Waterfox open source web browser sold to System1 ad company that also bought Startpage
The developer behind the open source, Mozilla Gecko-built web browser Waterfox has announced that the web browser has been acquired by advertising and search syndication firm System1.
In a blog post announcing and detailing the acquisition, Waterfox developer Alex Kontos gave a summarized history of Waterfox's development and the positive aspects that drove his decision to letting System1 buy the browser. This acquisition, completed on Christmas Day 2019, means that Waterfox can grow and its sole developer can take some much needed rest.
Kontos says the following in regards to Waterfox's stance on privacy:
"I never wanted Waterfox to be a part of the hyper-privacy community. It would just feel like standards that would be impossible to uphold, especially for something such as a web browser on the internet. Throughout the years people have always asked about Waterfox and privacy, and if they’ve ever wanted more than it can afford, I’ve always pushed them to use Tor. Waterfox was here for customisations and speed, with a good level of privacy."
According to Kontos, Waterfox is meant to strike a balance between respecting privacy and not impeding the web's usability. This is reportedly not changing following its acquisition by System1. Kontos concluded his announcement post with this statement:
"Unfortunately it seems a lot of people have been making up scenarios of what’s going to happen to Waterfox (and essentially everything they’ve been mentioning is - from what I know - illegal under UK and EU law, the jurisdiction Waterfox is under). I’m not here to change their minds; their extrapolation of what Waterfox was is up to them - but now I can finally focus on making Waterfox into a viable alternative to the big browsers."
Due to being bought out by a data analytics company, it makes sense if you're now looking for privacy-respecting alternatives to the Gecko engine-based Waterfox. You can see what fellow AlternativeTo users have to say about open source web browsing alternatives available here.