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           Prologue           

Install Librewolf or Ungoogled-Chromium if you need a big browser and you just wanna watch YouTube and Netflix.
Install webbrowser or palememe (note: only install PaleMoon if you use Windows or macOS, and be sure to mitigate it before use) if you want something in the middle.
Links, Netsurf and Kristall for minimalists.
Write your websites in XHTML without JavaScript and use static generation instead of CMSs. And/or use Gemini and Gopher.

       Long Version       

The WWW is fraught with all sorts of spooky stuff. Between JavaScript and all it's perils, DRM (Digital Right Management, managing your rights to make sure you don't have to many™!), and HTML5 it makes for a mix of complicated stuff. Let's try and break it down.

First off, what should you look for in a browser?
You should seek minimalism to where the browser you use has a few features beyond what you use. If you use Facebook and YouTube.com then you probably need something really big, that's managed by a corporation so it can keep up with the constant moving standard[54]. Or maybe you try to stay away from that stuff, you use pipe-viewer for youtube, you don't even have a facebook, and you try to avoid javascript requiring websites wherever possible. If that's the case, it's more a question of how much of that you need. Do you need full CSS support? Do you even need JavaScript at all? You can definetly go with a smaller browser, the only question is how small. The other thing you should look for is if it has nanonymity-enforcing or helping abilities. This can come in the form of extension support (most of the major browsers have these, but they don't always matter if the browser is just phoning home anyway) for extensions such as uMatrix. Or in a more minimal way, an (ad)blocklist, totally disabling JavaScript, and GreaseMonkey scripts. Most major browsers plus the UXP based ones would fall into both categories, whereas smaller operations such as Falkon or NetSurf might be more in the latter camp.

But what's so bad about JavaScript anyway? Well it can spy on you[55] for one, and the only way to know is to read the scripts yourselves (impractical) or watch the packet flow everytime you visit an untrusted site (also impractical). It makes webpages harder to access, it implements features that smaller browsers can't hope to keep up with, and it contributes to the unnecessary obsoleting of older computers. You shouldn't need the latest computer with 16gbs of RAM to read, talk, check email (you should be doing that with a client anyway), read the news (use an RSS reader), check the weather, or talk to your friends (use XMPP).

Okay so JavaScript is bad, what do you do about it? Disable it by default, and only enable it when you really need to. Try to use websites that do not require it, or find other ways of using a service if possible. Such as using ATMs or phone/SIP rather than online banking. Maybe go to a store instead of buying online. Use a weather radio, and curl https://wttr.in/[zip code here], instead of weather.com or WunderMap. There's also other protocols out there such as Gemini and Gopher that allow a more minimal approach to content distribution, as well as plenty of server-side web applications that aren't total cancer (MediaGoblin, Mastodon, cgit, asmbb, and picochan, just to name a few).

The simple fact is the entire web has become bloated and centralized way past what it was initially intended to be. Soydev web developers, instead of writing static pages, have increasingly chosen to write dynamic JavaScript-laden ones that put the processing burden on the client (aka your browser & computer). To make matters worse, these aren't standards set by some non-biased consumer and experienced group, it's set by a group of corporations[56] comprising the WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group). Of course they, with their corporate money, can implement this nonsensical stuff, but an independent developer or two have no hope.

It should also be noted that out of the big 5 web browsers (Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge) 4 of them are either based on Google's Chromium engine (Edge[57], Opera, and of course Chrome) or are funded by Google (Mozilla)[58][59]. This leaves Safari as the odd one out, but that doesn't make it any better considering the walled garden, information silo, PRISM member[60] and spyware lover that CrApple is. Even if Safari was good (it isn't), it only supports macOS[61].

Okay, so all that sounds terrible. What do we do about it? From the user's perspective: Use a browser not based on Chromium or (Google funded) Firefox. Use (good) alternative websites and protocols (more on that in other articles).
If you ever make a website, do it properly! Make it in XHTML, which is like HTML but stricter, has more broad compliance, wasn't up by corporations, and is overall just better. Also don't use any JavaScript at all (you don't need it). If you need a CMS ("Content Management System") just use a static site generator if the site is too much to handle with manual XHTML. There's tools for this like cat-v's Werc, or NAMAC which powers this very wiki. Don't use WordPress, and you probably don't need Drupal, Plone or any of these others. If all this sounds too complicated, consider hiring a competent web developer, and telling them what you want.

