Open Source Browser
Open Source Browser
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Today the most common method of accessing the internet in the world is through a web browser. We all know about the best mainstream web browser, comprises of google Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc. Which are always part of the conversation even though in this article the main focus is on the best open source browser of 2020. These are browsers just like the name developed through open source software made available for anyone to use.

What’s open source software?

Open-source software is a computer software in which the source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder. This license can be the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL) a widely used free public software license that guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share, and modify the software according to their needs. This grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

What To Know About Open Source Browser

This is one of the major things you need to know about powers of open source software. Open source web browsers have come a long way since Microsoft dominated the web browser market with its closed source Internet Explorer (IE). For many years, IE was the standard browser for Microsoft’s Windows operating system, while Safari (also closed source) was the default browser for MacOS.

Then Mozilla’s introduction of Firefox, followed by Google’s release of Chrome, sparked a revolution in open source internet browsers. Those two are extremely well known but are not the only open source browsers available. By default, most Debian-based distributions can install Chromium Browser when you search for it in the Add/Remove Software tool. Chromium is an example of an Open Source web browser available for Linux, Windows, OS X and Android Operating Systems.

The software is written in C++, the latest release being in December 2016. Opera’s browser software has essentially been a wrapper around the opensource Chromium, the basis of Google Chrome, since 2013. Previously back in the days, Opera used its own Presto browser engine. On the Linux operating system, you will find two versions: the first one been the common google Chrome browser and Chromium Browser.

Chromium is the open source version of the Chrome browser and works as well. Well, for one, Google Chrome itself is not open source. Based off the open-source Chromium project, however, and powered by open source software called chromium but the software itself is rather not an open source itself.

Below we introduce ten (10) best open source browsers, summarizes their features, and shares how you can contribute to them.

1.Firefox Web Browser

Mozilla Firefox, is one of the best free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation. It is the second most popular browser in the world behind Google Chrome.

Firefox Web Browser

Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards Although Chrome is now the most popular browser.

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

If you want a consistent user experience with all your bookmarks and settings synced across all your devices, it is the best browser open source browser for you. Its the only browser on this list that’s available on the three main desktop platforms and the two leading mobile operating systems.

It can not go without saying Mozilla Firefox the one that started the whole open source web browser sensation. Internet Explorer seemed to be outstanding before Mozilla Firefox. The killer open source web browser co-founded by Blake Ross who was only 19 years old when Firefox was released is still the best open source browser even today.

Important Features:

  • The Browser Monitor alerts you if we know your information is a part of another company’s data breach.
  • Lockwise makes the passwords you save in Firefox secure and available on all your devices.
  • Shows you how many data-collecting trackers are blocked with Enhanced Tracking Protection.

Pros of Mozilla Firefox:

  • Security
  • Good for privacy
  • Many extensions are available
  • Uniform user experience across different systems
  • Firefox’s source code is available under the Mozilla Public License (MPL), and maintains guidelines on how to contribute.

Cons of Mozilla Firefox:

  • Heavy memory usage
  • Some HTML5 compatibility issue
  • No automated webpage translation, some users complain that it hogs RAM (despite Mozilla’s claims to the contrary)
  • Installs add-ons without the user’s permission.

2. Chromium Browser

Chromium is Google’s open source web browser project. Google Chrome is the most widely used internet browser even though it is not open source.

Chromium Browser

Chromium Browser shares a lot of the same code with Chrome and the two both look visually similar, though Chrome remains closed source and Chromium is open source.

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux

Chrome is by far the most popular browser, and it’s loved by many due to its simplicity and speed. The first version of Chrome was so slow, buggy, and disappointing, which many thought the software would not succeed.

Chrome got better and better, and the browser eventually surpassed Firefox’s browser market share. Mozilla Firefox, which came out much earlier, was riding a wave of popularity. Google Chrome is still known as a “memory hog” due to its heavy random access memory (RAM) utilization.

Pros of Google Chromium:

  • Simplicity
  • Speed
  • Many developers use Chromium as the basis for their own browsers.
  • Many useful built-in features
  • Other browsers based on Chromium include Amazon Silk (available on Fire TV devices), Avast Secure Browser, Vivaldi, Opera, and most recently, Microsoft Edge.
  • Chromium browser, is available under the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license to contribute, visit the Contributing to Chromium page.

Cons of Google Chromium:

  • Heavy memory usage
  • Chrome (not Chromium) has proprietary code
  • If you’re an existing Chrome user who’s thinking about making the jump, be aware that some Chrome features are not ported over.
  • Missing features include automatic updates, Adobe Flash, some codecs, and some Google services.
  • Chrome extensions don’t work on Chromium

3. Brave Browser

The Brave browser created by Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and a co-founder of the Mozilla Foundation, with the goal of blocking all but user-approved advertisements and website trackers.

Brave Browser

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Brave Browser is a curious open source browser. Although it’s a Chromium fork, it has a few unique twists that set it apart from the other browsers on this list.

Pros of Brave:

  • No ads or web trackers
  • Speed
  • Security
  • Brave Browser blocks all third-party ads by default and has instead created its own decentralized ad platform.
  • Provides Chromium extension support
  • Users can use BAT to support their favorite sites with micro payments, advertisers can use it for better targeting, and users can earn BAT by viewing ads.
  • Bugs are tracked in Brave QA central
  • Brave claims to be up to eight times faster than Google Chrome and more private due to a lack of trackers.

Cons of Brave:

  • The opt-in micro-payment system to support content creators has an unclear pathway to get your payments to your intended recipient
  • You can find Brave’s source code in its extensive GitHub repositories (available under the Mozilla Public License)

4. Midori

If you hear “Midori,” you might think of a green-hued cocktail. Midori is a free and open-source light-weight web browser. It uses the WebKit rendering engine and the GTK+ 2 or GTK+ 3 interface.

