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Waterfox is a free, 64-bit open source browser based on Mozilla Firefox. It aims to be fast and focus on power users. No plugin whitelist and no data sent back to Mozilla or Waterfox project.
There is no 32-bit version, only 64-bit available as a setup and portable version.
A Streamlined 64-bit Browser
Waterfox is the brainchild of software developer Alex Kontos, who started building this program in 2011 when he was just 16 years old. At the time 64 bit operating systems were becoming more popular with mainstream users, and Alex was frustrated with the way 32-bit browsers worked on a 64-bit system.
Even though 64 bit operating systems could process a lot more information more quickly, 32-bit browsers worked slower on 64 bit systems than they did on 32 bit systems. Using Mozilla's open source software, he created a 64-bit version of Firefox to increase the speed of the browsing experience. Waterfox was one of the first 64 bit browsers widely available on the web and has had a loyal following ever since. By comparison, Mozilla has only just recently released the 64-bit version of Firefox, in December of 2015.
MrAlex94, as he is now known on Reddit, originally started the Waterfox project only looking to increase speed. However, the Waterfox project's current focus is user experience and power of choice. This can be seen in many features exclusive to the program:
Instead of using Google, Yahoo, or one of the other major search engines which make a profit by tracking your browsing habits, Waterfox partners with the search firm Ecosia. Ecosia is a self-described social business who put the well-being of people and the environment before profit. The ad revenue generated by Ecosia is used to plant trees.
Waterfox has no plug-in whitelist or blacklist. This means that the user can install any plug-in, add-on, or extension they want, even unsigned ones.
The Waterfox project is also dedicated to the safety of the user's data, and so the Waterfox browser does not collect any data or telemetry information to send back to either Mozilla or the Waterfox project.
As far as user experience goes, Waterfox operates very much like Firefox. Any user who is familiar with the Firefox browser should find the interface nearly identical. In fact, the only noticeable difference is the branding. Waterfox also includes all of Firefox's standard enhancements and security options such as private browsing, spellcheck, and tab functionality. It remains entirely open source and customizable to fit each user's needs.
Where Waterfox differs from Firefox, aside from the user-empowering points listed above, is that it has additional functionality for those users who are familiar with web development. In addition to being compiled by Intel's C++ compiler, which optimizes speed, there are a number of tools available such as a debugger and style editor.
Waterfox has gone through many revisions and updates to keep it current. The most recent version released is Waterfox 46.0, which was just made available in April of 2016. The response to this newest version has been lukewarm at best, and many users are choosing to stay with an older version while the bugs are worked out.
Version 46.0 is the first to use the Visual C++ compiler, due to some problems with Intel's compiler, which may account for some of the challenges. Despite this, though, Waterfox is still considered to be an excellent browser for 64-bit users, who are anxiously awaiting the next version.