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An Update on Waterfox Classic

Since Waterfox Classic and Waterfox Current (now G4) diverged, they have both have separate goals.

G4 has its eyes set to the future - a modern browser, focusing on modern web compatibility without sacrificing speed, or the balance of privacy and usability.

Classic has focused on keeping the tried but tested available. Unfortunately, due to the rapid nature that the web is now expanding at, keeping Classic up to date with that is difficult.

To make sure the projects aren’t falling over each other, Waterfox Classic will now be moved out of the main Waterfox development repository and into its own separate repository - updating the previously archived “Waterfox Old”, now named Waterfox-Classic.

This has the following benefits by not having two versions of Waterfox sharing resources:

  • Contributors can clearly see what Classic development is ongoing
  • GitHub Actions will be clearly segregated, allowing easy viewing of ongoing builds
  • Waterfox Classic will have its own simple landing page
  • Issues can be opened in a separate tracker, not getting closed for not focusing on G4
  • An organised, clear list of what security patches haven’t been fixed

A fair warning will be presented to all those who want to use Classic, that it may be vulnerable to multiple security issues - but the choice is given to the user to proceed at their own discretion.

This will keep Classic ongoing for as long as possible - but the success of this project will still rely on contribution.

Over the next week, infrastructure will be put in place for Classic to keep it running properly. We will let you know when this is complete.

Waterfox 4th Generation Release

View Release Notes for G4.0.0

Today marks the soft release of the 4th Generation of Waterfox. After enough time has elapsed, the automatic update will be seeded out to all users.

New Website

You may have noticed a new website - much more information, with a more practical structure. This website also allows us to add documentation, support documents and better ways to convey information.

We will be optimising the website over the next few weeks as well as setting up redirects for any old pages that have been missed.

New Browser

Waterfox has returned to its roots with performance at the forefront. We have aggressively optimised Waterfox for as much performance as possible. Unfortunately this means we have to leave older systems behind - but any computer from the last decade should work.

ARM builds are now available for macOS and these are also optimised, taking advantage of the new hardware Apple has to offer. Windows and Linux ARM builds will also follow in due course.

We have also changed the way we make changes to the underlying Gecko platform, meaning we can now track releases faster and in a more automated way. Over the next few months we will track the central branch of Gecko. If our features apply cleanly each release, we will then stop tracking the Extended Support Releases and instead start a rolling release for Waterfox. The idea behind this change is that not only will Waterfox be incredibly performant, but also be at the forefront of supporting the latest HTML standards.

Mobile browsers are also in the pipeline, but are dependent on us having our own Sync service primed. Once that has been achieved, mobile browsers will follow. We will keep you updated on progress.

Waterfox Decennial Release

27th of March marks ten years of surfing the web with Waterfox 🌊

I am proud to announce the decennial release of Waterfox. It has been an incredible journey, with peaks and troughs at every stage. What started out as a side project has become something more than I could have ever dreamed of.

Waterfox now has an office, we are based just off Brick Lane, London. We also have a new employee - please meet Adam! He has been helping out the project over the last few months and is the one who implemented support for Chrome extensions.

I will be posting on my personal site about the adventure over the last decade (so keep your eyes peeled!) - we are only set to grow from here. I really hope everyone has enjoyed being a part of this journey - here is to another ten years 🍾

9 Years of Waterfox

Waterfox is now entering its tenth year of service. A big thank you to everyone from myself for the support over the years and a shout out to all the code contributors over the years as well!

Well Wishes

Things are hard in the current climate around the world and I send my best wishes to everyone and hope you are all well and staying safe.

A Bright Future

It is hard to believe that I am here, nine years later still working on Waterfox. What began as a side project as a student has now become a fully fledged product, used by millions around the world!

There have been big changes in the last four months for Waterfox, with new infrastructure and team members to help grow the vision I have always had for Waterfox. In the coming months I hope to be able to introduce and explain the new roles and how they’re helping expand on the ideals of Waterfox and creating a browser that people will continue to love.

Alex 👨‍💻

Waterfox has joined System1

Waterfox now has funding and a development team, so Waterfox can finally start to grow!

A Little Bit of Background

The Beginning

I started Waterfox when I was 16. It was a way for me to understand how large software projects worked and the Mozilla documentation was a great introduction. Well written, easy to follow and (from what I remember) not many missing pieces as to how to do things. From there, I decided to share my exploits over at After that a lot of things changed. Waterfox amassed a large following because it was easy access to a 64-Bit build of Firefox. From there, I took it upon myself to take it a step further and make Waterfox fast in any way possible - that was my introduction to toolchains and masochism (Intel’s C++ compiler… what more can I say).


I kept up with that on and off while at university. There, I decided to see if I could make a living from Waterfox after I left university - so in my first year I approached the careers department and asked them for help. That led down the path I’m sure quite a few will be familiar with. Unfortunately it all fell through, but that’s a story for another time. On a positive note though, it got me out in the press (even some big publications such as The Telegraph!) and I even received a reward from The Duke of York for my efforts.


