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My Browser Builds (Part 1)


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Hi,

I'm currently running FF 52.9.0 ESR on Vista HP x86, and starting to worry with FF being so outdated.

I've been looking at both browsers below, but not sure which one I should be using.

Serpent/moebius for XP!
http://o.rths.cf/basilisk/basilisk55-win32-git-20190330-09b851794-xpmod.7z

Serpent/UXP for XP!
https://o.rths.cf/basilisk/basilisk52-g4.1.win32-git-20190330-843e4ceff-xpmod.7z


What's the difference between the two?

Is one more secure than the other?


The UI for basilisk55 looks better on Vista, but security is my prime concern.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

:)

 

@roytam1 Huge thanks for all your hard work, and time :worship: .

Edited by Ruan
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@Mathwiz, 60esr is nice in some ways but its limitations that you mentioned keep me from using it as the primary browser.

Found this today regarding the Multi-Account Containers addon:

"Unfortunately due to how ESR works we couldn't continue it's development to work there as we have been adding many APIs. The extension will work in 53 and the next 59 ESR. (We have an outstanding bug to fix the version number minimum, sorry about that)."

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account-containers/reviews/920351/

Those who ripped container tabs out of basilisk must have known this and why they referenced MultiFox, even though it's buggy and not ready for prime time.  Unfortunately, there is no perfect browser since everyone has their own ideas of how it should it work.

Thankfully, Roy is restoring some of these lost features but I understand that can't go on forever as there's only so much work one person can take on.   

 

Edited by DanR20
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@Ruan, my understanding, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong is that Serpent/moebius is based on a newer version of firefox, 55 or 56 while uxp is 52esr. I can't use moebius since they ripped out webextensions. Roy restored that feature in uxp and it works good so I'm staying with it. 

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4 hours ago, Ruan said:

Serpent/moebius for XP!
http://o.rths.cf/basilisk/basilisk55-win32-git-20190330-09b851794-xpmod.7z

Serpent/UXP for XP!
https://o.rths.cf/basilisk/basilisk52-g4.1.win32-git-20190330-843e4ceff-xpmod.7z


What's the difference between the two?

Is one more secure than the other?

@DanR20 is about right. Moebius was forked from an alpha build of FF 53. Later on many changes were backported from FF 54 and 55; hence its identification as Basilisk version 55. (Serpent is just the name for unofficial builds of Basilisk, including @roytam1's XP builds.)

Unfortunately the PaleMoon team ran into problems with Moebius and was forced to start over with FF 52 ESR; that became Basilisk/UXP. (And again, @roytam1's XP build is Serpent/UXP.) UXP's identification is version 52.9 (although the latest versions pose as Firefox 60.9 in compatibility mode).

Main differences between the two that I've noticed are:

  • Moebius supports more / newer add-ons; however, it does not support most plug-ins (Java, Silverlight, Flash). Edit: if you have trouble with plug-ins see @VistaLover's post below for the fix.
  • Moebius still relies on Firefox sites for add-ons, sync, etc. UXP uses PaleMoon's sync and Basilisk's new add-ons page.
  • Both browsers get updates from @roytam1, but UXP also gets updates from the PaleMoon team. Therefore UXP is updated weekly, while Moebius is updated less often and less regularly.

Both browsers are reasonably secure but UXP is probably a bit more secure, due to the current attention from the PM team and the greater frequency of updates. Also, over time I expect Moebius will have more compatibility issues with newer Web sites (e.g., GitHub, Instagram), although it's fine for now.

Edited by Mathwiz
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1 hour ago, DanR20 said:

Found this today regarding the Multi-Account Containers addon:

"Unfortunately due to how ESR works we couldn't continue it's development to work there as we have been adding many APIs. The extension will work in 53 and the next 59 ESR. (We have an outstanding bug to fix the version number minimum, sorry about that)."

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account-containers/reviews/920351/

Those who ripped container tabs out of basilisk must have known this and why they referenced MultiFox, even though it's buggy and not ready for prime time.  Unfortunately, there is no perfect browser since everyone has their own ideas of how it should it work.

Thankfully, Roy is restoring some of these lost features but I understand that can't go on forever as there's only so much work one person can take on.    

