:: browser, firefox, waterfox

By: Maciej Barć

Time in Firefox

I love Firefox, it's reasonably secure, private, customizable, and most importantly it's different. In the world of Google's reign this is a big plus. You can be sure that the one spying on you will be at most Mozilla "anonymous data collection" ;P Recently with upgrade to version 68.8.0 I have experienced weird image artifacts: some favicons on tabs were replaced with white squares and random images would have artifacts on them. The whole YouTube website had pink & green distorted thumbnails. I have experienced this behavior on my T440 Thinkpad (Intel GPU) laptop and my desktop with Nvidia. I had posted this under a bug report of another user who experienced weird behavior on some websites with the 68.8.0 version of Firefox here. With update to 76.0.1 I was logged off from all the websites and my stylus themes got deleted (luckily i had a backup). The 76.0.1 searchabr is absolutely hideous, it feels like something made for a Windows tablet. The artifacts still remained on 76.0.1. So i decided to give Waterfox a shot.

Experience part 0

Lest talk about pre-experience; keep in mind that this is really not a good comparison. Waterfox in not available in the main gentoo repository, but using "eix -R Waterfox" I was able to find it in the poly-c overlay (overlays are similar to AUR in Arch). The only hiccup i had during compilation was to be expected. There is a problem with the "-fno-common" flag being turned on by default in GCC 10, so for some builds you have to turn "-fcommon" on. Other than that the compilation went smoothly, it took 37 minutes 43 seconds on first run which is ridiculous compared to Firefox which takes approximately 1 hour on my 4-core development machine.


I only want you to think of Chrome or Chromium - they are produced by the biggest advertising company in the world. So yes, Waterfox seems like a lesser evil, but you can always dive in and block any or all malicious connections with /etc/hosts and packet filters (yes i know this is not ideal). Lets confront some statements on spyware watchdog

Waterfox connects to spyware services when it is first run

Same as Firefox. It may not do that if you import your own profile (haven't tested that though).

Waterfox has a communication problem

I wanted to read the "policy" - link doesn't work - https://www.waterfox.net/en-US/privacy/waterfox/ Contents of the linked webpage:

<?xml version="1.0"?><updates></updates>


Waterfox "phones home" with information about your computer whenever you start it up

Quoting: "According to its privacy policy, Waterfox collects the following information by default:" "by default" is a important wording here.

Waterfox offers spyware search engines to its users and uses Bing as its default search engine

That is literally the first change I do on my browsers.

Waterfox sends all website notifications through Mozilla's servers

So does Firefox…

Waterfox is integrated into the "Firefox Accounts" spyware platform

You don't have to use it. With Waterfox I stopped to.

Waterfox is self updating software

It is not as much as Discord is. Discord as a example will refuse to connect to the server if its version is too low. You can still run outdated Waterfox if you wish to. Also those updates will be disabled if you use the ebuilds. This is mostly used only on Windows… and if you use your Windows you probably know what you signed up for.

So what?

I do not question the legitimacy of Spyware Watchdog's statements. I just compare them with my own habits and thoughts. For me Waterfox == Firefox spyware level. Keep in mind that Firefox introduced more questionable integrated services in new releases.

Small things that make me happy

I was very impressed to find some cool features in Waterfox:

  • it's menu is compatible "global menu" on KDE Plasma - i was very surprised by this; this thing is mostly sound on chromium-based applications (the damned electron) and QT applications
  • better theming - Waterfox uses the old Firefox theme by default with "smooth" tabs
  • most addons just work - uBlock Origin, Decentraleyes, Plasma Integration, Smart HTTPS, SpanTree - GitLab Tree and Stylus work fine
  • it's Firefox as you knew it; I missed the good old Firefox ;)
  • back-ported security settings - container tabs work!

Is this worth it?

Absolutely. In my opinion Waterfox is a great browser that I can live in. Maybe consider giving Waterfox a shot if you are not as much into security as Spyware Watchdog people are and want reasonable compromise.



:: linux, openrc, system, systemd

By: Maciej Barć

Init basic functions

Init should:

  • be the first started process - PID 1
  • continue running until the system is shut down

Why systemd is more than init

Full system management

systemd needs to run as PID 1 to parenthood other services and… other parts of itself (listed below).

sytemd absorbed

  • cron -> timers
  • seat tracker -> systemd-logind
  • service manager -> systemd-systemctl
  • udev -> systemd-udevd
  • system logger -> systemd-journald
  • network manager -> systemd-networkd
  • bootloader -> systemd-boot
  • hostname -> systemd-hostnamed
  • chroot -> systemd-nspawn
  • resolv.conf generator -> systemd-resolved

Additionally systemd is also

  • QR code generator
  • http server (cockpit)
  • home manager -> systemd-homed
  • tmp manager -> systemd-tmpfiles

Why it's bad

systemd growth to cover more and more of other services capabilities is dangerous. It can mean that if we find a exploit in one part of systemd it will be easy to compromise the whole system. Actually, there is a even bigger problem - most of the time a user would like to run a standalone service covering one of the uses already covered by systemd - like cronie or rsyslog.

But what about cgroups

Cgroups are nothing new, they are available in other service managers too. Check out cgroups in OpenRC.



Primarily used by Gentoo based systems. Was adopted to Devuan and Artix. Alpine Linux uses it probably because it started out as a Gentoo-based system. Is also available in Debian - though that will still use some systemd services, notably systemd-udevd.


Avalible in Void Linux - the recommended init for that system.

Pure System V init

Most popular use of this is found in old CentOS, Slackware, Antix and MX Linux.


Check out Devuan if you want to dive into this topic.

systemd + Emacs

One could think that because systemd and Emacs cover a lot of things - systemd - system management and emacs - user utilities - a fusion of two would be very good and will lack so-called bloat. There is one "problem" however - Emacs can be used also as a init! And that doesn't necessarily mean a lot more code being added. So i guess Emacs + Linux (kernel) is the way to go ;P

Was systemd a inside job?

Probably not - Microsoft made their own init for Azure because… systemd was to big… systemd is a history of what happens when everybody wants to be like the rest - adoption of systemd.

Is systemd the new busybox?

This is an interesting concept. There is one bad thing however - you can compile bysybox with any of its utilities and it will work - you can't do that with systemd, you will have to modify and fork it - like eudev and elogind projects

OpenRC prejudice

Many people think of OpenRC as a old SysVinit. I encourage you to check it out and see that most stuff you probably do with systemd you can get from OpenRC (service manager) + cronie (cron/timers) + htop/pstree (full description of system as opposed to "systemctl status")

Basic OpenRC vs systemd commands

OpenRC systemd ————————— ————————— rc-status -a systemctl status rc-service SERVICE start systemctl start SERVICE rc-service SERVICE stop systemctl stop SERVICE rc-update add SERVICE systemctl enable SERVICE rc-update del SERVICE systemctl disable SERVICE


Honorable Mentions


:: test

By: Maciej Barć


It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.