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Re: If FOSS isn't your number one concern, why use IceCat?

From: Mark H Weaver
Subject: Re: If FOSS isn't your number one concern, why use IceCat?
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:34:49 -0500

Hi Philip,

Haniho Dude <address@hidden> wrote:
> This is indeed great news; it fully addresses the original concern that
> made me ask my questions.  However, it does not answer the questions
> themselves:
>   * Other than the components that exist only to make IceCat FOSS and
>     the addons that any Firefox user can obtain, what does IceCat offer
>     that cannot be obtained by using a privacy-hardened user.js file?

I'm not yet able to give a proper answer to this question, as I'm
currently familiarizing myself with the privacy issues in Firefox and
studying the relevant source code.  I can tell you that I do not intend
to limit myself to reading existing privacy guides and changing default
settings (as in data/settings.js).  Where appropriate, I will patch the
source code itself.  For example, I've already added code to the
IceCat-68 preview to expose more privacy settings in a user-friendly way
within <about:preferences>, and I intend to do more of that,
e.g. exposing DNS-over-HTTPS configuration there.

I may also modify the code to add support for new low-level settings
that don't yet exist within <about:config>.  For example, at present, I
believe there's no way to allow JavaScript to know your local time zone
without disabling "privacy.resistFingerprinting" entirely.  So, we
currently have this one option that covers a great many things, and I'd
like to allow more fine-grained control.  That's not something that can
be done in user.js as far as I know.

I'm only just beginning to dig into the issues and study the code, but I
expect that over time IceCat will not only have better default settings,
but allow better configuration of your desired tradeoffs between privacy
and functionality.


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