The Browser dilemma
Wed Jan 15, 2020 · 751 words

Web browser are crucial to our lives nowdays, we use them more than anything else (more than even spoons and forks 😂). So picking our web browser(s) should no longer be arbitrary.

Me myself, I am struggling to choose my main web browser and here are some of the options I do consider.

My old friend firefox

Although it can be a little bit slow and sometimes sluggish, I like firefox. I do most of my web browsing in it.

It delivers! It is quite fast, offers more control, is more or less privacy-oriented and more importantly it is FOSS.

To be honest, what makes me still use firefox is not the browser itself(the browser is awesome though) but the workflow I created around it.

In addition to its built-in anti-tracking features I use 4 privacy addons:

  1. HTTPS everywhere: you can figure out what it does from its name.
  2. Ublock origin: the best adblocker ever. I also use it for other purposes, like blocking third party javascript, eradicating social media feeds (against distraction) and many other things.
  3. Firefox containers: One the best add-ons by the mozilla team. It gives you the ability to browse the web with different profiles, each in its separate container (special tabs). I use it to keep my professional and personal browsing apart.
  4. Facebook container: it is based on FF containers. All it does is it opens facebook inside its own container preventing it from accessing the other tabs and collecting data from them.
  5. Bonus: FB feed eradicator: because I am too lazy to write my own ublock rules.

In addition to privacy addons, I use Viminum for vim-like key bindings and Wappalyzer to inspect web technologies used by websites I visit.

I like how Brave looks and feels and thinks

Brave is another option. To be honest, out of the box it looked prettier than my tweaked firefox. Maybe it is because I not used to it yet.

Like firefox it is FOSS and privacy driven, and unlike firefox it is based on the Blink web engine (used my Chromium), which means it supports some Chrome’s add-ons.

What I liked the most about Brave is its philosophy: Brave comes with a reward system called Brave rewards, when activated they will replace the ads removed from the websites you visit with ads from their ads network. Then they will pay you for seing them using their own crypto-currency. Then again you can pay you favorite creators later using the same currency.

Two other lit features of brave are: embedded Tor protocol in private browsing, and a built-in crypto wallet add-on.

The cute browser (Qutebrowser)

The cuttest browser I have used to date, I know the name is not meant to say it’s cute, but Yeah! it’s cute 🙃

Qutebrowser is a minimilist vim-like web browser built on QtWebEngine, using python and Qt. Qutebrowser is so fast, and if you are a vim user it is much faster! it has quickmarks which are cooler bookmarks, and it integrates very well with other applications especially cli ones.

I love qutebrowser, I use it as much as I can. But I think it still lacks some features (add-ons support for example).

The minimalist Surf

From the 4 browsers in the list, I use Surf the least, not because it is bad or something but because I don’t have time (actually lazy) to configure it.

Surf is part of the suckless software, so it is configured through the source code itself, for this reason it can be tricky to configure and tiring to reconfigure.

By the way Surf is the best when it comes to minimalism. Out of the boxm It does offer nothing but a web browser: no bookmarks, no tabs and no status bars …

I have built my custom surf, but I am not convinced by my build yet. It still needs more patches and tweaks in order to be usable. I think I’ll always keep a Surf version for the minimaist stuff.

Bonus: w3m 😁

I lied when I said that I used firefox the most, I use w3m more.

w3m is text-based CLI web browser, it needs a terminal to run on, it is blazing fast and minimalist.

I use it mainly to read my news and to download my torrents. I use it in conjunction with my rss reader (newsboat) and sometimes with surfraw (the awesome search engine).


I think that’s it, what are you option ?

Thanks for reading, see you next time 👋.


back · About · Blog · TIL · Links · Projects · Contact ·