Did you happen to see my second post edit?

6 hours ago, Mathwiz said:

v4.0.2 of the add-on works in Serpent/Moebius! In fact versions up through 4.1.0 are compatible with Moebius.

BTW, the add-on does make containers quite a bit easier to use. To open a new container tab, you don't have to go to the File menu; when clicking the "new tab" (+) button just hold the mouse button down for a second or two, and the "new container tab" menu will appear. Also you can right-click on a Web page and click "Firefox Multi-Account Containers / Always Open in This Container" to "pin" the current site to the current container. Then, any time you click a bookmark or link for that site, you get asked whether to open the link in the current container or in the "pinned" container for that Web site.

This is a good illustration of the differences between Moebius and UXP. Moebius supports the add-on; UXP only has the built-in support (same as FF 52 ESR).

So for now, Moebius might be the better choice if you use containers heavily. If you only use them occasionally, you might prefer to stick with UXP.

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1 hour ago, Mathwiz said:

Moebius supports more / newer add-ons

I'll rephrase and expand that to:

Since the moebius platform was initially forked from a Mozilla 53.0a1 platform snapshot, it comes with more Web Extension APIs than the Mozilla ESR 52.6.0 platform snapshot that UXP was forked from; so Serpent 55 supports more WEs than Serpent 52; FWIW, both browsers support a smaller subset of WE APIs than their Mozilla counterparts (Firefox 53.0 and FirefoxESR 52.9.x, respectively...); so while a WE may say it's Fx 52 compatible on AMO, it may not install (or perform poorly/if at all when it installs) in St52, while at the same time it installs and works OK in St55; in a similar vein, not all Fx 53 compatible WEs on AMO install and work as expected in St55 (e.g. latest Stylus 1.5.3 works OK in Firefox 53+, but is half-broken in Serpent 55; you need revert to Stylus 1.4.23 instead...). 

2 hours ago, Mathwiz said:

it does not support most plug-ins (Java, Silverlight, Flash).

... I've seen you post this previously and I let it go by, but for clarity's sake it simply isn't true:

wtq0YVr.jpg

NPAPI Flash player plugin is still supported in Quantum (although not for long), so it'd have been odd if it weren't supported in a 53.0a1(+minor parts of 54.0+55.0) fork... ;) As for the rest of the NPAPI ecosystem, I'd say St55's support is on par with FxESR52/St52; just make sure the following hidden pref defaults to false:

plugin.load_flash_only;false

If it's set to true (it's possible if you transferred a previous Firefox profile and did not create a fresh one), then toggle it and exit Serpent 55; locate its profile directory and delete file "pluginreg.dat" inside it. Restart St55 and it'll scan and discover all available NPAPI plugins...

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3 hours ago, DanR20 said:

I can't use moebius since they ripped out webextensions.

Quite the opposite is true; the now deprecated official Basilisk 55 (developed until March 2018) and the independent Serpent 55 fork maintained by RoyTam1, built on the Moebius platform, do both come with WE support, in fact better than their UXP counterparts...

Official Basilisk 52/UXP was recently made devoid of all WE support, but that change was reverted by RoyTam1; so his Serpent 52.9.0/UXP fork does have some WE support (a subset of APIs from FxESR52) ...

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26 minutes ago, VistaLover said:

Quite the opposite is true; the now deprecated official Basilisk 55 (developed until March 2018) and the independent Serpent 55 fork maintained by RoyTam1, built on the Moebius platform, do both come with WE support, in fact better than their UXP counterparts...

Currently running Roy's moebius build from last Saturday and all four of my webextensions are disabled, with no option to enable. Is there a setting in about:config I'm missing? This supports the container tabs extension so it would make a good backup when I need it.  

Edit: ok reinstalled them and now they're back, so that's good news. I'm actually using this version on W2k at the moment and it handles nicely.

Edited by DanR20
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That happened to me too, when I first tried Moebius. But I was able to reactivate them by reinstalling. There must be some database that needs updating in order to migrate WE add-ons to Moebius.

