Waterfox 56.2.3 Security Update

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 15, 2018
Updated • Sep 15, 2018
Internet, waterfox

The developer of the Waterfox web browser, Alex Kontos, released version 56.2.3 of Waterfox to the public yesterday. The new version of Waterfox is a security release that follows Mozilla's Extended Support releases loosely.

Note that the release is being rolled out slowly. If you want to upgrade asap download the new version from the Waterfox project website and update manually. You can check for updates in the browser by clicking on Menu > ? > About Waterfox.

Waterfox is based on Firefox code and a popular go-to browser for Firefox users who still need access to the browser's classic add-ons system. While Firefox does not support that anymore since the last release, Waterfox, and some other Firefox-based browsers such as Pale Moon, do support it still.

One of the interesting features of Waterfox is that it supports classic add-ons and WebExtensions.

Waterfox 56.2.3 is first and foremost a security update that integrates the latest patches that Mozilla made for Firefox in the browser.

The developer of Waterfox added a unique identifier to the browser's user agent so that the browser is revealed to visited sites. It is placed in a location in the user agent that should not be problematic from a "sniffer's" point of view. Some sites parse the user agent to deliver specific content to users; Google does this regularly when it releases new or updated web services.

Anyway, the new user agent looks like this (Windows, Mac, Linux)

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT x.y; Win64; x64; rv:56.0; Waterfox) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/56.2.3
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X x.y; rv:56.0; Waterfox) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/56.2.3
  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:56.0; Waterfox) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/56.2.3

Probably more exciting than that for users is the announcement that the next version of Waterfox will integrate the Classic add-on Archive extension to give Waterfox users built-in access to all classic add-ons for Firefox. The add-ons are already mirrored by the Waterfox CDN so that they are preserved even when Mozilla pulls the plug.

Waterfox users can install the extension right away but it requires that users disable multi-process functionality as it won't work otherwise currently.

Waterfox 56 was released in 2017, Waterfox 56.2 in mid-2018.

Now You: do you use Waterfox?

Waterfox 56.2.3 Security Update
Article Name
Waterfox 56.2.3 Security Update
The developer of the Waterfox web browser, Alex Kontos, released version 56.2.3 of Waterfox to the public yesterday.
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  1. Alan Eadie said on September 12, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Good Afternoon,
    My iMac version 10.8.5 “Waterfox quit unexpectedly” How do I fix?

    Thank you,

  2. TarekJor said on September 26, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    It is nice to see that Waterfox CDN integration in Classic-Addons-Archive, a complete archive is interesting, besides I have my own list of ‘important’ legacy addons, DownThemAll, or similar legacy-addons without a proper WebExtension version, because WE standard APIs are too limited or not implemented yet, not with the same features than XUL / XPCOM and legacy-addons based on legacy-SDK.

  3. Imra said on September 18, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Mu user agent is: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0

    I’m not aware of any addon changing user agent string. And I cannot find any relevant setting in about:config (except general.useragent.override.addons.mozilla.org).

  4. John Fenderson said on September 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    “do you use Waterfox?”

    Yes, it is my primary browser on all platforms (aside from Android). I was test-driving Quantum builds since its release, but have stopped that and have decided to stick with Waterfox.

    Waterfox does everything I need (and does them well) and allows me to change the aspects that annoy me without a great deal of hassle. Those two things alone make it unique in the browser space.

  5. dmacleo said on September 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    using waterfox for well over a year. used to use palemoon (even provided multiple mirrors for it) but wf has just worked better for me.
    this is a subjective “test” of course, use what works best for you.

  6. owl said on September 17, 2018 at 7:29 am

    My main Browser is Firefox (ESR, beta, dev, Tor), but I also use Waterfox, Pale Moon, SeaMonkey, Brave, Iridium, Vivaldi (stable), Otter, Konqueror.

    In case of Major Update of Browser, there may be unexpected situations (Browser usability may change, etc.).
    These browsers are left for substitution (risk hedging) so that it can respond quickly to that situation.
    Indeed, I was disappointed that Legacyaddons became unavailable. However, now it avoids it by “to use properly.”, and I am satisfied with Firefox(v62+).

