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flagrant2
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:49 am    Post subject: Spyware/Advertising-free fork of firefox? Reply with quote

After a couple years spent running chromium, I decided to install firefox (which I used from Netscape days until about 2013). I was extremely disappointed to see that mozilla has sold out to their corporate spyware partners and is collecting our data to make money from the "sponsored tiles". I don't quite understand how somebody can look at themselves in the mirror when their life's work consists of taking the work of the free software community and wrapping it in corporate sponsorships and spyware, especially while calling themselves a nonprofit and claiming such high standards for their users' privacy.

I'd like to find a sponsorship and corporate partner-free fork of firefox. Back when I used debian, they packaged "iceweasel" without any of the branding, so presumably somebody over there is going to the trouble of removing the spyware. Is there a go-to choice for gentoo users? Really I'd like to jump on the bandwagon of one big fork that will put the thieves at mozilla out of business, so more popular is better.
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Apheus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:58 am    Post subject: Re: Spyware/Advertising-free fork of firefox? Reply with quote

flagrant2 wrote:
I was extremely disappointed to see that mozilla has sold out to their corporate spyware partners and is collecting our data to make money from the "sponsored tiles".


No. There is no tracking from the "sponsored tiles". The web pages where these come from do not have access to your cookies and local storage, which would be needed for real tracking. The IP address is near worthless. Sponsored tiles shoud be replaced by visited sites as you use the browser.

However, there are other problematic features default-enabled in firefox (pocket?), and problematic decisions of mozilla lately. I would suggest keeping an eye on the "palemoon" project. I have read somewhere that there is an overlay with palemoon already. One day, it might end up in official portage.
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flagrant2
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No. There is no tracking from the "sponsored tiles". The web pages where these come from do not have access to your cookies and local storage, which would be needed for real tracking.


No. Unless you consider passing on browsing history to the advertisers not to be a form of tracking. You are thinking of the less recent spy features added in 2014. See http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/21/mozilla-will-soon-launch-sponsored-suggested-tiles-based-on-your-browsing-history/

Thanks for the tip about palemoon, I will look into that.
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Apheus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh. I did not know that. From the ALLOWED_FRECENT_SITES map in the code, it looks like they do not leak the complete history, but a pre-defined set of sites for each of a predefined set of interests. If an ad from the category "pet" is loaded, the site knows that the user must have one of "1800petmeds.com,800petmeds.com,adopt.dogtime.com,...:" in their history.

Still one step too far away from "respecting user's privacy". I think a change in mozilla's management is overdue.
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davidm
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Spyware/Advertising-free fork of firefox? Reply with quote

Apheus wrote:
Sponsored tiles shoud be replaced by visited sites as you use the browser.


The weird thing about that is I have a profile which is years old and on occasion they try to show me the sponsored tile in the #2 position. I believe it usually happens after a major upgrade in version but cannot recall exactly. It's happened at least twice so far. Anyway it shows me this sponsored tile and what really gets me is that when I click "x" to get rid of it, it then shows me a different ad in the same place! I have to continue clicking "x" maybe five or six times before it gives up and really eliminates the sponsored tile.

edit: Actually the sponsored tile just came back again without any update. So they must be purposely doing this? It's ridicuolous that they are now purposely trying to be annoying even to people who clearly do not want to see it. I wonder how long it will be until they have "sponsored tabs"? That will be where suddenly a commercial site gets loaded in another tab and you can't close it!
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ct85711
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

once firefox starts doing sponsored tabs, is when I remove firefox on all of my machines I manage. Luckily, I don't have to deal with the sponsored tiles, because I have firefox to either show a blank sheet, or open my default home page (in this case, google; as I refuse to use the crappy yahoo search engine).

Note: This is only my opinion about yahoo, not trying to convince others or start a flame war on that.
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Apheus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ct85711 wrote:
once firefox starts doing sponsored tabs, is when I remove firefox on all of my machines I manage. Luckily, I don't have to deal with the sponsored tiles


Curious: What are "sponsored tabs", in difference to "sponsored tiles"?
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flagrant2
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apheus wrote:
Curious: What are "sponsored tabs", in difference to "sponsored tiles"?


I thought ct was suggesting that if they don't mind putting ads in your new tab page, they wouldn't mind putting whole tabs of ads for your enjoyment. Might be a slippery slope argument, but it seems like our collective trust has been violated.

I'd pose the further question, since we all know chrome phones home all your browsing data to big brother, and we see that even the "open source" chromium project downloads binary blobs unconditionally on first run (see https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=786909 ), what standards-compliant free software browser remains free of spyware? Konqueror did everything I needed 10 years ago but I think they gave up on html5. Same with epiphany.
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teika
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Archlinux, "Inox", a Chromium fork, is maintained by a user. It strips away many features that send information to google. Looks a nice effort, but I can't build chromium nor firefox on my poor PC. ;-)

See https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=198763

Update (2016-01-11)

An Inox ebuild is available at prism-overlay. Or you can get it from zugaina.org. It's up-to-date as of today.
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Last edited by teika on Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Princess Nell
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been meaning to work through https://airvpn.org/topic/15769-how-to-harden-firefox-extreme-edition/, it is quite extensive.

At least there is a way to control ff's behaviour through configuration, unlike chrome/chromium.
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teika
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to see that as a firefox(-bin) user. But it might be better to do it in the source side, since about:config options do change from time to time.

In fact, instead of patching the source itself, you can hack omni.ja (installed under /opt/firefox), which is a simple zip file despite of its disguise, comprising js(m), and others like xul, css. Perhaps you could transfer your work to a patch against (unzipped) omni.ja. Then it will automatically detect obsolete parts. (I know, it's really a demanding task to keep it up to date.)

BTW this probably won't work:
$ zip -u omni.ja files...
The only way I know is to make a whole new archive again.
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teika
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An up-to-date Inox ebuild is available at prism-overlay. Or you can get it from zugaina.org. Thanks, contributor.
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Perfect Gentleman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

inox from my overlay is more up-to-date, has vaapi patch and no re-branding
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Princess Nell
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And where might one find your overlay, Perfect Gentleman? No hint even in the archlinux forum thread :)
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Spyware/Advertising-free fork of firefox? Reply with quote

Apheus wrote:


However, there are other problematic features default-enabled in firefox (pocket?), and problematic decisions of mozilla lately. I would suggest keeping an eye on the "palemoon" project. I have read somewhere that there is an overlay with palemoon already. One day, it might end up in official portage.


Palemoon overlay https://github.com/deuiore/palemoon-overlay It's a big build requiring 12G of memory or swap.

My own unofficial binary ebuild (downloads the official palemoon binary and incorporates it into portage) /usr/local/portage/www-client/palemoon-bin/palemoon-bin-25.8.1.ebuild is here: http://dpaste.com/1T5YV49 As I say, it is unofficial, not sanctioned by Moonchild Productions or Gentoo. But read it. It just automates downloading from Palemoon's official site and symlinks the binary from /opt to /usr/bin besides putting that binary into the portage system. So far, I only have to copy and rename it for updates. The tarball contains libraries that I have placed in the same /opt location. I haven't experimented using the system binaries. Feel free to modify the ebuild to do so, test and, please, report back.

I just did a fossamail-bin today. It was harder and I have just started to test it. We're going to need something to replace T-bird very soon.
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Perfect Gentleman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Princess Nell, here
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Princess Nell
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, I'm looking forward to trying it over the weekend.
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