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9 hours ago, Mathwiz said:

Unfortunately, I just tested version 4.0.2 of Multi-Account Containers, and my experience matched @DanR20's:

When I first read the report by DanR20, I thought it was due to Serpent 52's WE APIs limitations (being somewhat inferior to the stock set of WE APIs found in FxESR 52); but then you went on to post:

9 hours ago, Mathwiz said:

So it looks like 4.0.2 installs but doesn't run correctly, whether or not the built-in support is present. Same result in Serpent and FF 52.9.1.

I did that test myself only to, of course, confirm your findings... But then I wondered... WTH would AMO label v4.0.1-4.0.2 as being Fx 52 compatible (51.0a1 to 56.*) when in reality, when installed, they don't work at all?

Come @DanR20:

4 hours ago, DanR20 said:

The extension will work in 53 and the next 59 ESR. (We have an outstanding bug to fix the version number minimum, sorry about that)."

So it was a Mozilla c*ck-up after all :P ... Sanity restored...

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51 minutes ago, VistaLover said:

I've seen you post this previously and I let it go by, but for clarity's sake it simply isn't true

Kinda wish you hadn't let it go by; not only do I appreciate the correction, I could've used the fix! But better late than never....

53 minutes ago, VistaLover said:

I'd say St55's support is on par with FxESR52/St52; just make sure the following hidden pref defaults to false:


plugin.load_flash_only;false

I knew about that pref, because it was how you re-enabled plug-ins in FF 52 (not 52 ESR). By FF 53, it no longer worked; but I tried it in Moebius anyway; I figured it was originally forked from an alpha version, possibly before the pref was disabled. Apparently that is the case; yet it didn't work when I tried it, thus reaffirming my conclusion that plug-ins (except those provided with the browser) simply didn't work in Moebius.

But I was still a bit confused, because if that was the case, one plug-in that "shouldn't" have worked was indeed working (Adobe Acrobat Reader, of all things....)

59 minutes ago, VistaLover said:

exit Serpent 55; locate its profile directory and delete file "pluginreg.dat" inside it. Restart St55 and it'll scan and discover all available NPAPI plugins...

Ah; apparently that was the missing piece of the puzzle! Thanks! :worship:

Now that everything is working, I'm going to give Moebius a thorough workout. I may even prefer it to UXP, at least until the Web manages to break it.

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14 minutes ago, Mathwiz said:

apparently that was the missing piece of the puzzle! Thanks!

You're quite right! If you open file "pluginreg.dat" with a text editor (when the browser is exited), you'll see line 4:

[3] [HEADER]
[4] Version|0.18f|$

with a version string (0.18f in my case); if you toggle the controlling pref "plugin.load_flash_only" to "true" and restart the browser, then upon relaunch file "pluginreg.dat" will be regenerated having a higher version string; the Mozilla devs at the time authored code in such a way so that by simply toggling back the pref, one would not get full NPAPI support back; the version string of existing "pluginreg.dat" profile file was examined and if higher than a pre-defined value, the file wouldn't get modified; Mozilla shipped Firefox 53 with the pref defaulted to true (only Flash NPAPI allowed), so they put in an extra barrier for those "advanced" users that may have wanted to continue using other NPAPI plugins in their stable/release Firefox version; all this was done by Mozilla to protect the "innocent" from the unsafe/legacy NPAPI plugin technology!

"Advanced" users in the mozillazine forums deciphered the "blocking code" and offered this fix for Firefox 53; yes, it works in the same way in Fx53, too: 

lEhMm21.jpg

At the time, I was still Nightly-testing, that "change" first appeared in the 52.0a1 channel; by studying the relevant Bugzilla "bug" and lurking at the mozillazine forums, I became aware of the "fix"; by the time Firefox 54 was released (couldn't run it on Vista, of course :realmad:), much of the underlying NPAPI support code had been excised already, so the "fix" was no longer "valid" ... :angry:

So now you know the whole story ;)

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On 1/21/2019 at 7:28 PM, VistaLover said:

 

...

1. For some inexplicable reason, Firefox versions 52.0.2 and 53.0.3 (release channel) as well as 52.9.0 (ESR channel) do not honour the "strict_min_version": "55.0" requirement and version uB0 1.17.7rc2 has no problem installing and working there...

