Waterfox development splits into Classic and Current branches

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 25, 2019
Updated • Oct 25, 2019
Internet, waterfox

A new version of the web browser Waterfox has been released on October 23, 2019 that introduces a new versioning scheme and introduces two different branches called classic and current.

The Waterfox browser is based on Firefox code but there are notable difference between the two browsers. Waterfox continues to support (some) NPAPI plugins, comes without Telemetry, and bootstrapped add-ons.

Mozilla announced in October 2019 that it would speed up the Firefox release cycle. The organization wants to release a new version of the Firefox web browser every four weeks instead of the current scheme that has a new release ready in about six weeks on average.

The new versioning scheme of Waterfox is YYYY-MM-X with Y=year, M=month, and X=hotfix, whereas the old versioning scheme used X.Y.Z with X=main version release, Y=feature release, and Z=hotfix.

The next releases of Waterfox after 56.2.14 and 68.0b1 will follow the new versioning scheme already. Additionally, Waterfox will have two separate channels going forward.

The classic channel, called Waterfox Classic, is the legacy branch of the web browser that will continue to support older standards. The developer of Waterfox has no plans to retire this branch according to a new blog post on the Waterfox blog.

This branch is the legacy branch. There are no plans to retire this branch, and is going to be actively maintainted, the same as current.

Waterfox Current is the second version of the browser. It is the "modern, feature updated branch" . The core difference between the two is that Waterfox Classic will retain classic functionality but will receive bug and security fixes only.

Waterfox Current on the other hand will keep up "with the modern web". While not mentioned explicitly in the blog post, it is likely that Waterfox Current won't support all the features of Waterfox Classic. Instead, it will introduce new features and options that the classic version does not support.

The latest Waterfox Classic version released displays as 2019-10 on the about page already. The about page does highlight the branch of the browser; in the case of the screenshot above, it is Waterfox Classic that was upgraded to the new version.

Where does that leave the users?

Waterfox has a loyal following; some picked the browser because they want to continue using legacy add-ons that Firefox does not support anymore. Others liked the idea of running a browser without Telemetry, or need support for certain NPAPI plugins.

Waterfox Classic will continue to support these, and users who run the browser don't really need to do anything at this point. The version will be different but the browser won't change.

Now You: do you use Waterfox? What is your main reason for using it?

Article Name
Waterfox development splits into Classic and Current branches
A new version of the web browser Waterfox has been released on October 23, 2019 that introduces a new versioning scheme.
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  1. Anonymouse said on March 7, 2022 at 1:38 am

    Pale Moon and Waterfox Classic for me. Chrome and Firefox UIs suck. Let me customize it to how I want it. Same reason why I don’t buy Apple products.

  2. Raging Taco said on August 10, 2020 at 12:55 am

    Things would be easier if Firefox release stream were made easier to compile by the average buffoon. Thereby not having to bother with forked projects that are centuries behind.

  3. TelV said on August 1, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Big problem with Waterfox Classic this morning. I tried to access the Videolan forums at https://forum.videolan.org/ but it would appear that the security certificate has expired.

    Not such a big problem since normally there’s an option to accept the risk and load the site, but not this time. Waterfox point blank refuses to connect and there’s no option to bypass the warning. https://imgbox.com/dBIpDYED

  4. Barbara said on January 29, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Really enjoy using Waterfox Current. :)
    Doesn’t use a lot of memory on my computer and it’s stable.
    Also use Firefox and SeaMonkey browser as well.

  5. Don said on January 23, 2020 at 1:07 am

    Main reason I switched to Waterfox is FireFTP, since downloading the latest “greatest” – Current, it doesn’t work.


    1. Peter Loud said on April 17, 2020 at 9:45 am

      FireFTP was my reason for switching to Waterfox too.

      However the latest release of Waterfox 2020.04 has been so slow that I am in the process of using Firefox again WinSCP for FTP.

  6. Jody Thornton said on December 12, 2019 at 1:59 am

    There’s been no recent Pale Moon thread to post this in, but v28.8 has been released. I wonder why the last two releases haven’t been covered. I’m back to using it now, since I had issues with Firefox v68 ESR.

    1. Jody Thornton said on June 14, 2020 at 3:41 am

      Actually back to Waterfox Current now. I’m waiting to see if it moves to ESR 78 in July, and if I’m going to like it or not. I’m worried that too many changes will be not to my liking.

  7. Jen I'Faerie said on December 8, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Why I use Waterfox? Well, let’s just add one more extension I absolutely prefer (Classic Theme Restorer). I don’t know what others think about the Australias interface (nor do I really care), but I effing hate it with vehemence. I honestly don’t understand the need to screw up the interface for some dreamed up UX vision. UX is a joke now days anyway. The user interface should be totally customizable ( all aspects). It’s the core functionality underlying it which should remain constant. I am talking about you MS and your stupid childish kindergarten block interface of WIN 10 and all the psychophantic followers who are embracing this flat design paradigm. LOL, stop being sheep and do your own thing.
    I don’t really want nor care to learn css, others have done a fine job of this. I don’t like nor prefer tabs on top as it’s totally conterproductive IMO.
    So, I’ll stay on Waterfox with my theme restorer and move on with my life.
    If you ask me and you didn’t, web browsers now days are trying to be a tv forum with advertising you eventually won’t be able to block at all. You will have to change the channel. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I turn on the radio, I tend to want to hear music, not some dick face out there trying to sell me something. Same goes for TV which I have eschewed for nearly 10 years. Advertising has become a sickness and the average sheeple in society eat the shephards grass like it was pure gold.
    As far as some of the comments on this and tons of other sites, sure Mozilla and anyone else wants/needs to make money. But nefarious means are not the route to use. Additonally, it’s is absolutely not my responsibility to support them in any way, shape, or form. It’s not my responsibility to make them money, and it’s absolutely ludicrous for anyone to assert I should. LOL, if your business model depends on internet ad revenue then it’s a failed model from launch. You should fail and I wholeheartedly hope you do.

