Brave or Vivaldi, and why?

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I am really tired of big tech and their tracking. Which browser do you like best. Was really liking the new Edge, but MS not coming out strong against FLOC has me miffed. I like playing across different ecosystems so Linux is a must and PWA’s. Like to hear other’s thoughts.

Comments (44)

44 responses to “Brave or Vivaldi, and why?”

  1. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Why not Firefox, or must you use Blink as rendering engine?

    • Avatar

      anderb

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      He mentioned PWAs so maybe that's why no Firefox. I happily use Firefox as uBlock Origin can block more when used with Firefox than the chromium-based browsers.

    • Avatar

      mixedfarmer75

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I like PWA's. Great idea. So Firefox is out. Other than that it is a nice browser.

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to MixedFarmer75:

        I always have to ask: what's the strict definition of PWA?

        FWIW, I can run diagrams.net via Firefox under Linux without an internet connection. Note: I disabled networking BEFORE launching this. The command line (with personal bits masked) is

        sh -c 'XAPP_FORCE_GTKWINDOW_ICON=/home/xyz/.icons/my-mate-icon-theme/32x32/apps/Diagrams.png firefox --class WebApp-Diagrams6769 --profile /home/xyz/.local/share/ice/firefox/common --no-remote https://app.diagrams.net/'

        If it's not a PWA, what is a PWA? If it's not a PWA but it works without an internet connection, what advantages do true PWAs provide?

        • Avatar

          Usman

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Diagrams.net is a PWA because they've added a manifest, which is located here: https://app.diagrams.net/images/manifest.json


          In that manifest.json, you can see the definitions provided to the browser. The browser then prompts you to install it as a PWA.


          PWAs are flexible, the feature set depends on the developer, they could choose offline support, they could choose to use notifications, they could choose to do background syncing. Those features are down to the developer to decide if they want to implement them.


          Here's more information.

          https://web.dev/install-criteria/



        • Avatar

          wright_is

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          The bit about a PWA that is "missing" in Firefox is the ability to "install" it, so that it has its own icon on the dock and can be started in its own window, with none of the paraphinelia of a normal browser window. The user just selects the option to make it an "app" in the browser and it installs it and starts it automatically in its own application window, without the user having to resort to command-line shennanigens.

          • Avatar

            hrlngrv

            In reply to wright_is:

            Haven't tried under Windows, but Linux's Ice utility handles 'installation' under Linux. It's likely there's no Windows equivalent for overriding application icons.

            If what truly makes a PWA is being able to install it from within the browser, then that may be something Firefox won't/can't do. NBD for me, but this isn't my posting.

            ADDED: I just checked diagrams.net with Edge for Linux. Edge allows for it to be installed, so it does appear to be a PWA. So it seems Firefox can run PWAs even if it can't install them in the same manner Edge and other browsers using blink can.

            • Avatar

              wright_is

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              A PWA is "just" a normal website, with the added ability to actually install it on the client device as a "native looking" app through a click in a web browser that supports it.

              All(?) Chromium based browsers support PWA installation, Firefox based browsers don't support this, but they can still run the PWA as a normal tab.

              • Avatar

                Paul Thurrott

                A PWA is an app just like any other app. It's not "just" a website.
                • Avatar

                  wright_is

                  In reply to paul-thurrott:

                  I know, and agree with you. I was just trying to break down the difference between Firefox and Chromium browsers to the most basic difference in the PWA support (the installing of the site as an app). i.e. Firefox can run the PWA, it just can't install it to the desktop like Chromium can.

              • Avatar

                hrlngrv

                In reply to wright_is:

                All(?) Chromium based browsers support PWA installation, Firefox based browsers don't support this, but they can still run the PWA as a normal tab.

                Firefox lacks a feature to install PWAs, and lacks the ability to use any icon other than its own program icon on OS desktops. However, it is possible to use special purpose profiles to run PWAs in their own (browser) windows with no browser UI components, the same as with browsers using Blink.

                Since the Ice utility in Linux is just Python scripts with a very simple GUI, should be simple to port to Windows without much difficulty. It could be used to create shortcuts to launch PWAs under Firefox, and the only thing which would be missing compared to Blink browsers is that running PWAs would display Firefox's own program icon for running instances. Note: that last is a limitation in Windows and maybe also macOS; Linux has a mechanism for overriding program icons.

