Orca Browser

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 22, 2008
Updated • Feb 8, 2015

The Orca Browser is based on the Firefox 3 core but adds lots of unique features and options to it that Firefox does not support.

The first thing that you notice after installation is the speed of the browser. It's obviously a subjective feeling but it seems a lot faster than Firefox 3 or Opera 9.5 for that matter.

It already has several features built-in to the browser that Firefox 3 users can only gain by adding add-ons to their browser.

Talk about ad blockers, mouse gestures and auto-filling forms among other things. The layout looks cleaner and is slimmer than that of Firefox 3, even if you have installed the Tiny Menu add-on in Firefox.

This is mainly achieved by combining the header (that displays only the page title and the buttons to close, maximize and minimize the window in Firefox) with the Menu getting effectively rid of one toolbar at the top.

In addition to that, the current version of Orca comes with roughly 15 skins and language support for about 20 languages.

The options look kinda confusing at first glance because Orca provides access to several functions that are only available in the about:config dialog In Firefox.

Lots of options as you can see. It does support keywords (url aliases), different search engines and many more features known from Firefox.

The one thing that is missing currently is in my opinion add-on support for Firefox 3 add-ons. If they could deliver that as well I would immediately change to Orca. Since I'm not using add-ons heavily it might even be time to change directly.

I just want to test the browser for a few days to see how it compares when used on a daily basis to see if it is stable enough and how good the ad blocker really is.

Update: Orca Browser has been renamed to Avant browser. It is offering access to three rendering engines now including the Firefox Gecko engine but also Internet Explorer's Trident engine and Webkit that is used by Apple Safari.


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  1. kuder said on November 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Is the latest version 1.2.6?

  2. charlie said on July 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    So it’s Firefox with exclusive (for how long?) skins and extensions, but it doesn’t let you install other Firefox extensions?

    Why don’t they just collaborate to the Firefox development instead of wasting efforts in a separate browser?

  3. RM said on July 24, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    OK so it may be a good browser… but why is no one recognizing the fact that it does not offer protection from phishing? isn’t that important? people who come to ghacks.net are those who are technically inclined yet i see some kind of ignorance in them coz they lap up everything that is pro mozilla and anti MS or IE.
    and how come with the number of features that opera 9.5 offers, is it not recognized and appreciated by you all “geeks”???
    any comments?

  4. Terry said on July 24, 2008 at 4:09 am

    It’s a pity,it doesnt work on Mac.

  5. Keshav said on July 23, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    does it work on Mac?

  6. phuong said on July 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    wow this browser is fast, even faster than firefox 3. I just need firefox’s gmarks addon to work with orca and then i’m switching.

  7. SpencerAR said on July 23, 2008 at 3:45 am

    In the long run, I wonder how this browser will fare against Flock 2.0 (http://www.flock.com/beta/download/) (which is also based on the Firefox 3.0 engine).

    Flock (http://www.flock.com) accepts a bunch of FF3 extensions already…and has an interface that is palatable…and has the social web2.0 integrations already built-in.



  8. Angelo R. said on July 23, 2008 at 1:31 am

    This is great, I love testing out new Browsers! I’ve used pretty much anything from Lynx to Maxthon and now to Firefox. I find that a lot of browsers aren’t trying to change the face of web browsing, but cater to a specific crowd.

    Flock, for example, isn’t a browser for everyone, but it IS geared towards people who are beginning to get into feeds and social networking.

    Maxthon is a great replacement for ANY IE configuration and so is Avant. This is for the people who know better, but are still stuck using IE for whatever reason.

    Firefox of course dominates the more technical savvy generation.

    IE reigns supreme in office and older homes.

    Orca will undoubtedly cater to SOMEONE, but we will be waiting to see who their target audience will be.

  9. Roman ShaRP said on July 22, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Now I prefer more comfort to more speed, and add-ons make my life more comfortable.

  10. Transcontinental said on July 22, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Martin, I still have my logins for Avant/Orca forums (Roboform keeps it all!), so I went to have a look at the discussions, and asked as for the future of Orca and Firefox 3 add-ons. I’ll let you know when I get an answer. I also found out that Orca has an about:config implemented as well, and that the browser takes even more advantage of the new Gecko engine than Firefox 3 does … whatever that may mean.
    Wait and see.

  11. Martin said on July 22, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Rajat I checked the options quickly and could not find any reference to phishing protection in the browser. I look into Sleipnir soon, should be worth it alone for its reference to Nordic mythology :)

    Transcontinental support for add-ons would make me switch to Orca immediately. The developers have unfortunately decided to protect their forum from guests. Bad decision because it seems to be the only valid source for information about the browser. Meaning, I cannot say if they plan to add them or not.

  12. Transcontinental said on July 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I chose Firefox rather than Opera as my default browser mainly because of Firefox’s extensions availability which, combined, give me the exact tools I wish for browsing sessions. So Orca Browser may be fast, slim, attractive, without, as Martin pointed out, an add-on support for Firefox 3 add-ons, it won’t get my vote.

    But I’m ready to bet it’ll be a fine browser, as Avant Browser (IE-engined) is. I had switched from IE to Avant Browser, a few years ago, and I recall nothing but hapiness… until I met Firefox :)

  13. Rajat said on July 22, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Hey Martin…
    does the browser have the fraud page checking? like FF3, Opera 9.5 and IE7 have in built tools to check for phishing etc… nowhere does it mention anything about fraud pages protection.

    secondly, i came across this other japanese browser… it’s called Sleipnir. search for it… maybe you could compare the two with the current browsers and let us know how they stand. here also among the features, it hasn’t mentioned protection from fraud web sites. is a browser really good enough when it does not protect your from phishing? is it worth trying out??? let me know your comments…

  14. Faust said on July 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Great another Firefox like browser trying to be Opera…. I wish people would code something productive like a replacement for ‘Scansoft OmniForm’, I just see wasted effort into something that will
    A) devs will get tired of and forget
    B) Another weak competitor in browser war
    C) Will live forever amoungst other crappy browsers *cough*netscape*cough*

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