Waterfox 55.2 update and roadmap released

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 4, 2017

A new version of the Waterfox web browser, Waterfox 55.2 was released today paving the way for keeping legacy add-on support in the web browser.

The web browser uses its own profile directory in that version. It used the same location that Firefox uses up until that version.

Existing users will have most of their settings and data migrated to the new user profile location. The lead developer Alex Kontos notes that the process may reset some settings and add-ons however.

NOTE: SOME SETTINGS (INCLUDING ADD-ONS) MAY BE RESET! Unfortunately due to the way the profile import works, this was necessary. You CAN change which profile to use, the same way as Firefox, if you’d like to use the old location. There will be teething issues, please be patient and just report any issues you do have, I will try my best to have them resolved.

The browser displays a "welcome to the new Watefox" screen during setup that explains to users that Waterfox uses its own profile location now. The screen is used to import data from browsers, Firefox for instance but also Chrome or Internet Explorer.

waterfox own profile

The location of the new profile folder is C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Waterfox\Profiles\ on Windows.

Or in more general terms:

  • Windows: %APPDATA%\Waterfox
  • Linux: ~/.waterfox/
  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/Waterfox

Note that only one profile is imported during setup. The developer suggests that you edit the profile.ini file in the new Waterfox profile location if that is the case to continue using these other profiles.

Users should expect some issues during this part of the development phase. Some add-ons may be disabled, and some settings changed as part of this. The developer hopes however that this will be resolved in future updates.

Another major change of Waterfox 55.2.0 is that the browser is now also available for Android. You can download the APK version from the developer website. Note that there is a browser of the same name on Google Play that is not related to this Waterfox for Android web browser.

Waterfox 55.2.0 includes all security patches that Mozilla released in Firefox 56 and Firefox 52.4 ESR.

The developer published a work in progress roadmap that will be extended once Waterfox 56.0 is released.  The release is planned to launch mid to end October 2017, and will remain an ESR version for the time being. This means no feature updates from Firefox anymore, but security patches.

Work on a modified version of Waterfox continues to continue support for XUL, XPCOM and other legacy technologies that Mozilla dropped or plans to drop in regards to add-ons.

Now You: Which browser do you use primarily, and why?

Waterfox 55.2 update and roadmap released
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Waterfox 55.2 update and roadmap released
A new version of the Waterfox web browser, Waterfox 55.2 was released today paving the way for keeping legacy add-on support in the web browser.
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  1. Kubrick said on December 4, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Is there any particular reason that the linux download for waterfox is 92mb….?

    1. Appster said on January 7, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      It bundles all the language packs, that’s + 30 MB when compared to the regular Firefox installer.

  2. J. Neal said on November 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    A PLEA:
    Can someone, somewhere, advise how in Waterfox 55.2.2 (64-bit) to have tabs ON BOTTOM (instead of the default “on top” position)? Waterfox is a new install for me, as I am fed up with the changes that the Firefox update has done. As it was, so many add-ons had become legacy/non-working with FF57. The latest FF update is ugly and spartan, and seems to have limited customization to a very narrow view of function and appearance. I did not migrate anything from Firefox to Waterfox, but opted to keep everything separate, and set up Waterfox from scratch, and hopefully will be able to install what I want, where I want.

    However, I am not finding an option of how to enable “tabs on the bottom.” The “tabs-on-top” location is cutting through the key part of the image on the persona I installed, and I would really like to have baseline and tabs moved to the bottom of the persona, like I USE TO have with Firefox. When Firefox messed that up, I found the about.config change that fixed the matter, but it doesn’t appear to be available with the latest Firefox update nor in Waterfox.

    (1) I want to get the tabs and their baseline down and close to the actual pages that open.
    (2) I want to be able to place the various toolbars and elements above the tabs, including icons for my favorite legacy add-ons, in a way that is logical and familiar to me, and to be both pleasing and readily visible against the backdrop of my persona selected (and especially without the tab baseline cutting through the image like a police crime scene tape).