    1. Greg Masters said on August 10, 2020 at 8:58 pm

      I just saw this. I agree completely. The modern trend to white/gray/one accent color, boring, dumbed-down UIs, hidden or non existent options, lack of customization, etc etc….your comment is a breath of fresh air.

      I too use CTS, there are a number of reasons, and plugins I use. Not everyone is on a phone/tablet and I prefer more control over my browser, where it connects, details about its connections, customization of the UI.

      Regarding advertising support, I block all domains not related to content service for the page in the browser and on my network. If I visit I don’t need to connect to the plethora of tracking domains, “security” sites or ad servers. I also pay youtube 10.00/mo for their service even though I don’t signin (3rd party viewer app) and am willing to financially support sites I use regularly.

      My browsing is clean and not cluttered with junk.

      I do wish the internet was like it was in the 90’s, decentralized and more “free”. Presently, google, facebook, amazon and twitter control most of it.

      **end rant**

      No need to elaborate here.

  8. Shane Reynolds said on November 17, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    I love fact classic allows tab mix plus i hate tabbed browsing FF to that option away they need to realize some of us hate tabs i don’t want to feel like I am looking in a filing cabinet plus makes browser more streamlined if they take my option to turn tab bar of i will be P***ed yes i censored the word myself just really hate tabbed browsing just because they can remove option or make add on ineffective does not mean they should just saying there are alot of us that hate tabbed browsing they will lose faithful users!

    1. Peterc said on November 22, 2019 at 7:26 am

      @Shane Reynolds:

      Hey! Save some of that caffeine for John Fenderson! He *needs* it! ;-)

      (Actually, I love Tab Mix Plus, too.)

    2. Shane Reynolds said on November 17, 2019 at 11:59 pm

      took not to option away lol dang typo slipped by me!

  9. Anonymous said on November 12, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    I use Waterfox Classic as my main browser but have Firefox and Internet Explorer… oops! I mean Chrome… for the newest cruft. I don’t see any point in using Waterfox Current.

  10. TelV said on October 29, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    To address the original question i.e. why do I use WF, I do so because I want to run legacy extensions and Firefox won’t do that anymore.

    However, I’ve given up on “Current” until a stable version has been released. I came across a myriad of problems trying to switch from Current to Classic and back again. The worst of these was that only two addons out of 23 survived and defaults were restored in Current. I don’t know if Bing has something to do with that which the dev wants users to use so that he can earn some money. But I prefer Startpage and had switched to that. However, Startpage had been removed and the default search engine was back to Bing again.

    I decided to put matters on one side and switched to Classic again. However, I couldn’t login to my online banking site and many of the prefs I’d configured had all disappeared.

    Decided at this point to uninstall Current as it seemed to be the cause of the problem. But even after doing so problems in Classic persisted.

    Enter Windows greatest tool namely System Restore. I’d created a manual restore point before installing Current and restored to that. But Classic still displayed 56.3 and not 56.2.14 like it should have done. I ran SR again going back to 21/10, but still the same problem. How could this be I asked myself since this article is dated 25/10 and is the first I knew about the new version. I thought maybe my connection had been corrupted and ran netsh winsock reset, but to no avail. I couldn’t login to my banking site which sent me into a bit of a frenzy since I had some bills to pay.

    To cut a long story short I finally restored to 10/10 which gave me back 56.2.13. Since then WF has become considerably faster and there’s no sign of the Current version anywhere.

    Actually, I broke one of my own rules by installing Current. I’m always wary about Beta software and tend to avoid it like the plague, but my curiosity got the better of me in this particular case and that’s why I installed the Current version. Won’t do that in a hurry again.

    1. vip said on October 30, 2019 at 6:13 am

      Thanks for the story. I’ve learned not to do any serious downloading or updating without having a current system image to restore from if things goes south.

      Also, as crazy as it may sound, I’m still using a version of Waterfox more than 2 years old. Versions 55 & 56 had so many problems I just stuck with v54 something-or-other and have had no problems. I plan to update at some point, but things have to be more stable than they’ve been for these last 2 years. I realize some will consider it mad to use a browser that old because of security concerns, but I think those concerns are overblown and more theoretical than real-world. To enrage these security crazies even more, I’m still using the now-dead Cyberfox; no problems there either. There’s nothing seriously serious on my hard drive anyway; the good stuff is on an external hard drive, and the modem is always off when that is plugged in.

  11. Lord-Lestat said on October 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Good to see the classic branch is kept alive.

  12. TelV said on October 27, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Decided to turn on brain this morning and scrolled down a bit on the WF releases page. I’m surprised that “Classic” precedes “Current” on there. Since “Current” is the new version it should be at the top I would have thought.

    Anyway, I’m now using “Current” and haven’t found any issues with it other than cosmetic ones namely how to get rid of “Visit” and “Search with” which appear in the location bar when you type something. CTR has an option to remove those but that can’t be installed unfortunately. Anybody know what the UserChrome.css code is?

  13. TelV said on October 26, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Decided to update (again) since 56.3 a.k.a. 2019.10 contains security fixes. No problems encountered.