    Special mention matter :
    ・Initially, the quality and quantity of Addons of WebExtension, which was a cause of dissatisfaction, has reached the necessary and sufficient area now. About “Mozilla Archive Format, with MHT and Faithful Save.(MAFF)” which was the element of the greatest dissatisfaction, it was solved by the appearance of “SingleFile”.
    ・Essential security measures have to rely on Mozilla, but the patch implementation is not done in real time and there is a delay of several days to several weeks. The risk due to that delay can not be neglected. That is the “fundamental defect” of the Fork version.

  7. ha said on September 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    I have waterfox portable installed but I seldom touch it. My main browser is the latest Firefox.

  8. Anonymous said on September 16, 2018 at 4:59 am

    “do you use Waterfox?” After reading this thread I just switched from Pale Moon to Waterfox.

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2018 at 4:13 am

      “Also I know that the dev of FT DeepDark will never make it compatible with any production of Moonchild.” Exactly like the dev of Portableapps will never make PM truly portable, which is rare with an open source software.

    2. Money said on September 16, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      I don’t see anything wrong with this thread.

      1. Jody Thornton said on September 17, 2018 at 1:13 am


        You mean you don’t see the pretentious, less than helpful attitude? Really?

      2. Anonymous said on September 16, 2018 at 10:51 pm

        Nothing wrong, as FT DeepDark “is a MUST have for me” I followed the advice of “fillerup”. I prefer Waterfox, Basilisk is not compatible with the recent versions of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, also few web-extensions I tried to install failed, with Waterfox no prob. Also I know that the dev of FT DeepDark will never make it compatible with any production of Moonchild.

    3. Stan said on September 16, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      Are you’re referring to a certain obnoxious PM ‘developer’ ?
      He’s the reason I switched, his behavior over at that forum is intolerable, how many users has he cost them?

    4. RichardT said on September 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Yes, it was exactly the attitude shown in that thread that caused be to dump Palemoon and switch to Waterfox a while ago.

      1. Stan said on September 16, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        Did you also receive foul mouthed PM’s?

      2. Jody Thornton said on September 16, 2018 at 5:39 pm

        Hmmmm – I think Richard’s post vanished (???)

      3. Jody Thornton said on September 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

        See I point out the same thing in a Pale Moon article, and all the fanboys come to their defense. I’m glad to see someone else pointing out the PM community’s crappy behaviour. Thank you Richard!

      4. Anonymous said on September 20, 2018 at 10:09 am

        @Jody Thornton:

        Seems that Moonchild has evolved placing the community as the first priority, read below :)


        Octopuss wrote: “That’s fine, but… what are you going to do for this to not happen again? Since there won’t be any newer Firefox to fork again, what will you do when “the code” evolves again, or rather when websites start to require something newer than what PM28 offers?”.

        Moonchild wrote: “If the same situation occurs again, against all odds and expectations, and once again our community does not help out, then it will simply mean the end of the road.” “This is a community project. If the community fails it, then the project will also fail.”

      5. Jody Thornton said on September 21, 2018 at 3:33 am


        Sounds to me as if he’s absolving himself of responsibility of failure, and laying the fault of any failure on the community.. Nice guy!

  9. mike90000 said on September 16, 2018 at 2:34 am

    I use Waterfox only for one XUL type add-on (ReminderFox calendar) that I haven’t found a suitable replacement for. WF doesn’t seem that slow to me, but I don’t have a zillion tabs open. I wish current builds were in a Debian compatible repo somewhere, but that’s not a show stopper.

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2018 at 5:41 am

      You seem to really don’t like the new firefox. I see you everywhere advocating the legacy firefox lol.
      I suggest you to use FEBE to backup your (legacy)firefox data, it’s handy and easy without hassle.

      I’m also still using the legacy firefox until it has difficulty to open newer websites but I doubt I will need to change it because web standards are already pretty well developed now and my legacy Firefox can open them without problem.

      1. Robert Ab said on September 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

        I have already backed up all legacy addons I need. The fastest way is just to save Firefox/Waterfox profile folder.

        I am still waiting for Mozilla to finish Session Management API:
        **This API is the only barrier which separates me from new Firefox.** Mozilla knew about missing APIs before introduction of Quantum, but they introduced “castrated” product anyway.

        Mozilla could alternatively introduce Firefox 56 ESR (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1406737) for the time when missing APIs would be prepared, but they decided not to do that. Fortunately, Watefox 56 is our missing ESR.

  10. Peterc said on September 15, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    What’s the latest word from Alex Kontos on how long Waterfox will continue to support legacy extensions? Is he planning to tough it out as long as possible, in an ESR or LTS branch at least? Or is there a projected end in sight?

