Chromium and /e/

Hi @Manoj,

On Twitter you posted this:

Your tweet is a bit misleading I think, since the default browser for /e/ is Jelly isn’t it? /e/ didn’t change the default to Fennec did it?

Jelly is based on Chromium too, it uses the Android System Webview I think. The CNN article was explaining that the reduction in number of browser engines is a problem. ~70% of people use a browser that is based on Chromium and Google controls the Chromium project (sometimes with an iron fist, see the pull requests from other large organisations that it has blocked) so using /e/ does nothing to address the huge monopoly that Google now has on how people browse the web.

If /e/ really wants to take a stance on this it could replace Jelly with Fennec as the default browser and investigate the use of GeckoView instead of the standard Android Webview.

Cheers :slight_smile:


@madbilly nowhere does the tweet say that we are using Firefox in /e/ . The tweet clearly mentions the reduced scope in internet browsing options given that Microsoft is moving towards google products and as such the need to look for alternate options like /e/.

I installed Firefox Klar ( ) in /e/ and made it the default browser, for me personal it works better as the original default /e/ browser. Maybe it is just the feel of it, but I don’t need to use a search to find a website, as is needed in the default /e/ browser: typing in an url just doesn’t work, it is always searx.

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@manoj, I think you miss my point. The article you link is about the reduction in browsing options based on browsing engine. Jelly uses the Chromium browsing engine so it is_not_ offering any kind of alternative to Google in this context. With Microsoft’s decision to use Chromium there are effectively only two browser engines still in development - Chromium and Gecko. Google controls Chromium, so any browser which uses Chromium is to a certain extent controlled by Google. If you look at how Google controls Chromium sometimes and the non-standard features (like AMP) which they have pushed onto the world by using their monopolistic dominance of browser engines in the past… well this is only going to get worse in the future.

The /e/ project is supposed to be about leaving Google, Apple, etc. But keeping Jelly as the default means we’re still stuck with Google for internet browsing.

@pjmbraet I agree that Firefox Focus/Klar is a good, lightweight, privacy-focussed option. There’s also Firefox Lite which is officially only available in Indonesia I think but it’s easy to get the APK. Fennec on F-Droid is the full Firefox for Android with the tiny amount of proprietary stuff removed, but it still has full functionality (still works with Firefox Sync, for example).


@madbilly you have your view point and I will stick with mine.

@manoj, okay. I would still really like to understand why you think that /e/ using Jelly provides a non-Google alternative for browsing the web.


Chromium still exists as an independent Linux browser, it existed before Google started to “tamper” with it and is still availble without Google, as is the Cromium based Vivaldi-browser and others as Dooble: a browser wich is Google-free too. I didn’t find any Google in the default /e/ browser. Chromium is not a creation of Google, but I don’t like it because it wants to remember everything and you have to keep removing the browse history manually.

I am pretty sure that Chromium is a project which was started by Google, at least, all references I can find online confirm this. Other browsers are based on the Chromium project, which means they are limited in their freedom by what Google permits to be included in Chromium. At least, this is my understanding; as @Manoj quite correctly explained, we all have our individual points of view.

My point is that, in my opinion , Manoj’s tweet could be misleading to some people - /e/ includes Jelly, Jelly is based on Chromium, Chromium is controlled by Google, therefore /e/ isn’t free of Google. I can’t find Manoj’s tweet anymore so I presume you’ve removed it, Manoj?

Whether Jelly is free from Google is a mute point anyway, since /e/ is based on Android, and Android is controlled by Google! Considering this, I can accept Jelly being in /e/.

@Manoj, I’ve re-read my earlier posts and I realise that they could be interpreted as quite aggressive and provocative, please excuse me, I’ll try to phrase my feelings better in future.


@madbilly i have not removed the tweet. It is very much there. I will have the development team member get back to you on the intricacies of the /e/ browser. That will be a better option. We always welcome useful and helpful suggestions from users which help us make /e/ better and more secure.

Yes I can see it now, for some reason the link didn’t work earlier, please excuse me.

On the topic of browsers the team is discussing various options including Fennec and Bromite as the default on /e/ . De-googling it would definitely be the first priority before it is finally included in the future editions of the ROM. Additional suggestions are definitely welcome.


I agree and see your point.

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Thank you for the link to the CNN article. It well illustrates more reasons that efforts like /e/ are needed.

Regardless of how much power Google has over chromium, and regardless of what you think of Mozilla’s proprietary proclivities, Mozilla is the only meaningful alternative to Google’s near monopoly. Google is clearly a huge data magnet and Mozilla respects privacy more. On that basis, I vote that /e/ default to a gecko based browser in order to push against the monopoly, as long as it does not impede progress on the overall project.

I also think Firefox and it’s brethren generally provide a more pleasing user experience than chromium browser, so a win all around.


I would like to remind the extensions available for Fennec. uMatrix, uBlock origin, Decentraleyes, CanvasBlocker and certainly quite a few others greatly enhance privacy. With these in place and about:config edited Fennec is for example secured against “WebRTC leaks” (Firefox Klar is leaking).

Therefore I vote for Fennec with appropriate default settings as default browser.


Thanks for the suggestions.

I’m in support of using gecko based browser.
When we want to create a privacy oriented and de-googled OS, there is no point in creating browser based on engine which is influenced by google.
There are lots of browser in market based on google’s blink engine. Creating another one will just add one more to list and push google toward more monopoly and we all know that definitely it will not be in favour of internet privacy of consumers.


Personally, I like the Lightning browser. On a forum unrelated to /e/ I mentioned this in a discussion about Android browsers and got rather heavily down voted. Nobody on that forum bothered to say why they disliked Lightning so I wondered if anyone here had anything to say about it - good or bad. My experiences with it make me think it would be a good option as the default for /e/. Does anyone agree? Does anyone disagree? If the latter, please explain your objections. You might cause me to reassess my position and maybe stop using it.
Many thanks.


Check it out on F-Droid, tried to go to the website too (see screen-

And there are some issues:
It is a one person project, so it is understandable.

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I haven’t tried that but will look when I can. It is licensed under the MPL so does that mean it uses Gecko as the engine?

All software has bugs so I’m not too concerned about anything listed there (I haven’t experienced any of them) apart from the possibility that it’s no longer maintained. I had no problem accessing the website. It looks like the developer’s hosting company has blocked your IP address. If you have a dynamic address then it could be that a previous assignee has been up to no good. Or a device owned by a previous owner or yourself has a malware infection. It might be worth your time to do a scan on your devices to eliminate one possibility. Good luck.