The Pale Moon team has released the first version of the Basilisk web browser that is based largely on Firefox code.
Basilisk is a XUL-based web browser that uses Pale Moon's layout and rendering engine Goanna, which is a fork of Firefox's rendering engine Gecko. The browser itself is a fork of Mozilla's Firefox code base without the technology that went into the creation of Firefox 57 (but with the tech that Mozilla dropped in the process)
In short: Basilisk is based on recent Firefox code for the most part that supports legacy features such as XUL which Mozilla dropped with the release of Firefox 57.
The development team sees Basilisk "primarily as a vessel for development of the XUL platform", and as a "potential replacement for Firefox to retain the use of Firefox Extensions".
The current development version of Basilisk is available for Windows and Linux. On Windows, all versions of Windows starting with Windows 7 are supported. The developers recommend 1 Gigabyte of RAM as a minimum (2 Gigabyte for heavy use scenarios), a modern processor and a dedicated GPU.
On Linux, any modern Linux Distribution should do but you should check out the requirements page on the Basilisk website for details on libraries that the browser requires.
It should not come as a surprise that Basilisk's interface looks pretty similar to that of Firefox pre-version 57. It features the same customization options and preferences as Firefox for the most part; and all of these open exactly as they do in Firefox.
The browser supports legacy extensions, and you can head over to Mozilla's AMO site to install them right away in the browser. But the web browser supports WebExtensions as well. Support is experimental right now, and some WebExtension APIs that are Mozilla-specific may not be supported yet.
Still, it appears as if Basilisk will support legacy add-ons for Firefox and WebExtensions, and not one or the other.
Extensions don't need to be signed to be installed in Basilisk.
Basilisk supports NPAPI plugins as well (just like Pale Moon does), which means that you can run Flash, Java and other plugins in the browser.
Other major features that the browser supports are WebAssembly, modern ciphers, HSTS, and basically any feature that modern Firefox supports as well apart from multi-process which it does not support.
The development team focuses on advancing the underlying architecture of the browser right now. This means that there won't be many changes to the browser's front end or interface.
The initial version of Basilisk works pretty well, and if you have used a recent version of Firefox, you will find yourself right at home. Extensions work, and web compatibility is probably a bit better than that of Pale Moon thanks to the Firefox codebase the browser is based on.
Now You: What's your take on the first version of the Basilisk browser?
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