We explored an optimized mod of Firefox, Pale Moon, in an earlier article. However, Pale Moon sticks to a older version of Firefox and handled some JS wrongly when we tested it. We came across Light, a very optimized faster mod of Firefox that is even available for the beta version of Firefox. Our experience by far has been very satisfactory other than a few issues which we think we can live with for the time being.
Light offers both FF 39 and earlier versions at the time of writing. So you get the Autralis interface. We picked up FF 39 x86_64 for our tests and applied some tweaks. The tests were run on Ubuntu 14.04.2 x86_64. Total disk space used by the installation is 65MB. The browsing experience is smooth with pages loading as fast as in SRWare Iron (if not faster). Memory usage is much less, 320MB (resident) at the time of writing this article with a few more webpages open. Hello and PDF services are removed. Reader is disabled by default.
- Preferences tab, newtab etc. don’t open. To change settings, you have to use about:config.
- No deb package for Ubuntu! However, we installed Light from RPM (steps below).
- Active Tracking Protection not available. We added the settings in about:config but it may not have worked. We added uBlock Origin.
- Even when enabled, Reader doesn’t work.
- The homepage of Light is dated, still talking of FF 31 release at the time of writing.
Despite the glitches above, we figured out that the performance more than compensates.
To install Light on Ubuntu you need to hack the RPM a bit. Read on:
- Download the RPM for your OS architecture from the SourceForge files section for Light project.
- Open the RPM in file roller or archiver and navigate to usr directory. Select it and drop anywhere to extract usr directory and its contents.
- Navigate to the directory were you dropped use fromcmdline and run:
$ tar -jcvf usr.tar.bz2 usr/
- Extract just like an installed application under /usr/local:
$ sudo tar --no-overwrite-dir --keep-old-files -xvf usr.tar.bz2 -C /
Light will now show up on your menu and behave like installed Firefox. Remember that you need to use the name Light rather than Firefox.
To uninstall Light from your system, run the following commands:
$ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/bin/light $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/lib/light/ $ rm -rf ~/.light/ $ rm -rf ~/.cache/light/ $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/applications/mozilla-light.desktop $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/apps/light.png $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/22x22/apps/light.png $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/24x24/apps/light.png $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/light.png $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/light.png $ sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/256x256/apps/light.png