Roaming the open (source) plains

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Vivaldi’s mobile browser and email client. If you haven’t guessed already, I like to have alternatives to tinker with.

I like to support Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) like Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird programs. I think it’s important to have access to programs base code, so that people (far more knowledgeable than me about programming) can look through the code and look for security holes and to make sure companies aren’t exploiting user data.

The fact that they’re free doesn’t hurt any either. I’m not made of money, after all…

It’s nice to know that there are alternatives to mainstream software out there and that people love the projects enough that they’re willing to spend time and effort into making them better. I think it also helps keep proprietary software in check somewhat. If a free alternative can do the same or similar job as an expensive piece of technology, it makes it easier for more users to create and distribute their own work. It may also help keep prices for proprietary works lower (though I’m no sure how effective that is as a whole).

That’s not to say that I won’t use proprietary software. I love me some video games. I also understand that companies want to be compensated for their hard work and time spent in research and development.

What does this have to do with my original statement?

Well, Vivaldi seems to live in both worlds a little. Source code for much of the browser is based on Chromium (which is open source) and is available online (older versions, it loks like, are available here https://vivaldi.com/source/).

I’m okay with not every scrap of code being available to look through. I wouldn’t know what to do with it all if I had access to it anyway. I was trained as a chemist and educator, not a computer scientist.

Firefox runs really well on desktop and… it runs on Android. I installed an extension that will allow me to fake my user agent to see if that speeds things up any. So I’m definitely excited about a new candidate as my primary mobile browser. I’m a little concerned that I’ll be bombarded with advertising though, as it’s been reported that there will not be an ad-blocker available (https://www.cnet.com/news/vivaldi-mobile-browser-due-in-2019-but-no-ad-blocking/#).

On mobile, it’s not just about tracking, but page loading speed and not using so much mobile data. I’d also love to be able to log into Facebook Messenger through their mobile site. Right now, the only browser that lets me do that is Opera Mobile. The only work arounds I’ve found are to load the desktop page (the text is too small to be useful) or to log into their really basic mobile page, designed for feature phones (https://mbasic.facebook.com if you’re curious).

I’m trying to stay clear of downloading a ton of apps.

For the email client, I’ve been happy enough with Thunderbird, but I’d love to see an email client built into the browser, like Opera’s earlier browsers (version 12 and earlier) or Seamonkey (which doesn’t update all that frequently anymore). It would be really nice if all of my login information and accounts were synced up. That would save me a ton of time when I distrohop.

Do I wish that Vivaldi was open source?… Maybe a little bit. Is that going to stop me from using it?… No, not really. But I will continue to bounce back and forth between Vivaldi and Firefox for the time being.

Especially until Vivaldi is still working on their mobile browser and email clients.

2 thoughts on “Roaming the open (source) plains”

  1. As another who is not a computer scientist or professional programmer FOSS is neither here nor there for me.
    As you mention open source is nice but how many of those open source projects have actually been audited?
    Also free is nice but the majority are asking for support. Why? because they need it. These developers need to be compensated for their time and effort regardless of what they are developing (you mentioned it yourself).
    If Vivaldi can support itself with its current model, wonderful. If at some time that changes, well so be it, after all it is a business.
    I am also awaiting the Android/mobile version and am hoping we will be able to download the APK directly from their site for my Fire OS device. I have been using FF Focus, but it is limited, not supported and not all functions work.

    1. I try to support the FOSS projects I care about by recommending them to others and by keeping abreast of news. I don’ate when I can, which isn’t as often as I’d like.

      I’m also looking forward to trying out Vivaldi Mobile. I’ve been rotating through Opera Mobile (for the speed and adblocking), Firefox Focus (for when I don’t care about saving my searches), and Firefox Mobile (which is terribly slow and has poor responsiveness but has extensions). I’m a little disappointed by the CNet story stating that Vivaldi Mobile won’t have adblocking. That’s a big detractor for me.

      Thank you for reading and responding! It’s heartening to know that people are taking the time to see what I wrote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *