Tor browser is a piece of shit

Written by Theundercoverman on 2022-04-05

One of the worst things about Tor is the official Tor Browser. Most Tor users use only this browser for Tor because using any other browser with Tor would give them a unique fingerprint thus worsening their privacy as opposed to not using Tor at all. The fact that an official Tor Browser even exists makes Tor focused solely on the browser and not the internet as a whole (seriously why isn’t there a Tor email client, IRC/XMPP client?), and it creates a monoculture where everyone uses one browser and use of better, more lightweight browsers, is discouraged. The Tor Browser really isn’t any better than Firefox or LibreWolf, and since it’s based on Firefox, it’s dependent on Mozilla and just as bloated and insecure as Firefox.

In order to install the Tor Browser onto your GNU/Linux distro, you can’t just use the package manager to install and update it. You have to install the Tor Browser launcher. The launcher only installs binaries for glibc, so if you are using musl, you are shit out of luck. Users of Alpine Linux and Void Linux musl will have to use Tor with a different browser.

The addons installed by default on Tor Browser kinda suck. NoScript Security Suite is outclassed by both uMatrix and uBlock Origin. HTTPS Everywhere is pretty much useless now since Firefox now has an HTTPS-only mode. The security slider is okay, but it only provides the option to disable all JavaScript. The “safer” setting isn’t any more safe than “standard” since it only disables JavaScript on non-HTTPS websites. What would be better is if this setting disabled all third-party JS and leaves first-party JS enabled, so if you had to enable JavaScript on a website (you shouldn’t have to do this), you can enable only the first-party JS and still block all third-party JS, leaving you with some protection and some ads blocked. Speaking of ads, the Tor browser doesn’t include any adblocking because they believe it’s completely useless.

I wish there was more direct integration and support for other programs, not just browsers, but email clients and instant messaging clients. It’s not good to have a single browser that everyone uses, especially if the browser is based on Firefox or Chrome. People forget that Tor can be used with other programs like email, IRC, and XMPP clients. You might think “oh just use webmail or a web IRC client”, which is a terrible idea because those not only require JavaScript, but they could also include other shit like Ads and backdoors, and users don’t have as much control over their communications as opposed to using native programs. Not everyone has access to the official Tor browser, and users shouldn’t have to give up musl just to use it. It would be great if there was a lightweight Tor browser, or at least the Tor project supporting a lightweight browser, such as Links or Pale Moon (which will never happen since Moonchild hates Tor), as an alternative to Tor browser. Not just that, but also support for other programs like Claws Mail (Email), HexChat (IRC), and Gajim (XMPP).