Housekeeping #2488

[iceweasel] various issues related to branding

grizzlyuser - almost 3 years ago - . Updated 6 days ago.

% Done:



Please see the detailed description in the attached file.


iceweasel_new_tab_freedom_issues.txt (1.96 KB) iceweasel_new_tab_freedom_issues.txt grizzlyuser, 2019-09-13 12:08 PM
Iceweasel_new_tab_68.0.2.png (51 KB) Iceweasel_new_tab_68.0.2.png grizzlyuser, 2019-09-13 12:14 PM
Iceweasel_new_tab_69.0.png (146 KB) Iceweasel_new_tab_69.0.png grizzlyuser, 2019-09-13 12:14 PM
about-iceweasel-windows.png (59.4 KB) about-iceweasel-windows.png "About Iceweasel" window in the Windows version eliotime3000, 2020-04-09 02:52 AM
iceweasel-addon-recommended.png (19.7 KB) iceweasel-addon-recommended.png bill-auger, 2020-05-14 07:42 PM


Packages - Bug #2505: [iceweasel] scrollbar displayfixedbill-auger

Housekeeping #2510: update Iceweasel and Icedove iconsopen

Packages - Bug #2571: [iceweasel-l10n-es-ar][iceweasel-l10n-pl]: Iceweasel doesn't start with some language packsconfirmed

Housekeeping #3196: [iceweasel] needs to print own name with `--version`fixed

Housekeeping #3207: [iceweasel] Buggy rebranding on Iceweasel 98open




Updated by grizzlyuser almost 3 years ago

Sorry for the description in the attachment. I tried to post just plain text, and put only links to the file, but spam filter didn't think it's OK.


Updated by grizzlyuser almost 3 years ago

I found an older build of 68.0.2, which I packaged for myself with some new changes from Arch, and only DuckDuckGo logo is shown from the listed above. Please see attached screenshots for comparison.


Updated by bill-auger almost 3 years ago

  • Priority changed from bug to freedom issue
  • Assignee set to bill-auger
  • Status changed from unconfirmed to confirmed

im on it - the newtab page needs a complete replacement to restore the parabola branding (among other things)


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

update for v70

the "top sites" links in the attached screenshot are removed using the new 'newtab' branding - that has not been built into iceweasel yet; but IIRC as it is now, those links do disappear after the browser is used for a bit, and replaced with the users actually most visited sites

the advertisements are controlled by the "Recommended by Pocket" switch in the GUI "Home" preferences; which is enabled by default - it should be quite simple to make it disabled by default; but we should find a way to remove that feature entirely - im not sure if we need to remove the entire "pocket" feature - perhaps some people want that - but i doubt that the advertisements (aka: recommendations) on the newtab page are desirable by anyone

there is another branding issue i found on the preferences GUI - there is a button on the bottom-left "iceweasel support" that leads to mozilla - in icecat that button leads to libreplanet - there is also an analogous button "addons support" on the "addons" preferences GUI

i noticed one other thing with v70 that may not be possible to address - after signing into the sync services, one must grab an auth code that was sent via email - upon entering that code into the browser, one is redirected to a mozilla website , which asks to install some "app" from the google and apple "app-stores" - the sign-in process is complete at that point though; so maybe that target URL can be changed easily, im not wure


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

  • Subject changed from [iceweasel] New Tab page recommends non-free resources to [iceweasel] various freedom issues related to branding

Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

  • Subject changed from [iceweasel] various freedom issues related to branding to [iceweasel] various issues related to branding

as reported against Iceweasel 70.0.1 - just to add another branding item to check:

Also, the "about" window is smaller than previous version (69.0),
which causes that Iceweasel name looks bigger than the rest of the interface.

Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

the default null text within the search entry text field on the "add-ons manager" settings page reads "search" - it posts to gnuzilla though


Updated by grizzlyuser over 2 years ago

It looks like the font glyphs used in Iceweasel logo are non-free. For example, inspect the file iceweasel-70.0/branding/iceweasel_logo.svg from [1].

There are references to Lucida Grande font, and according to # 3 and # 4 from the EULA [2], embedding to vector image formats, commercial products, and modifiable documents is not allowed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.



Updated by grizzlyuser over 2 years ago

Also please note that Hyperbola project noticed the issue with nonfree font in the logo earlier, see


Updated by eliotime3000 about 2 years ago

I found a forker that has been working into Iceweasel rebranding for Windows, and their "about" window really fits pretty well.

Also, there's their couple of files that haves their modifications.


