Firefox Vs Brave: Best Open Source browser?
Photo Credits: Brave/Promo
For a long time, Firefox was the gold standard for Open Source web browsers; however, in recent years, a strong competitor has emerged, Brave, which is progressively gaining popularity and threatens to dethrone Mozilla's product.
Brave's development has sparked debate among Firefox users, as users and enthusiasts of the Mozilla browser accuse Brave of being a "mole" for Google because it is based on Chromium.
Aside from Apple's Safari and several WebKit browsers that have not received much attention for a long time, Firefox has remained the only great alternative to the technology advocated by Google and adopted by many others, including Opera and Microsoft.
Given that Firefox is losing users, some of whom are transferring to Brave, we'll take this chance to compare both browsers from different viewpoints, but first, we'll explain what they are and what they offer.
Mozilla Firefox does not require an introduction at this point.
For a long time, the browser was the go-to option for individuals looking for an Open Source product that at the very least provided some privacy protection and adhered to web standards.
Many years ago, Firefox emerged as the excellent alternative to Microsoft's infamous Internet Explorer, which was highly condemned during all or almost all of its lifetime due to its persistent security problems and for going overboard with standards. Those were different times, and the corporation from Redmond stood out for despising everything that smacked of standards and openness, a posture that led it to declare itself an enemy of Linux and free software.
Firefox, which was born as a result of the release of the Netscape source code, set out to change the course of a web that was increasingly subject to Microsoft's and, to a lesser extent, Micromedia's impositions via Flash. In addition to the availability of the source code, Firefox's devotion to standards earned it a large following among open source supporters and web developers, to which the product's high quality was added.
However, beginning in the second decade of the twenty-first century, things began to change. Google has already promoted Chromium and Chrome, the latter of which was a fork of the former. Chromium is Chrome's technological underpinning and a full browser released as free software, whereas Chrome is a proprietary version made possible by the liberal three-clause BSD license.
Beyond the privacy debates, it is undeniable that Chromium and Chrome enabled the good use of existing technologies, such as multi-core processors, and were the great battering rams to consolidate HTML5 against Flash, particularly because of its multimedia capabilities were clearly superior to those of Firefox and Internet Explorer. In fact, they weren't superseded until the original Edge appeared first, followed by the Chromium-based Edge.
For whatever reason, Mozilla did not respond in time to the storm that Google had created, which, aside from having Chrome as a primary benchmark, was beginning to attract more and more alternative projects, like Opera (which decided to get rid of its own engine), Vivaldi, and Brave. Chromium was gaining ground on Firefox, and Mozilla was promising to reply with a Servo that it eventually dropped.
In short, Mozilla Firefox fell more than five years behind its immediate competitor, both in free and paid versions. Staying more than five years behind is almost always synonymous with death in the world of computing unless you have the luck that AMD had against Intel due to the latter falling asleep, stagnating, and giving it's rival a chance to overcome, in addition to having opened the door for Apple to get rid of its processors.
Nowadays, Firefox is still a good browser with interesting features, such as containers that allow you to open multiple sessions on the same website (which requires the installation of an extension), but it crashes against Chromium in the most basic of a web browser, which is web browsing itself.
It is an odd web browser that allows the user to earn money in exchange for viewing advertisements on websites, an innovative idea that, practically, cannot be used to make a life (at least for now). This technique operates using Brave's own cryptocurrency, which has garnered some criticism from privacy activists, however, the user is free to choose whether or not to utilize it. Users can buy and pay with the same cryptocurrency to donate to websites that accept it, in addition to receiving compensation.
The fact that it is based on Chromium causes a lot of rejection among the most ardent Firefox fans, especially Linux users, who, for the most part, do not want to see Google's technology even in paint. Brave, on the other hand, maybe the only significant Chromium derivative released as free software because its source code is licensed under the MPL license, which is also utilized by Firefox.
Brave, on the other hand, comes pre-installed with tracker blocking methods, providing pretty excellent privacy protection. The app's developers are also working to iron out some of the areas where Chromium appears to fall short.
Firefox Vs Brave: The graphical interface
Firefox currently has a very distinct aesthetic finish, which has long divided its users, who are divided between those who admire and those who condemn it. Critics say the tabs are too large and take up too much space, while supporters say it's more modern, cleaner, and brings order where there wasn't before. This server believes it is more suited to GNOME, a graphical interface for Linux, than to Windows and macOS.
Brave, for its part, more closely follows the design lines laid down by Chromium, which looks almost identical to Chrome. The tabs are lower (or thinner, depending on how you look), taking up less vertical space, and the user will see both the locker icon and the cryptocurrency icon by default.
One of the most criticized elements is that the menu appears overly cluttered, especially given that not all users are interested in the services provided by Brave, but in reality, it does not differ significantly from Chrome.
The experience you get with the corresponding rendering engines is the second easiest thing to "feel" after the graphical user interface. As most people who read us are presumably aware, there are significant disparities here, and, dare we say, they are at the basis of Firefox's present poor user quota predicament.