2. While the MDN documentation states that window.requestIdleCallback() is "Implemented but disabled by default" in Firefox v53-55, I found boolean pref "dom.requestIdleCallback.enabled" extant (but defaulted to false) in all 3 mentioned Firefox versions (52.0.2, 52.9.0, 53.0.3); so, at least in theory, Firefox >=52.0 already meets the new requirement by @gorhill, provided the user manually flips "dom.requestIdleCallback.enabled" to true; what is even more important is the fact Moonchild devs have already defaulted that pref to true in Basilisk 52, so there's no actual reason why the Basilisk browser should be exempt from the list of supported (by latest uB0 WE) browsers - but, sadly, @gorhill does not follow closely Basilisk's development, hence his decision to block it based solely on its reported appVersion string :angry:; also worth noting is that Serpent 55.0.0/moebius doesn't exhibit this issue because, its appVersion string reporting 55.*, it already fulfils the new enhanced requirements...

To cut a long story short, I downloaded file uBlock0_1.17.7rc2.firefox.signed.xpi to disk and manually changed line 5 in manifest.json file to read:


     "strict_min_version": "52.0",

...

I would like to try uBO 1.17.7rc2 with Serpent 55/moebius,  but it appears that it's not available at github > gorhill > uBlock releases.

Any idea where I can find it?  Thank you

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8 minutes ago, taos said:

I would like to try uBO 1.17.7rc2 with Serpent 55/moebius

Beta/Release Candidate builds are routinely purged from the GitHub repo... If you want to install the WE flavour of uBlock Origin in latest Serpent55/moebius, then the latest available beta build (1.18.17b1 at this time of writing) is compatible with it; click the .XPI download link, allow "github.com" to install addons and you're good to go...

However, to save anyone unnecessary trouble, recent uB0 versions have lost compatibility with FxESR 52+Serpent 52/UXP browsers (cosmetic filtering is broken, possibly other aspects of the extension), because the author has started using APIs present only in Firefox 53+ (despite the addon claiming it needs Fx 55.0 or higher); so, even if you force-install the addon in St52 (by modifying "strict_min_version" to "52.0"), it will underperform...

There is a somewhat convoluted manual fix, which involves substituting .js files with their versions found in previous, compatible, uB0 versions, but that might be posted at a later time I find convenient; if you're on St52, you had better switch to uB0 legacy (currently at v1.16.4.10) ...  ;):hello:

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Well, the past few days have certainly been an adventure for me. It all started with @DanR20's post that made me aware of a FF/NM/Serpent feature - container tabs - but only because the PM team had removed it! The concept sounded useful, so I activated it (in the pre-removal version of Serpent/UXP), played with it a bit, and found it was indeed useful but needed some improvement - which led me to the FF add-on that not only activated the same feature but improved on it, only to discover that the add-on didn't work at all in FF 52 ESR or Serpent/UXP - but did work in Serpent/Moebius. But I didn't want to switch to Moebius, because I couldn't get plug-ins to work - only to learn there's a workaround for that too! (Whew!)

So now I'm trying out Moebius, and only ran into a few minor snags so far:

  1. Moebius doesn't seem to respect the app.releaseNotesURL pref, so the "What's new" link in the Help / About Serpent dialog is going to the Basilisk release notes page again (I had pointed it to http://rtfreesoft.blogspot.com/search/label/browser).
  2. I had trouble with one legacy add-on: Enhanced Extended Statusbar. Serpent/UXP had updated it to v2.1 and all was well, but Serpent/Moebius kept losing the enhanced status bar with that version! I downgraded to Enhanced Statusbar v2.0.5, and it's working fine in Moebius now.
  3. Edit: Instagram videos need the same userStyles.css fix as FF 52.9 (the CSS fixes made to the UXP browsers last July never made it into Serpent/Moebius because the PM team had already abandoned development of the Moebius platform).
  4. Edit: The Tab Mix Plus add-on seems to cause issues with Moebius; in particular, the browser customization page is completely blank.

So far, pretty minor stuff. I expect I'll find more minor glitches like those, but as long as nothing more serious crops up, I'll probably stick with Moebius for a while. At least I won't have to worry about updating it as often as UXP ;)

Edited by Mathwiz
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