Midori Browser

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux,

Midori is part of the Xfce desktop environment’s Goodies component and was developed to follow the Xfce principle of “making the most out of available resources But the Midori browser is an open source, lightweight browser. Midori might be an interesting one to look at, If you want a simple and lightweight browser.

Pros of Midori:

  • The software and interface is Simple
  • The product ia a Lightweight and easy to load
  • Midori’s source code is available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and maintained on GitHub.

Cons of Midori:

  • Still no stable release
  • Too Buggy and needs updates
  • Almost no extensions
  • No process isolation can be found

5. Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox with substantial divergence. Its an open-source web browser with an emphasis on customizable with official releases for Microsoft Windows and Linux, an unofficial build for Mac OS, and contributed builds for various platforms.

Pale Moon

Available on: Windows, Linux

Made by the same team that’s responsible for Basilisk. It is also a fork of Firefox, though there are some important differences between the two cousins. The browser still lets users apply Complete Themes; they change the entire browser interface and are no longer a feature in Firefox. You can also reorganize the interface, create your own skin, and much more.

Pros of Pale Moon:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • The software is minimal
  • Very secure
  • Ideal for testing and safe browsing
  • Uses the older Firefox 4 to 28 interface in order to aid customization.
  • support for XUL, XPCOM, and NPAPI plug-ins, and its use of the Goanna browser engine. All Firefox extensions.

Cons of Pale Moon:

  • Nothing but text
  • Poor interface
  • It looks incomplete
  • Bags

6. Konqueror

The browser engine forked by Apple and then Google for the Safari and Chrome browsers (and subsequently used by Brave, Vivaldi, and several other browsers). Open-source web browser and file manager, provides web access and file-viewer functionality for file systems.

Pale Moon

Available on: Linux

It forms a core part of the KDE Software Compilation. Konqueror not really known among the best internet browser, it is responsible for KHTML.

Pros of Konqueor:

  • Pre-installed on many Linux desktops
  • Fast and efficient
  • can use either its native KHTML engine or the Chromium fork.
  • Built-in ad-blocker and pop-up blocker
  • Konqueror is maintained by the international KDE free software community, and it’s easy to find on most Linux desktops.
  • Customizable URL shortcuts
  • Konqueror’s source code is available under the GNU Public License (GPL). You can find its detailed documentation and source code.
  • Doubles as a file manager, man page viewer, and much more

Cons of Konqueror:

  • Primarily only runs in Linux
  • Requires several KDE libraries to be installed

7. Lynx

The oldest web browser still in general use and active development, having started in 1992. Lynx is a customizable text-based web browser for use on cursor-addressable character cell terminals. Lynx is a unique browser as it is entirely text-based.

lynx browser

Available on: Microsoft Windows, Unix, DOS

Even though its just a text browser, Lynx works, and there is a big community supporting this special open source browser.

Pros of Lynx:

  • Lightweight
  • Its a minimal software
  • Extremely secure
  • Supports DOS and Windows
  • Ideal for testing and safe browsing
  • Source code is available under the GNU Public License (GPL) maintained on GitHub.

Cons of Lynx:

  • Nothing but text
  • Poor interface

9. Waterfox

Waterfox is a version of Firefox that has been optimized for 64-bit operating systems. It has been around since 2011. Initially, Waterfox solely focused on providing the fastest browsing experience possible, but now its scope has expanded.

Waterfox web beowser

To achieve this, the original source code for the Firefox browser is compiled to run as a 64-bit program, but the software goes a bit further by removing many of the extraneous functions that were problems to the original Firefox software.

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux

Waterfox has two critical features that’ll appeal to anyone who wants a private browsing experience. The only data collection is your operating system and version number so that updates can be applied correctly.

Prons of Waterfox:

  • Lightweight
  • Waterfox does not collect any telemetry data; no one is tracking what you do inside your browser.
  • Its a minimal software
  • Extremely secure

Cons of Waterfox:

  • No plug-in whitelist (so you can run Java Applets and Silverlight apps), and support for any 64-Bit NPAPI plug-ins.
  • Lacks other noteworthy features include bootstrapped add-ons.

10. Dooble

Its one of the best open source browser that values your privacy.Dooble is a free and open-source Web browser that was created to improve privacy.

Web browser

Dooble also offers automated cookie removal, a non-JavaScript file manager and FTP browser, and the ability to protect your browser with a password. More recently, Dooble has added plug-in support.

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux

There are social media add-ons, email client add-on, instant messenger add-ons, and more. In early 2019, the developers gave the entire user interface an overhaul. It now looks much more modern and is consequently more enjoyable to use.

Prons of Dooble:

  • The browser can block iFrames from third-party content providers
  • it automatically removes cookies, it uses the decentralized search engine YaCy.
  • Aany data it retains is saved using authenticated encryption.

Cons of Dooble:

  • Very limited resources

To conclude:

It’s not an easy question to answer which one is the best open source much depends on the features that are most important to you. Customization fanatics need to check out Pale Moon, and if you’re a Chrome user who wants to change to open source while retaining some UI familiarity, you should use Chromium to surf the internet. Anyone who wants privacy should check out Dooble, Brave, or Waterfox.

I mentioned earlier on that Mozilla Firefox was the best open-source browser, but Google has also been working on their own light open-source offering. Not to be confused with Google Chrome, Chromium is Google’s open-source browser. Most of Google Chrome’s code is based on Chromium but Chromium is also a browser in its own right.

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