Firefox Focus, and Firefox general

icecat
fennec
firefox
mozilla

#1

Just found that Mozilla released a new version of Firefox for Android called Firefox Focus, with focus on being better at protecting user privacy.

What would it take to get Firefox Focus into F-Droid, is it feasible?

I understand that there are some major issues with Firefox inclusion but I do not know the details or the current status. Has the way Mozilla has decided to take the project (blobs from untrusted third parties, inclusion of non-free add-ons etc.) simply taken it too far away from the ideals of freedom that F-Droid is based upon so that inclusion is simply not possible without a major rewrite or are the issues more practical with a complicated and cumbersome building process that would require huge amounts of work to include and maintenance to keep up?

Edit: Here is their blog post about the release:

https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/06/20/firefox-focus-new-to-android-blocks-annoying-ads-and-protects-your-privacy/

By using words like “consumer” I’m guessing their focus is not on freedom.

I wonder what the way forward is when it comes to a browser that is free as in freedom, what is the most promising project today?


#2

What? Wikipedia says it is https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_for_iOS
. Would you give more links on the topic?


#3

Yes, I guess Wikipedia is not yet updated. It used to be iOS only but they released it today for Android. I’ve included a link in the edit above.


#4

Interesting indeed.
I wonder if the source is available


#5

Seems the answer is yes: https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-android


#6

Requires non-free libaries:


#7

Thanks, Hans.

Includes AARs:

https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-android/blob/master/app/libs/geckoview-latest.aar
https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-android/blob/master/app/libs/telemetry-2b0baee.aar

and a proprietary library: com.google.android.gms:play-services-analytics.

Privacy-focused browser that spies on you. What an irony.

Depressing. At the very least it needs to be carefully deloused.


#8

Firefox Focus is designed on purpose to not be a browser that a person can use as their daily driver. For example, it has no control over cookies or JavaScript. It has no ability to print. It has no bookmarks, no history, and no tabs. It includes an ad blocker, an analytic blocker, a social tracker blocker, an an “other content tracker” blocker (these are all good things). It has the ability to block web fonts. And there is a trash button that wipes out everything and closes the browser. Most importantly, it has an “Open with Firefox” button, which lets you switch to Firefox as soon as you can’t do what you need to do with Firefox Focus.

If Mozilla really cared about user privacy, they would include all the blockers in their main Firefox app and enable them by default. And as already has been pointed out, it includes Google Play Services, which can be used to spy on the user. https://gitlab.com/fdroid/rfp/issues/171. It also has a “run at startup” permission!

It is also comical to me that Firefox Focus does not use Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, but rather Android’s WebView, which is based on Google’s Blink (used in Chrome).


#9

A cursory check of their Github issues seems to indicate that the binaries could be built as well: https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-android/issues/795

Unsure if this would enable one to skip Play Services, however. (Tempted to try!)


#11

I think the post by @joeroot is spam (based on the link). Does anyone have permissions to remove it?


#12

Thanks @sorenstoutner. I was actually prompted to review that post before letting it be published. I read the paragraph which seemed fine, but didn’t notice the spammy links at the bottom. Removed now.


#13

Anyone know how different Firefox Klar is from Firefox Focus? Klar is already included in F-Droid, so I guess it doesn’t include the proprietary bits that Focus does.


#14

It’s the same thing, it’s called Klar only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/difference-between-firefox-focus-and-firefox-klar


#15

I looked at Firefox Focus, and it included proprietary GMS libs. I
assumbed that Klar did not, since it looks like those are not being
removed in the build. GMS libs should trigger the automatic scanner.


#16

Any particular reason why the package is named Klar on F-droid? This is the name only some few specific countries, so this is probably confusing for people who are looking for Firefox Focus to install from F-droid.


#17

Focus and Klar both include user tracking, but in a slightly different way:

  • in Focus, the tracking is opt-out
  • in Klar, the tracking is opt-in

Its called Klar in F-Droid because we build it to have opt-in tracking
(or maybe even entirely removed)


#18

Thanks for the clarification. That makes sense I guess.

FWIW, it’s not User Tracking. It’s explained here in detail, but I understand the decision.


#19

What about the Waterfox (firefox flavor) for Android?

Waterfox is an open-source web browser based on Mozilla Firefox

https://www.waterfoxproject.org/downloads
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterfox


#20

What makes it better then Fennec F-Droid (Browse the web) -
https://f-droid.org/app/org.mozilla.fennec_fdroid
?


#21

@Ildar,
On the one hand, Fennec in F-droid says that requires “Android 5.0 or newer” whereas Waterfox works in Android 4 Jelly Bean.
On the other hand, Waterfox supports the XUL/XPCOM extensions/addons where Firefox is removing the support of old addons in favor to new webextensions.