Vivaldi Browser Reviews

Comment by mts1715
about Vivaldi Browser · Apr 2017 ·

Great browser for job, especially when you work with many tabs (it's possible to make tabs in left side like in firefox, but vivaldi has chromium engine).

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Comment by CodeMouse92
about Vivaldi Browser · Apr 2017 ·

This is my favorite web browser - I can customize it to look and behave EXACTLY the way I want. It also has the best support of dark GTK themes (on Linux) of any browser I've ever used.

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Great design, but not open source. But better than Chrome.

about Vivaldi Browser and Chromium, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome · · 2 Helpful

Vivaldi has a fast, innovative and highly customizable design, which many people will like. Vivaldi is also entirely compatible with all Chrome extensions. Vivaldi has reached a level of stabiliy and maturity that it can be used as the main browser without any major issues. However, Vivaldi's interface and elaborate options might not suit beginners or people who prefer something simpler.

Vivaldi is not open source, and has fewer controls in general than does Firefox in its about:config settings.

The most prominent is the lack of privacy controls. For example, Firefox lets you switch off WebRTC, which can leak your IP address form behind a VPN network. In reality, this is several settings (see privacytools.io for detailed instructions). Vivaldi has simply one tickbox option for swtiching WebRTC on/off and it doesn't work (it's permanently on). This is a result of Vivaldi being based on Chromium (the same code that runs under the hood of Chrome).

Other things Firefox lets you do is switch off the options that let websites track what you're copy/pasting, geolocation, pings and the status of your laptop battery (again, instructions here). The Chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Vivaldi, Opera) don't offer this and this. Having said that, Vivaldi is likely to be considerably better for your online privacy than Chrome for other reasons. Unlike Google's Chrome, there is no reason at the moment to suppose that Vivaldi's creators make money by harvesting your online browsing habits to create profiles on its users exploited to target advertising. By contrast, Chrome records all your Google searches, IP address, websites you visit, videos you watch, etc. and ties it all to your Google account (emails, contacts, devices, locations) in a way you can never undo and which you'd never in a million years think is ok for a person to follow you around and collect for their own profit. In this respect, Vivaldi is far superior to Chrome.

Overall, I still recommend Firefox over Vivaldi, but Vivaldi over Chrome by a long margin.

I'd agree except that firefox is so sad these days. What happened? I know there is a fork that is faster that I am going to try next, but so happy to have Vivaldi. Chrome (google) is also slow. I'm surprised these guys managed to improve on it. The proprietary part is not a problem for me, nor is the privacy part, though obviously it should be fixed. The problem is that google itself is broken (sold-out, perhaps never was legit). The ppl at Vivaldi SHOULD use proprietary parts so they can have something better to offer customers that others can't just steal. I'm sure they make some money somewhere somehow, as they should.

Mozilla (the creators of Firefox) have made large strategic errors in the past, resulting in a loss of market share. These have included the time they wasted on FirefoxOS (now dead), incorporating features no-one asked for (Pocket and Hello), and annoying the entire community by forcing the upcoming switch to WebExtentions as the only addon API (coming in autumn 2017 with Firefox 56). However, - and despite all of that, Firefox is still open source (more trustworthy) and customizable than the other browsers by a country mile, including all the privacy settings I mentioned above. For-profit companies have a choice of business model, but the prevalent one chosen by the likes of Google (Chromium) is to create a centralized database of all your online activity. The model is that this information is used for profit via advertising, which is to say that under that scheme you, the user, are the product Google is selling to advertisers. Worse than that, all of this information is collected and collated, analyzed, not anonymous, shared with third parties and supboenad under the NSL and FISA legislation, which applies to US and non-US citizens. If you can see the moral problem with the Stasi, or any other unaccountable system that collects data on citizens, then you should be a thousandfold more concerned about this. The Stasi could not possibly have dreamt of an automated system for collecting everything about your contacts, the contents of all your communications, a digital record of your voice, your interests, purchases, music tastes, who you contact and when, what you keep in your notes and so on. The added danger of such systems, like Google's, is that you cannot erase this data once it is collected and you are unable to control where it will end up in the future. What will the law be in 20 years time? What will the government, or indeed any government under whose jurisdiction Google/Facebook/Twitter/Amazon or their parents operate require? And worse than that, if you communicate via Gmail with someone who didn't sign up to it, the content of their emails to you is also recorded analyzed and so on. As is the contact details of people on your Android/iPhone. Google is very explicit in its privacy policy that all of this information may be given over to other companies and to government agencies. What will that mean about who you are, how you behave, what you are able to defend/deny in the future. A lack of privacy in this sense is inherently hostile to the idea that private citizens can develop their thoughts and interactions without others knowing about the contents of those thoughts and interactions, which in turn means it's hostile to democracy, just for example. Which is exactly why every totalitarian system in history has attempted to compile information on its citizens. Google, which is doing it for profit, is amoral perhaps, but political power can force it to give that information up, which is a terrible consequence for everyone.