  1. 54. Commits on whatwg/html - GitHub, ? https://github.com/whatwg/html/commits
  2. 55. The JavaScript Trap by Richard Stallman - gnu.org, ? https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/javascript-trap.html
  3. 56. WHATWG - FAQ - What is the WHATWG?, ? https://whatwg.org/faq#what-is-the-whatwg
  4. 57. Download the new Microsoft Edge based Chromium, ? https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/download-the-new-microsoft-edge-based-on-chromium-0f4a3dd7-55df-60f5-739f-00010dba52cf http://web.archive.org/web/20210115223628/https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/download-the-new-microsoft-edge-based-on-chromium-0f4a3dd7-55df-60f5-739f-00010dba52cf
  5. 58. Why Google Continues to Fund Firefox - Wired, 12/27/2011 https://www.wired.com/2011/12/why-google-continues-to-fund-firefox
  6. 59. Mozilla and Google renew Firefox search agreement - The Verge, 8/15/2020 https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/15/21370020/mozilla-google-firefox-search-engine-browser
  7. 60. NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others - The Guardian, by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, 6/7/2013 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data
  8. 61. Apple apparently kills Windows PC support in Safari 6.0, 7/25/2012 https://web.archive.org/web/20201126201635/https://appleinsider.com/articles/12/07/25/apple_kills_windows_pc_support_in_safari_60

       The Table of Browsers       

Name Spyware Rating Based on Operating System
Arora Not Rated
Atlas Nyxt Not Rated WebKit, Chromium Mac, Linux, BSD
Basilisk Unrated UXP
Brave High Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux
Bromite Unrated Chromium Android
Dillo
Dissenter High Brave & Chromium
Dooble Unrated Chromium Mac, Linux
Edge Unrated, known to be bad EdgeHTML (Legacy), Chromium (since 2019) Windows, Mac, Linux
Eolie Unrated WebKit Linux
Falkon Probably not Spyware qtwebengine Windows, Linux, Haiku
Fiber Unreleased
GNOME Web Unrated WebKit Linux
GNU IceCat Not Spyware Firefox Linux, Android
Google Chrome EXTREMELY HIGH Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Internet Explorer EXTREMELY HIGH Windows
IceWeaselUXP
Iridium Low Chromium
K-Melon Unrated Gecko Windows
K-Melon G Unrated Goanna Windows
Kristall Unrated Windows, Linux, BSD
Librewolf Unrated, known to be low Firefox Linux, Mac
Luakit Not Spyware WebKit Windows (WSL), BSD, Linux
Lynx Not Spyware fork of libwww Windows, Mac, Linux, VMS, DOS386+, OS/2 EMX
Midori Unrated WebKit (formerly), Electron (current)
Minbrowser Unrated
Mozilla Firefox High Netscape Navigator Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS
Netsurf Low N/A Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, Solaris, Haiku/BeOS, AmigaOS, 9front, Atari TOS, RISC OS
Opera EXTREMELY HIGH Chromium
Opera Gaming
Otter Browser Not Spyware qtwebengine
Pale Moon Medium forked from Firefox, UXP Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
Paprika Unrated
Pocket Browser Unrated
Qutebrowser Not Spyware qtwebengine
Suckless Surf Not Spyware WebKit2/GTK3
SeaMonkey High Netscape Navigator Windows, Mac, Linux
SecBrowser Deprecated.
SlimJet EXTREMELY HIGH Chromium
Sphere Browser Possible Spyware ?
SRWare Iron EXTREMELY HIGH Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Superbird Unrated Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux
Taokaizen Unrated Chromium Windows, Linux
thdwd
Tobin Borealis Unrated UXP
Tor Browser Not Spyware Firefox Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, Android, iOS
Trinity Konqueror Unrated KHTML Linux, BSD
Twibright Links Unrated N/A Windows, Linux, BSD, DOS, OS/2, VMS,
Ungoogled Chromium Not Spyware Chromium (with patch sets from Iridium & Bromite) Windows, Mac, Linux
Uzbl Unmaintained
Vivaldi Medium Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
Waterfox Classic High fork of Firefox Windows, Mac, Linux
Waterfox G3 Unrated fork of Firefox
Webbrowser/WereFox Not Spyware Fork of Palemoon Linux, BSD
WebDiscover EXTREMELY HIGH Windows
w3m Unrated Itself
Xombrero Unmaintained
Yandex Unrated Chromium Linux, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

       Browser Notes       

Arora

A WebKit based browser that died, came back, and then died again. Apparently it was forked into EndorphinBrowser.

Atlas Nyxt

A browser that tries new things interface wise, going for an emacs-esqe sort of thing it seems like.

Basilisk

UXP based, looks like a slightly older version of Firefox. By the Palemoon people. There is a de-branded version called Serpent on the AUR.

Brave

Yet another Chromium browser that's still spywareistic. So bad they will pay you to use the it. Has it's own crypto currency, and "shield" thing that's supposed to protect you from trackers. Outclassed by eMatrix, uBlock Origin. Read digdeeper.