    1. Jean Grey said on November 25, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Similar as with Firefox; edit your userChrome.css and add

      #TabsToolbar { -moz-box-ordinal-group: 10000 !important;} /*Tabs under URL bar */

      No need for another addon…

      1. royce said on November 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm

        True but it requires more effort, generate a new folder in the profile etc, etc.
        The extension Tabs on Bottom (Australis) 2.0.0 is quick and easy and runs 100%

    2. clas said on November 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      there is an extension for this: tabs on bottom

    3. Bill said on November 19, 2017 at 5:51 am

      I run my favorite add-on I always used on Firefox up thru FF56. Classic Theme Restorer. that will allow you to customize a lot of things AND tabs on the bottom is the first order of business. Works great and you can have to squared tabs if you prefer.

  3. TelV said on November 8, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Ok, thanks Martin.

    By the way I decided a while back not to employ my adblocker on your site, but still don’t see any ads. All that does appear are the four Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and RSS buttons. I’m allowing Google.com ads in Privacy Badger and APB is disabled. What else would interfere with ads display?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Good question, hard to answer. Maybe a hosts file entry? Enabled Privacy Protection?

      1. TelV said on November 8, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        I don’t use the hosts file at all. As for privacy protection I tend to use your own recommended settings. I have Decentraleyes and CanvasBlocker extensions installed, but no other privacy related apps. I’ll try FF in safe mode later to see if that makes any difference.

  4. TelV said on November 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I’m using Firefox ESR 52.4 at the moment. Can Waterfox be run alongside it without overwriting my FF profile? Anybody know?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 7, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Waterfox uses its own profile as of version 55: https://www.ghacks.net/2017/08/16/waterfox-news-android-app-legacy-addons/

      1. TelV said on November 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm

        Thanks Martin, but is it better to allow Waterfox to import data from Firefox, or not to import anything at all? I’m thinking along the lines that I have ESR installed rather than FF55 or 56.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        Depends on the data. If you just need bookmarks, export the data manually and import it in Waterfox. Preferences and other data is harder, but you could go through preferences for instance to find the settings you want changed in Waterfox as well.

  5. Ricardo said on October 29, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I have been using Waterfox for two years. Having tried every major browser from all corners of the arena, I can tell you truthfully that Waterfox rules the roost. It is the default browser on all my Windows 7 64bit machines. I have it plugged in against ads and scripts, with the GUI glassed and tweaked. It is beautiful browser, runs smooth and fast, and it supports all the extensions I need in order to have a safe surf session without problems.

    Chrome is a marketing wagon for Google. IE is behind the times. Edge is woefully incomplete and filled with ads. Firefox phones home to mama also. Opera, Safari, and all the others fall short of Waterfox, which is everything good that Firefox should be and nothing bad that it shouldn’t be. It is stable enough to run on a mission critical workstation. It is secure enough to get where you are going without being attacked. And, it is a very beautiful program on the desktop.

  6. plunderer said on October 12, 2017 at 10:24 am

    My eyebrows are signaling silent screams when I read users mentioning Chrome as their primary or secondary browser.

    I used to use Chrome ***ONLY*** for DuckieTV, I dropped it as soon as I saw with all “privacy” settings tweaked, no sync etc, no pages open, no extensions, it had continuous non-stop web traffic to google servers, I mean, I knew Chrome was super mediocre in terms of privacy, but that really drove the point home for me, unacceptable.

    DuckieTV has a standalone app, so I tossed Chrome into a dumpster fire, it will never be installed on any of my devices ever again, that’s my opinion. I support your right to use Chrome, but I feel sorry for you, you’re being plundered down under.

    Chrome, the great plunderer.

  7. Anonymous said on October 8, 2017 at 5:36 am

    I was using Waterfox for certain WebSites and certain activities that Chrome was not working well on. I was very happy with my setup using Chrome for some parts of my browsing and Waterfox for others. All of a sudden decided to update and wipe out all of my folders and bookmarks and took the ones I had in Chrome (which were completely different from the ones I had in Waterfox). I am so upset and now going through my old Mozilla to try to regain the sites I had set up in Waterfox. I can’t believe they took it upon themselves to choose which bookmarks I would have in Waterfox. I will never let them automatically update again or may even consider switching to a different browser. This really sucks!

  8. RPWheeler said on October 7, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I switched to Pale Moon as my primary home browser (Chrome is backup in case Pale Moon can’t handle something) and to Chrome as my primary work browser (Firefox is second and Opera is third).