    User Agent check here for anyone that’s interested: https://www.whatsmyua.info/

  14. TelV said on October 26, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    In case it’s of interest to anyone there’s a screenshot of both versions side-by-side on reddit at https://i.redd.it/kei44udxtmu31.png

    So that would seem to indicate that the latest update to 56.2.14 is 2019.10 right?

    I don’t want to miss out on any security updates to 56.2.14, but neither do I want to install the new version (yet).

  15. Darren said on October 26, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Would Waterfox Current be the closest thing to a current up-to-date Firefox with the Telemetry and extra garbage removed? If so that sounds great. Most of the new non-legacy addons are as good as the old ones now. Is there any other clone of new Firefox that’s had the extras neutered out? Asking because I don’t know or can’t remember one.

  16. Tom Hawack said on October 25, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    I appreciate and use Firefox’s ‘Autoconfig’ and ‘Enterprise Policies’, both of course unavailable on other browsers.

    I admire the developer’s decision to carry on with two branches when one only is a challenge of its own, especially when the team works in a garage so to say. I guess that if handling two branches appears to be impossible on the long term the so-called ‘Current Branch’ only will survive.

  17. TelV said on October 25, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Question: can both Classic and Current be installed on the same machine?

    I’m still using Classic (56.2.14) and don’t particularly want to update to the new version if I can’t install legacy addons like CTR and especially so if Classic will be maintained indefinitely.

    On the other hand I’m curious to see what the new version looks and feels like. No info about that aspect on the blog unfortunately.

    1. Iron Heart said on October 25, 2019 at 8:02 pm


      Yes, you can run them side by side. They use different directories. I updated from 56.2.14 to 2019.10 Classic, and have 2019.10 Current running here at the same time.

      1. TelV said on October 25, 2019 at 8:49 pm

        Thanks Iron Heart. I just downloaded 2019.10 and will install it using that rather than the option to upgrade I think (I’m a cautious bloke at the best of times).

      2. Anonymous said on October 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm

        Useful information. Before that I thinked which version I will keep. Now I can use both browsers without tweaking start up parameters and profiles. Thank you Iron Heart. Noia theme’s tabs (userChrome.css) breaks a little user interface but I can solve it later or not.

      3. TelV said on October 26, 2019 at 10:38 am

        Oh-O, big mistake to do it that way I discovered yesterday. No problem with the installation, but it overwrote all my previous profiles leaving me with just one brand new one. I corrected it later by running Windows System Restore to get back to 56.2.14

        But I’m not sure I understand the concept properly. After installing 2019.10 I tried installing Classic Theme Restorer which went without a hitch as per the screenie at https://imgbox.com/W2QJNJfV But I thought at the time that I’d loaded the Current version rather than the Classic. Maybe the latter loaded instead since I’d already disabled e10s.

        In that respect I noticed that youtube videos were very jerky without multi-process enabled.

        But what is the installer supposed to do exactly? Install both or just one of them? Confused…. :(

      4. owl said on October 31, 2019 at 2:30 am

        @Iron Heart said on October 25, 2019 at 8:02 pm
        Yes, you can run them side by side. They use different directories. I updated from 56.2.14 to 2019.10 Classic, and have 2019.10 Current running here at the same time.

        @TelV said on October 26, 2019 at 10:38 am
        Oh-O, big mistake to do it that way I discovered yesterday. No problem with the installation, but it overwrote all my previous profiles leaving me with just one brand new one.

        The program itself is created under Program Files (the following three folders are independent):
        â‘  plug-in (npPDFXCviewNPPlugin.dll) are saved in the folder “Waterfox”
        â‘¡ Waterfox Classic
        â‘¢ Waterfox Current
        Its Profiles are
        Stored independently in Users > AppData > Roaming > Waterfox > Profiles:

        I have been using (Waterfox, Alpha) together,
        At the time of the release of Waterfox Classic and Waterfox Current (Waterfox 2019.10 Release: October 23, 2019)
        I installed each (first Classic, then Current) and both successfully completed the “update”.

        If an old Waterfox user updates,
        If you install “Current” without updating to “Classic”,
        There seems to be a case where it is recognized as an upgrade to “Waterfox” Current and overwritten.
        When installing “Current” without updating to Classic, it seems better to select “Custom Setup” and be careful not to interfere with Profile.

        * In addition, from the official, “renaming program names and manually changing the folder structure is not supported”, so it will be impossible to start or update, so it is declared “Strictly prohibited”.

        About profile management:
        How To Create Multiple Firefox Profiles For Specific Tasks | gHacks

        Official support:
        â‘  Release notes and user comments | https://www.waterfox.net/blog/waterfox-2019.10-release-download/
        â‘¡ Waterfox Community Support | https://www.reddit.com/r/waterfox/
        ③ Issues · MrAlex94/Waterfox · GitHub | https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/issues?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=is%3Aissue+is%3Aall
        â‘£ Twitter @Waterfoxproject | https://nitter.net/Waterfoxproject

  18. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Im using classic waterfox and like it alot, mainly due to some NPAPI / XUL extensions i havent found any replacement yet with same level of functionality (eg ‘add bookmark here’). Not to talk about ui cstomization wich is another reason staying with the classic one.

    1. Peterc said on November 22, 2019 at 6:51 am

      @Anonymous: Just FYI, the Pale Moon fork of Add Bookmark Here² is called Add Bookmark Helper. I rely on History a lot more than bookmarks nowadays, but when I *do* bookmark something, I sure am glad it’s there. So — there isn’t an adequate WebExtensions equivalent yet? (Same as for Waterfox and Basilisk, I almost never use Firefox, except to test sites that don’t work in Pale Moon, and I really haven’t put in much time trying to find WebExtensions to replace my favorite legacy extensions, especially recently.)

