A look at Waterfox 56.2.0

Martin Brinkmann
May 20, 2018
Internet, waterfox

The web browser Waterfox 56.2.0 was released by its developer Alex Kontos on May 16, 2018 to the public. The new version of the browser that is largely based on Firefox code includes security updates, performance improvements and a number of other changes.

The new version of the Waterfox browser is available through the browser's automatic update system and as a standalone download on the official website.

You can run a check for updates in Waterfox by selecting Menu > ? > About Waterfox in the browser user interface. Waterfox runs a check for updates, will pick up the new version so that you can download and install it to the local system.

Waterfox 56.2.0

Waterfox 56.2.0 includes the latest security patches that Mozilla released for the Firefox web browser. It includes updates listed under MFSA 2018.-10 and MFSA 2018-11. You can check out Mozilla's Security advisories website for individual patch information.

The new version of Waterfox includes a large number of changes; users who have set  the preference privacy.resistFingerprinting to true will notice that Waterfox disguises itself as Firefox 60 when the preference is set. Waterfox with the preference set to false identifies as Firefox 56 to the Web.

Similarly, users who noticed high CPU usage while using Waterfox should see improvement. Kontos notes that the "high CPU usage" issue should be a thing of the past.

Several components of the browser were updated. The developer updated several media codecs, added support for ffmpeg-4.0, and built Rust components with optimizations.

The Android version of Waterfox has had its Google Play Services integration removed; the removal paves the way for integration in the F-Droid store.

Waterfox 56.2.0 includes Stylo as well but it is disabled by default.

Closing Words

There is still a lot that needs to be done; Kontos plans to add WebExtensions APIs of Firefox 57 in Waterfox, and integrate the classic add-ons catalog in about:addons.

Check out this article on the plans that Alex Kontos has for Watefox.

Now You: Have you tried Waterfox recently? What's your take on the browser?

A look at Waterfox 56.2.0
Article Name
A look at Waterfox 56.2.0
The web browser Waterfox 56.2.0 was released by its developer Alex Kontos on May 16, 2018 to the public. The new version of the browser that is largely based on Firefox code includes security updates, performance improvements and a number of other changes.
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  1. Julian said on June 1, 2019 at 12:46 am

    Well said Richard gozinia!

  2. RIchard Gozinia said on May 26, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Waterfox is surprisingly fast. Faster than FF and more secure IMO. All my old plugins world 100% as well

    F–k FF Quantum . Until they give me back my plugins I will be going elsewhere.

  3. Richard Pedersen said on May 21, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Hi All,

    I have the LastPass extension set to remember it’s password so I don’t have to enter it every time I open up the browser.

    Since the latest Waterfox update, this setting doesn’t “stick” and I have to log in to LastPass every time.
    Also, Waterfox did not remember my previous bookmarks or extensions settings. I spent at least an hour getting it all back to “normal”.

    Any thoughts?

    1. lushkava said on May 24, 2018 at 12:19 am

      I would suggest raising these concerns in the waterfox subreddit (reddit.com/r/waterfox). You may also file issues at github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/issues.

  4. DarkGiant said on May 21, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I wouldn’t mind if Waterfox went the Quantum route while removing all the junk that Mozilla adds to it and making other tweaks. I would like a Quantum browser in which I didn’t have to deal with the seediness of Mozilla. Besides the newer extensions are great and work better than the XUL ones. People who want to hang onto XUL are ruining browser competition for the rest of us all for the sake of nostalgia and paranoia.

    1. beemeup5 said on May 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      How is having more options equal to less competition? Having more browsers that are basically reskins of Chromium does not equal more competition.

      Mozilla never truly tried to compete with Chrome using their own strengths. No, they wanted to BE Chrome. Opera was much the same and look where they are now. Their Opera Mini android browser is doing quite well but their desktop browser is just “meh”, which is why some developers left and made Vivaldi.