    Good news about Waterfox, I’m going to give it a try. I have good selection of the legacy add-ons, now working in Pale Moon or have working forks, and they are very valuable part of what I want to see working in my home browser of choice. Also, as I wrote many times, don’t see any value in Webextensions.

  9. nealis said on October 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Looks like Waterfox will maintain its current code and just patch security fixes from new Firefox versions. Basically Waterfox is a stopgap until the Webextension situation improve enough for a full switch back to Firefox.

  10. Yoav said on October 6, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I’m using Waterfox as my FF replacement on Win7 with 25 addons and it’s just fine. I’ll stick with it – and with TMP – as long as possible.

  11. royce said on October 5, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve been using Firefox since I can remember and the main reason was extensions. Now that it’s swinging more and more to a Google Chrome GUI plus its unique extension format I’m lost. I hope they achieve a larger market share with this move if that’s the reason to make it look like Chrome.
    I still have the latest Firefox Nightly in a virtual zone but at this stage it’s fatal.

    I’ve installed all the available Firefox forks and Waterfox is a dream.
    It takes whatever I throw at it and just works. Very true, do a fresh install and do not migrate the Firefox profile, more issues than you can imagine.
    Via TeamViewer I’ve installed Waterfox on four PCs ex Firefox and not a single hiccup, fast and smooth.

    1. Nina said on November 25, 2017 at 9:35 am

      There you see how experiences can vary. We here moved our production boxen to Waterfox 55.2.2, and left one stand alone to follow the Firefox (addon) development (now at 57). The Waterfox boxen are absolutely fine, and install went like a dream. But…
      We did notice that the “Import from Firefox” option isn’t flawless. What did work perfectly though is to install Waterfox, boot it so the profile directory is created, close it again, and copy everything from your Firefox profile dir to your Waterfox directory. Job done. If you know what you’re doing you can go through your prefs.js and remove the old (force fed) Firefox extensions (e.g. Pocket, screenprint, e10s), data reporting, and health report code rubbish, or for example remove “obligated WebRTC H264 codec plugins”, but that is not even needed.

      For us it works like a dream, gels in flawlessly with our other software and workflow, and helps us to focus on the job to be done in stead of fiddling with a “runaway” browser. We really hope Mr. Alex (thank you, thank you, thank you) can keep it up, and are very curious what the future might bring…

    2. ams said on October 5, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      I think it’s good advice ~~ start a new profile instead of importing

  12. RPau said on October 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Have been trying Waterfox a couple of weeks now. Only setback so far is, that when using Silverlight, it tends to get out of sync. (I know, I shouldn’t be using Silverlight) Bringing it to the taskbar and back seems to do the job. Haven’t had this problem with FF or Cyberfox.

  13. Mike J. said on October 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Waterfox is actually getting better with the latest updates. I use it a lot.

  14. TelV said on October 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I switched from FF54 to Waterfox a while back, but was a bit bothered by the yellow “legacy” flags which appeared. I assumed that because Waterfox was going to retain support for XUL/XPCOM extensions, the yellow flags shouldn’t have been there.

    Consequently, I decided to switch to Firefox ESR instead which is what I’m using now. I’m going to stick with that until Mozilla ceases to support it come June 26 next year and then decide what to do next.

  15. Alan said on October 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    How do I get Waterfox 55.2.0 to open a link in a new window? In OPTIONs, I unchecked “Open new windows to a new tab instead”, but it still wants to open a new tab. I get no response when I enter a URL in the new tab.

  16. Wallpaper said on October 5, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve tried Waterfox and all I can say it was behaving strangely on my Win8.1. It started with the installation which seemed to never get going and then after about a minute and a half it started extracting. After that the browser run but all of the sudden became very slow, down to a crawl. Some extensions like Priceblink did not work so in the end I gave up on it and uninstalled. This took quite a while, too. For those where the browser is working, good for you. For me it did not work well and behaved strangely so I am going to stay away from it.

  17. David said on October 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I gave Waterfox a go recently. Weird thing is the rendered fonts are really blurry both on webpages and the browser’s UI. I’ve disabled HW acceleration, still the blurriness remains. Had to revert to Pale Moon in the end.

  18. Ron said on October 5, 2017 at 4:19 am

    I primarily use Pale Moon, with Firefox ESR as my backup. When the next version of FF ESR comes, I’ll switch to Waterfox, or Basilisk if it’s ready by then.