    1. John Fenderson said on September 17, 2018 at 7:37 pm


      I am unsure about this point myself — there’s been a lot of contradictory information coming from the Waterfox folks about this.

      But I figure, in the end, it doesn’t matter that much. There aren’t a lot of browsers out there that sufficiently meet my needs anymore, so I’m essentially stuck with Waterfox for the foreseeable future. If Waterfox stops meeting my needs (by, for instance, no longer supporting XUL/XPCOM), and no decent replacements come to my attention, then I’ll just stop updating Waterfox and stay on the last version that does meet my needs.

    2. TelV said on September 16, 2018 at 11:19 am


      I respectfully suggest you read the article again since the answer to your question is contained in that.

      1. Peterc said on September 16, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        @TelV: The article doesn’t actually answer my specific question. Firefox ESR 52.x gave powerful XUL/XPCOM extensions a finite grace period. Pale Moon’s intent is to keep them viable (albeit in an evolving form) indefinitely. (Even with Pale Moon 28’s new “Unified XUL Platform,” about half of my working extensions in it are stock Firefox extensions from AMO.) The fact that Waterfox plans to integrate Classic Add-ons Archive doesn’t address *how long* its support for legacy extensions is projected to last. Is it another finite grace period, or is it indefinite? I did a modest amount of searching and couldn’t find a clear recent answer to this question, which is why I asked here.

      2. TelV said on September 16, 2018 at 6:21 pm


        Fair enough. The best I can do is to refer you to the WF Blog. Scroll down to the paragraph called “The Future”: https://blog.waterfoxproject.org/waterfox-its-legacy-and-looking-to-the-future

        Also, this Github thread on the subject should serve to put your mind at ease as well: https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/issues/303

  11. Money said on September 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Anyway, the Unified XUL Platform advances as another Mail/News client (besides Icedove-UXP) gets announced. Interlink will be a lean Thunderbird 52 fork, focused on speed, simplicity and garbage removal like chat and telemetry, with a Thunderbird 2-like UI.


  12. Jody Thornton said on September 15, 2018 at 4:54 pm


    I’d say Pale Moon is a hair faster, but Waterfox tends to be more compatible with all sites. I’d say slightly better than Basilisk.

  13. Gerard said on September 15, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I don’t use Waterfox right now, but may try it later today or tomorrow (if I can find the time).
    How does it stack up against Pale Moon?

    1. Anonymous said on September 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      Palemoon author made it harder to use the Ad Nauseam extension just because it was harmful to the ad business :

      This sort of things made Palemoon unacceptable for me. Also, he never considered Mozilla privacy problems as a motivation for his fork.

      1. John Fenderson said on September 17, 2018 at 5:07 pm

        “This sort of things made Palemoon unacceptable for me”

        Me too. I don’t actually use AdNauseum, but this notion that an extension should be blocked just because the browser manufacturer deems it politically unacceptable is itself unacceptable.

      2. Peterc said on September 18, 2018 at 11:18 pm

        Hmmm. I’m going to have to side with Moonchild on this one. The distinction between passively fudging your fingerprint to foil tracking and actively generating false clicks may seem like a fine one, but I think the latter crosses the line into malware. An ad-supported website (even a good and useful one) that generates a lot of false ad clicks will end up being blacklisted by ad networks — i.e., it will get “demonetized,” and even a non-profit website run by self-abnegating volunteers has to pay for hosting and bandwidth. And a browser (even a good and useful one) that hosts false-click-generating “malware” will end up getting blocked by sites that want to remain financially tenable. As one of the developers put it, only something like 12 out of *thousands* of extensions have been “blocked” in Pale Moon … and the block can be overridden by lowering Pale Moon’s extension-blocking threshold! Soft-blocking Ad Nauseum was a defensible and legitimate decision, in my opinion.