Firefox has long used Gecko, but in recent years it has been employing Quantum, a project that reflects the evolution and refinement of its own rendering technology in order to compete with the omnipresent Chrome.
Quantum was created with the goal of increasing Firefox's privacy and offering superior multi-threaded functionality, an area where Chromium dominated. While Quantum has improved the browser's performance and overall user experience, it does not appear to be able to stay up with Google's technologies.
Using Chromium to construct new browsers has become a popular resource since it provides many of the benefits found in Chrome. When compared to Firefox, the user notices faster web page loading, better font rendering, and a better multimedia experience, areas where Mozilla's browser used to lag significantly.
In short, both Firefox and Brave have very capable rendering engines, but the latter benefits from Google technology and the inertia of recent years, in which many websites are emerging that do not have good compatibility with Mozilla's browser, a circumstance influenced by Firefox's limited presence in business environments.
Privacy and Tracker Blocking Capability
This is possibly the most intriguing aspect of the article since, depending on the user's profile, Brave may be a better option for privacy than Firefox, and vice versa.
If you don't know how to configure a browser, Brave is a better option than Firefox when it comes to privacy because its default configuration is stronger, according to d3ward.
There is one thing that d3ward does not appear to monitor, and that is fingerprinting, a technique that collects data such as the browser, the hardware utilized, the resolution, and the installed fonts using HTML5 canvas or canvases and can produce a unique user profile.
Brave contains a user fingerprint randomization technique to improve tracking protection, which can be validated by running the Electronic Frontier Foundation test.
Along with everything else mentioned, Brave provides the user with a private window mode with Tor, which allows browsing through the Tor network, as the name implies. Of course, it is crucial to remember that Tor Browser normally does not encourage having the window maximized in order to avoid tracking the resolution utilized.
Firefox, on the other hand, starts from a lower place than Brave, or, to put it another way, it needs to tinker with it to provide good protection, albeit after taking specific procedures, according to the results acquired through d3ward, it arrives even to overtake his opponent.
Synchronization between different devices or operating systems (for example, if you have a dual boot with Windows and Linux) is a feature that has become common in browsers, but not everyone uses it, and some even despise it because they believe it violates the user's privacy by inviting them to upload things to the cloud.
However, regardless of the controversy surrounding synchronization services, it is apparent that they are really useful, especially if you want to have the same data on all of the operating system instances you use.
Firefox and Brave both provide services to sync bookmarks, history, extensions, settings, passwords, and other items, with Brave's list being slightly longer. However, and despite the fact that both perform effectively, the activation processes are distinct.
Firefox employs the traditional setup, which consists of an account linked to an email address, which can be the user's preferred service (Outlook, Gmail, ProtonMail…). This requires you to remember a password in order to gain access.
Firefox's sync service remembers the settings from the most recently active device, so if a new device is added, the new device will default to the sync settings of the second-to-last device, offering a pretty consistent experience.
Brave, on the other hand, does not require a password and instead allows the user to construct a chain of connected devices via synchronization. If you want to add a PC (Windows, Linux, or Mac), the code consists of a phrase in English (which may or may not make sense) or a QR code for a smartphone or tablet that must be scanned with the camera.
Brave's technique does not require an email account to function, but this has the disadvantage that if all devices are lost, the sync chain cannot be retrieved and data is lost.
Although synchronization services are incredibly useful, we advocate using them with caution and not storing data through them arbitrarily. On the other hand, it is preferable to use a third-party password manager rather than the one offered by the browsers in order to avoid being linked to a certain web browser and to ease movement between them.
In addition to the programs themselves, it is critical to consider the operating systems supported by each of the two browsers.
This should not be a concern for Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS users, as both Firefox and Brave officially support all of these systems through normal techniques. However, everything changes when you come to Linux, where Firefox easily outperforms its competitor.
In the year 2022, Linux users still lack an official GUI mechanism for installing Brave, forcing them to rely on a console that should be replaceable for these operations. It also lacks formal support for ARM, and the Flatpak and Snap versions fall short of those offered by Deb and RPM (the "conventional" package formats).
On Linux, Firefox wins by a landslide because it supports ARM and has Snap and Flatpak packages that are at least functional, though at the level of integration they still lack certain features. In fact, no Chromium derivative has its browser published in the stable Flathub repository (except for the community Ungoogled Chromium), which has de facto centralized the distribution of Flatpak applications, so Linux is the only platform on which Firefox is ahead of its Chromium rivals, at least on some fronts.
Bottom line: Firefox outperforms all or most Chromium-based browsers.
Ultimately, whether to use Brave or Firefox is a matter of personal preference. The former stands out for having a better rendering engine and, ostensibly, offering a higher level of privacy in its default configuration, whereas the latter stands out for better multi-platform support and privacy-level possibilities that, at least on the surface, become higher overall after configuring certain things.
We obviously left out a lot of stuff, like the Mozilla VPN service, but our objective was to focus mostly on the functionality that both web browsers provide by default.