Waterfox 56 is out

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 21, 2017
Updated • Dec 1, 2017

Alex Kontos, the developer of the Firefox fork Waterfox has released a test build of version 56 of the web browser to the public.

Update: The final version of Waterfox 56.0 is now available.

Waterfox 56.0 is a major new release as it paves the way for future versions of the web browser. The release marks the beginning of a transition period that moves Waterfox to the Firefox ESR branch.

Firefox ESR, Extended Support Release, is a special version of Firefox designed for organizations and users that can't or don't want to upgrade to a new version every six or so weeks.

Moving Waterfox development to Firefox ESR buys some time to develop a new version of Waterfox that combines some of the strengths of classic Firefox with the functionality of the new Firefox.

In short, the future version of Waterfox will support XUL and XPCOM, and as such legacy add-ons, but also new technologies such as WebExtensions or the multi-process architecture.

Waterfox 56.0 is based on the Firefox 56.0.2 release, and includes the security patches of Firefox 57.

Alex posted a to-do list, community requests and project goals on Reddit that has some unique feature listings. Here are my favorites from the list that he posted:

  • Re-implement a cookie prompt that is displayed whenever sites attempt to save cookies on the system.
  • Improve Android  version of Waterfox.
  • Switch for signed add-ons (I assume enable / disable).
  • Global disabling of web notifications.
  • Remove all telemetry.
  • Modernize the Australis interface.
  • Look into JavaScript image decoders.

One interesting tidbit that you find listed there is that Alex looks into implementing a private network similar to VPNs as a way to potentially finance the development of Waterfox.

Waterfox users who would like to try the new build can download it from the Reddit thread. Users who don't want to help with the development may want to wait until the final version of Waterfox 56.0 is released instead.

Closing Words

Alex Kontos' Waterfox plans are very ambitious, and it remains to be seen if he can drum up enough support -- development, financial and other -- to not fall behind too much.

If he succeeds, Waterfox will support Firefox legacy add-ons and new features that Mozilla introduced and introduces in recent versions of the browser. This could boost the attractiveness of the browser significantly.

Waterfox 56 Test Build is out
Article Name
Waterfox 56 Test Build is out
Alex Kontos, the developer of the Firefox fork Waterfox has released a test build of version 56 of the web browser to the public.
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  1. scylla said on April 8, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Waterfox 56.1.0 64-bit has stopped resuming where it left off – it opens on home page only, I have to go to History and restore recent windows :(

  2. Stacy said on March 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Well, 56.1 is out and the “Ask Me Every Time” option glitch still remains. Very frustrating!

    Computer effectively locks up when choosing any cookie option results in all cookies being deposited even when the “none” option is selected.

    What’s the point of an update is the browser is still rendered unusable.

  3. Stacy said on February 12, 2018 at 7:58 am


    Thanks for the encouraging news. However it seems like it will take forever to update from to 56.1.

    I hope I am pleasantly surprised.


  4. Stacy Harris said on February 4, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I have installed Waterfox because Firefox and Pale Moon have eliminated the “Ask Me Every Time” cookie acceptance/rejection option. However, there is a glitch in the browser since the page locks when trying to select a preference in the Confirm Cookie Setting section.

    I have uninstalled and reinstalled to no avail.

    Please Help!

    1. Appster said on February 9, 2018 at 11:15 am

      @Stacy Harris:

      Hey, I just found your reply. The “Ask me everytime” option still has a bug, but this one is going to be fixed in Waterfox 56.1, according to the Waterfox developer.

  5. TelV said on December 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

    @ Tom Hawack,

    Some good news on the separators front. They can be added to the toolbar using the context menu in Customization mode. Just right click a space or separator and then click “Add to toolbar”. You can move them somewhere else afterwards. :)

  6. Jim Graham said on December 22, 2017 at 1:01 am

    I’m running Mac OS X Lion (10.7.5). I loaded the new Waterfox 6.0, and every previously open tab crashed when re-opened (activated). The only ones (newly opened) were extensions and customize. I am still hoping to get YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu (and other video sites) working, so I can make Waterfox my one and only browser and once again have a great browser. Firefox doesn’t know about backwards compatibility, nor does Chrome or Opera (neither of which can stand up against WF or a working Firefox[1]).