      Google simply replaced Microsoft and Chrome is the new IE6. Now instead of Microsoft influencing open web standards it’s Google. More rendering engines means more competition. When Opera abandoned Presto that was the death of another competitor. Now when Google tries to influence a change to a web standard Opera has no reason to care because they’re using the same underlying engine. Fewer parties will keep Google in check and this is how a monopoly is born. A Google monopoly will eventually turn open web standards into Google web standards and user agent sniffing is how they slowly block out browsers who aren’t part of the “inner circle”.

      Power without checks will do what power has always done. This is not paranoia, this is history, and there has never been an exception.

      1. DarkGiant said on May 22, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        Basically hanging onto XUL limits options because those browsers that hang on to the old technology are basically opting into keeping their browser technology held back, which will in turn make it to where a lot of sites won’t work with them. Who is gonna want to use a broken browser? Pale Moon sucks because of this reason and so does Sea Monkey. It would be a shame if Waterfox goes the same route as well, which means we will have only Mozilla’s Firefox Quantum as the only option for top notch Firefox based browsing. Meanwhile, there will be 3 XUL Firefox forks which will suck horribly. Waterfox is still decent, but it will only be a matter of time if he goes the route of Pale Moon with website breaking.

      2. John Fenderson said on May 23, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        @DarkGiant: “make it to where a lot of sites won’t work with them. Who is gonna want to use a broken browser?”

        It depends on what you want from a browser. Personally, I actively don’t want the majority of the new HTML5 stuff anyway (there are way too many security and privacy issues), and would be looking for a way to disable most of it. If an older browser makes this unnecessary, that sounds like a win to me.

        If a web site is so poorly written that it’s unusable unless you have a browser that supports all the latest standards, I consider that site broken (sites should be designed to fail gracefully, so they can even be used in an old-school text-only browser, even if it is perhaps less convenient) and just don’t go back to that site.

        No loss to me. Your needs may (and probably do) differ.

      3. beemeup5 said on May 22, 2018 at 9:12 pm

        You’re misunderstanding a few things. First, XUL is an application UI language, not a web rendering engine. Blaming XUL for website incompatibilities is like blaming a browser for not working with certain web protocols because it uses GTK or Qt. That doesn’t make any sense.

        Second, Pale Moon adheres to (finalized) web standards more strictly than most browsers. If a website doesn’t work well with Pale Moon, 9 times out of 10 it’s because of two things:
        1. User agent discrimination (very common issue)
        2. Website behavior is out-of-spec.

        If out-of-spec behavior works with other browsers it’s because those browsers are also lax in their standards enforcement. This is not a good trend for the open web in general because it leads to gradual deviation from a web open to all browsers so long as they adhere to the published standards, to a web open only to “incumbent” browsers which eventually becomes a walled garden.

      4. Veronika T said on January 29, 2020 at 9:56 pm

        “Second, Pale Moon adheres to (finalized) web standards more strictly than most browsers. If a website doesn’t work well with Pale Moon, 9 times out of 10 it’s because of two things:
        1. User agent discrimination (very common issue)
        2. Website behavior is out-of-spec.”

        Waterfox is a lot more secure and stable.
        As well as Firefox and SeaMonkey.

      5. Anonymous said on May 22, 2018 at 6:06 am

        Opera Mini is doing well? It was dominating mobile browser but now it’s below Chrome, Safari, UC Browser, and even Samsung Internet. Check your favorite browser statistic site for the facts. Opera Mini was doing great because of the data compression. Now because free Wifi is becoming common occurence, people won’t bother to use Opera Mini.

        Chrome is the new IE6 in term of market adoption. Chrome is not IE6 in term of features and standards. There’s no monopoly at all, monopoly happens when people don’t have any other choices, people just use Chrome because it’s good. People left IE6 because it was bad and better competition appeared, it’s as simple as that.

