4 Firefox rebuilds feed the need for speed
Alternative builds bring speed optimizations and custom features to the Firefox coreFollow @syegulalp
Firefox remixes: Waterfox
Billed as the fastest 64-bit variant of Firefox, Waterfox is certainly snappy, although not dramatically faster than the 32-bit editions out there. Its most recent version is 10.0.2, keeping pace with Firefox itself.
As implied, Waterfox is 64-bit only -- there is no 32-bit version, so a 64-bit processor and OS are both mandatory. You'll need to install 64-bit editions of common plug-ins too, but Waterfox's maintainers have thoughtfully supplied direct-download links for each one from their downloads page. I was able to set up each of them -- Java, Flash, and Silverlight -- with no trouble.
If you already use Firefox, the first thing you're likely to notice about Waterfox is how it inherits your default Firefox profile. Launch Waterfox and you'll see your bookmarks and history already present. This sounds like a good idea, but I worry that running both Waterfox and Firefox off the same profile might risk corruption of profile data.
To that end, I booted Waterfox with the
-profilemanager switch and created a separate account. The maintainers of Waterfox deserve some credit for bringing attention to this issue, as there's a big warning on their site to this effect: "If you uninstall Waterfox make sure you don't have the remove personal data box ticked!" They do not, however, provide instructions for creating a separate profile, although that's not hard to unearth.
It's the lack of documentation, compared to what Pale Moon provides, that makes Waterfox a lesser choice. Its website is skimpy, with only the most basic information about how the product was built. Actual support for the product isn't even provided on the site itself, but rather through a thread in the Overclock.net forums. Then again, at least some degree of support is provided, which is more than I expected.
Waterfox's home page has relatively little technical information about the browser, but there is at least a support forum, albeit one maintained on a separate site.