    1. Jody Thornton said on October 5, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Martin, I made a response here about someone on the Pale Moon forum making a negative statement on Waterfox that I thought was unfounded. I quoted it pretty much in the Pale Moon thread, but I wanted it seen here too. Why was it deleted?

      1. Jody Thornton said on October 6, 2017 at 12:57 am

        Thank you sir :)

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 5, 2017 at 7:57 pm

        Jody, sorry for that, it was a mistake.

    2. Jody Thornton said on October 5, 2017 at 6:18 am

      I was reading this on the Pale Moon forum. A user there claims he left Pale Moon and went to Waterfox:


      Now he’s back to Pale Moon. He claims that Waterfox took TWO MINUTES to start. Really? That sounds insane. And why won’t he mention what malfunctioning extension didn’t work with Pale Moon.

      Sounds like some trumped up stance he’s taking.(meaning he’s boasting about Pale Moon with some purposeful reservations in mind. Why?). Seems to be shitting on Waterfox for no good reason.

      1. Tom Hawack said on October 5, 2017 at 8:40 pm

        Waterfox 55.2.0 loading & running fast with 65 extensions (add-ons & Webextensions).

        We know our natural inclination to consider ourselves responsible as a last possibility. True that some of us are more inclined than others. If things are done correctly 9 out of 10 issues vanish, the remaining is a true problem. The worst is when the user joins to his blindness accusations of bad code, application, software when his negligence may be the only culprit.

        Most problems encountered by users of Waterfox are linked to the migration of their Firefox folder to that of Waterfox. Don’t migrate but rather re-install from scratch.

      2. satrow said on October 5, 2017 at 8:21 pm

        Strikes me that he doesn’t know what the problem was:

        “I thought maybe the reason waterfox took so long to start is because I don’t have SSD.”

  19. Anonymous said on October 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Hi Martin,

    I use Waterfox and the reason is because of the legacy add-on support. There are some add-ons that I can’t seem to get along without.


  20. Tom Hawack said on October 4, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I had switched from Firefox ESR 52 to Waterfox 55.1 because I was aiming to move away from ESR one way or another and because Waterfox 55.1 installed a user’s own profile independently of that of Firefox (WF 55.2 continues that, it hasn’t initiated it).

    The install of WF 55.1 was flawless except that it didn’t migrate my FF profile which happened to be a good thing for me because I had to deal with two points: 1- Move directly from FF 52 (ESR) to a FF 55 built browser (WF 55.1) and 2- understand the differences between FF and WF. The first point was the toughest. I installed all of my 65-70 add-ons one after another whilst dealing with new settings, those of FF55/WF55. It took me two days because I like to take my time when installing in order to know what I’m doing and do what I want. Result is great.

    Waterfox is now my default browser, it’s version 55.2 as previous 55.1 corresponds to FF 55.3 + latest FF 56 security updates until WF 56 is released. I run Webextensions and (legacy) add-ons; among the add-ons mainly those which have no WE equivalency or a lesser quality equivalency. I know some add-ons will never be updated to WE and that’s where WF is valorised a second time when it’s roadmap is to offer add-ons’ management even starting version 57.

    Also, some add-ons are really far more worthy as an add-on than as a Webextension. I have in mind uBlock Origin which is still developed in both formats (I believe the developer has in mind FF ESR users but of course this parallel development of two formats won’t last forever). For the time being uBO-legacy has several advantages over ubO-Webextension:

    1- It can control other extensions connections. uBO-WE cannot;
    2- It remains active on those Mozilla pages which are immune to extensions : AMo of course but also all the Web pages I view in ‘Reader Mode’ : how odd that the source page is supervised by uBO but not that page viewed in Reader Mode because Reader Mode is a Mozilla protected format (no extension works on it!!!). The insanity not of Webextensions but of Mozilla which decides that some of its pages will not be concerned by Webextensions, as if a judge decided that law would not concern himself given his status!.

    So, Waterfox here, running smooth and fast, free of Firefox’s telemetry, opened to legacy add-ons, brilliantly crafted IMO. Nopt one problem but again I’ve installed it from scratch which seems to me far preferable than using the migration tool (given it’s made available during the install which was not my case.

    1. Anonymous said on October 5, 2017 at 4:35 am

      I hope those legacy add-ons will keep being updated long enough.

