The developer of the Firefox-based Waterfox web browser revealed today on Reddit how he plans to to deal with the changes Mozilla makes to Firefox.
The lead developer of Cyberfox made the decision to put the browser to rest. He plans to migrate the browser to Firefox's Extended Release channel, and support it until Mozilla Firefox upgrades ESR to the next release cycle.
The Waterfox developer has different plans however. Waterfox is based on Firefox code that has been offered as a 64-bit version for a long time, and ships without features such as Pocket, or Adobe DRM that Firefox shipped with.
The plan, announced on the official Waterfox Reddit forum, would see the team putting out two versions of the browser in the near future. One that would be migrated to Firefox ESR, another called Waterfox RR which would follow Mozilla's release scheme.
Waterfox ESR would ensure that users of the browser could install and use legacy add-ons in the web browser, something that would not be possible otherwise with the release of Firefox 57 in November (and the subsequent release of Waterfox 57).
But the developers plans don't end there. He plans to get funding for a startup to fork the last working version of Firefox with XUL/XPCOM to create a new browser out of it.
He would then try and get programmers on board that would help him maintain that version of the new browser following in "Mozilla's ethos".
The new browser would have its own release cycle, which would be similar to Firefox's 1 to Firefox's 3.6 release cycle (less but larger releases). That new browser would use C++ and not Rust as the core language.
The lead developer plans to provide additional details about the future of Waterfox in the Waterfox 52 release announcement. The browser is expected to be out this week.
Waterfox ESR and Waterfox RR are likely going to happen. There is little doubt about that. This means that Watefox users can pick one of the browsers going forward. Those who rely on classic add-ons want to pick the Extended Support Release version, others the RR version.
The plan to create a startup, fork Firefox, and continue development of a classic version of the browser depends on financing of course. It is an ambitious project, but I'd imagine that interest is there both from the developer community and userbase to realize it.
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