  2. Avatar

    dftf

    If you're really, really worried about tracking... how about Tor and a VPN service with a public no-log policy?

  3. Avatar

    j5

    Since switching to Mac for my personal computer, I use an HP Elite laptop for work, I've been using Safari as my daily driver; Mac, iPhone and iPad Air. Use Edge on my work computer. But to be honest I don't have to worry about tracking on my work computer because I only use Edge for work related software, websites and searches. Every now and then I'll look something personal up.


    Safari has been great. So far according to the EFF's FLoC checking tool Safari doesn't have it enabled. I haven't tried it on Edge yet.

    https://amifloced.org


    Also, this Arstechinca article on personal threat model really helped me to understand what one is and figure out what mine is and just run with and not stress.

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/07/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-mostly-and-love-my-threat-model/


    You can go down the privacy rabbit hole forever and there's some weirdos down there lol. I'm just a normie dad that is concerned about mine and my family's privacy and security, stay up on the latest news concerning that, do what I can to block or mitigate what I can. But I'm not Snowden or an OSINT investigator either. I'm not going to run GraphineOS or Kali Linux full time. I enjoy what neat and nerdy things the net has to offer, playing games on my devices, sending stupid memes to my friends, and enjoying tech. But I totally understand your frustration.

  4. Avatar

    wright_is

    I've been a Firefox user since it was in Alpha as Phoenix, then the name got changed due to legal reasons, to Firebird, which had to be changed due to legal reasons (Firebird database software) to Firefox...

    But of late it has been making problems on Android, where it doesn't work with password managers any more.

    I've been experimenting with Brave and have pretty much switched, at the moment, to using Brave everywhere. I chose Brave, because it does nearly everything Firefox does, in terms of privacy, plus a few of its own things.

  5. Avatar

    dftf

    On Android, Brave is by usual go-to, though Vivaldi for times where some sites don't have ads blocked fully, or where they don't work properly (such as embedded videos not working). Opera can also be handy as some sites that get blocked its "VPN" (which is actually just DoH, so misleadingly-advertised) does actually work-around that.


    On Windows 10 though, mostly just Edge and sometimes Firefox. As you can use extensions in the desktop version of Edge, I don't see a real need to use Brave or Vivaldi on desktop. I only use them on Android as most "phone-browsers" don't allow you to add extensions, so their built-in functionallity has to provide what you cannot otherwise get.

  6. Avatar

    justme

    I cant speak to PWAs per se. As to browsers, I tend to use SRWare Iron, Brave, and Firefox.


    As to the whys - I am a long-time Firefox user, and I tinker with Linux. Like yourself, I am not a fan of all the tracking that goes on these days. I've given SRWare Iron a shot largely as, like Brave, it has a privacy/anti-tracking reputation.

  7. Avatar

    megamuffin

    Wonder if the browsers stop these guys? Or does a host file stop FLOC.


    "Tag Barnakle has breached more than 120 ad servers over the past year and inserted malicious code into legitimate ads"

  8. Avatar

    mixedfarmer75

    If I heard Paul right on Windows Weekly I could still use Edge with the DuckDuckGo extension, but that would not help on mobile. Am I right?

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to MixedFarmer75:

      Correct. I use Brave or Firefox on mobile (I used to use Firefox exclusively on my Android phone, but it stopped working with password managers, so I switched to Brave, for now).

      FLOC is still on a trial basis, only in Chrome, so it gives time for Microsoft to make up their minds on the technology.

      FLOC is the technology equivalent of moving away from taking out a single person with a sniper rifle to dropping a Howitzer shell on a group of people instead.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      Right. Though the move to a single code base could change that.
  9. Avatar

    Belralph

    I run practically everything. I run edge as my primary 'work' browser and used to run Firefox as my ad-blocking, surfing the web, duckduckgo searching, don't track me bro browser.

    After an on/off/on again relationship with Vivaldi I have switched from Firefox to Brave. Honestly. Brave just seems a little snappier and I guess simpler. It's not that is doesn't have all the features, it just does a better job keeping the main interface clean. The address bar is centered, keeping it away from the buttons on the left and the extensions on the right.


  10. Avatar

    sherlockholmes

    I still dont get the PWA hipe. Maybe im too old with my 45 years.

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to SherlockHolmes:

      None of the sites I visit or use regularly offer a PWA experience.

