Technology, Smartphones, Games

Waterfox - high performance 64 bit browser based on the Firefox for Windows and Mac


Waterfox is a browser based on Firefox developed by Alex Kontos. Waterfox is designed especially for the 64bit operating system. The development started on 2011 and now the latest version currently available is 43.0.1 which released last week based on the 43.0.3 Firefox. The latest version of the browser have the following changes

Removal of 64-Bit NPAPI whitelist

Removal of signed extension requirement

Removal of Encrypted Media Extensions (DRM)

Removal of all Mozilla Data Reporting services (properly)

Fixed low resolution icons

Waterfox registry entries to not use the same as Firefox (Windows Only)

Automatic updates for Mac now work

Full support for Windows XP (including WebGL, may have to disable Hardware Acceleration)

Waterfox Browser by Alex Kontos

Firefox was hanging on my system, and I wanted to find better browser which is light and faster. Ashwin suggested this browser and I must say that this one is better than Firefox (at least for me). Earlier we compared the memory usage of the browsers which you can read below

Memory usage of the browsers - Lightest browser

The browser development started when there was no 64bit version of Firefox was available, So why people are using the Waterfox when Firefox 64 bit version is available ? The developer answers it as follows

To carry it on. Intel’s C++ compiler still generates faster code than Visual C++ does and on powerful systems it makes a big difference. For example on my laptop with an i7-4720HQ, Waterfox 40.1.0 runs about ~20% faster in the JetStream (successor to SunSpider) benchmark compared to Firefox 42.0 64-Bit (and Waterfox’ main focus is speed ;) ). Once I get WF43.0 all finished up, I’ll make sure to put some benchmarks together and hopefully get some users to test as well.

But also there are other things:

A lot of features lie dormant in Firefox, either due to being forgotten or just leaving it for later. This makes sense, as Mozilla have other things to prioritize. But I don’t really, so I can enable these features (mostly talking about HTML5 features that work here). Some things Mozilla won’t implement, such as support for WebP images, Waterfox has implemented. Also as another example, back before Firefox for Mac had support for MP4 files, Waterfox implemented support for them utilising GStreamer (Mozilla wanted a native approach). And that was fine, but until that happened WF offered users an alternative while waiting for it. A lot of new Firefox “features” are against what Mozilla are about, such as integrating Pocket or the inclusion of HTML5 EME. Waterfox doesn’t include either and won’t (unless users really want them). I’m going to go through and strip out things such as this. Quite a few things aren’t on Mozilla’s list - such as updating 3rd party libraries very quickly (took a while for ICU to get updated to 55.1 from 52.1) for example. It’s not their fault either, if it works and they’ve got higher priority bugs to fix, it makes sense for things like that to fall behind. This leaves me to be able to go and update such things.

I knew Mozilla were bound to release a 64-Bit Firefox. That goes without saying. But that’s why back in 2012 I switched from just making 64-Bit Firefox builds (which took almost no effort) to making fast 64-Bit Firefox builds, and it’s something I hope to continue to do!

If you are interested in using this browser, you can get it from Waterfox Project.

You cant use Firefox and Waterfox side by side as they will be using the same profile.