Iceweasel-UXP is a browser application built on the Unified XUL Platform.
Historically, Iceweasel was a re-branding of Mozilla Firefox by the Debian project, with minimal modifications, in order to resolve branding disputes. Debian since discontinued Iceweasel in February of 2017 after reaching an agreement with Mozilla over the use of it's trademark.
The Hyperbola Team continued the Iceweasel branding in the spirit of cultural freedom for several months. However, inconsistencies were discovered, including the use of non-free fonts in Debian's Iceweasel logo. Since Debian no longer supported Iceweasel and was encouraging users to install Mozilla Firefox Quantum, we decided to look into creating a proper fork.
After an in-depth review, it was determined that Firefox Quantum contained numerous privacy, freedom, and trademark issues, in addition to an ever expanding Google Chromium code base which breaks compatibility with previous versions. The code not only contains, but encourages the user to use numerous non-free online services, known as SaaSS (Service as a Software Substitute). We knew that we had to preserve the original code base prior to Firefox 60's drastic web-engine changes in order to preserve user-choice, privacy, and freedom.
As such, Iceweasel-UXP was born. We began by reviewing the Basilisk application and did code-level modifications resulting in our own branding and unique features. Basilisk in turn, is a hard-fork of Firefox 52 with multiple security and privacy improvements.
We made sure that our new application contains only free artwork, that it is free of trademark disputes, and that it is free of all known freedom issues. It is a powerful, extensible web browser with support for modern web application technologies as well as legacy addons. We actively share and contribute back to UXP in order to help both projects succeed in creating a better Internet for the user. Unlike previous Iceweasel versions, Iceweasel-UXP is not just a rebranding of Firefox. It contains a new browser engine and has it's own codebase. You can review the current application on iceweasel-uxp.git.
About the name
Historically, Debian branding used the name "Iceweasel“, whereas FSF created a separate project called “GNU IceWeasel” which was later renamed to GNU IceCat to avoid branding confusion. As Iceweasel-UXP is based on the branding from Debian, we use the proper name of Iceweasel in the application.
Iceweasel-UXP application is different from previous Iceweasel versions.
Rather than patching in place, we did many actual code modifications that resulted in our own stand-alone application built on top of the UXP platform.
A few examples and important notes:
- base/jar.mn contains our ”base/content“ file for GUI modifications (HTML/XHTML/etc.)
- locales/jar.mn contains our ”en-US/chrome/overrides/“ these are translation specific DTD files.
- Many path fixes were made in mozbuilds and themes due to moving the /browser to application/
- PDFJS, UITour, and other modules, were removed as they are not needed for functionality and increase the attack surface.