that is good stuff. And good reason to use 'iridium' instead, as the speed is the same. Too bad about the google 'design' that looks so bad, is so bad functionally. I will be using both. The information doesn't really bother me. It isn't that I don't care about privacy, I just realize that you can't fight the system. It is a fool's errand.
The problem with (whatever group name we call the anti-information-grabbers/sellers) is that like most 'good natured people', they don't really understand evil, aren't really able to counter it. Evil does evil just because it can, he/she/they can. They do it because they 'love' it. They do it because it makes them money. They do just enough so they don't get spanked to hard, and then they do a little more, and more, and so on.
The 'good' people really think they can just 'be good' and things will work out. Not true. Or take this example of the browser. They think that if they are just careful with their privacy that things will be ok for them. Innocent minds. If the evil ones can't get you directly, through your browser, they will just get you some other way. And meanwhile, the 'good ones' are thinking, 'ha, i fooled them, now they are stuck and I can eat my icecream in peace (or whatever)'. The good ones aren't going to be taking the fight to the evil ones because they just want to be good and want everyone to be good and 'just get along'. The evil ones say 'oh, sure, yeah, let's all get along', and then they steal your identity, or something else that is evil, like putting poison in your corn with gmo tech that then gets into the cows and finally into the milk that becomes your ice cream which you so blindly (the average 'good person') believe is 'good'.
The world is doomed to destruction at the hands of the evil ppl. ie armageddon. SHTF. no bunker will save you. (though the rich have the bunkers to beat all bunkers, as they plot the destruction of the world, muahahahah!)
At any rate... worrying about your music likes and google +1 clicks or facebook likes is just not a real problem to have, esp. when compared to the destruction of Yemen, Syria, and pretty much the whole world. All we are really waiting on is that one event that triggers the all-in move by the us and eu into the middle east, which will trigger russia and china, and boom.
Browser wars. Meh. Which browser can bend over farther for the corporations and totally suck?
If someone wants your information they will get it, assuming it is really worth something to them. If you stubbornly refuse to give it up, it is no thing to them. They have billions of others' information that makes yours irrelevant.
The vivaldi design outweighs the other considerations of open source and privacy, which are really rather immaterial.

I received an email containing a response to this thread but don't see it here. Anyway, it is a good response but still I am not convinced that any of it matters, except to those 'with something to hide', as they say. Certainly it is preferable to have privacy, so I will agree, except that I just like using Vivaldi more so it just doesn't matter enough for me to switch to Iridium, though I have it installed and use it as a secondary occasionally.
It is worth supporting Iridium and privacy in general to give the 'hackers' the ammunition they need to combat tyranny. I would not call Facebook and Apple tyrants but they are tools of the tyrants. Put simply, it is up to the individual to say no to them personally. There is nothing we can do to make that decision for someone else. We can encourage them and support privacy. I'm sure Vivaldi will be fixing any problems as fast as they can. I wouldn't use it for hacking, but for casual browsing it really isn't a problem.
Would you say that Vivaldi is on the side of the tyrants? Do you believe they will NOT fix their security problems?

Apologies: I posted a reply, then wanted to edit it, then stupidly deleted it and had to re-write. Here's that version. I hope it's roughly similar.


You appeared to dispute that protecting privacy is both impossible...

> It isn't that I don't care about privacy, I just realize that you can't fight the system. It is a fool's errand... If the evil ones can't get you directly, through your browser, they will just get you some other way.

...and unimportant:

> At any rate... worrying about your music likes and google +1 clicks or facebook likes is just not a real problem to have, esp. when compared to the destruction of Yemen, Syria, and pretty much the whole world.

Is reducing surveillance impossible?

Even ‘high-interest’ targets regularly evade surveillance – journalists, whistleblowers, etc. It’s obviously possible to keep a secret. Note there’s mass surveillance (Facebook, Google, NSA’s email collection, Chinese govt), and targeted surveillance by state agencies/powerful actors (expensive, time-consuming) on specific, high-interest people. The former relies on people being a) uninformed, b) disinterested in taking simple measures which would greatly reduce how much data is collected. (If I don’t give Google my photos, they don’t get them; they don’t send the NSA after me for them).

Simple measures to reduce mass surveillance (follow the links for more info):

Use a password manager (KeepassXC is best), cover up your webcam when not using it, use encrypted email like Protonmail, Tutanota or Mailbox.org instead of Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook. Use Qwant, Startpage or DuckDuckGo instead of Google, Yahoo or Bing (free; takes no time to switch). Use Firefox instead of Chrome/Maxthon and their derivatives (see here and here for why). Install some privacy-enhancing add-ons (free; takes 3 minutes), use & invite others to use Signal (free; open source, takes 2 minutes) to send encrypted text messages (easiest thing in the world; proven to prevent feds from spying on your texts), use Wire or Jitsi Meet instead of Skype (who record/store/share your calls). Use a VPN (click here to choose a good one) to prevent your ISP from spying/sharing/selling your browsing history, and switch to Linux (free, open source) to stop Microsoft (e.g. see here) and/or Apple (e.g. see here) knowing what you do on your computer.