      1. owl said on November 22, 2019 at 1:56 pm


        I have been using Pale Moon, two types of Waterfox, and Firefox.
        However, use is “Firefox ESR 68” usually.
        By the way, in the extension of the WebExtensions, add-on of the following is a favorite:
        Memex is a bookmark search extension for Firefox and Chrome | gHacks Tech News

      2. Peterc said on November 24, 2019 at 3:20 am

        @owl: Thanks for the tip about Memex. I subscribe to the Ghacks newsletter, and I *still* end up missing a bunch of articles! To be honest, I now use Firefox and bookmark sites so seldom that I probably won’t invest the time in learning Memex, but it’s good to know it’s there, especially if I ever go back to using Firefox (or, I guess, Waterfox) as my primary browser.

  19. ItsMe said on October 25, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    I don’t like them having a totally different versioning convention. Look at their download page now, Current is 2019.10 (and apparently there has been more than one with the same v.number) but no mention of what FF build that’s based on. It doesn’t even mention it in the blog.

    1. John Fenderson said on October 25, 2019 at 6:18 pm


      I agree, but they’re just joining the larger trend of making version numbers largely worthless. Doesn’t excuse it, of course.

      The standard version numbering scheme provided useful information, telling you the type of release it was, how large the change was, and so forth. Now, all we know is when the release was issued, which isn’t actually that useful to know.

  20. popcorn said on October 25, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    “The Modern Web”. The Spyware Web, ftfy.

    Why even bother with a new waterfox current when you could use firefox. Divide and conquer, well played mo$illa.

    1. The_Punisher said on October 25, 2019 at 5:40 pm

      Yeah I don’t know who is this meant for if it doesn’t support XUL extensions (which I read the text as saying it doesn’t)

  21. John Fenderson said on October 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    I use Waterfox regularly, but my plan to remain on 55.2 is unchanged by this news. I may evaluate the “classic” version to see if the extensions I use work there. If not, then I’ll stay put.

  22. John Fenderson said on October 25, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    @John Fenderson (yes, replying to myself)

    I should make comments before being properly caffeinated. I was thinking “Thunderbird” in my earlier comment. Please ignore it.

    1. James LaBarre said on October 25, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      @John Fenderson and thinking on Thunderbird, that is in an even worse situation than Waterfox. At least WF stays stable and runs cleanly. TB is degrading faster than the devs can fix it. I am on a quest for a decent, open-source cross-platform replacement for it, as TB is leaking SO MANY system resources that it becomes unusable within a few (or a couple even) hours. It will bring the entire computer to a standstill (and this is even on Linux). And not just one machine, pretty much ANY machine, MSWin, Linux, and I don’t run it on MacOSX long enough to see if it’s bad there too.

      But Mozilla moving up to a **FOUR**-week cycle instead of six? Sheesh, as if the browser wasn’t troubled enough as it is. Now they’ll NEVER fix any bugs, they’ll be so busy churning out new revisions. And Microsoft was *stupid* for switching Edge over to a Chromium-base. Would have been far better for them AND us if they had gone for Mozilla (ironic as it might have been).

  23. John Fenderson said on October 25, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    “do you use Waterfox? What is your main reason for using it?”

    Yes, I use Waterfox, because it’s the email client that meets my needs the best.

    I’ve been hanging back on updating to a more recent version because there’s one capability I need (a tray icon that shows if email is waiting to be read) that was supplied by an extension that broke on a recent update, and there was no compelling reason to update anyway.

    I’ll have to revisit the “classic” and see if that solution works, or if there’s another solution.

    I couldn’t be less interested in the web aspect of email readers, as I don’t allow any email reader to render HTML in the first place, for security reasons.

    1. Jen I'Faerie said on December 8, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks you for this – I couldn’t be less interested in the web aspect of email readers, as I don’t allow any email reader to render HTML in the first place, for security reasons.

      I have been using Thunderbird 3.0 for years and years. I also don’t need a damn browwer/email client to try playing both ends of the spectrum. I want my email client to read emails and show pictures if one is there. As far as scripts and such, they are unnecessary and I don’t need them.

  24. Jody Thornton said on October 25, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I have to be honest. This is the first I’ve about Waterfox, on the Ghacks site, for quite awhile. Good to be caught up. Oddly enough, there has been no mention of Pale Moon either (as a topic I mean).

    Right now I’m on Firefox v68 ESR. I disabled a lot of the prefs that Appster (or Iron Heart or SunGlasses) whichever suggested. And it seems to run well. I still use the userChrome.css file to place tabs underneath the address bar. And since I’m good with available add-ons and the look of Quantum, I think I’m all set.

    Would there be anything I’m missing from not using Waterfox instead?

  25. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Waterfox current does no longer remove the Mozilla Pocket adware from the code, and can’t run any classic extension that has not been modified to run on it (probably only a few ones have been). I didn’t bother counting all the minor unremoved Mozilla offenses that rebasing on ESR 68 added to Waterfox current compared to classic. I use a (hardened by myself) Waterfox classic for now. The author isn’t really motivated to undo the bad Mozilla does even when he could do it with no side effects, and there’s bad he seems not to have the resources to undo even if he would like to, like the removal of support for full extensions in current. The users are left desperately in need of a real Firefox fork that will fight for them with no concession and be able to gather more than one or two main developers working on it. For this to happen, we need users to understand that Mozilla works against them.

