SRWare Iron

SRWare Iron
Iron 14.0.850.0 on Puppy Linux 5.2.8 Lucid Puppy showing the new tab page.
Developer(s) SRWare
Initial release 18 September 2008 (2008-09-18)[1]
Stable release(s) [±]
Windows

66.0.3450.0 (May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)[2]) [±]

macOS

66.0.3450.0 (May 15, 2018 (2018-05-15)[3]) [±]

Linux

66.0.3450.0 (May 16, 2018 (2018-05-16)[4]) [±]

Android
61.0.3200.0 (October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08)[5]) [±]
Development status Active
Operating system Windows 7 and later, OS X 10.9 and later, Linux, Android 4.1 and later
Size 47.9 MB (Windows), 45.1 (Android)
Type Web browser
License BSD license
Website www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php

SRWare Iron is a free web browser, and an implementation of Chromium by SRWare of Germany.[6] It primarily aims to eliminate usage tracking and other privacy-compromising functionality that the Google Chrome browser includes.[7] While Iron does not provide extra privacy compared to Chromium after proper settings are altered in the latter, it does implement some additional features that distinguish it from Google Chrome.[1][7]

Development history

Iron was first released as a beta version on 18 September 2008,[1] 16 days after Google Chrome's initial release.

On 26 May 2009 a Preview-Release (Pre-Alpha) of Iron came out for Linux.[8] And on 7 January 2010 a beta version for macOS was released.[9]

On 11 August 2010, Microsoft updated the BrowserChoice.eu website in order to include Iron as one of the possible choices.[10][11]

More recent versions of Iron have been released since then, which has gained the features of the underlying Chromium codebase, including Google Chrome theme support, a user agent switcher, an extension system, integrated Adblocker and improved Linux support.[1]

Differences from Chrome

The following Google Chrome features are not present in Iron:[12][13][14]

  • RLZ identifier, an encoded string sent together with all queries to Google.[15]
  • Google search access on startup for users with Google as default search.[15][16]
  • Google-hosted error pages when a server is not present.
  • Google Updater automatic installation.
  • DNS pre-fetching,[17] because it could potentially be used by spammers.[18][19][20]
  • Automatic address bar search suggestions.
  • Opt-in sending of both browser usage statistics and crash information to Google.
  • Google Native Client.[21]

Added features include:

  • An ad blocker.
  • A user agent switcher.
  • Opt-in blocking of other background communications, such as extension, GPU blacklist, and certificate revocation updates.[22]
  • Increased number of recent page thumbnails shown on the New Tab page.

Criticism

According to Lifehacker, Iron doesn't really offer much you can't get by configuring Google Chrome's privacy settings.[23] According to others, it is scamware or scareware,[24] since the developers bring up non-existent issues about Chrome to claim Iron solves it.[12]

Although SRWare has been claiming "Iron is free and OpenSource",[25] this wasn't true from at least version 6 on until mid 2015, as the links given by them for the source code were hosted in RapidShare and blocked by the uploader.[26][27][28] SRWare Iron "is entirely closed source and has been since at least version 6".[21] According to Lifehacker, as of October 2014 SRWare Iron was "supposedly open source but haven't released their source for years".[23] In 2015, SRWare resumed releasing what they claim is the source code for the browser, although not stating on their page what version the source code is from.[29]

See also

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 SRWare. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". srware.net. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. "New Iron-Version: 66.0.3450.0 Stable for Windows". 2018-05-11. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  3. "New Iron-Version: 66.0.3450.0 Stable for Mac". 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  4. "New Iron-Version: 66.0.3450.0 Stable for Linux". 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  5. "New Iron-Version: 61.0.3200.0 Stable for Android". 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  6. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  7. 1 2 SRWare (n.d.). "SRWare Iron: The Browser of the future - Overview". Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  8. "Iron Pre-Alpha for Linux Download". Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  9. "New Iron-Version: 4.0.275 Beta for MacOS". Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  10. Kai Schmerer (10 August 2010). "Microsoft aktualisiert Browser-Auswahlbox" (in German). ZDnet. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  11. BrowserChoice.eu (n.d.). "Choose Your Browser". Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  12. 1 2 SRWare. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". srware.net. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  13. "Privacy, unique IDs, and RLZ - Google Chrome".
  14. "Google Chrome Privacy Whitepaper". google.com. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. 1 2 "Google Chrome, Chromium, and Google". Retrieved 28 January 2010. See Which Google Domain
  16. "View of /trunk/src/chrome/browser/google/google_url_tracker.cc". Archived from the original on |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help). Retrieved 15 November 2010. Source code comment on line 31
  17. "Chromium Blog: DNS Prefetching (or Pre-Resolving)". Chromium Blog. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  18. Srinivas Krishnan, Fabian Monrose (2010). "DNS prefetching and its privacy implications: when good things go bad". USENIX.
  19. Mike Cardwell. "DNS Pre-fetch Exposure on Thunderbird and Webmail". Retrieved 2013-09-25.
  20. SRWare. "SRWare Iron - Frequently Asked Questions". SRWare. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
  21. 1 2 "The Private Life of Chromium Browsers". thesimplecomputer.info. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  22. SRWare. "New Iron-Version: 13.0.800.1 Stable for Windows". srware.net. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  23. 1 2 Alan Henry. "The Best Privacy and Security-Focused Web Browsers". Lifehacker. Gawker Media. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  24. SRWare Iron Browser – A Private Alternative To Chrome?
  25. SRWare. "SRWare Iron download page". srware.net. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  26. SRWare Iron source code - Part 1
  27. SRWare Iron source code - Part 2
  28. SRWare Iron source code - Part 3
  29. SRWare. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". srware.net. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
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