    Anxiously waiting until I can drop all other browsers into the bin….
    Thanks, Jim Graham

    [1] [FYI//OT] My version of Firefox is the last supported for Mac OS X 10.7.5 (no idea why they abandoned those of us who can’t upgrade). It causes kernel panics when loading certain sites (e.g., Hulu), never releases dynamically allocated memory and grows bigger and bigger until that causes a kernel panic, and now…stops accepting mouse clicks after a few minutes.

  7. TelV said on December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Installed Waterfox 56 this afternoon, but I’m a little disappointed to see all those yellow legacy flags appear in the add-ons manager. I guess that has to do with the FF56 code that displayed them originally since they don’t appear in Basilisk which is based on FF55.

    A minor problem with CTR not being able to place spaces between buttons on the toolbars, but I’m sure the developer will sort that one out.

    Also interesting that the Video DownloadHelper extension toolbar button appears whereas its missing in Basilisk.

    Performance wise it’s pretty fast, but that might change after making a few about:config changes which I haven’t done yet.

    1. Tom Hawack said on December 2, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Yeah …

      Alex had written that some legacy add-ons wouldn’t work on Waterfox 56 and some don’t indeed. He added that coming versions of Waterfox woud handle that.

      He mentioned a list of known add-ons not running correctly on WF56, among which ‘Mozilla Archive Format, with MHT and Faithful Save’. Maybe did he forget to mention that for some of those not working the reason was the fact those didn’t handle multi-process Waterfox. WF55 had multi-process disabled bt default, WF56 has set it on by default. This is trickery : I first thought ‘Mozilla Archive Format’ was “out” when in fact it ran perfectly by disabling Waterfox’s multi-process (Options / General / Startup).

      Other (legacy) add-ons don’t run corectly anymore on WF56, even with multi-process disabled. For instance ‘Startupmaster’ which makes it half-way so to say : it doesn’t crash, it does ask for the master password on start, but the master passoword isn’t “registered” by the browser, leaving the user as if he hadn’t typed that password.

      Two examples only to show that WF56 seems to suffer of the Firefox 56 pre-57 modifications which already block some add-ons even though these are not (yet in FF56) totally banned.

      I must admit a certain sadness, maybe had I too much invested in the dream of a browser which would support 100% legacy add-ons together with emerging Webextensions. I don’t understand in this regard why Alex (the developer of Waterfox) decided to switch multi-process to ON by default. I know there are two user “lobbies”, one wishes Waterfox to be on the line of an “enhanced” Firefox 57+ in perspective, the other focusing on legacy add-ons. Should the first win the battle that I’d move on to Firefox 57 : in fact my disappointment led me to install (only for testing, not default) Firefox 57.0.1 … which is, I must say, amazing, a brand new Firefx in fact. I’m not saying I’ll forget Waterfox but if the future is a Waterfox 1 foot and a half into Firefox 57 and a half-foot dedicated to legacy add-ons then I’d see little interest in missing FF57″s advantages without the true pertinence of Waterfox, IMO, which is to handle legacy add-ons, all with no exception. Truth is this is the only reason for me when removec privacy settings are not a big deal considering they are easily avoided with a goos user.js file…

      We’ll see …

      1. TelV said on December 3, 2017 at 10:34 am

        Thanks for the comprehensive explanation Tom. In fact I posted the problem on Aris’s thread on Github yesterday and he confirmed this morning that FF56 and Waterfox 56 don’t support spaces on the toolbar anymore.

        And then there’s the ugly yellow flags on all the legacy extensions. Yuk!

        I really don’t understand why Mozilla would implement such limitations in Firefox. Having toolbar buttons all squashed up together on the toolbar makes it look cluttered and unattractive. At least Basilisk which I’ve been using every since it appeared last week doesn’t suffer from either problem being based on FF55.

        I was looking for an alternative browser to use which would work with Video DownloadHelper though. The toolbar button doesn’t show on the Basilisk toolbar whereas it does on FF52.5 and Waterfox.

        As far as the latter is concerned I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Alex comes up with in the future.

  8. Eien said on December 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    When i migrated from FF 56.0.2 to WF 55.2.2 i was surprised on how good it was. No more few seconds lock-up during it’s initial start up and random crashes (rarely occurs) that happened when i was still using FF. I coudn’t pinpoint out the causes that i experienced when i was using still FF so i decided to try out WF and man….I’m loving the WF browser.

    My current extensions are Classic Theme Restorer, Classic Toolbar Buttons, HTTPS Everywhere, IDM Integration Module, NoScript, Self Destructing Cookies, Tampermonkey & uBlock Origin.