    But Mozilla is sharpening its knives currently against competitors. One of their moderators has announced that they will now censor any recommendation of the Pale Moon fork, under the pretext that it would only be for our own security (this same lie again). It would not surprise me that they give the same treatment to any recommendation of Waterfox classic, soon or possibly already now. This same line of thoughts could lead them to take later the same censorship decision against recommendations of Waterfox current. But officially, it won’t be because it is a competitor that removes some of their grayware parts or plain malware delivery channels (remember Cliqz ?) and deprives their for-profit company of some of their Google search engine revenue. Officially, it will be because it’s for our own security. Lying pigs.

    1. Crambie said on October 25, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      To be honest regarding Pale Moon I think that they are correct. After the malware debacle you must be mad to trust them, a totally clueless bunch.

      1. vip said on October 27, 2019 at 4:55 pm

        A minor “debacle;” I’m sure it won’t happen again. And Moonchild and Tobin are anything but “clueless”–not the nicest people on the planet, but not clueless.

      2. Peterc said on November 24, 2019 at 3:13 am

        @vip: I tend to agree.

        Linux Mint suffered a similar “debacle.” Linux Mint’s breach lasted only 24 hours, but I think that was because it affected the *current release* of Linux Mint that virtually *everyone* was downloading, whereas Pale Moon’s breach affected only its archive of older installers, hosted on a third-party server and downloaded by a relative few — at least as *I* understood it. Has anyone permanently written off Linux Mint because of *its* breach?

        Judging from Pale Moon’s stability and low incidence of glitches (which have *always* been better than Firefox’s and Waterfox’s, in my experience), Pale Moon’s developers don’t seem to be sloppy or clueless when it comes to coding, and I doubt they are sloppy or clueless when it comes to security. *Anyone* can screw up at least once.

        As for Pale Moon’s developers’ not being the nicest people on the planet, has *no one* ever read insider stories about Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, or Linus Torvalds? Has *anyone* ever boycotted Apple, Microsoft, or Linux because of them? Incivility is always regrettable and counterproductive but it’s not remotely uncommon among software professionals. In the end, the quality and integrity of the end product should be more important to end users. Other things being equal, the nod should go to the nicer developer, sure. But when was the last time other things were equal? The days of pre-6.0 MS-DOS versus PC-DOS?

        At any rate, both arguments are getting tired and are beginning to look suspiciously like makeweights for a different agenda, e.g., exacting revenge for hurt feelings or promoting some other browser. If people can come forward with evidence that Pale Moon has real-world security vulnerabilities that their favorite browser doesn’t have, or is slower or less stable, or hogs more RAM, or doesn’t support some protocol or standard that they require for most of their browsing, they should absolutely feel free to do so. But “they’re mean and they once had a breach” just doesn’t cut it for me.

      3. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 8:40 pm

        “To be honest regarding Pale Moon I think that they are correct”

        Imagine if Google said that they will forbid all reference to Firefox (except to criticize it) from all their web properties, including in user comments, because (this is a fact) Mozilla showed malicious behavior by using it to spread their Cliqz malware. Abusive a little, maybe, especially coming from a stronger competitor that is not very clean itself ?*

        That’s the kind of censorship behavior you’re justifying here.

    2. JW said on October 25, 2019 at 5:32 pm

      no thanks to the hostile one or two man team of pale moon, who couldn’t even be bothered to secure their archive page. all of your complaints can be turned off in the about:config, or by dropping in a hardened user.js. no reason to use a browser based on code that has been outdated for years, which only has one main maintainer

      1. Samanto Hermes said on March 16, 2020 at 1:28 am

        Stop spreading FUD. The timestamps were **forged** by the cybercriminals: https://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=22520&start=20#p170889

      2. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

        “all of your complaints can be turned off in the about:config, or by dropping in a hardened user.js”

        about:config or user.js won’t restore classic extension support or addon signature override for example. The outdated argument that suggests that many sites break is probably exaggerated, considering the disinformation Mozilla likes to spread about forks, but I’m not a Pale Moon user to confirm.

        “To be honest regarding Pale Moon I think that they are correct.”

        Even if it was true that a fork is not secure, or less secure than Firefox and their spyware experiments, it’s not the problem here. People should be allowed to discuss it like adults, not be systematically censored by a company that has taken an habit of censoring criticism of their questionable actions, and whose honesty on their motivations cannot seriously be trusted at this point considering their history.

      3. Stan said on October 25, 2019 at 7:59 pm

        “One of their moderators has announced that they will now censor any recommendation of the Pale Moon”

        Can’t blame him can you?
        Just like here, any mention of that thing is a Red Flag Alert for their troll army to disrupt whatever the topic is.

      4. Cassette said on October 25, 2019 at 10:39 pm

        “Just like here, any mention of that thing is a Red Flag Alert for their troll army to disrupt whatever the topic is.”

        Which troll army are you referring to? Those who support Pale Moon or those who are against it? Let’s not pretend that the anti folks’ hands are clean.

  26. Alex said on October 25, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    How does the XUL extension support on Waterfox classic compares to Pale moon?
    Which one is more backward compatible with the old Firefox?

    1. Peterc said on November 22, 2019 at 6:26 am


      I’m probably going to make a complete hash of this, but I’ll give it a shot. I have no problem with someone more knowledgeable jumping in and correcting me.