        Chrome is doing a great job by inventing many ‘Chrome only standards’, the people at W3C are just lazy bunch who won’t move if they’re not given incentive. Filesystem API and MHTML are some examples of how lazy they are.
        The new ‘gmail offline mode’ also use ‘Chrome only standards’ because of the incompetent W3C.

        Corruption is a barrier to innovation. This is truth and happens even now.

        ps: If you want to talk about monopoly, talk about OS market. There’s no alternative outside of Windows now. Linux and Mac are not alternatives, having alternatives means they can do the thing user wants on the same level or better.

      6. John Fenderson said on May 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        “Linux and Mac are not alternatives, having alternatives means they can do the thing user wants on the same level or better.”

        I suppose that depends on what it is you want to do, but from what I’ve seen and experienced, by your definition of “having alternatives”, Linux and Mac both qualify.

        In fact, outside of my job where Windows is required, I’ve been using nothing but Linux for over a decade without missing a thing.

      7. Anonymous said on May 23, 2018 at 5:41 pm

        ‘Job’ is the keyword. If alternatives are viable, people would’ve already chosen the alternatives, it’as already been proved by the browser and mobile OS market.

    2. John Fenderson said on May 21, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      “People who want to hang onto XUL are ruining browser competition for the rest of us all for the sake of nostalgia and paranoia.”

      That brush is a bit broad, isn’t it? I’m not hanging on to XUL for nostalgia or paranoia. I’m hanging on because the new Firefox does not (and, to listen to the FF devs, never will) support things that I strongly want.

  5. Jody Thornton said on May 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    A quote from Moonchild this morning on the Pale Moon Forum regarding Waterfox:

    ” …. Waterfox is simply going to hobble along after Mozilla. it always has, and despite grand announcements to the contrary I never expected it to be otherwise …. ”

    Now after all of the complaints about how Ghacks members criticize Pale Moon (in my case I emphasize, it’s just the team – if you like Pale Moon, use it. I still do at times), isn’t it precious seeing MoonMarcus criticizing Alex’s Waterfox efforts? After all, Alex Kontos extended a hand so that they might be able to work together. Both development teams could have benefited from such a collaboration, and fans of XUL extensions would all have been winners.

    1. Iron Heart said on May 21, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      @Jody Thornton

      Moonchild is mad at Waterfox for a simple reason: It eats some of the market share he hoped to absorb the moment Quantum hit the fan. After all, Waterfox and his Basilisk fork are operating in the same small niche. He is ignoring reality (the very real efforts of Alex Kontos in the last months), knowing fully well that his Basilisk is not quite up to the task yet.
      I believe he didn’t expect Alex to do what he did, which makes him even madder. That + Alex’s refusal to work with him, most likely due to Alex acknowledging that a few guys can’t keep it up forever (aside from backporting security fixes, which is doable).

      Personally, I don’t think that adopting Quantum at this point would be a bad thing, as most extensions have been updated to work with it. Adopting Quantum today is a minus in Moonchild’s vivid fantasy only. By the way, I don’t think Alex has ever announced to never adopt Quantum, has he?

      When all is said and done, this is just Moonchild being an angry little man.

    2. Kubrick said on May 21, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Yes but jody is that not exactly what waterfox is doing.?As was mentioned earlier in this thread waterfox is going to embrace quantum so what would be the incentive to carry on using waterfox after that.?

      1. John Fenderson said on May 21, 2018 at 6:16 pm

        “waterfox is going to embrace quantum so what would be the incentive to carry on using waterfox after that.?”

        I’ll carry on using Waterfox. Waterfox embracing quantum just means that I’ll stop upgrade Waterfox. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll find another browser that can take its place. Until then, I don’t mind using something older.

  6. Hiber said on May 21, 2018 at 6:47 am

    That’s not a look, that’s its characteristics

  7. Sammy Doogan said on May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I would love to try Waterfox but I cannot find any hash md5 or sha256 or other to verify linux version downloads ?

