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Waterfox Logo June 2019.png
Waterfox G4.0.3.1.jpg
Screenshot of Waterfox G4.0.4 running on Windows 11, showing the English Wikipedia
Original author(s)Alexandros Kontos, Adam Wood
Developer(s)Alexandros Kontos, System1
Initial release27 March 2011; 11 years ago (2011-03-27)
Stable release
G4.1.2 / 3 May 2022; 50 days ago (2022-05-03)
Written inC, C++, CSS, JavaScript, XUL
EngineGecko, SpiderMonkey
Operating systemWindows 7 or later, Mac, Linux, Android
Platformx64, ARM64, PPC64LE
TypeWeb browser, mobile web browser, feed reader
LicenseMPL-2.0 Edit this on Wikidata

Waterfox is an open-source web browser for x64, ARM64, and PPC64LE systems. It is intended to be ethical[citation needed] and (in Waterfox Classic) maintain support for legacy extensions dropped by Firefox, from which it is forked. There are official releases for Windows (including a portable version), Mac OS, Linux and Android in two versions: Classic (Year.Month) and Current (G.x.x.x).

Waterfox is based on Firefox (and uses Firefox's engine) and is compiled using various compilers and using Intel's Math Kernel Library, Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 and Advanced Vector Extensions.[not verified in body] Linux builds are built with Clang on all architectures other than PPC64LE. It is compatible with extensions written for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera.


Waterfox Current (G.x.x.x)


The features of Waterfox currently are:[1][2][3]

Waterfox Classic (Year.Month)

Waterfox Classic is continuing to support the long-standing XUL and XPCOM add-on capability that Firefox removed in version 57.[6][7][8][9] The "Classic" version is actively supported, based both visually and internally on an older version of Gecko, and supports add-ons from XPCOM and XUL.[10] Since 2017 its version remained on Waterfox version 56, for now they use the (Year.Month) format for their versioning scheme.[11]


Waterfox Classic has many unpatched security advisories. The developer states that "changes between versions so numerous between ESRs making merging difficult if not impossible".[12][13]. As of June 2022 Waterfox makes the following unsolicited connections at startup without user's consent:

  1. (as a startup homepage user did not set up);
  2. (in background, port 443, SSL, sends telemetry and various browser states and settings to Mozilla Database along with unique ID,);
  3. (in background, port 443, SSL);
  4. (in background, port 80, plain text, possible vulnerability with SSL certifications)
  5. (in background, port 443, SSL, Microsoft tracking connections, across web);
  6. (in background, port 443, SSL, geolocation tracking services);

It is also possible to set Internet connections completely separate from the system (preconfigured DNSes, incl. Cloudflare that blocks anonymity networks, e.g. TOR or Ip2 networks) just like in Firefox, hence the browser will not obey system-wide settings. For many security and privacy reasons, a software should always obey system-wide settings established by the administrator and neither user or software should arbitrary connect to unsolicited networks (e.g. Cloudflare DNSes instead of private corporate DNSes). Praised for security and code correctness OpenBSD compiles Firefox without this dangerous function. None of the user application should set such a precedence for such dangerous behavior.


Waterfox logo used until 2015
Waterfox logo used from 2015 to March 2019
Waterfox logo used from March 2019 to June 2019
Waterfox logo used from June 2019 to the present

Waterfox was first released by Alex Kontos[14] on March 27, 2011 for 64-bit Windows. The Mac build was introduced on May 14, 2015 with the release of version 38.0,[15] the Linux build was introduced on December 20, 2016 with the release of version 50.0,[16] and the Android build was first introduced in version 55.2.2.[17] Version 29.0, released on July 22, 2015, had a build for iOS.

From May 12, 2015 to November 12, 2015, Waterfox had its own exclusive charity search-engine called "Storm".[18] After using Ecosia as the default search-engine for a brief time, it now defaults to using Bing.

On May 7, 2019, with version 68.0a1, the first alpha version of the next generation of Waterfox was released based on Mozilla's Quantum project (used in Firefox versions 57 and later), which would be named Waterfox Current.[19]

In October 2019, the naming scheme of releases changed to follow the syntax YYYY.MM.X for future releases, where X indicates incremental hotfixes. There was also a division into two branches, classic and current.

In December 2019, System1, an advertising company which portrays itself as privacy-focused,[20] acquired Waterfox.[21][22]

In November 2020, Waterfox G3 was released. It is based on Firefox 78 ESR.[23]

In October 2021, Waterfox G4 was released.[24]


In February 2020, Alex Kontos faced criticism over selling Waterfox to System1, an advertising company.[25][26]

In 2018, How-To Geek advised users to not use Firefox forks such as Waterfox because security updates take longer to be incorporated into the forks compared to Firefox.[27]

See also


  1. ^ Kontos, Alex (30 November 2017). "waterfox 54.0.1 release notes".
  2. ^ "Unique Features – Features that make Waterfox stand out". 11 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Add-ons". Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  4. ^ "Add-ons". Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  5. ^ "Waterfox 54.0.1 Release (Windows, Mac & Linux)". 11 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Proposal for Waterfox 56". Reddit. 2017-03-11. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  7. ^ "Waterfox 55 Release". Waterfox. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  8. ^ Kev Needham (2015-08-21). "The Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons". Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  9. ^ Villalobos, Jorge (2017-02-16). "The Road to Firefox 57 – Compatibility Milestones". Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  10. ^ "Waterfox Classic | Waterfox Classic". Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  11. ^ "Unpatched Security Advisories · WaterfoxCo/Waterfox-Classic Wiki". GitHub.
  12. ^ "Unpatched Security Advisories · WaterfoxCo/Waterfox-Classic Wiki". GitHub.
  13. ^ "Waterfox Classic | Waterfox Classic".
  14. ^ "About Waterfox". Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  15. ^ Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 38.0 Release". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  16. ^ Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 50.1.0 Release (Windows, Mac & Linux)". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  17. ^ Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 55 Release (Windows, Mac, Linux and Android)". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  18. ^ Kontos, Alex (12 May 2015). "4 Year Anniversary: Waterfox Charity and Storm Search". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  19. ^ Kontos, Alex. "Waterfox 68.0a1 Release". Retrieved 2019-08-11.
  20. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (14 February 2020). "Waterfox web browser sold to System1". Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Waterfox has joined System1". 14 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Welcome Waterfox!". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  23. ^ "Waterfox G3.0.0 - Third Generation Release". Waterfox. System1. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  24. ^ Kontos, Alex (19 October 2021). "Waterfox 4th Generation Release". Waterfox. System1. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Privacy browser Waterfox appears to be sold to System1, a U.S. pay-per-click ad company that recently bought a majority of the Startpage search engine". reddit. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 2021-06-14.
  26. ^ "Waterfox web browser sold to System1 - gHacks Tech News". gHacks Technology News. 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2021-06-14.
  27. ^ Hoffman, Chris. "Why You Shouldn't Use Firefox Forks Like Waterfox, Pale Moon, or Basilisk". How-To Geek. Retrieved 2021-11-30.