      That said, for those that do use such a site, I can see it being of benefit to make it run more like an app, even if it will never be as efficient or full-featured as a native app.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      It's not hype. PWAs are a great new kind of app. And they're special for many reasons, but mostly because they're cross-platform and can adapt, both visually and functionally, depending on the form factor.
      • Avatar

        justme

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Given our discussion here, I think you have the subject for an article or two (in fact, I think you may have written about PWAs in the past, though I have slept since then and havent had my coffee yet so I may be misremembering). I would be very interested in reading why you think PWAs are special today, as I just dont see it. I also believe that the perspective of the types of folks that make up your audience would be different than the average consumer, which might be different still to an enterprise user, and different again to that of a developer. I see PWAs being special as you describe them as highly dependent on your personal frame of reference.


        Personally, from my limited experience with them now, I see them as something that wont amount to anything more than they already are. Yes, from a developer perspective, I can envision some tangible benefits. I can also see how someone's personal workflow might benefit - we all have our own ways of doing things that work for us. But from a typical user perspective - meh, at least on a desktop. On a phone, how many people are going to go through the hoops of "pin to home screen" when they can just install an app from the store - because thats the key. If the PWA is a new kind of app, why cant I find one in a list, collection, archive, or store? That is where people look for apps.


        How does the typical user know when a PWA is available? Websites dont advertise PWA "enabled-ness". If you dont know what to look for, you wont know they exist. From what I have seen, offline capability is lacking - so the "W" part of PWA means you have to be connected to use them. The only A part of it is that you can install a piece of code, which is tied to the browser you use. How do I know that a particular PWA is up to date? I dont - I have to trust that the developler in question supports the PWA enough to keep it update in the background. Sure, you can use the PWA to access whatever content the webpage and whatever enhancements the PWA allows without having to navigate to that particular webpage, but it seems like an awful lot of faf to do so.


        What happens to the PWA if I decide to change my browser preference? Since the PWA uses part of the browser code, does that mean I have to uninstall and reinstall the PWA from the new browser?


        I appreciate your insights and the discussion.



        • Avatar

          Paul Thurrott

          I'm a little confused by the confusion. :) But PWAs absolutely *can* be used offline, though adding that capability is up to the developer. I haven't posted about this yet, but I'm getting close to starting a series on web apps and will see if I can't clear this up a little bit.
      • Avatar

        bkkcanuck

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        I am still not sold on PWAs for anything other than maybe replacing something that is just accessed through a browser already (or maybe an app to use on non-primary platforms -- if paid to do so). I have seen the world promised too many times about how this or that is better than deploying native applications, but in the end it ends up being various levels of lowest common denominator. No matter what you do with the app, it will be less efficient running on mobile devices than a native app or a native app backed by a service online - and that will impact battery performance etc. I highly doubt that they will ever give full feature set. In addition, I have found the support for fully implementing support for people with disabilities to be lacking. In the end if the market is important to you as a company, using PWAs to replace native apps is still a non-starter.

      • Avatar

        justme

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        While I certainly understand the potential advantages you describe, I still dont get it - apart from a personal preference. How do you tell if a website is "PWA enabled"? My experience is that in general, you cant. Is your PWA affected if you clear your cookies regularly? How do they handle 3rd-party authentification? Is there a potential security risk - like spoofing a "pin to home screen" link? Is there a central repository, archive, or list of PWAs anywhere? In the case of PWA use on a mobile, what happens if you upgrade your phone - your bookmarks and native apps can transfer, will your PWAs? If your browser of choice is upgraded, will your PWAs take advantage of that upgrade? (By way of example - you use Edge. If you have several PWAs pinned and Microsoft updates Edge, are those PWAs affected in any way?)


        In my case, if I am interested in something enough to want to "pin it" to a home screen on a phone, I'm going to look and see if there is a native app or bookmark it. If I am on a desktop, I'd bookmark the site.


        I grant you , it might just be my own workflow pattern. Not trying to be difficult, just trying to understand.

        • Avatar

          Paul Thurrott

          You will see an install prompt when viewing a PWA. When you install it, the app is installed in Windows and appears in the Start menu and can uninstall from there as well. It's just a new kind of app.
          • Avatar

            justme

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            Interesting. The only real "prompt" to install I ever noticed during my experiment was a small icon in the address bar of Edge and Chrome. I am presuming this is what you mean? That icon would be very easy to miss.