    All are working great in WF 56.

    It’s the browser that i need Fast, Reliable & Stable.

  9. TelV said on November 22, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I was waiting for the 56 version of Waterfox to appear, but in the meantime discovered Basilisk thanks to Martin’s article. I’ve been using the latter for a couple of days now and it seems to me to be much faster than FF ESR. All my extensions work perfectly and with the exception of a couple of Dutch government sites which don’t work at all unless a completely barebones browser is used (applies to both FF and Basilisk), I’ve no complaints at all.

    It’s a pity Alex has chosen to use Reddit for usage reports and not Github because it means creating yet another login profile. Reddit doesn’t work very well with VPNs either, or at least that’s been my experience in the past and there are way too many trolls around as well. If I come across an insurmountable problem with Basilisk I might consider switching to Waterfox, but for now the Basilisk developers have been very helpful and any issues have been addressed promptly so I don’t see any reason to anymore.

    Oh, and I guarantee that you’ll grow to hate “Re-implement a cookie prompt that is displayed whenever sites attempt to save cookies on the system” because it sounds like a mirror imaage of the prompt we get in the Netherlands to “Allow Cookies” and which has led to extensions like “I don’t care about cookies” to block the prompts.

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 22, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Alex does have a Waterfox page at GitHub : https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox

      1. TelV said on November 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        Ah..OK, didn’t know that. Thanks for the tip.

  10. Yoav said on November 22, 2017 at 6:41 am

    This is exactly what Mozilla should have done: make a better browser while maintaining backwards compatibility. The fact that one person is considering doing this by himself shows that it would certainly be feasible for an organization such as Mozilla. That is, if Mozilla wasn’t intent on building a better Chrome.

    1. crambie said on November 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      That’s what I think, at least until web extensions were in a fit state which they’re not yet. It’s much closer to Mozilla chrome than it is to the ff that we knew.

  11. kb968 said on November 21, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    No 32bit version of waterfox, bugger..

    1. GiddyUpGo said on November 25, 2017 at 1:00 am

      @kb968 No 32bit version of waterfox, bugger..

      I wonder if there will be a 32bit version of waterfox?
      I have w7 pro 32bit, and it is too late in the game to buy w7 pro 64bit for me.
      Waterfox sounds like a browser I would like to have!

  12. Kubrick said on November 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    it would appear your angst towards palemoon may have some bearing on the fact you were banned on the PM forum so i am of the belief your views and opinions may be biased and at times unfounded so your diatribes are rather futile and at best pointless.
    But never the less you do raise some valid points as i myself have discovered that indeed palemoon suffers tremendously on facebook and THAT is a browser issue as firefox 57 and chrome sail through facebook with ease.
    Im finding myself using chrome or firefox more these days.Admittedly palemoon proclaims its a separate entity from firefox but yet relies on mozilla code.i like the palemoon browser but there are instances where its obvious there is a browser issue but the developer dismisses it.Google are doing something right and chrome may not be to everyones liking but it simply functions as expected.
    best wishes.

    1. Jody Thornton said on November 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm


      I wasn’t trying to be negative at all, but as for how I feel about being banned from Pale Moon, only Moonchild and I were privy to any PM discussion and Appster describes it rather accurately.

      And I’m far from the only one it has affected.

      My points about Pale Moon performance were positive for the most part in this thread, so I don’t know how being banned influences that. However, I will say that Alex seems to have a better sense of where to head forward. If that comes across as biased opinion, than you can believe what you like.

      1. SomeAnon said on November 24, 2017 at 4:14 pm

        Similar experience. Appster is right about Moonchilds inability to handle constructive criticism. Its all ego for him. It should be a clue that he goes by the handle Moonchild, called his company Moonchild Productions and his browser variant Palemoon: Self-promotion much? And that he keeps going on about how he ‘wrote the browser’ when all he did was tweak mozilla’s code is annoying.

        But we’d put up with the ego if his product was the superior offering. Its not. Its not even close. Alex has a better attitude which lead to a superior paradigm which resulted in a VASTLY superior product.

        I downloaded the latest ‘complete’ Basilisk to give it a go. Wouldn’t even run (missing dll). Downloaded Alex’s ‘test version 56’ and it runs perfectly, imported my last firefox session, add-ons and interface settings.