      Pale Moon kept Firefox’s old pre-Australis UI. To my knowledge, legacy Firefox extensions that are designed around Australis won’t work in Pale Moon (at least not properly). Many “Australis-agnostic” extensions *will* work, however … although an increasing number *may* become incompatible as Pale Moon’s developers continue forked development of Mozilla’s abandoned XUL platform with UXP (the Unified XUL Platform).

      Waterfox Classic uses an Australis UI. I think most legacy extensions designed around Australis *should* work in Waterfox Classic, as will most Australis-agnostic extensions. (I rarely use Waterfox, other than to test websites that don’t work in Pale Moon. I did my best to replicate my complement of extensions from Firefox ESR 52 and added several WebExtensions. I’m pretty sure that a few legacy extensions installed but didn’t work, but that the rest did, and that’s about the extent of my recollection.)

      Pale Moon has its own repository of extensions adapted, forked, or designed specifically for Pale Moon. My own mix of extensions in Pale Moon has evolved over time from 100% legacy Firefox to (currently) around two thirds Pale Moon and around one third legacy Firefox. Among the more notable Pale Moon extensions are Tab Mix Plus and uBlock Origin; among the more notable Firefox extensions are DownThemAll and Session Manager.

      In short, I’m guessing Waterfox *probably* supports *more* straight legacy Firefox extensions than Pale Moon does, at least where Australis-dependent extensions are concerned. I still strongly prefer Pale Moon, but that’s largely a question of personal taste and habit. If you like Australis, or you’re coming from a relatively recent version of Firefox and have some WebExtensions you like, you’ll probably prefer Waterfox Classic.

    2. The_Punisher said on October 25, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Both run all XUL extensions AFAIK

      1. Smurf said on October 25, 2019 at 9:37 pm

        ^ That’s it. I use gorhill’s extensions on both. PM has it’s own section for extensions on the official site.

  27. owl said on October 25, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    ① Waterfox Classic: It is a specification that uses Firefox 56 as a platform (inline integration of the latest Firefox ESR security patch) and supports LegacyAddons.
    ② Waterfox Current: At specification based on latest Firefox ESR. It will add, delete, or fixed features. Extensions (add-ons, plug-ins, etc.) are limited to the “WebExtension” API.

    Waterfox was one of the first widely distributed 64-Bit browsers on the web and quickly gained a loyal following. At a time Waterfox had one thing in mind: speed, but now Waterfox also attempts to be an ethical, user-oriented browser.
    Waterfox focuses on giving users choice. The browser is focused on power users, which lets you make the important decisions. There is no plugin whitelist (meaning you can run Java Applets and Silverlight apps), you can run whichever extensions you like (including bootstrapped add-ons that can completely change functionality of the browser) and absolutely no data or telemetry is sent back to Mozilla or the Waterfox project.

    About Waterfox | Waterfox Web Browser
    MrAlex94/Waterfox: The official Waterfox 💧 source code repository | GitHub

  28. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    “Classic” is just doublespeak for “will eventually be done away with.”

  29. a said on October 25, 2019 at 11:28 am

    But where is the android version ?

    1. TelV said on October 25, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      @a said,

      You’ve presumably got a 64-bit Android phone running a 32-bit OS. Since Waterfox is a x64 bit OS it won’t run on an x86 OS. Early Samsung phones run 32-bit versions of Android. I know because I’ve got one and couldn’t figure out why Waterfox wouldn’t install until someone opened my eyes on ghacks.

      See this site for more info: https://www.howtogeek.com/253461/how-to-find-out-if-your-device-is-running-32-bit-or-64-bit-android/

  30. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Waterfox Current will keep up “with the modern web”. So… they admit that the Classic can’t keep up. Classic can’t keep up and Current will be a Firefox clone with telemetry disabled by default. I can disable it myself in Firefox. I don’t see the point.

    1. zakius said on October 25, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      Current has extensions loader, old format is supported but due to some internal changes not everything can hook up properly so old extensions may require updates, but not a whole rewrite (and waiting for APIs that will never come)

    2. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      “Current will be a Firefox clone with telemetry disabled by default. I can disable it myself in Firefox. I don’t see the point.”

      Telemetry is opt-out in Firefox. You know and you will disable it. But a software that is more private out of the box is better, for those who don’t know, and also as a matter of principle. This is also pressuring Mozilla by showing them that users will use another browser as a protest against their behavior.

      This is also a sign that the author is more trustworthy and less likely to do the shady tricks Mozilla did in Firefox, like the Cliqz spyware, the Mr Robot ads, and many others.

      Furthermore, only part of telemetry can be opted out of in Firefox. The infamous “Telemetry coverage” experiment proved that telemetry will be collected even after being opted out of in Firefox, and without the users being informed of it (much less being asked consent). This can’t happen in Waterfox. And there is probably much more of the unjustified data collection that they just don’t call like that and that can’t be disabled at all in Firefox. Remember that their data collection system includes the ability for Mozilla to remotely change your settings or download new code to your browser between updates, which is bad enough, and that they even abused that system. I wouldn’t trust them to fully stop doing that just because I unticked a box. In Waterfox this can’t happen.

      There are other minor differences, like the ability to run NPAPI plugins, and to run the few classic extensions that have been modified to be able to run in Waterfox current.

      And there is the ability to override the Mozilla add-on signature requirement, which is going to become a strategic advantage for Waterfox in the future now that Mozilla has shown recently that they never intended to limit the use of this signature system to the eviction of malicious extensions. Those who will want to install from non AMO sources legit extensions that Mozilla abusively banned using their signature system, like recently a legit Translation addon, will still be able to do it.

      Finally, another good point for those who understood what Mozilla has become, is that it won’t contribute to Mozilla’s revenue by default.