  8. siamesetwinsfistfight said on May 20, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    It is a real shame that we don’t have a decent, up-to-date, open source, and secure browser in the year of our Lord 2018. Waterfox is based on dying Firefox code, Ungoogled Chromium is sketchy and not audited yet, Chromium phone home (to Google) at startup… What’s left to do? Embrace the Botnet?

  9. TelV said on May 20, 2018 at 7:33 pm


    Could you not use the same support model which Alex Kontos does instead of using just PayPal?

    The problem with Paypal is that you need an account with them whereas with Alex’s method, users can donate using a credit card. Click the “Support” button on “Buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/waterfox and you’ll see what I mean. You don’t have to complete the transaction to get the credit card window, just click the “Pay with card” button and you’ll see how simple it is.

    1. b said on May 21, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      great feature. I did not know about this alternative to paypal. @Martin brinkmann: please consider

    2. Yoav said on May 21, 2018 at 11:10 am

      I second this. It’s so easy to pay with a card that I just donated to Alex – I had no idea this option existed to support WF.

  10. fh said on May 20, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    WF is good atm and I hope it will prevail.
    Shills BTFO

  11. yogaisevil said on May 20, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    How many XUL addons are still being maintained?? Most add-on developers (Downthemall, TabGroups, ) either stopped for good or migrated to webext. Mozilla really shit the bed when it came to a smooth transition. But I don’t see the point in using Waterfox for anything else except XUL addons.

    1. zakius said on May 21, 2018 at 12:18 am

      most of them is perfect for years already and only needed polishing when moz destroyed something

      and most of them can’t be redone in WE and probably won’t be possible in the foreseeable future either

    2. Iron Heart said on May 20, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Well, the most recent WebExtension versions of uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, Decentraleyes work in Waterfox at the moment. Next version will be based off Firefox ESR 60. I don’t see a problem in that department. Legacy add-ons will eventually have to go, and it won’t hurt as much for Waterfox since – as you say – many devs have moved on in the meantime. Firefox 57 was a far worse transition than Waterfox 60 is going to be, as Mozilla did not have some important APIs ready at the time. Should realistically have postponed it for two or three releases. Waterfox did it right.

  12. John Fenderson said on May 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I switched to Waterfox about 6 months ago when Firefox 57 was released and I discovered that I couldn’t make FF work in a way that pleased me. I’ve been very happy with Waterfox — it does everything I need and works well for me.

  13. Sebas said on May 20, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    A very capable browser, for me the best successor to Firefox.

    Extensions like DownThemAll! are still working in Waterfox. Fantastic.

  14. Ben said on May 20, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you Alex for supporting WF so I don’t have to use FF.

  15. Shiva said on May 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    With some add-ons like All-In-OneSidebar, ThemeFontSizeChanger, Status-4-Evar or CTR, is better to choose Waterfox o Basilisk in a forward-looking manner? Userchrome could be useful but not for all.

    1. Iron Heart said on May 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Waterfox at the moment, possibly Basilisk in the future. Basilisk is pretty much still in development and must be considered beta at this point. Waterfox is pretty stable. However, Waterfox is going follow Mozilla eventually and adopt Quantum, your legacy add-ons will be gone when that happens. Basilisk will maintain support for them longer, no doubt. However, things like the Pale Moon dev team aggressively suggesting to disable NoScript – essential if you are into security – has shaken my trust. They apparently got tired of supporting users who did not know how to use NoScript and blamed Pale Moon for resulting website failures. Instead of doing the sensible thing – pointing those users to the NoScript forum – they decided to warn users about the add-on as if it would cause stability problems all by itself, which it doesn’t. Some users mishandling the add-on doesn’t mean the add-on itself is bad. Such kind of decision making does not inspire trust. AFAIK, Waterfox uses the (more sane) blacklist Mozilla provides, which only blocks add-ons known to cause actual harm.