    2. Appster said on November 21, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      @Kubrick: I can‘t speak for Jody Thornton, but I can say that your accusations against him are unfounded. Moonchild has banned people disagreeing with him on a frequent basis, for even the most minor reasons. From what I have heard, he usually adds a snarky remark, too, when he bans them. He can‘t handle (objective) criticism very well, and treats it as a personal insult. Not to mention the striking personality issues of his companion Matt A. Tobin, who expects his users to address him with „Captain“ or „The New Tobin Paradigm“… Getting banned by them is a batch of honor, proving common sense, and not a negative point.

      1. Jody Thornton said on November 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm


        Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! OK, now that was funny. And to think we were being silly, right?
        That’s classic.

      2. Appster said on November 22, 2017 at 9:16 am

        @Ron: Not true, alright… Let‘s see what MoonMatt himself has to say about that: https://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?t=15602#p113058

      3. Jody Thornton said on November 22, 2017 at 3:13 am

        Well he did say the New Tobin Paradigm. Anyway, I don’t quite think it’s Appster that’s being silly, but OK.

      4. Ron said on November 22, 2017 at 3:08 am

        Not true, he prefers “Tobin” or “Matt A. Tobin.” Saying he wants to be called captain is just plain silly.

  13. akg said on November 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    if i use waterfox with ff 57 then it will take ff profile or not ?

    1. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Waterfox 55 and 56 use a different profile location. Answer is no.

      1. Appster said on November 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

        Waterfox features a profile import prompt since ver. 55.

  14. Ben said on November 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    What are the differences between Waterfox, Palemoon and Basilisk now (the last two being even from the same developer)?

    Basilisk is based on an outdates FF version from the beginning of 2017 I read some days ago, so it lacks some important patches, what about Palemoon and Waterfox?

    1. Ron said on November 22, 2017 at 3:05 am

      @BEN: It does NOT lack security patches, if that’s what you were getting at.

    2. Appster said on November 21, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Waterfox is based on version 56 of Firefox as of yesterday. It allows NPAPI plug-ins and unsigned extensions, has Pocket and telemetry removed, is 64 bit only, some privacy-related settings changed when compared to Firefox. It has followed Firefox closely since its inception, which is why it is considered a rebuild. Currently it aims to patch Firefox 56 (the last version to run legacy add-ons) with future security patches, so that people can continue to use their legacy add-ons for an extended period of time. It has good WebExtensions support.

      Pale Moon is based on the Gecko 38 rendering engine used in Firefox 38, but was modified in a major way. It features a Firefox 28 interface, which nowadays causes problems, as current legacy add-ons normally only work on Australis. Thus, it needs an own extension site. It has all telemetry removed as well, no Pocket, unsigned extensions and NPAPI support, 32 and 64 bit builds. It has diverged the most from Firefox and its add-on situation is somewhat problematic. No WebExtensions support.

      Basilisk is a new project of the team behind Pale Moon. It is derived from Firefox 52, but somewhat modified. Again, it features NPAPI and unsigned extensions support, no telemetry, no Pocket. It uses the Australis interface, same as in Waterfox. 32 and 64 bit builds are available. Experimental (bad) WebExtensions support.

      I would use Waterfox or Basilisk over Pale Moon, to be honest.

      1. SomeAnon said on November 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

        @bae2 & @Alex O

        Moonchild wants to do things his way (inferior) and Alex is happy doing things his own way (superior).

        Moonchild asked Alex to join his team and do everything the way Moonchild wanted. Alex politely (and wisely) declined. They have different approaches and from what I’ve seen Moonchild is mostly about making money by hyping his products whereas Alex seems more interested in just keeping a good browser available.

        Alex asks for feedback and actively responds to user requests where practical. This greatly helps product development. Moonchild flames anyone who pushes for features not in line with his vision. Moonchild will never join the Waterfox project, which is almost certainly a good thing. His attitude is toxic, and I don’t see it ever changing.

      2. Ben said on November 22, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        Thank you Appster for that overview. I switched to Waterfox now.

        @Ron, I don’t know about security patches but I know that normal patches are missing, for example the for me important FF55 patch that speed up loading with lots of tabs big time.

        Waterfox 56 also claims to have backported FF57 patches already included.

      3. Alex O said on November 21, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        Waterfox and Basilisk should join forces to create one browser that supports both XUL and webextensions, otherwise both projects will be shooting themselves in the foot.