      1. IGO said on October 25, 2019 at 6:03 pm

        All telemetry can be disabled in Firefox. Check out ghacks-user.js
        Waterfox, all these nonsense are not real forks. If they were real forks they wouldn’t have to copy paste 99,999999% of every Firefox’s release and wouldn’t have to create classic and current nonsense.

      2. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 6:58 pm

        “All telemetry can be disabled in Firefox. Check out ghacks-user.js”

        Studying the ghacks-user.js just to disable telemetry requires lots of work, and even then it is not clear that it covers strictly all data collection. And note that Mozilla has said that they would like to remove the user.js feature in the future.

        Forks do what forks are supposed to do, remove what shouldn’t be there to begin with, with the resources they have. Mozilla should write user respecting code instead of calling parasites those who clean behind them for the benefit of all.

      3. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 10:24 pm

        Even If user.js get removed in future that i don’t believe to become true, you can still copy-paste your settings in about:config
        It will take 15 mins in maximum.

      4. Iron Heart said on October 25, 2019 at 6:45 pm


        Telemetry shouldn’t even exist in Firefox, but if it has to, it should be opt-in instead of opt-out, currently it is opt-out. Also, regarding “parasites”: Mozilla has the ability to remote-install random add-ons like Mr Robot and Cliqz in Firefox, without asking for your prior consent. They already did this. Waterfox has never pulled shady, or in your words “parasitic” tricks like this.

        Ironic that you criticize Waterfox this way while being a Firefox user, Mozilla had more than one scandal recently.

      5. IGO said on October 25, 2019 at 7:41 pm

        @Iron Heart,
        Firefox developers need to feed their families and pay their rent like you.
        They need to make money like you from their full-time job, they are working full time in a project like Firefox.
        Waterfox is a parasite, they don’t code hundreds and hundreds lines of code themselves.
        Hobbies like Waterfox are hobbies, 5 lines of code is not a job.
        A non-profit organization doesn’t mean that the people who work there should work for free.
        Why do you expect from others to work for free?
        They should get paid somehow.

      6. Hellonius said on October 29, 2019 at 11:21 am

        @IGO, you should know that Firefox got a lot of its users in the first place by being open (with a completely open platform), free (as in freedom) and secure (without back-doors), so that’s how Firefox developers got to feed their families in the first place, by building a browser that’s unlike those from Microsoft and Google so there are many people coming to use it to generate enough revenue to feed the developer’s families in the first place. That seems to be something that the current Mozilla organization higher-ups are starting to forget.

        By abusing their power on the (right now not-so-open) platform and making shady business deals, it’s the higher-up decision makers in the Mozilla organization that’s endangering the Firefox developers’ abilities to feed their families. By becoming greedy and apparently trying to get much more revenue than just to “feed their families”, they are driving people away from using Firefox when users think Mozilla is now run by some shady hypocrites who people may feel even less trust-worthy than those up-front capitalists from Microsoft and Google.

        I’m sure most Waterfox users are thankful to Firefox developers, but not those shady Mozilla higher-ups who run the organization more and more like despots making shady questionable decisions and business deals.

        Also I’d think you don’t call FOSS parasites, that’s really against the FOSS fundamental ideas. As long as you don’t break the FOSS licenses, you are contributing to the FOSS as a whole, there are nothing to parasite from to begin with.

      7. IGO said on October 30, 2019 at 7:53 pm

        What you don’t understand is that we are not in the 00s.
        A browser today is not just another software to develop in our free time.
        The development of a browser today (I am not talking about forks, mods, whatever that are built on top of another browser) needs so many manhours.
        We are not in 2000 and browsers need constant development.
        Even a corporation like Microsoft threw the towel.
        What we have today?
        2 browser engines from corporations (Google and Apple) and Firefox.
        That’s it.
        If I was Mozilla I would threw it too and make Firefoxium.
        It doesn’t worth it anymore, considering the self entitlement and unappreciation of people today.
        Have you seen some of them?
        They use Firefox, this is what they really use, and spit on it at the same time.

      8. Lord-Lestat said on October 27, 2019 at 12:23 pm

        @IGO Nonsense. If you are a REAL open source project – money and numbers are not important to you – same is competition not important for you.

        The reason why Mozilla removed customization and all they did to become as similar to Chrome as possible is not by lack of money but pure jealousy and greed. Mozilla has tons of money available but as they only use it to combat Google instead of using it in a way that it would benefit open source, they are just a disgrace for everything related to FOSS – and they are damaging themselves as the money used to fight Google is missing everywhere else.

        In the past Mozilla was following the open source spirit and they had high values and morals.

        If we speak about parasites.. Opera is the biggest one these days, followed VERY closely by Mozilla and Microsoft. All of them are parasites of Google’s concept and followers of Google’s ideology and left their own target audience in the dust behind.

        None of the mentioned companies is able to think or develop on their own. And that is what is most sad!

      9. IGO said on October 28, 2019 at 12:59 am

        Why do you think that developers who work on major open source projects work for free? Have you seen who contibutes to linux?
        Have you seen which corps are the platinium members of Linux Foundation? Google, AT&T, Fujitsu, Cisco, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Microsoft.
        The developers of these companies and other companies are the main contributors to it. Do you think that a complex open source project like an OS, a browser can be developed by developers in their free time.
        If you think that, then you are far away from reality.
        With your logic there is no REAL open source project out there and linux definately isn’t.
        Mozilla has tons of money available? How did they get them? From donations? Right….