      Hope this answers your question.

      1. Shiva said on May 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm

        Thanks. I’ve gone so far at the same conclusion. I’ve asked this because I dont’ want to loose time and be in the same situation after a short period. I know that the add-ons I’ve listed cannot be adapdet to quantum and someone like All-In-OneSidebar is discontinued too (still works fine in ESR and with a good integration with iMacros which is incompatible too at the moment).
        All add-ons haven’t the same weight in terms of usefulness and its difficult find a good alternative. Others, like Privacy Settings or ThemeFontSizeChanger have lost some features during the ‘revolution’ (a.e. I’m using the first with Randon Agent Spoofer, another one not compatible).
        In term of productivity and interface pre-australis I prefer don’t change my current configuration. One user cited DownThemAll; well I still use FlagGot with pleasure.
        At this time I’ll wait which route Waterfox it is going to take with some hope about of ‘classic’ addons database, mantained compatibility and resurection of discontinued projects. I can say that I’m not using ‘Firefox with add-ons’ but ‘add-ons with Firefox’. :-)

  16. TelV said on May 20, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    That prefs setting: privacy.resistFingerprinting = true causes Waterfox to resize itself. It’s documented on Github: https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/issues/333#issuecomment-354000723

    I didn’t read anywhere that it’s been fixed in the latest version.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on May 21, 2018 at 5:32 am

      @TelV: thanks for the tip, I was wondering why WF was suddenly behaving like that.

    2. Pants said on May 20, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      > I didn’t read anywhere that it’s been fixed in the latest version

      Its not a bug, it’s a feature. It does not require “fixing”

      1. TelV said on May 21, 2018 at 9:31 am

        @ Pants,

        Waterfox resizing itself after privacy.resistFingerprinting has been set to “true” is a ‘feature’??

        Why would a smaller window contribute to a user’s privacy?

      2. John Fenderson said on May 21, 2018 at 3:54 pm


        The size of the viewport is one of the major signals that are used to fingerprint you. Fibgerprint resistance must, as a result, ensure that the viewport is as nonunique as possible. That’s the reason that adjusting the window size is a feature when doing this.

        In my opinion, the underlying problem is that browsers report any of this information to the webserver at all. But, sadly, that’s the web that we have.

      3. TelV said on May 23, 2018 at 10:19 am

        If you’re concerned about that aspect, just grab the corner of the window and resize it by a few pixels. I always do that anyway so that I can move part of the viewport to one side to hide irritating animations that have nothing to do with the subject I’m trying to read.

        But installing a canvas blocker achieves the same thing I think. I use this one: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/canvasblocker/

      4. beemeup5 said on May 21, 2018 at 3:24 pm

        A user is tracked by a number of variables, a very common variable being screen resolution. By resizing the application window to a uniform size, there is now one less variable by which a user can be tracked.

        This is why it’s a feature and not a bug.

      5. TelV said on May 23, 2018 at 10:26 am

        @ beemeup5,

        But don’t you see? If the browser window is set to a specific size, that in itself can be used to track users as well.

        Better to employ your own resize option by grabbing a corner of the browser window and making it a few pixels smaller.

        You can also install this addon which blocks its fingerprinting readout API. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/canvasblocker/

      6. beemeup5 said on May 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm


        If everyone using Waterfox had the same window size, then window size cannot be used to differentiate individual users. By resizing the window manually, you give yourself a window size which only you have, in other words a UNIQUE identifier. This is the opposite of what you want if minimizing your browsing footprint is your goal.

        Canvas elements are part of the HTML5 spec and are but one of many ways to track a browser. At the end of the day if you really want to be free of browser-based tracking, one of the many things you must do is completely disable javascript. However a web today without javascript is but a gimped facsimile of the web which will hardly allow you to do much.