      4. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 6:35 pm

        @bae2 I think many users are wondering as you do.
        Maybe because there’s an artist in a builder, a creator in an artist and that creators are not in the scheme of either sharing nor of uniting (if God is He is unique, right?). Ego does participate but it can deliver unsuspected energy, especially within artists who need to be loved and acclaimed to render the best work or performance. Aren’t we all a bit like that?
        Just my three cents (price inflation).

      5. bae2 said on November 21, 2017 at 5:19 pm

        Agreed with Appster, Pale Moon is old version of Firefox, that’s why some modern sites cannot be opened/incompatbile in Pale Moon.

        I’m also having doubt with Basilisk, the Pale Moon creator seems want to do many things and overestimate his ability to maintain a(or two) browser

        Why they do not join hand to preserve a ‘true’ Firefox is beyond me

  15. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

    It’s working very well for me and it looks like I’ll be able to quit running FF v56 alongside v57 soon.

    The only bugs I’ve experienced are with the New preferences pages. The Privacy & Security page is not working for me. And in about:support, Troubleshooting Information page, I see in Waterfox that “Multiprocess Windows” are (Enabled by user), but then in FF v56 with the same about:config entries I see (Enabled by default), which is a little weird but seems to have no impact on multi-process functionality.

    All in all an excellent start.

    1. Jody Thornton said on November 21, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Does it perform anywhere near Firefox v57, or is it somewhat slower? Sounds like the silence over at the Waterfox camp has started to pay off. For a month, you had to wonder what’s going on. But it seems Alex is seriously behind his own project.

      I wish him well.

      1. anon said on November 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

        Apparently Alex has been ill plus I think he was waiting for the last lot of security notices (or whatever they’re called).

      2. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm

        I think it is very much comparable to Firefox v56 performance. Browser startup and rendering is not equal to Firefox v57, not that I’m seeing. And I’m sure there will be those that disagree. Which is fine. I do try to be honest and objective and will always be an equal opportunity browser basher. :-D

    2. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      ‘Hypobulic’ reported the same issue on:

      Seems that setting ‘browser.preferences.useOldOrganization’ to ‘true’ (default=false in WF56 but =true in WF55) resolves the issue as I understood it.

      I’m not testing WF56 Test Build at this time.

      1. Richard Allen said on November 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        I just saw a response on reddit by Alex about the preferences page:

        “Mozilla removed the MOZ_TELEMETRY guard from various files (including the new preferences page) and since it’s not built at build time, the page tries to load telemetry components that do not exist (you can view it in the Browser Console log when you tried to load the page).

        I need to go back and re-add it.”

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        @Richard Allen, thanks for pointing that out. Waterfox 56 is said to have been built upon Firefox 56 and enriched with Firefox 57 security patches. From what you mention this could mean that Waterfox 56 hasn’t included latest Firefox 56.0.2 modifications, or at least not all. Unless the explanation (you not having experienced the about:preferences issue with Firefox 56.0.2) is elsewhere. Worth keeping in mind.

      3. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 7:49 pm

        Thanks for the link Tom. The new preferences pages have always worked fine for me in Firefox v56 which is why I was surprised when it didn’t in Waterfox. Going by the date of the OP at the link they were still on v56.0.1 and v56.0.2 hadn’t been released yet.

      4. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

        Initially I didn’t like the new about:preferences layout but I got used to it in Nightly so I decided to try and keep all my browsers similar. Some of us get confused easily! :)

      5. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

        Shhh!!! I’m hunting wabbit!

      6. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        The issue is Firefox 56 specific in fact : [https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1177821]
        I know I’ll Revert the setting to ‘true’ as soon as I install WF56! For what I’ve seen and read as reported I’m not fond of the new about:preferences layout introduced with Firefox 56.

        So, Richard, you happen to see Hypobulic, often moreover?! Maybe an alter ego?!

      7. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        Hypobulic? I know him! I actually see him often! LoL

  16. anon said on November 21, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Had a quick play with it last night. Not sure if it’s the mac build but it seemed slow. Didn’t have time to go back to 55 and compare though, could just be me getting used to ff nightly speed.

    1. anon said on November 21, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Had more of a play today. Wiped any traces of the previous version and it’s now running fine in some cases faster than nightly.