Bromite

Some of the patches are used in UGC. Android only. Supposed to remove the bad Google stuff.

Dillo

A seemingly unmaintained but indie browser, with a focus on being multi-platform and having a small footprint.

Dissenter

A Brave (Chromium) based browser by Gab, which is a social media site and "alternative" to Twitter that uses the Mastodon code base (a story in and of itself), but does not federate and blocks darknets and forces you to use JS and bloated web browsers to signup. Includes the Dissenter comment section, allowing you to post comments on any web page, but only if you use their software. Is, of course, spyware. I suggest choosing real, decentralized alternatives, not falling for fake centralized "alt-tech" memes like Gab and Bitchute.

Dooble

A fork or continuation or something of the old dooble browser. QT based, so it's Chromium.

Microsoft Edge

It used it's own rendering engine (EdgeHTML, a pared down version of IE[62]), before switching to Chromium[57]. Replaced IE as a browser used by people on Windows to install other browsers. Edge Legacy will be 'uninstalled' by April 2021[63].
  1. 62. What's powering Spartan? Internet Explorer, of course, 1/23/2015 https://www.neowin.net/news/whats-powering-spartan-internet-explorer-of-course
  2. 63. Microsoft details its legacy Edge browser phase-out strategy, 2/5/2021 https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-details-its-legacy-edge-browser-phase-out-strategy/

Eolie

Looks a lot like GNOME Web. Uses the same engine, but is written in Python. Unclear what other differences there are.

Falkon

Doesn't accept extensions from any other browser, but has it's own adblocker, GreaseMonkey and the like. Used to be called QupZilla and use QtWebKit.

Fiber

An obscure experimental KDE browser for which no source or release has ever been given[64]. Apparently it was either directly or indirectly based on Chromium[65]. The project was put on hold in November 2015[66].

GNOME Web

Used to be, and sometimes still also called Epiphany. Could be called "Safari, Linux edition". It's a WebKit based browser by the GNOME people.

GNU IceCat

Attacks the JavaScript trap by using an extension called LibreJS, which is more concerned about licensing it seems like (though it can also replace scripts), as well as another assortment of free software-focused alternatives to the more traditional uMatrix+uBlock Orgin+Decentraleyes setup, however it does include HTTPS Everywhere according to the description. These can of course be removed and replaced with other extensions. Previously called IceWeasel.

Google Chrome

Also known as "Noodle Dome", it is the most widly used browser in existence. A spyware platform, not a single a person in their right mind & aware of the facts should be using it.

Internet Explorer

Often used to install a different browser, IE was once the most dominant browser. It was deprecated by Edge. Hey, at least they bothered to make their own engine for it, unlike now, where everything is a Chrome ripoff. IE was also once the default browser on early versions of Mac OS-X. It was also once available on Unix.

IceWeaselUXP

Another UXP-based browser (Basilisk). A spiritual successor to the original Iceweasel, which was a de-branding of FF. Related to the Hyperbola project.

Iridium

Use Ungoogled-Chromium instead.
Better than Chromium, worse than Ungoogled-Chromium. UGC incorporates it's patches along with others, and is rated at a lower spyware level. I don't know of a good reason to use this browser.

K-Melon

An M$ Windows-only Firefox fork. Possibly dead? Archive link to the site.

K-Melon G

Goanna version of K-Melon.

Kristall

Kristall is a Gemini, Gopher and HTTP client. No JabbaScript, wasm or even CSS support. Pretty minimalist. It appears to be completely unable to read XHTML.

Librewolf

Could be called UnMozilla'd Firefox. Like UGC, it tries to patch out all of the spyware and bad things in FF. Just like UGC, this is an uphill battle, and depends on Mozilla. I applaud their efforts.

Luakit

WebKit, Vim keys, and Lua.

Lynx

A very minimal TUI/terminal browser. Also a Gopher client.

Midori

A browser that used to be kinda cool but then got bought out and decided to be a meta-web app by using electron[67].

Minbrowser

Ooooh it's "smarter" and says stuff like "Protect your privacy", it's "Open Source" heehoohoo hahaha "Min is written entirely with CSS and JavaScript using Electron" HA. FYI Electron is based on Chromium. It's web app: the browser. How many times has "Chromium" been mentioned in this entire page?

Mozilla Firefox

Controlled opposition. Mozilla is pro-censorship. It is spyware. Read digdeeper.

Netsurf

An actually independent browser that uses it's own layout engine. Makes web browsing very fast and minimal, though it lacks support for many things, which in a way is a good thing. However, it's so minimal it can't even display this page properly. I've heard JavaScript on it is best left disabled.

