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Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple Safari

Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.

There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.

macOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.

In 2020, Apple began the Apple silicon transition, using self-designed, 64-bit ARM-based Apple M1 processors on new Mac computers. Maybe it’s the perfect time to move away from the proprietary world of Apple, and embrace the open source Linux scene.

Apple Safari Safari is a graphical web browser. It is primarily based on open-source software properties, and mainly WebKit.

However, this freeware browser is not available for Linux. What are the best free and open source alternatives?

Fortunately, there are tons of open source web browsers available for Linux.


1. Tor Browser

Tor Browser
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While there’s lots to like about many Linux web browsers, we recommend that you install Tor Browser. This web browser lets you avoid surveillance, tracking, and censorship.

Tor Browser really does offer an extremely private browsing experience preventing websites from “fingerprinting” you. The software doesn’t keep any browsing history, and cookies are only valid for a single session. There’s multi-layer encryption to boot.

None of this would mean anything if the web browser itself didn’t offer all the essential features. It does!


2. Firefox

Firefox
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If you want a more mainstream alternative, we’re strong admirers of Firefox, software developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

Firefox offers a good set of functionality including essentials like tabbed browsing, spell checking, incremental search, live bookmarking, Smart Bookmarks, private browsing, and an integrated search system. Private Browsing deletes cookie data when you close the browser window and doesn’t track your browsing data.

As an open source project, transparency and openness are an essential part of their founding principles.

Firefox is at the core of most privacy-focused browsers.


3. Pale Moon

Pale Moon
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Pale Moon is originally a fork of Firefox with substantial divergence particularly in its user interface, add-on support, and always runs in single-process mode.

Pale Moon is based on a different layout engine to Gecko-based browsers like Firefox. It uses Goanna, an optimized layout and rendering browser engine.

This privacy-aware web browser offers additional security features.

And it offers its own add-on ecosystem built on time-tested technologies such as XUL (plus JS and CSS) and XPCOM.


4. Waterfox

Waterfox
Click image for full size

We also recommend Waterfox. One of its central planks is its ethical nature. It’s based on Firefox and uses Firefox’s browser engine.

Waterfox does not collect any telemetry, meaning you do not have to worry about any tracking or usage information about what you do inside your browser.

The only thing that Waterfox sends back is your OS and browser version to check for updates to various components.

The browser is focused on power users, which lets you make the important decisions. System1, an advertising company, acquired Waterfox in 2019.


5. Chromium

Google sponsor Chromium, a free and open source software project. While Chromium is a solid browser there’s significant privacy concerns.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Apple's Products
Apple BonjourBonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.
Apple Boot CampBoot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.
Apple CalendarCalendar is a personal calendar app supporting multiple accounts, colour code work, family and personal events, event support, as well as calendar invitations.
Apple ChessChess is a traditional chess game played on a well rendered board with a set of realistic 3-D pieces. It's actually a Unix-based chess program, Sjeng.
Apple CompressorCompressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.
Apple DictionaryDictionary is a small utility that lets users easily get definitions of words and phrases from a variety of sources.
Apple Disk UtilityDisk Utility is a system utility for performing disk and disk volume-related tasks on macOS.
Apple FaceTimeFaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.
Apple FileMakerFileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.
Apple Final Cut ProFinal Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.
Apple GarageBandGarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.
Apple NumbersKeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.
Apple Logic ProLogic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.
Apple MailMail is a simple email client offering the ability to send, receive, and view email with good organizing capabilities.
Apple MainStageMainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.
Apple MapsMaps is a web mapping service that's available in over 200 regions around the world offering curated guides.
Apple MessagesMessages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.
Apple MotionMotion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.
Apple NotesNotes is a notetaking app designed to jot down quick thoughts or to save longer notes filled with checklists, images, web links, scanned documents, handwritten notes, or sketches.
Apple NumbersNumbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.
Apple PagesPages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.
Apple Photo BoothPhoto Booth takes photos and videos with an iSight camera. iSight is a brand name used by Apple to refer to cameras on various devices.
Apple PhotosPhotos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.
Apple PreviewPreview is more than just an image viewer. The software provides a full set of markup tools. And it's a PDF editor.
Apple RemindersReminders is a task management program that allows users to create lists and set notifications.
Apple SafariSafari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.
Apple ScreenshotScreenshot lets you take a screenshot of the entire screen, a portion of it, or an open window.
Apple ShazamShazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.
Apple StickiesStickies is a small utility that lets users keep notes, lists and pictures in sticky notes on the desktop.
Apple StocksStocks lets you view stock quotes, interactive historical data charts and current breaking business news.
Apple System InformationSystem Information provides a system report containing detailed information about a Mac including its hardware specifications, networking interfaces, and installed software.
Apple TerminalTerminal provides a command line interface to control the UNIX-based operating system that lurks below macOS.
Apple VoiceOverVoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.
XcodeXcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging. It supports source code for many programming languages including Swift, C, C++, Python, Ruby and more.
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