All these are simple, cheap and effective measures to reduce the dangerous (to privacy and democracy) aggregation of data on normal people. And clearly, it’s possible. For most people, it will not even slightly affect their online/computer experience.

Is reducing online surveillance/protecting one’s privacy unimportant?

Democracy requires privacy (you didn’t dispute this), and privacy can be protected to a large extent by reducing mass surveillance because mass surveillance threatens it. Therefore it’s important.

But let’s use your chosen examples:

> google +1 clicks or facebook likes is just not a real problem to have, esp. when compared to the destruction of Yemen, Syria...

  1. Facebook likes can be used to profile race, sexuality, politics with huge accuracy to manipulate news and even emotions. That’s exactly the sort of data and control unaccountable regimes always likes/aims to have. esp. to control political opponents, dissidents, journalists, human rights activists. That includes totalitarian regimes in Syria and Yemen, China and elsewhere (see here for a country-by-country list). Facebook and its peers are creating a platform for the misuse of human rights; it only takes a change in political will or the law to force them to facilitate abuses. Yahoo, for example, willingly wrote code to aid the FBI in analyzing all their users' emails without telling either them or even their own security team. What were they looking for? When will that be used? Against whom? Can they keep that data safe from others? So no, it’s not an “unreal problem”. So, in contrast to what you say, the problem is real and without opposing it, we’re sleep-walking into a very bad situation.

  2. Syria and Yemen are complex situations. There, as in many other places, journalists, human rights activists, humanitarian workers, etc. need to be able to elude surveillance and censorship, transmit critically important info securely, etc. That’s made possible by development and support of, e.g. encryption technologies. Specifically for web browsers (how this discussion launched): Firefox is the basis of the Tor Browser – a key method for journalists and activists use to elude tracking and restrictions imposed by such regimes. Google’s Chromium/Chrome does nothing comparable. Similarly, encrypted Protonmail emails are readable to sender and recipient only and yield only garbled data that would be of no use even if their servers were hacked. That does a lot to protect journalism, for example. You can choose to support that and its development by paying for a Protonmail account (or similar) or you can agree that amoral bohemoths like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft should profit at the expense of your privacy (and of those you contact), as well as of future democracy by building up databases on everyone that are ripe for abuse.

So it’s neither true that you can’t do anything, that they’ll “get you” another way, or that this problem is decoupled from a lot with what’s wrong in the world. There’ll always be problems in human societies, but the “nothing can be done” attitude is both factually wrong and complicit. So which options do you want to maximize?

None of the hard-fought-for advantages Western societies have (women’s vote, black vote, child labor laws, car safety laws...) would have been possible with a defeatist attitude and selling out for the shiny thing “they” offer you. By contrast awareness does a lot. Had US black rights protesters known to use Signal, they’d have been more able to avoid their unjustified surveillance by the FBI. Using Tor and email encryption makes tracking vitally important communication for journalists, dissidents and activists harder to track. If you block ads online, you make that type of tracking less rewarding. And if you don’t upload me as your contact in Gmail and tag my face in a photo, Google don’t learn about me (and I didn’t agree to their privacy policy).

So please: if you’re reading this, do the few simple and largely free things you can to limit mass surveillance I listed above. It does actually make a difference.

can Vivaldi be helped? What can we do to secure Vivaldi? Should it not be used at all?

and thanks, good to know; i'll be looking into all that

>I just like using Vivaldi more so it just doesn't matter enough for me to switch to Iridium, though I have it installed and use it as a secondary occasionally.

This is the argument from being impressed with how shiny and lovely something looks. That's not really a good reason. As I explained above, far more trustworthy private alternatives will give you essentially the same browsing experience.

>Would you say that Vivaldi is on the side of the tyrants? Do you believe they will NOT fix their security problems?

Privacy and security are not the same thing. A Google account might be secure (no unauthorized access), but not private (Google read and parse everything anyone sends to you, your contacts, browsing history, geolocation...). It's in every internet company's interest to keep security high. That doesn't mean your privacy isn't being violated. However, confidence in both security and privacy increases drastically with open source software because everyone can have a look how it is put together and bug fixes can be detected and patched by a much wider group of people. For that reason, even people on Vivaldi's forums have been asking why on earth the thing isn't open sourced. Of course, Vivaldi want to make money.

So how do they do it?

We don't know and they don't have to tell you.

In such situations the facts are: 1) I don't know how they make money; 2) I don't know/have limited information about how secure they are; 3) they are offering me something shiny "for free" to tempt me to use their product.

I think it's obvious what a privacy-conscious and sceptical person would decide in light of those facts: stay away until they give you a better reason to trust them. It's not that there's a reason to think Vivaldi are malicious; there's just no good reason to trust them. In the same sense that you wouldn't randomly install any and every phone app you find that promises you something shiny and lovely "for free".

> I am not convinced that any of it matters, except to those 'with something to hide'.

""Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." - Edward Snowden.

And, btw, we all have something to hide. Otherwise, please post all your passwords online for us to see, take the blinds off all your windows and tell us every thought you have about anything, all of the time.

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