      It sounds like the fork is going to move to full WebExtensions API in the future but with Waterfox-specific ones. If it diverges too much from Firefox it is going to have trouble with security and add-on updates. A fine line to walk, good luck to him.

  21. Paul(us) said on October 4, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    On main Windows 10 pro. 64-bit machine I am using as browsers:
    Still Mozilla Firefox 56 (Still 32 bit) (Waiting for that I have to change in Firefox 57). (32-bit USB portable version)
    As a second ( Just occasionally) Google Chrome 61.0.3136.100 Stable (64 bit). (32-bit USB portable version)
    Almost never Microsoft Explorer 11 for sometimes tv programs
    Also almost never the 32 bit Maxthon browser (both Installer & USB portable version)

    From the Maxthon browser, I am experimenting the virtual side of this browser by trying to make decessions about what I should and should not trust the virtual world with, on main/ their virtual cloud drive.
    Should I trust to store on those virtual cloud drive things like there are as an example stuff in the development stages or the more personal stuff things? Right now I am still after 5 years deciding for my self what to do.

    Why I still have Microsoft Edge installed I really don’t know. Maybe (or probably ) laziness!

  22. slumbergod said on October 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I’d been using waterfox happily in linux until an update prompt came through overnight. Updating it killed waterfox. Wiped my installation folder. Waterfox is a great project but it has one dev working on it and the challenges to keep addons working for FF57 onwards is tremendous. If you need stability you may not be able to rely on waterfox.

    1. ams said on October 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      ^— please, don’t feed the TROLLS

      See with your own eyes ~~ github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/pulls

      The projects has “one dev” but has MULTIPLE code contributors, and I’m posting this comment to acknowledge and thank: “PandaCodex”, “Scrxtchy”, “Jimmyson”, “aenerv7”, “hawkeye116477”, “cgpurbaugh”, “InternalError503” “WagnerGMD”, “hockeymikey”

      1. www.com said on October 11, 2017 at 3:45 am


        It seems he added the health excuse in as an afterthought at the very end.


        It’s strongly implied in the rest of his explanation that it had to do with the changeover to WebExtensions and the amount of time he would have to devote towards making that adjustment. As a one-man shop, I can’t say I blame him.

        Since I was having problems updating it on my portable drive, I eliminated it and went back to FF ESR 52.4.0 as a substitute. I’m not that thrilled about it but there you have it.

      2. Wonton said on October 9, 2017 at 7:05 am

        @www.com Cyberfox dev was due to health issues, bet my money if wasn’t for that he would still develop Cyberfox looking at a recent post by the dev.

        Cyberfox 52.8 will be the last which is scheduled for 2018-05-01 and ends 2018-06-26 so 52.8 at this stage in time will be the last Cyberfox release. Still plenty of time for people unsure when the end is near

        Looks like still much life yet, many patches from Cyberfox have been passed to Waterfox, hope Cyberfox dev gets better and stages a come back

      3. www.com said on October 5, 2017 at 9:24 am

        I will say I have more respect for the Waterfox browser so it will interesting to see how Alex straddles both the old and new worlds. I’m hoping he’ll create a browser that won’t break at the drop of a hat. Good luck to him.

        >Waterfox is just a fixed version of Firefox removing all the crap, which means that the project still relies on Mozilla development

        So was Cyberfox and look what happened there.

        I recently had to remove it after two years of use. Too bad, but I’ll live. How about you?

      4. Anonymous said on October 5, 2017 at 4:14 am

        You can also find, among the big contributors, … Mozilla developers. That’s the spirit guys.

      5. www.com said on October 5, 2017 at 2:29 am

        @ams, those are part-time volunteer code monkeys and nobody knows how committed they are or how long they’ll be around. Pretty ad-hock. Most of the burden falls on Knotos himself.

        I hope he hires some people and develops some sort of a stable group as a result. Otherwise this will disappear much the same way Cyberfox did.

    2. Appster said on October 4, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      To be fair though, backporting existing security fixes is perfectly feasible even for one person. Waterfox 55.2.0 works great here. Although it should be noted that Windows and OS X, by design, have fewer quirks than Linux due to the sheer variety of distros over there. Making Waterfox available for Linux was a mistake IMHO.

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