No more Firefox…





I have updated the main Dark Android Project page to reflect my latest recommendation of no longer using Firefox as a web browser on a Dark Android device, and instead I now recommend using IceCat (formerly known as “IceWeasel”) from the Free Software Foundation. There are at least three reasons for this, and I’ll cover them quickly here (and they’re also covered on the main page). In short, IceCat is FireFox–regularly updated–without the below problems.

The first is due to concerns that Cory Doctorow brought up about a year ago that Firefox was working with Silicon Valley’s big boys and integrating closed-source DRM. This stands against Firefox’s past claims of being open and totally open-source. I think it’s interesting that Firefox has recently changed much of its marketing lingo to “independent” instead of “open”, and it’s likely a byproduct of their present and future plans.

Speaking of future plans, Firefox is now also getting into the web browser-side strongarming that Google has been practicing lately with Chrome. While incentivizing people to use SSL is a fine thing, forcing people to use it (at the cost of a loss of features) is another ballgame when Mozilla as a company has always claimed to pride itself on giving you options and control. If the company had never made such claims and such options available, it’d be a very different story, I’ll admit. Please understand, I’m not saying don’t use Firefox ever again, it’s still arguably the best browser around, and has incredible design. I’m just saying for the purposes of Dark Android, it no longer fits the bill.

And for the last reason I’ll lay out, Firefox in the F-Droid app repository is now two versions behind (version 34), and will likely not be available in an up-to-date fashion again because of the direction Mozilla is taking with Firefox, and using out of date code (Firefox is now up to version 36) is a security nightmare that I can’t recommend. The FSF keeps IceCat (also at version 36) up to snuff at all times, thus another reason for its recommendation and superiority over the Firefox that is available in F-Droid.

Unfortunately IceCat has to be manually installed, and it’s up to you whether that “price” of admission is worth it. But for a total, real Dark Android device, I consider IceCat a necessity.


Carpe lucem!