        I’m only now giving Waterfox its first serious trial since back in the day when it was little more than the unofficial 64-bit version of Firefox, so I can’t really pass judgment on it yet. But for now, Pale Moon is still my favorite browser, and has been ever since Firefox adopted the Google-Chrome-like Australis interface. Pale Moon’s Compact Moon theme-and-extension combo give it the most compact and usable interface of any browser I’ve tried on my small laptop screen. I run Pale Moon with the now officially maligned NoScript extension and don’t run into problems all that often. And when I do, I just load the recalcitrant page in Iridium or Google Chrome with the click of a button, courtesy of the “Browser View Plus (PlayLink)” extension. (In fact, in a recent ~140-tab session in Pale Moon, there must have been a tab somewhere hosting a rogue domain that continuously ran my CPU at around 35% when I temporarily disabled NoScript. With NoScript enabled, an “idle” Pale Moon used around 1%-2% of CPU cyles. With NoScript disabled, Pale Moon’s background CPU usage jumped to a steady ~35%. With NoScript re-enabled, it fell back to ~1%-2%. In around ten years of using NoScript, I haven’t gotten a *single* browser-mediated malware infection … and it can apparently foil stuff like browser-hosted BitCoin miners, as well. NoScript still serves a purpose.) uBlock Origin, with the Pale-Moon-specific uBlock Origin Updater extension, seems to be working just fine. (I should really learn how to use uBlock Origin in advanced mode, but just thinking about it makes my brain tired.) Fully half of my extensions are stock legacy Firefox extensions from AMO, and *they* seem to be working just fine.

        But I’m not a mindlessly partisan fanboy, and I will try to give Waterfox a fair trial, even though I hate breaking up my browsing history across multiple browsers. I’ve just added it to my list of one-or-two-click “bailout” browsers in Pale Moon’s “Browser View Plus (Playlist)” extension, so that’s a start.

        Final Note: There’s no question that some of Pale Moon’s developers can be lacking in social graces, to put it delicately. But so is Linus Torvalds (the creator of Linux), by most accounts. It’s regrettable, and it can be unpleasant, but ultimately, you have to choose software based on the soundness of the design decisions and the quality of the coding. Only time will tell whether Pale Moon’s big-picture design decisions will pan out, but as a non-coder end-user, I’m still impressed with the stability and usability of their browser. It’s no longer faster than Firefox, but that could just be because I have so many great extensions in Pale Moon and have found so few worth adding to Firefox Quantum. ;-)

      3. Peterc said on September 20, 2018 at 12:09 am

        Ha! Literally *hours* after I mentioned Linus Torvalds here, I saw this:

        Linus apologises for his years of abrasive behaviour

        See? Even *coders* can try to improve their social skills! ;-)

        (But on a more serious note, people on the high end of the autism spectrum really *do* have a hard time anticipating, intuiting, recognizing, and empathizing with other people’s emotions, and it takes real effort to implement a cognitive workaround for that deficit. I don’t have a clue whether Torvalds or certain other “difficult” developers are on the spectrum — it’s possible they’re just poorly socialized jerks — but if they *are*, getting furious at them for their bluntness or abrasiveness is a little like getting furious at someone who’s color-blind for failing to notice that you dyed your hair. They are still responsible for finding that cognitive workaround, but it’s not like they are being deliberately callous.)

      4. John Fenderson said on September 19, 2018 at 5:23 pm


        “I think the latter crosses the line into malware”

        Not by any definition of malware that I’ve ever seen. “Malware” is software that is engaging in actions without your knowledge and permission. This isn’t what’s happening with AdNauseum.

        “i.e., it will get “demonetized,””

        Yes, that’s the whole idea. Poison the ads so that they won’t produce as much revenue. I don’t use this sort of extension personally, but I get the logic of it — the only way that ad networks will stop being evil is if they’re hit in the pocketbook. That’s what this is trying to do.

        Websites that rely on ad networks for revenue get no sympathy from me — I view such sites as throwing their users under the bus and they have no moral high ground here.

        Aside from all that, though, there’s an larger underlying issue here — why does Moonchild feel that he should get to decide what software users can and cannot make use of? He has no such right, and that he’s asserting it through technical measures in Pale Moon means that Pale Moon is untrustworthy and unacceptable.

      5. Peterc said on September 19, 2018 at 11:41 pm

        @John Fenderson:

        Although I oppose tracking and profiling and favor a high degree of user control over privacy and software, I think all of the issues you bring up are more nuanced than you seemingly do. However, this isn’t the venue for debating what constitutes malware, whether all advertising is inherently evil, and whether developers have the right to hinder or block certain add-ons.

        I will concede that AdNauseum itself is more nuanced than I originally thought: it looks like you *can* configure it to send fake clicks, but you don’t *have* to. Google Chrome has blocked it outright; Pale Moon makes you jump through an extra hoop to install it; and Firefox seemingly allows it outright, at least for now. I have no idea whether it installs and works in Waterfox.