A few years later, and Waterfox was coasting along as usual. In the meanwhile Mozilla decided to drop support for XPCOM extensions and switch to fully supporting WebExtensions. I completely understood their decisions in doing so, and decided this would be another area Waterfox would branch into by keeping support. Finally, another USP for Waterfox, along with speed (which was becoming a little harder to keep going).

Ethics and Privacy

I’ve touted Waterfox as an ethical and privacy friendly browser. Two things I strongly believe in. People should be free to do what they like within their browser. Ethics being more of a moral stance, privacy focused on simple changes such as removing telemetry and data collection and try to reduce phone-home without disrupting important cogs in the browser. Essentially a balance of, “okay here’s some privacy but not too much or the web will be unusable”. I’ve never wanted or tried to have Waterfox appear as a privacy tool or anything more than what it is. That’s for hyper specialised tools such as Tor. People have extrapolated more from Waterfox themselves.

I never wanted Waterfox to be a part of the hyper-privacy community. It would just feel like standards that would be impossible to uphold, especially for something such as a web browser on the internet. Throughout the years people have always asked about Waterfox and privacy, and if they’ve ever wanted more than it can afford, I’ve always pushed them to use Tor. Waterfox was here for customisations and speed, with a good level of privacy.

I can respect what the community fights for, but I don’t think I can respect how they sometimes fight for it or how they act when they believe they are wronged. Harassment and foul words seem to be the normal, as I’ve experienced. As far as I’m aware, Waterfox has never been listed anywhere as a privacy tool, and rightly so. It is a privacy conscious web browser. Some users seem to have taken news of Waterfox’s funding to spell the end of what Waterfox never was; I just hope people keep a level head and try and rationalise things. There’s nothing more I can do in that regard, I am only human.


Throughout the years - even from when Waterfox first started - I have received abuse for Waterfox. Accusations, lies and bullying - what for, I’m not quite sure. So many outlandish claims, I’m so lucky to have had my parents and friends to help me through the rough times. I mean they were rough - it’s so twisted to see how people get online, forgetting that there’s a person who’s putting their heart and soul into something (and it has been just me for almost 9 years). Not only that, but I wasn’t doing anything with Waterfox except developing it and making some money via search. Why I kept going throughout the years, I’ll never know.

With the news below, it hasn’t been as extreme thankfully, but it’s still unpleasant seeing people make up conspiracies, rather than keeping a keen eye on things and being rational. One-sided as usual, the end of the world must be nigh.

To the Future

A few years back I spoke about the future I expected from Waterfox and mentioned that I wanted to grow a team - and finally I had the opportunity to do so.


The elephant in the room. System1 has been to Waterfox a search syndication partner. Essentially a way to have a search engine partnership (such as Bing) is through them, because companies such as Microsoft are too big and too busy to talk to small players such as Waterfox. Before them, it was Ecosia, Startpage etc. It’s probably the one easy way a browser can make money without doing anything dodgy, and it’s a way I’ve been happy to do it without having to compromise Waterfox (and will be the same way System1 makes money from Waterfox - nothing else). People also don’t seem to understand what System1 does and assume the worst (I suppose understandable).. It’s a company that is pivoting to more privacy oriented products, due to the changing landscape. Understandable.

Also an important thing to note - as much as I’m sure System1 liked what Waterfox does, they were buying into me and my knowledge more so than they were investing in Waterfox.

From that partnership, and having to get to know the team - I saw System1 were the right people to help me grow Waterfox. Down to earth people who knew what they were doing. I made sure I did my vetting (and boy did we do vetting) and found the perfect fit. In December we finalised everything and Waterfox became a part of System1.

Why wait so long to announce?

For the first time in nearly a decade, I no longer felt like Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I no longer had to panic when I thought something might be wrong with Waterfox, and I took time off. I made sure to keep security patches and pull requests going - but I gave myself proper time off for the first time in 9 years.

To the paranoid - a conspiracy. To everyone else, a (well earned?) rest.

We finalised in the middle of December, it was Christmas. Since nothing was changing in regards to Waterfox, apart from all the money now going to System1 instead of being split. For the last month I’ve been in California getting to know the team and DevOps have been busy setting up CI (an oft requested feature from Waterfox users) to be able to keep up with the new 4 week release cycle. I also wanted to wait until we got our first full-time team member so I could introduce everything at once, but alas here we are. Next month I’ll do the introduction and the exciting (from an Engineering perspective) things in store for Waterfox.


Closing Notes

Unfortunately it seems a lot of people have been making up scenarios of what’s going to happen to Waterfox (and essentially everything they’ve been mentioning is - from what I know - illegal under UK and EU law, the jurisdiction Waterfox is under). I’m not here to change their minds; their extrapolation of what Waterfox was is up to them - but now I can finally focus on making Waterfox into a viable alternative to the big browsers.

As always, any questions - ask. You have the right to, and I will always answer. Waterfox has been transparent throughout the last decade and will remain so.

Here’s to the future Waterfox and its users deserve 🍻