I have updated the custom Firefox build list today and stumbled upon a new third-party build that I had not heard about before.
Light is a third-party build of Firefox much like Waterfox or Palemoon are. The core difference between Light and many other builds is that Light is a slimmed down version of Firefox.
What is meant by that? Well, instead of just including everything, or nearly everything, in the third-party build, the author decided to remove components from Firefox.
The following components are not included in Light according to a post made on Mozillazine.
crashreporter skia webm opus ogg wave webrtc jsd gamepad intl-api accessibility webapp sync healthreport safebrowsing pdfjs identity spellcheck tabview social devtools printing webspeech webgl directshow
As you can see, it is a mix of components that some users may rely on, while others may not miss them at all. Components include front-end tools such as Developer Tools, the spell checker, or Firefox sync, but also backend components such as WebGL, WebRTC, support for webm, opus or off, or printing support.
It should be clear that Light is not for everyone because of that. If you rely on a component, say printing or Web Developer tools, then you cannot really use the third-party version of Firefox as it does not offer it.
While you could install Firefox next to it and run it independent from each other as profiles are not shared, it is not the best of options.
You are probably wondering about the benefits that come along with such a stripped down version of Firefox. First, you get a 32-bit or 64-bit build that you can download from the developer’s website, or more precisely a connected Google Drive account.
All builds support a portable mode. For that, you need to rename the custom_t.ini file to custom.ini.
Light should feel a bit snappier for most users. The loading of pages feels a bit faster but not overly so, as Firefox is already loading most sites blazing fast. Still, Light feels a bit faster still.
There are not any memory improvements, but if you run a benchmark such as Peacekeeper, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.
In a non-scientific test on my system using Light, Firefox Stable and Firefox Nightly, Light scored the most points with more than 3200, followed by Firefox Nightly with more than 2800 points, and Firefox Stable with more than 2500 points.
A benchmark is not really something that you can translate 1:1 to real-world applications, but it shows that some optimizations went into Light.
The missing components may keep some users from giving Light a try. While you can work around some, for instance by installing Firebug for web development or using a third-party synchronization tool instead of Firefox Sync, you cannot add others to the browser.
Probably the best way to start is to simply download the latest version of Light to your system to take it for a test ride.
The idea is definitely an interesting one, slimming down Firefox to improve performance, and while you may agree or disagree in regards to the removed components, there is no denying that this is probably the snappiest version of Firefox that you have tried until now.
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