      6. John Fenderson said on September 20, 2018 at 8:35 pm

        @Peterc: ” I think all of the issues you bring up are more nuanced than you seemingly do”

        I actually see a great deal of nuance in these issues. However, there is one thing that I no longer see nuance in — this business about using small website operators as human shields in order to protect the ability of ad networks to spy on everybody.

        My non-nuanced opinion on the issue of small website operators (and I am one myself) is this: any website, large or small, that knowingly exposes its readers to ad networks is showing disrespect to its readers. My blocking the tracking may hurt those websites financially, but that fact does not make my blocking wrong and I have no sympathy for affected sites.

        I don’t use AdNauseum myself, and don’t actually condone its actions in terms of spoofing clicks, but I totally understand why others find that an appropriate act of civil disobedience. I find Moonchild’s argument against AdNauseum to be not only disingenuous, but actively perpetuating a condition that is harmful to society.

      7. Peterc said on September 22, 2018 at 6:37 pm

        I appreciate hearing your views on this, which I actually share to some degree. I’ve been thinking a lot about the other side of the coin lately, however. If automated advertising becomes difficult or impossible, I think we’ll see more sites captured by covert sponsors, more covertly sponsored content, and more individually negotiated advertising (which brings with it advertiser leverage over content). That has serious consequences. Paying for eyeballs is one thing; paying to influence or determine what content those eyeballs will see is another. I hate ads as much as anyone else, but automated “broadcast” advertising (without user profiling, tracking, and targeting) may end up being a necessary compromise if we want to ensure continued access to a wide range of freely available content on a wide range of independently run sites.

      8. stefann said on September 16, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        @ Anonymous : This sort of things made Palemoon unacceptable for me to + the creator is a rude ******* !

  14. Léon said on September 15, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    After switching from browser to browser for years, I finally have the happy feeling now that I reached the finish: Waterfox!

    I use it since a couple of weeks now.

    It’s Firefox before Firefox chose the way down.

  15. TelV said on September 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Good news indeed that WF will be integrating the Classic addons Archive. I already read about that possibility taking place on Github a couple of weeks ago and confirmation of it now is a big relief. It’ll be great when all those yellow “Legacy” flags are removed from the addons manager as well (assuming that will happen).

    I’m sure this will encourage many FF ESR users who rely on classic addons to switch to Waterfox now that ESR 52.9 is no longer supported.

  16. Mark Hazard said on September 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    do you use Waterfox?
    I have it but don’t use it much. It is very slow. I only keep it in case Mozilla does something stupid with Firefox that I could not tolerate. I am currently on the ESR version of Firefox. I recently had to find a userChrome.css file so I could continue to have rounded tabs with this new ESR version of Firefox. Waterfox does not have this feature? currently.
    I have not been able to normally update Waterfox as of this posting – perhaps later.

    1. Robert Ab said on September 17, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      In term of speed.

      Check if multiprocess on or off is better for you. Link contains instruction how to change this setting:

      Also check if disabling Stylo will help: https://www.reddit.com/r/waterfox/comments/89w4uh/waterfox_using_a_lot_of_system_resources/

      Waterfox 56 is based on Firefox 56.

    2. TelV said on September 15, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      @Mark Hazard,

      Install Classic Theme Restorer and then in the Tabs menu, enable Curved tabs: caa:addon/classicthemerestorer

      You can also add your css code to CTR in the “Custom css code” menu if you don’t like the look of the curved tabs appearance.

  17. Paul(us) said on September 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I am using Waterfox for a few months now daily (next to Firefox) almost a half a year now and I have to say that I am really liking the fact that I can use all main old favorite add-on’s.
    I am not noticing any delay from most sites like BBC even when I don’t accept any cookie (I never did by the way) when they’re loading. Mostly all goes quite fast.
    And I am excited about the development that the classic add-on archive will be integrated.

    Hopefully, Waterfox can hold up in the future to other exciting developments from other browsers like the new developments who are going on right now at Firefox like for instance the in Rust written rendering web content, were its main goal of the component is to improve the performance of the rendering process by moving the heavy lifting from the processor to the video card.
    I think that will be for me personly the next moment where I will hold Waterfox up to the light to compare.

    1. Robert Ab said on September 17, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      There is a chance that, Waterfox will be based on Firefox 60 ESR.

