Open source software is software containing source code that anyone can inspect, modify or enhance.
“Source code” is the part of software that most computer users don’t ever see, it’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a program or software works. Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly.
We all know about the best mainstream web browsers such as Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc.
But what about open source browsers? If you enjoy using open source software then you have lots of options available to you.
In this article we’re going to look at five of the best open source web browsers.
- Chromium is Google’s open source web browser project. It shares a lot of the same code with Chrome and the two both look visually similar however Chrome is not open source. You can also install Chrome extensions on Chromium if you’re an existing Chrome user who’s thinking about making the jump however be aware that some Chrome features are not ported over. Missing features include automatic updates, Adobe Flash, some codecs and some Google services.
- Firefox is one of the best open source browsers out there and also the second most popular browser in the world behind Google Chrome. It is available in various platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. Despite its benefits, Firefox isn’t perfect. There’s no automated webpage translation and updates have been known to install add-ons without the user’s permission.
- Waterfox is an open source 64-bit browser based on Mozilla Firefox and has been around since 2011. Waterfox immediately focused solely on providing the fastest browsing experience possible. Waterfox is available on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.
- Basilisk is a XUL-based Firefox fork that first went live in November 2017. Unlike Firefox, the browser does not have Servo or Rust as it uses Goanna as a rendering engine. Basilisk is officially only available on Windows and Linux, however there is an unofficial macOS build that appears to work well.
- Dooble is ideal if you want an open source browser that values your privacy. This browser can block iFrames from third-party content providers and automatically removes cookies. Dooble is available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.
Which is the best open source web browser available today?
It’s not an easy question to answer as it really depends on the features that are most important to you.
If you value cross-platform consistency, then Firefox would most likely appeal to you however anyone who requires privacy should look out for Dooble or Waterfox. If you are a Chrome user who wants to change to open source while retaining some UI familiarity, then you should use Chromium.
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