          • Avatar

            justme

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            Yes sir, understand its a new kind of app. I just dont believe I have ever seen an install prompt, or even a link to install one. Again, likely its my working habits as I dont normally use Edge or Chrome, and I am unaware of any website I regularly visit that supports PWA. If the install prompt happens in the form of a pop-up, I'd likely never see it or dismiss it out of hand.


            EDIT: To satisfy my own curiosity, I tried an experiment - I used Edge and Chrome to see if I could find a PWA or two to install. I had to go looking, but sure enough, I found a few...and was decidedly underwhelmed by the experience. Apart from being cross-platform and adaptable as you mentioned earlier, now that I have had the PWA experience, I really dont understand what makes them so great. Sorry, but not a functionality I find valuable for my use case.

        • Avatar

          Usman

          In reply to JustMe:

          PWA is a collection of features that make a web app more like a native app, the big one is offline support and background notifications & syncing.


          PWA stands for progressive web apps, as in they're standard web apps that progressively integrate native platform features like notifications and offline support. The offline support could just something simple like displaying a 'no connection banner' and displaying cached content.


          Outlook.com for example, it's a web app, the Progressive part of PWA is getting that tab to run in a separate window, getting the notifications that are in outlook.com to plug into the system notifications on Windows and Mac, and allowing background syncing, where you don't need to be running outlook.com in a tab or window, but still getting those notifications.


          I use outlook.com as my main mail client instead of the Windows 10 Mail app. I've installed it as an app via Edge. The only problem is that it doesn't have proper offline support, the app is 'offline aware' but unfortunately, I can't view my emails offline.


          Photopea is another PWA that I use, it's a web app based photoshop alternative, it's a website/web app that can be installed as a PWA. The operating system sees it as a regular app. So instead of opening a browser, I have a dedicated app listing in the start menu and a dedicated app window for it

          • Avatar

            mixedfarmer75

            In reply to Usman:

            I agree. Most PWA's are missing the offline support. This needs to happen to be truly useful, imo. I use a web app for my accounting. It is pretty great, but I have spotty internet so sometimes it can be frustrating. If they made it into a PWA with offline support it would be awesome.

          • Avatar

            justme

            In reply to Usman:

            Thought I had replied to this, but may have accidentally hit cancel. Appreciate the explanation. I understand what PWAs are, and from Paul's desciption, can even understand what might be advantages of a PWA. I just dont believe I have ever seen a prompt to install one, or seen a website say "we are PWA enabled". I dont use Edge or Chrome, though I am curious as to how they get updated if your browser is updated.

            • Avatar

              Paul Thurrott

              The PWAs update themselves from a functional perspective. The underlying code you use to display a PWA is updated as part of Edge or Chrome, of course. There are no manual app updates or whatever.
              • Avatar

                justme

                In reply to paul-thurrott:

                That would bother me, I think. I dont like Windows updating on its own (I have always been, and ever shall be, a seeker when it comes to updates - Microsoft taught me long ago to be all over the Windows Update button) - let alone a random PWA. I prefer to know what is being installed on my systems and when. I simply wouldnt trust it.

                • Avatar

                  Paul Thurrott

                  One point of all web apps is that they're cloud-hosted and thus can be changed once rather than requiring an updater to hit every single client in use around the globe. That's a benefit, not an issue.
                • Avatar

                  justme

                  In reply to paul-thurrott:

                  To which I have to reply - if they are cloud hosted, what is the point of installing anything (I kid, I kid). :) That benefit seems to be almost entirely on the developer side, however. Yes, you can maintain the app easier across multiple platforms. If the general public (or, perhaps more precisely, your intended market) doesnt know your PWA exists or where to find it, whats the point as it wont get used.


                  I would postulate that PWA adoption, at least as it stands today, is likely US-centric. Slip the surely bonds of CONUS, and I suspect the PWA uptake and development picture is different.


                  I look forward to reading your web app series. It would be interesting to hear about which types of enterprises seem to be leaning towards embracing PWAs (at least States-side, anyway).

  11. Avatar

    longhorn

    Brave is a good go-to browser:


    Brave is fully open source.

    Brave blocks ads, trackers (and soon FLoC) out of the box.

    Brave collects less telemetry than other well-known browsers.

    Brave on mobile (at least on Android) offers the same advantages and sync is available.


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