Opera

Used to use it's own in-house Presto engine, before being bought out by a Chinese company and then switching to Google's Chromium. Spyware. Definitely one of the worst browsers you could possibly choose.

Opera Gaming

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Otter

Do you want all the UI of of old Opera, with all the Chromium dependence of modern Opera? Well I have just the browser for you!!

PaleMoon

Aka Palememe. Use Webbrowser/Werefox instead unless you are on Windows/Mac. Read digdeeper.

Paprika

Some sort of recipe and grocery list manager that also includes a browser. It's in this list as more of a joke.

Pocket Browser

? I guess it's based on Chromium?

Qutebrowser

Designed for people who like Vim-keys. Based on qtwebengine (Chromium), and written in Python.

Suckless Surf

A WebKit based browser (think Safari) by the Suckless project.

SeaMonkey

Possibly the most anti-Unix Philosophy browser in existence other than Vivaldi, it's not just a web browser, but also an email client, an IRC client, an editor, and an RSS reader. But still based on the Mozilla stuff, it's the closest you can get in the modern day to the original Netscape Navigator. That said, it's spyware plain and simple, just like it's more popular and equally mentally disturbed cousin, Firefox.

SecBrowser

Was based on Tor Browser (Firefox). Now it's dying. RIP. TBH though there is WAY TO MANY FF and Chrome based browsers. If you gotta have your Firefox, look at Librewolf.

SlimJet

More Chromium, with spyware?? Just what I wanted!

Sphere Browser

. . .

SRWare Iron

S p y w a r e

Superbird

More Chromium. Yawn.

Taokaizen

"Advanced Chromium". Yet another Chromium based browser.

thdwd

? "The hotdog web browser". According to the description, it uses it's own layout & rendering engine.

Tobin Borealis

Currently vaporware. Somehow based on UXP and SeaMonkey at the same time. Binary Outcast is some sort of organization by the notoriously maniacal Tobin, who is a developer and forum moderator for the Palememe ("Palemoon") project, and grand wizard dragon or something for his "New Tobin Paradigm" self-love cult. I defer to digdeeper for a list of all the silly problems with palememe.

Tor Browser

The recommended way of browsing Tor (Tor is just a proxy and can be used from almost any browser). The idea is that everyone will have the same fingerprint. Like Firefox, very bloated.

Trinity Konqueror

Used to be by KDE, but Trinity forked all of KDE3 and continued it. Can create archives of pages (?).
Uhh, dead link?? Archive version: https://web.archive.org/web/20210120152559/http://links.twibright.com/ A minimalist browser which I hear very good things about.

Ungoogled-Chromium

Probably the best Chromium based browser. UGC tries to disable all of the spyware inherent in Chromium using a mix of patches from Bromite, Iridium and others. However, this is an inherently up hill battle as changes to Chromium's very large code base continue. As digdeeper says, it doesn't "fully free you from Google's chains".

If you are using Windows (you shouldn't be if you really care about nanonymity), you can set UGC in the chrlauncher config for easier updating (if you are on Windows and are using UGC you should get chrlauncher). Note: it requires administrator mode to actually update.

If you want to access the Google Chrome Store (for extensions and whatnot) you can install an extension.

Uzbl

A webkit based browser that is apparently unmaintained. Reminds me of Suckless Surf in it's description.

Vivaldi

A very bloated proprietary browser that is claimed to be "what Opera should have been", as it run by the a team of former Opera employees.[68] However it is based on Chromium, not on the old Presto engine that Opera also switched away from in favor of Chromium.

Waterfox Classic

Not to be confused with Waterfox-G3. And interesting concept that promises privacy but ultimately falls flat.

Waterfox G3

Not to be confused with Waterfox Classic.

Webbrowser

Also sometimes called "werefox". An actually good browser that was forked from palememe, and removes silly "features" such as their stupid branding®™, the favorites page (which contained spyware), removes the UA by default, removes any automatic connections, and removes support for the spyware operating systems known as macOS and Windows. Supports XUL extensions (such as those in the palememe store), also legacy Firefox addons.

WebDiscover

I guess it's big shtick is having a browser bar at the top of the desktop?

w3m

A minimalist (TUI) web browser that is often also used as a library to give web or image related support within an application (ie Ranger).

Xombrero

?
Digdeeper said this:

digdeeper: >xombrero has been retired and is no longer under development and supported.
digdeeper: xombrero had big potential
digdeeper: it was the ONLY browser out there caring about security / privacy BY DEFAULT
digdeeper: and then it died

Yandex

Yandex's (which is akin to Google in Russia) web browser. Appears to be geared towards increasing Yandex's share of the browser search engine market.

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