        It’s good to make yourself reasonably difficult to track but beyond that it’s a lost cause. It is not possible to be completely free of all tracking. The web is a public space, and like stepping outside anyone with a pair of working eyes can see what you do. Being “untrackable” means not interacting with people or using any service, hardly what I call living.

      7. TelV said on May 24, 2018 at 9:55 am

        With four million Waterfox users in the world, I’m sure there are others with the same kind of settings as I use so I doubt that I’m unique. Even so, I use a VPN all the time I often change my location, so in the event that someone was able to figure out that all those connections belong to me, they still don’t know who I am. ;)

  17. Klaas Vaak said on May 20, 2018 at 7:04 am

    I switched from Opera to Waterfox a few months ago, and I must say I am extremely satisfied with the browser so far. And all the extensions I had added to Opera I have been able to find for Waterfox, find an equivalent, or even a better version.

    1. Weilan said on May 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Don’t get too attached to Waterfox. It’s a fork of an outdated build of FireFox. After some time passes they will either move to Quantum or the project will start falling apart like it’s happening with Pale Moon and all they have been doing for the last two years.

      You best bet is to use an official browser like Chrome, Opera or FireFox where you can be sure it will be supported and updated with the latest technolgy. No need to waste your time with those hobby projects that have vague futures at best.

      1. John Fenderson said on May 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

        @Wellan: “You best bet is to use an official browser like Chrome, Opera or FireFox”

        But then you’d have to use Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. What is an “official browser”, anyway?

      2. Klaas Vaak said on May 21, 2018 at 5:26 am

        Thanks for the advice. You may be right, or not, time will tell. For now I will continue with Waterfox because of some of the add-ons, but, depending on WF’s evolution, I might have to switch. A change-over from Waterfox to Firefox is easy enough: just copy the profile folder over.

      3. Jody Thornton said on May 21, 2018 at 12:48 am

        Actually @Wellan, Alex has backported updates so from a security standpoint (as of right now), it is one of those browsers that allows a pre-Quantum experience, but securely updated. so it isn’t yet outdated.

        However @Kubrick, Alex has stated that unfortunately he will be going down the Quantum path by rebasing on v60 ESR. If that changed, of course that’s good news for XUL fans, but it wasn’t the last I had heard.

      4. Darren said on May 21, 2018 at 12:40 am

        Lots of truth in there tho.

      5. zakius said on May 20, 2018 at 10:57 pm

        first of all, latest WF is based of ESR60

        besides of that what do you mean by “You best bet is to use an official browser like Chrome, Opera or FireFox where you can be sure it will be supported and updated with the latest technolgy.”
        you mean the support that opera software provided stopping Operas development years ago replacing it with inferior impostor? or the support mozilla provided stopping Firefox’ development few months ago replacing it with inferior impostor?

        yeah, sure…

      6. Dan said on May 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm

        Pale Moon is not falling apart. It’s a very healthy and regularly updated browser.

      7. RottenScoundrel said on May 20, 2018 at 8:14 pm

        I agree, it is not falling apart, but neither is it keeping up. Not even close anymore.

        We now only have Watrerfox and Firefox here. I use FFx for the stuff that WFx will not do, like some banking accounts and Prime videos.

        To be fair, the banking stuff is more an issue with the bank websites refusing outdated and/or non-mainstream browsers. I am OK with dropping back to FFx for those times, but Prime video is becoming a pain in the butt with WFx, so may have to just suck it up and go all-in with FFx.

      8. Kubrick said on May 20, 2018 at 6:46 pm

        its obvious you are the member on the PM forum who was trolling FUD and it appears you have stretched your fetish to this site also.Some people do not wish to use mainstream browsers and you obviously do not understand why people use alternatives.
        I have waterfox,palemoon and firefox installed and they all run just fine and your negative comments are not useful.

      9. Weilan said on May 21, 2018 at 3:55 pm

        @Kubrick So if someone has an opinion and it’s not positive isn’t useful? Only positive opinions are useful? Sorry, I invaded your safe space. xD

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