on Chromium or other engine with who knows which entity and philosophy behind it.
Yeah from the little bit that I know, The TOR Project and the Firefox team seem to have a good, mutually beneficial relationship (see: TOR uplift project for example). I think there are a number of important privacy features present in Firefox and the TOR Browser today that are at least partially the result of the collaboration between Mozilla/Firefox and TOR
Sure, I know that. But Firefox by default kinda sucks. There are a lot of settings I have to adjust to make it usable. LibreWolf does a lot of that work for me, so I consider it a superior version of Firefox.
Privacy aside, Firefox is helping the web remain open by providing a browser engine outside Blink and WebKit.
With Google pushing it’s agenda through Chromium, and WebKit being, well Apple’s, I’m personally grateful that Mozilla is here advocating for open web standards.
Yes, that’s why I dislike Brave. They support Google’s monopoly on web rendering engines. And their browser is also marketed towards privacy people, some people switch away from Firefox and start using Brave, which is terrible for the open internet. If you want something better than Firefox, you should actually consider LibreWolf.
Thanks for your excellent comment. That is what I think about the situation. There are many Firefox haters who love Firefox forks in the privacy community.