      Check recent discussion here (especially comments by Waterfox developer MrAlex94): https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/9dbqtr/read_before_firefox_52_esr_will_update_to_firefox/

      Another post (from May 2018):

  18. wybo said on September 15, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I started using WF after FF Platinum was launched. I have some classic add-on’s which I want to use.
    I’m happy with WF no problems with speed but then I don’t keep a zillion tabs open.

    1. Peterc said on September 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      @wybo: FF Quantum?

    2. Anonymous said on September 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      You mean Firefox Quantum I think. As they’re proud enough to advertise it, it’s closer to Rust than to Platinum actually. Time destroys finally corrupts everything that was once good…

  19. Robert Ab said on September 15, 2018 at 8:50 am
  20. Mike said on September 15, 2018 at 8:18 am

    For anyone else that experienced waterfox being sloow as molasses its due to e10 and servo.
    Turn all this features off and it will be fast again


    The browser still has a hard time recovering after heavy webpages but its a big improvement to disable these settings

    1. pepe said on September 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Wow, turning off multiprocess made waterfox really fast for me. Thanks man

      1. Robert Ab said on September 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        Turning off multiprocess mode may cause increase in speed on older machines, especially with 4 GB RAM or less. However, it better to keep multiprocess mode on on newer machines. But this is true not only to Waterfox, but also to Firefox.

        Every person is using browser in different way, so it is probably wise to test which setting is better for user. And the same applies to servo (see comments above).


    2. owl said on September 15, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      For anyone else that experienced waterfox being sloow as molasses its due to e10 and servo.
      Turn all this features off and it will be fast again:about:config. Set layout.css.servo.enabled to false

      That information is old. WF.56 + has already taken countermeasures (default).
      Even if it is beneficial for users who are stopping updating … · · · Anyway, it is only necessary to update to the latest “56.2.3”.

  21. Robert Ab said on September 15, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Estimation of the number of Waterfox users based on Mozilla telemetry data:

    1. TelV said on September 15, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      @Robert Ab,

      The telemetry data transmissions can be disabled in prefs by setting about:config?filter=dom.webnotifications.enabled to false.

      See the paragraph called “Website notifications” in this article: https://www.waterfoxproject.org/en-US/privacy/waterfox/

      1. Richard Allen said on September 16, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        In general, “telemetry” and “webnotifications” are two completely independent functions, they both have separate about:config entries. Changing one will have no effect on the other. The Waterfox claim that “absolutely no data or telemetry is sent back to Mozilla” is misunderstood because even with “telemetry” disabled a lot of connections are still being made to Mozilla.

        Webnotifications give websites the ability to send notifications to the browser and… to push notifications to webapps. In FF v62 you can disable notification requests in the preferences but I prefer using about:config to disable them. Set these to false:

        Info from ghacks-user.js:

      2. Anonymous said on September 15, 2018 at 7:38 pm

        I think that the pref dom.webnotifications.enabled is related to web notifications (websites sending notifications to you that are relayed by Mozilla servers), not to telemetry at all.

        However Mozilla officially collects aggregated data from web notification subscriptions as specified in the link you gave, and in reality has access to much more personal data in the process : what site each of their users subscribes to (and when they receive messages).

        You don’t need to disable this to protect your privacy if you don’t subscribe to any site notification. However you may need to disable this function to prevent sites from harassing you with subscription requests. In their infinite wisdom and integrity Mozilla has not immediately given the users the option to opt out from that in the UI, so it’s not in Waterfox UI, but it should finally have landed in current Firefox 62 once it became obvious that pissed off users would cause more damage to them than satisfied website spammers would cause good. But it’s still burried in the settings, in the notifications parameters, block new notifications requests. Not the “until firefox starts again then we can spam you again”, the pref well hidden behind the notifications parameter button.

      3. TelV said on September 16, 2018 at 11:35 am


        I tracked down the actual sequence of events when web notifications are enabled and they appear at the foot of this article: http://www.skipser.com/p/2/p/stop-firefox-push-notifications.html

        I note however that permissions for youtube.com remain in place in spite of the setting having been disabled on my WF.

        I don’t use Sync, but I note from the same link I posted earlier that Mozilla receives telemetry concerning add-ons, passwords, payment autofill information, bookmarks, history and preferences albeit in encrypted format.

