Between my years in IT, the tech trends I’ve seen, and those I’ve bought into, the single most disappointing technology I’ve used is the Waterfox browser. It was OK at first, but after a few months, it went downhill, though I must admit that Waterfox is still the best and fastest option available for users of 64-bit systems.
What is Waterfox?
“About Waterfox” explains that, “Waterfox is a high performance browser based on the Mozilla Firefox source code.” The page also states that the developer, known simply as, “Alex K.” built Waterfox for 64-bit computer users with speed in mind. Waterfox is billed as the solution to the “Firefox 64-bit problem by BetaNews,” and others.
What is the 64-bit Firefox Problem?
The problem is the lack of a native 64-bit Firefox variant for 64-bit computer users. This is compounded by Mozilla’s Support Forum Administrator claims that Firefox, a native 32-bit application, is compatible with and will run on 64-bit systems the same way that it runs on 32-bit systems. It doesn’t.
I know the truth, and so do the hundreds of Firefox users in those support forums, as do users of the unofficial 64-bit Firefox variant Pale Moon or Nightly, a developer build (not for public consumption). We all know that the 32-bit Firefox browser simply isn’t robust enough for 64-bit users. It certainly isn’t robust enough for “power users” like me, or for users who do more than read a simple webpage and have more than five tabs open with their browser.
Why I installed Waterfox
I upgraded to a computer with a 64-bit processor in 2011, and Firefox immediately started acting weird. It worked OK when a couple of tabs were open, but opening more than five tabs, or using “Protect Tab” or “Lock Tab” caused Firefox to freeze and display the dreaded, “Firefox (Not Responding)” error in the title bar.
After trying everything I could to fix the problem including upgrading Firefox, disabling plug ins by starting Firefox in Safe Mode, and finally uninstalling and then reinstalling Firefox, I decided there had to be a better solution. I did some research and found Waterfox; I immediately installed it.
My “Waterfox Problem”
I fell in love with Waterfox and vowed never to go back. Then about four months ago, I have since become completely disappointed, almost infuriated, with Waterfox. Just when I thought things were better, the developer of my beloved Waterfox didn’t release version 17 – causing the browser to become quickly outdated, which caused plug in compatibility problems and general bugginess.
Alex finally released Waterfox version 18 in January 2013, skipping 17 altogether, and I happily updated. That was when it started freezing like Firefox did before I switched.
The same browser that promised permanent relief from the never-ending lagging, freezing, and hair pulling stress froze. Then it froze again, and kept on freezing, even after updating the plug ins, starting in safe mode, uninstalling KB2670838 (a user’s suggestion), and even reinstalling Waterfox. I’ve had to open the Task Manager, end the Waterfox.exe process, and restart the browser, just for it to happen again.
A Firefox Addict
Hi, my name is JC, and I’m a Firefox addict. I opened 47 tabs writing this, and had to restart the browser six times trying to publish it, which took almost three hours to do. I will, however, continue to use Waterfox until Mozilla makes up its mind whether it will develop an official, supported 64-bit Firefox version or not, or until something better comes along, which won’t happen any time soon.