      10. Anonymous said on October 25, 2019 at 9:12 pm

        “Firefox developers need to feed their families and pay their rent like you.”

        Nobody said they should work for free. What they should not do is abuse the trust of their users by downloading advertising addons interfering with the browsing or spyware collecting the browsing data for a third-party, using a channel that was not expected to be used like that. This is not honest money, if this is how they think they are entitled to pay their rent, I’d prefer to see them go homeless.

        “A non-profit organization”

        Mozilla Corporation is for-profit. This is why their revenue sources can involve shady commercial deals.

        “Waterfox is a parasite, they don’t code hundreds and hundreds lines of code themselves.
        Hobbies like Waterfox are hobbies, 5 lines of code is not a job.”

        You are underestimating the work involved. And you think that it’s ok that Mozilla pays themselves by spreading their malware, but you think that those removing Mozilla’s malware should work for free. Interesting.

      11. IGO said on October 26, 2019 at 4:13 pm

        “Mozilla Corporation is for-profit. This is why their revenue sources can involve shady commercial deals.”

        No, typical lies. The Mozilla Foundation controls the activities of the Mozilla Corporation and retains its 100 percent ownership of the new subsidiary. Any profits made by the Mozilla Corporation will be invested back into the Mozilla project. This is how they pay salaries, buildings etc of the project and all income is going back to the project.

        ”You are underestimating the work involved.”

        You are underestimating the work of Mozilla. Today a browser is as complex to be developed as an OS. Removing Mozilla’s “malware” which pays for the development of the browser is not a work. It’s a hobby and it takes little time to do it.
        I do understand why they do it, even if a few people donate to them because of the ridiculous low userbase, it is worth it because of the little time needed to mod Firefox. Waterfox is not a fork, it’s a mod.

        ”Nobody said they should work for free.”

        There is going to be a paid version of Mozilla with no “malware”, I am sure the typical Waterfox user is not going to pay for a free, open source, secure with no malware and with a VPN browser. A browser which is going to pay the real developers and not modders. The typical Waterfox user will find another excuse for demanding for free a browser with no way for monetization by its developers.

      12. Iron Heart said on October 25, 2019 at 8:13 pm


        Not sure I understand? I never said that Firefox developers shouldn’t get paid. Mozilla pays them, and their wages are not exactly shabby. That being said, I want an ethical browser, one that doesn’t spy on me. One that doesn’t install shady extensions like Cliqz and Mr Robot without my prior consent, Like Mozilla Firefox does. Waterfox delivers exactly that. I know that Firefox is the technical foundation of Waterfox, and I would use Firefox if it only treated its users in an ethical way. I know that Waterfox won’t install shady stuff on my computer from afar, I don’t have that trust when it comes to Mozilla.

        If Mozilla changes, I may return. Maybe, after a long time of good conduct on their part.

        Also, I find it laughable that you criticize the possibility of forking Firefox. Firefox is free and open source software, anyone can fork it. If Mozilla really wanted to take that ability away, they would have turned Firefox into closed-source software. I don’t expect Waterfox to introduce monumental changes to the code, I expect the Waterfox dev to disable the spyware junk parts of Firefox and that’s it, and he certainly delivers in that regard. In a way, that’s both a compliment and criticism of Mozilla: I find their browser worth using, just without the spyware junk parts.

      13. IGO said on October 26, 2019 at 2:04 am

        @Iron Heart
        You should use whatever browser fits your needs.
        If it’s Waterfox, it’s perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with that.
        What is wrong is spitting the hands that feed you.
        Calling them shady, junk and stuff like that is just wrong.
        Waterfox is not a typical fork, in open source world somebody forks and continues the development of his fork into the direction he wants.
        Waterfox in reality is just a clone with some tweaks.
        You have a free, open source, modern and working browser (Waterfox) because of Cliqz and Mr Robot.
        So move on with Waterfox and please think about it, what Firefox really gives you, right NOW as Waterfox user and be grateful for that.

      14. John Fenderson said on October 25, 2019 at 8:10 pm


        You may consider Waterfox to be a parasite, but it serves a valuable role. If I didn’t have Waterfox, I’m not sure which browser I’d use, but it’s unlikely that it would be Firefox.

      15. Anonymous said on October 26, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        Cent Browser, is great.. check it out :)

      16. Anonymous said on October 30, 2019 at 3:18 pm

        Sorry, no point. Shovelware browser at best.

      17. Ali said on October 25, 2019 at 10:20 pm

        so, it will be chrome from Google? :D
        or may be brave that only added an adblocker with many privacy problems? :D
        or may be palemoon with very few amount of people working on it that we can’t know how much it is really secure (although i respect its dev.)
        or may be Vivaldi that we can’t find out what is its resource of money and is closed source?

        Please be objective.
        Firefox could become competitive because of this telemetries.
        If Firefox devs don’t know about problems how they can solve it?
        specially with this much of OS vesions, settings and …?!

        Telemetries are in most of your softwares without any option to disable it.
        Also studies like Mr.Robot and Clickz and … can all disabled in settings.

  31. Ray said on October 25, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Waterfox Current is not going to work out. It’s nearly impossible to have both legacy extensions and newer WebExtensions working at the same time and at optimal performance.

    Wish the Waterfox team best of luck, but I don’t see how the Current branch is going to be successful. It’s been awhile since v56 and the WebExtension API support has improved since then. Not going to lie, I do miss some legacy extensions though.

    1. zakius said on October 25, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      WE barely changed and are as useless as 2 years ago and almost as useless as 3 years ago, I wonder how much more time Mozilla needs to realize that and regain sanity

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