      1. Rush said on November 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm

        I am a bit of a Waterfox, fanboy….although, the CPU friendly browser eventually begins to use a bit more ram than I would like…prompting me to close then reopen the browsers. But what I do like:

        media.autoplay.enabled…………………………….TOGGLE………………..to: false

        I hate autoplay

    2. Jody Thornton said on November 21, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Trying it right now, and yes it appears slow. Even Pale Moon is much faster. But we’ll see where it goes. I’m hope for Alex’s success.

      1. Richard Allen said on November 22, 2017 at 6:23 pm

        @Tom Hawack
        Thank You Sir! I thought “layout.css.servo.enabled” was available in Waterfox v55 but I couldn’t remember for sure. It’s either hidden or removed from Waterfox v56. I was never able to see any change in performance with it enabled in FFv55/56 or WFv55/56, on My hardware. Would be nice if it was improved on in the future for v56.

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm

        @Richard Allen,
        > “I created a new boolean “layout.css.servo.enabled” set it to true and tested[…]

        You’re referring to Waterfox 56 I presume because here on Waterfox 55 “layout.css.servo.enabled” already exists but set (default) to false. Must be the placebo effect because seems to me I had read that this “layout.css.servo.enabled” setting wasn’t handed by Waterfox 55 and yet I did have that strange feeling (not called “love” this time) that the browser rendered pages faster with that entry set to true … long live feelings :)

      3. Richard Allen said on November 22, 2017 at 3:37 pm

        Thanks for the response. I meant to get back to you earlier after doing some testing and got distracted.

        I created a new boolean “layout.css.servo.enabled” set it to true and tested. I saw no change in startup time, page load time and in rendering performance on the websites I like to use for testing. I see Waterfox and Firefox v56 being very equal in performance, neither is at the level of v57, on my hardware. The best scenario would be for MrAlex to continue improving servo/stylo and webrender in v56. I’m hoping for the best, Quantum performance in v56 would be Sweet!!!

      4. Appster said on November 22, 2017 at 9:20 am

        @Richard Allen: As far as I know Stylo could be enabled in Waterfox 55, but was excluded at build time from Waterfox 56. The GitHub commit history says as much and the Servo setting is empty for me in ver. 56. The setting would be layout.css.servo.enabled. It has increased overall speed significantly for me. As for my previous comparison with Pale Moon, enabling e10s alone should do. Pale Moon has no chance in this case.

      5. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 7:42 pm

        “Waterfox with e10s (and Stylo) enabled beats it easily, IMHO.”
        Stylo is enabled and you know this how? Reason I ask is because I noticed earlier that the about:config entry “layout.css.servo.enabled” is missing/hidden in Waterfox. It is visible in FF v56 but I can’t remember if it was visible in WF v55. I never did see any improvement in FF v56 when setting the entry to true so I left it at the default, which is false. Just curious as to what you know about it.

      6. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 7:39 pm

        @Jody Thornton
        That’s odd! You must have broke it cause it was working fine. HaHaHa Just messing, sorry!

        A couple weird things I’ve noticed since maybe FF v55 is that when I would sometimes see the browser startup time get slower for some inexplicable reason that if I would “Restart with Add-ons disabled..” then “Restart with Add-ons Enabled…” startup time would improve back to what I was seeing previously. And… sometimes just deleting the whole browser folder from AppData/Local (FF/WF not Chrome) would improve things, mostly when having problems with icons not working properly in the address bar like uBO or uMatrix. I know, sounds weird.

        I must have lucked into having a good hardware combination, for now. Right now Nightly, FF v56 & 57, WF v56 and Pale Moon are all working Very well.

      7. Appster said on November 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        Ups, Firefox 28 interface in Pale Moon‘s case is what I meant, of course.

      8. Appster said on November 21, 2017 at 3:28 pm

        @Jody Thornton: Waterfox used to be compiled with the Intel C++ compiler, up to and including version 44. That was a great experience, extremely responsive overall. However, due to significant bugs within the compiler causing errors during the compiling process all the time, Alex has decided to do away with it for good. In those times, Pale Moon didn‘t even come close.

        I suspect that Pale Moon‘s current UI performance edge is indeed stemming from its Firefox 56 interface being a bit more lightweight, as well as it utilizing less effects. However, Waterfox with e10s (and Stylo) enabled beats it easily, IMHO. Which is funny, considering that Moonchild proclaims e10s to be „useless“ all the time.