Updated by pks40 about 2 years ago

Icedove is rebranded as "Parabola Icedove", but Iceweasel currently as "Mozilla Iceweasel". I think we should change this to "Parabola Iceweasel".


Updated by bill-auger about 2 years ago

pks40 -

which parts of the GUI do you see "mozilla"? - the only one that comes to mind is on the "about" modal


Updated by grizzlyuser about 2 years ago

What I noticed is when some langpack is installed, then the title bar of the main browser window says "Mozilla Iceweasel". That doesn't happen when no langpack is installed or when the built-in language "English (United States) is used.

Are there any occurrences of "Mozilla Iceweasel" you see in the UI?


Updated by pks40 about 2 years ago

bill-auger wrote:

which parts of the GUI do you see "mozilla"? - the only one that comes to mind is on the "about" modal

It was in the title bar using a language pack, as grizzlyuser pointed out. In the new version of the language packs, the vendor is apparently set to "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre", and thus the title bar now displays "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Iceweasel". Thanks!

I personally would prefer a shorter version of the vendor name (in the end, it is called vendorShortName in branding.dtd), like maybe just "Parabola" as for Icedove (giving "Parabola Iceweasel" in the title bar), but that's more of a personal taste :)


Updated by bill-auger about 2 years ago

re: iceweasel-addon-recommended.png

i think we should change this text to something like: "This add-on meets the mozilla standards for security and performance"


Updated by bill-auger over 1 year ago

this list really needs a review - probably, most of them have been fixed - i will add one more though

RE: IceWeasel private tab contains references to Mozilla VPN


Updated by bill-auger 12 months ago

while using a lang-pack, the taskbar icon is a white square

this is not obviously related to anything in the lang-pack itself, because it happens using the lang-pack downloaded from mozilla via the prefs GUI - so it is probably something missing from the branding package


Updated by bill-auger 4 months ago

  • Priority changed from freedom issue to wish
  • Project changed from Packages to Branding

Updated by bill-auger 4 months ago

  • Status changed from confirmed to open
  • Tracker changed from Freedom Issue to Housekeeping

Updated by eliotime3000 3 months ago

Ahhh... Excuse me, but can the thread #3207 be fused with this one? I recently realize that this thread still exist and the branding issues threads are joint into one (the issue takes note about the replacement of Iceweasel logo with the logo.png picture due to the usage of Iceweasel 95 branding settings, alongside the issues that the User Agent is generating in most of the websites).


Updated by gap 2 months ago

I found some issues:
1. The landing page is full of links and thumbnails of "recommended by Pocket", nonfree news articles.
A side-effect of this is that Iceweasel makes many network requests without even telling you, in the background, which is bad for privacy.
Moreover, turning the browser into adware is piss-poor design almost certainly done due to Mozilla being paid to do so; if a user really wanted to see news on the landing page, it would be trivial to set the homepage to a news aggregator site.
2. "Sign into your account" functionality is probably SaaSS and spyware.
3. Due to the previous two issues, Pocket needs to be removed.
4. The user agent string is highly identifiable due to being set to something which includes linux-libre and/or linux-libre-hardened.
I think iceweasel-hardened-preferences should fix this, but the privacy, tracking, and fingerprinting implications are so extreme that I think this should be fixed even in iceweasel itself.

Do Icecat and Iceweasel share patches?
If not, shouldn't we merge the applicable ones from Icecat, such as LibreJS and the homepage modifications instead of repackaging LibreJS separately for Iceweasel (#3252) and duplicating the effort by fixing the homepage all over again?

Could we utilise any of the patches of the Waterfox and Librewolf projects?
They both seem to be enhanced-privacy versions of Firefox, although nowhere near as private as our Iceweasel should be.
Eg. I think they both keep DRM enabled.

Also, could our iceweasel patches go towards making a liberated Tor Browser package?
Perhaps we could rebrand it to "Iceweasel Tor Edition" or something to that effect, so as to help prevent confusion.

Finally, do we have a guide which explains all the pitfalls of web browsers and how to liberate and enhance their privacy suitable for packaging in Parabola?
Due to the nightmare of the Mozilla and Mozilla-derived browsers, I strongly suspect almost all, if not all the other browsers packaged for Parabola share at least some of the pitfalls of Firefox.