      4. Robert Ab said on September 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm

        I am aware that estimation can be affected by some factors, especially by custom settings. However, most users will be not changing these settings. My analysis of Waterfox popularity is just **estimation** of the user number and its purpose was to give us the order of magnitude instead of the exact number.

        Do you know if this about:config setting is affecting data send to Mozilla AMO? It seems that data to Mozilla AMO are send by addons not Waterfox. However, this behavior will be probably eliminated or limited after establishing Waterfox addon store.

      5. Richard Allen said on September 17, 2018 at 10:33 pm

        @Robert Ab
        “WF users are much more tech-savy than normal FF users” That is so cute and… a new spelling for savvy. ;)

        Based on the comments I’ve seen from WF enthusiasts here on gHacks, I’m just not seeing WF users being more “tech-savy” than normal FF users. There are a few knowledgeable WF users that I’ve seen here but for the most part, no.

        Most users see the WF claim that “absolutely no data or telemetry is sent back to Mozilla” and they lose their effing uninformed minds when FF is mentioned. “No data and telemetry is sent back to Mozilla” is deceptive and misunderstood, and the uninformed continue to fall for it. I’m willing to bet that my install of FF has fewer connections to Mozilla than the vast majority of WF users. But, but, but how is that possible? LoL

        I smile when I see clueless anonymous trolls making absurd claims like WF is “a privacy hardened fork of FF” without having any knowledge whatsoever about what has changed and what has not changed in about:config when comparing WF to FF, another example that disproves the argument that WF users are more “tech-savy” than the FF deplorables.

        “The telemetry data transmissions can be disabled in prefs by setting about:config?filter=dom.webnotifications.enabled to false.” Umh…no.

        “Do you know if this about:config setting is affecting data send to Mozilla AMO?” Umh…no again.

        “I note however that permissions for youtube.com remain in place in spite of the setting (webnotifications) having been disabled on my WF.” Disabling webnotifications will not remove permissions previously granted. You have to reset that permission or delete “Site Preferences”. Just so you know, deleting site prefs will remove ALL cookie exceptions, page zoom values and permissions, you’ve been warned. ;)

        Not understanding the difference between telemetry and web notifications also disproves the “more tech-savy” claim, at least when it comes to WF and FF. That said, I commend you both (Robert Ab and TelV) for making the attempt to better understand how FF based browsers work and what WF really offers compared to FF, and what it doesn’t offer.

        I still get a laugh when WF users claim that enabling stylo and webrender has made a huge improvement in performance. But I never see any mention, much less any screenshots, of before/after benchmarks, before/after page load times, before/after website fps. Website fps? WTH? Is this another example of “tech-savy”? ;)

      6. Richard Allen said on September 17, 2018 at 11:23 pm

        Dang it!
        I should have mentioned that permissions can be easily changed or removed from the site info button in the address bar. Oh.. wait.. that only works in FF v62. You can also clear cookies and site data from the site info button but… never mind. LoL

      7. Richard Allen said on September 16, 2018 at 5:35 pm

        @Robert Ab
        “Do you know if this about:config setting is affecting data send to Mozilla AMO?” No, webnotifications does not have an affect on data sent to AMO. And data sent to Mozilla AMO about the extensions is sent by Waterfox, not by the addons.

        If you want to opt out of addon metadata updates you can change “extensions.getAddons.cache.enabled” to false. The “default” in your “privacy hardened fork of FF” is to allow daily pings to send the extension metadata to AMO. The data provides the ability for the add-ons page in the browser to display extra info that includes screenshots, descriptions, ratings, downloads and personalized recommendations.

        I don’t think the metadata updates are in any way evil but are instead unnecessary but then I’ve had it disabled for years. And, add-on developers can opt out of their add-on being included in the daily ping but I don’t know of any that have opted out based on what I’m seeing in the add-ons page of WF and FF when using my test profiles.

        Data to Mozilla AMO “will be probably eliminated or limited after establishing Waterfox addon store”. Don’t see how that can happen unless you aren’t going to be using webextensions. The only thing I see the Waterfox addon store providing is access to old XUL/XPCOM legacy addons and most of those addons will never be updated again. Even gorhill has stated that updates for his legacy version of uBO will come to an end.
        “Keep in mind I plan to drop support for Firefox/legacy once Firefox 60 ESR is released on May 7. This will remove a roadblock for simplifying uBO’s code base in many areas.” – gorhill

        Ask yourself one question, how does The Tor Browser handle extension updates?

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