        I must say that Moonchild is overrated to a significant degree. More often than once he needed to pull changes from the Mozilla code tree, because he was unable to fix the issues himself. Sometimes he doesn‘t even understand and/or acknowledge an issue, and sticks to older methods, to no avail.

        Therefore, my money is on Alex, as well.

      9. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        @Jody Thornton, it’s what seems to me excessive that always bothers me. Speed is a component not a dictator, be it considered as such especially when emphasizing on slightly speed enhancements seems to me disproportionate compared the 0/1 value of legacy add-ons support. I continue to believe that we live in a world of speed, speedy and quasi hysterical call for immediate result schemes together with the condition of compression, compression including the very speech, dialogues. I discover i.e. more and more Fiefox add-ons on AMO where the developper doesn’t even detail, explain the extension. Look at social sites all of invectives, quick words in the same way as fast-food, often at the price of empty thoughts. Not my world but, OK, I’ll have no subversive attitude in the face of facts. That’s the way it is. But I believe this entertains empty brains quite often among those who have no educational context or strong points of interest to develop their thoughts and wording elsewhere than on the Web.

      10. Jody Thornton said on November 21, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        Hmmmm …. @Appster

        I tried defeating hardware acceleration, and it did improve performance a bit (older hardware …. lol). So the Wet Fox and the Queasy Moon are on a more equal footing now. I wonder what else could be giving the Moon a tad of an edge.

        But certainly Waterfox is running a tad better, though I recall Waterfox v50 and v51 running evening more briskly.

      11. Jody Thornton said on November 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm


        I don’t understand why the speed issue stymies you. Most people want responsive software. Most people don’t feel impacted by not having access to all of those add-ons. Most people weren’t even using them.

        At work we use uBlock – that’s it, and most prefer Chrome (poor fellas), but it says volumes about what most people want in a browser. When I want a traffic camera to load, I just want it up on screen, fast and reliably. How it’s presented and what the UI looks like around it – uh, what? See what I mean?


        It’s interesting. I was trying out Waterfox around v50 and v51. At that time, using CTR, uBlock and the Downloads Window extensions, it seemed pretty quick compared to Pale Moon, but from a point of UI speed and rendering speed, Pale Moon seemed to have a slight edge. I really think that Pale Moon was a bit lighter only because it used the v28 interface. But at least on Waterfox, Facebook worked. At the time it wasn’t working worth a tinkerer’s damn on the Moon.

        Again, I’m MUCH more hopeful for Alex’s success. It appears that between Basilisk and Waterfox v56+, we have the new Beta vs VHS. Basilisk appears to be “Beta” because Moonchild has decided to stay true to Firefox ESR v52. So no hopes of any improvements like e10s, Servo, or Photon elements. Even though Moonchild doesn’t say so, it appears that he is relying on ESR updates for Basilisk and Pale Moon. Well come June 2018, that well is going to dry out.

        Whereas, at least Alex has factored in Servo plans for the new v56 release. Photon elements and e10s are already there. And Alex has demonstrated that v57 updates can be implanted into 56x-like code, so his project looks much more hopeful.

      12. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm

        Anyway nowadays all browsers allow faster connections than in the good old times, where Google Classic itself required snail mail. Remember this : [http://hpics.li/d7ba855] ?!

      13. Appster said on November 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        > Even Pale Moon is much faster.

        Not for me, though. Typical YMMV case, I guess.

      14. Tom Hawack said on November 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        This is surprising, maybe related to add-ons of which certain show issues with FF/WF 56 as others have shown with FF/WF 55.
        From what I understood FF/WF 56 cannot be slower than 55s but definitely are compared to Firefox 57.

        Firefox 57, the dragster. I wouldn’t ride Route 66 on a dragster. I see no point in slightly faster startup and page rendering when the price is a defeat of legacy extensions and overall user’s authority on the browser’s interface. But for those who’d make a NY to LA trip on a dragster, why not?

        Generally speaking I remain stunned when facing the extraordinary fame of the speed component when it comes to one’s perception of a browser.

    3. Richard Allen said on November 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      “could just be me getting used to ff nightly speed.” Excellent! ;)

      Waterfox for me on Win7 Pro is doing very well. Startup time has improved over v55 along with rendering performance. Other than a slightly slower startup time compared to FFv56, everything else looks just as good as FFv56, so far. And… 60fps video playback looks perfect on my hardware with zero dropped frames when watching “Rampage Trailer 60FPS HFR HD” on YouTube.

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