Updated by bill-auger 2 months ago

I found some issues:

all of those are already known

1. (new-tab page/top-sites) was the original topic of this ticket before it became an epic - the "top-sites" are already fixed - there is work in progress in the iceweasel branding repo to restore the original iceweasel new-tab page - if iceweasel were to re-use the new-tab page from another browser, the abrowser one is better - that has also been discussed

2. (firefox sync) has been decided to be kept - it was discussed years ago, both within parabola and gnuzilla - it is not SaaSS - it is a valuable feature that many people want, and it is opt-in (does nothing by default) - there is an open bug report now for icecat; because that feature is broken (#2554 and #613)

3. is only re-iterating # 1 - the "pocket" feature is something different - it was disabled years ago IIRC; but it is not SaaSS either - like the "sync" feature, it is only remote data storage - SaaSS entails that some computing is taking place remotely

4. (user-agent) has been fixed recently, in the v98 branding package, along with #3196 - the next iceweasel will include it

many of the issues on this and its related tickets have been fixed already - it needs to be reviewed, to determine which still exist

the remaining suggestions are all great ideas; but the answer is currently "yes, someone could do those things; but no, none of them have happened yet" - that is not because they are bad ideas; but because no one has actually done the work yet - the first step would be to determine if those other browsers have any treaments which are interesting and applicable to iceweasel - WRT librewolf or waterfox, im not convinced that there are any - WRT icecat, the patches should flow backward from iceweasel to icecat, rather than forward from icecat to iceweasel - whatever libre treatments iceweasel needs, would be the same for icecat; but they need to happen for iceweasel, months before icecat needs them

i explained about tor-browser a few days ago on the tor-browser packaging request, that it is not likely to ever happen - mozilla software is too much trouble - parabola already has two mozilla browsers; which is one too many IMHO - i would also like to get rid of icedove and iceape - no one has been able to compile those for a long time


Updated by gap 2 months ago

I know this is probably the last thing anyone wants to hear, but is the name "Iceweasel" problematic?
GNU Icecat was formerly known as GNU Iceweasel but the name was changed so as to avoid confusion with the other Iceweasels.
If we promote Parabola Iceweasel, people might get it mixed up with Debian Iceweasel for instance and end up thinking a flawed browser is ok; it wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination for a Debian user to hear us saying that people should use Parabola Iceweasel over Firefox, and downloading Iceweasel from their repos using apt install iceweasel (or whatever command or installation method the user prefers), only for it to actually be Debian Iceweasel, not Parabola Iceweasel.
(I do not recommend, endorse, or otherwise support Debian; I am only using it as an example.)

Should we change the name so as to avoid confusion?
If so I think we should go for IceGoose, if that's not already used by some other project.

On a separate note, the account/sync/sign-in/Pocket features are a security and privacy issue, optional or not, since sending your tabs and web browser history to some random server, whilst being logged into an account tied to an email address no less, is a total security and privacy failure.
By keeping this feature we are giving it our seal of approval which is in direct contradiction with our history of removing and fixing packages with poor privacy.

At the very least, there should be a nonprism version with these flawed anti-features removed.


Updated by bill-auger 2 months ago

is the name "Iceweasel" problematic?
GNU Icecat was formerly known as GNU Iceweasel but the name was changed so as to avoid confusion with the other Iceweasels.

yes people do get confused, or they used to - this wiki
article exists for exactly that reason

but there are no "other" iceweasels today - its no problem
anymore - iceweasel has been with parabola for many years; and
it has not been in debian for many years - probably the
confusion is over

people might get it mixed up with Debian Iceweasel

debian users can not install Parabola Iceweasel

downloading Iceweasel from their repos using apt install iceweasel

debian users can not install Debian Iceweasel either - Debian
Iceweasel does not exist in the current debians

the account/sync/sign-in/Pocket features are a security and privacy issue

people want that feature - i am one of them - there is zero
security or privacy risk, unless someone chooses to use it
intentionally - the same risks exist for any website which
allows people to post data, including this one

By keeping this feature we are giving it our seal of approval which is in direct contradiction with our history of removing and fixing packages with poor privacy.

that is a misunderstanding - most packages do not get replaced
because of privacy - only packages in [nonprism] do - for all
other packages, poor privacy can only mean that the FSDG considers
some behavior to be an anti-feature - those are features which
serve the purposes of the author, but the user has no use for,
or does not know exist - simply logging into a website
voluntarily and intentionally to store your data on it, is a
legitimate feature - many users want it, and it does nothing
unless the users knows that it exists, and initiates the feature
intentionally - so it is not a privacy concern nor an
anti-feature, because it must be done knowingly and voluntarily


Updated by gap 6 days ago

Just a heads-up: Firefox 102 is shipping with support for geoclue, and if Arch decide to enable it we're going to have to maintain another Iceweasel package in the nonprism repo with this feature removed, as some deem it to be spyware and a violation of privacy.

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