Vivaldi - a browser from the Opera people

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Note: The Free Software Foundation recommends us to NOT use any
Chromium or Chromium code based browsers due them phoning G**gle
(often). 
This page offers a Chromium code based browser that is vetted for
our privacy, the browser is called Iridium

Introduction

Hard to believe I ever moved from Firefox to Pale Moon. Then after some weeks of using the Chromium code based Vivaldi, I happily made it my default browser. Many are finding Vivaldi attractive due to its polished presentation; the incorporation of many options (most of which I'll never even discover as I don't need them); & (a necessity for me) the ability to use extensions (add-ons) from the Chrome Web Store [1]

Below I'll add some things that a new Vivaldi user, or someone who is thinking about using Vivaldi may find helpful. This page will grow as I learn more, &/or others come & contribute to the page.


Optimising Vivaldi's speed

This is a short section that may be of particular use to those who are running Vivaldi on not so powerful machines. I'll post this link [2] to a page on www.ghaks.net that has been written for the Win10 OS. The important stuff is very easily translated to any OS that is running Vivaldi.


Making Vivaldi the Default Browser in Manjaro

You'll find a good page here [3] on the problems that users of Linux distros face due to the lack of a default way that is used by the KDE; Gnome; & other package makers for setting & sourcing the default browser.

I use Openbox, on a Manjaro system that I created for myself in the Arch style (though a bit quicker) using the Manjaro Net-install. As can be gathered from the above section, I have long been a Firefox user, who then moved to Pale Moon, using it for quite a number of months. Pale Moon was set as my default browser until I cancelled that setting in Pale Moon some days ago.

How to check if there is a default browser

A way to check which is your default browser is to type env into your terminal. This will display a list of all of your user environment variables. If you type sudo env you'll get a shorter list of root specific env' variables.

When I typed env (even though I'd turned off Pale Moon's default browser weeks ago) listed in the terminal was BROWSER=/usr/bin/palemoon . So I went looking & found the /etc/environment file in which I found BROWSER=/usr/bin/palemoon . So I changed the palemoon to vivaldi-stable & tested with a fresh terminal. It still said palemoon. So I rebooted & it still said palemoon.

After that I had a look in my ~/.bashrc & discovered another BROWSER=/usr/bin/palemoon line, so I changed that to vivaldi-stable & checked in a fresh terminal & now my BROWSER environment variable was set.

To check it I typed the following into the terminal (note: the $ is required, & has no space between it & BROWSER):

 $BROWSER https://forum.manjaro.org/

& that created a new tab in Vivaldi which then loaded up the Manjaro forum's main page.

At this point that is good enough for me.

To sum up

Here are a few things to finish this subject off:

Firstly, if you enter sudo env at the terminal prompt you'll get a shorter list of root owned environment variables, which in my case & it should be yours too, also included BROWSER=/usr/bin/vivaldi-stable . It is a very bad idea to run any browser as root & surf the web. Don't do it unless you know exactly what you are doing & why.

Secondly, if you don't know which type of Vivaldi build you are using, have a look for it in your /usr/bin/ directory. I'm obviously using the /usr/bin/vivaldi-stable install. There also exist vivaldi-snapshot & vivaldi-beta , there may be others that I'm unaware of too. So just be sure to use the right vivaldi-<name> when setting up your default $BROWSER environment variable.

Thirdly, there are other ways that may work for you to make Vivaldi (or any other browser) the default. Most browsers seem to have an inbuilt way that works. Vivaldi's inbuilt way does not work with Linux at least. There are other commands that can be entered into the terminal. I tried a couple & they did not work. (If you haven't already, have a read of this page [4] that linked to earlier on, I found it to be very educational.)

My suggestion is to check if the file /etc/environment exists. If it does not, I'd initially at least, not worry about creating it, though it likely is useful if you wanted to use Vivaldi as root , which as I've already said is a very bad idea.

Then open ~/.bashrc in your favorite text editor & just add the following line BROWSER=/usr/bin/vivaldi-stable (remembering to change vivaldi-stable to whichever Vivaldi package is the one that you installed - as mentioned above).

The good news about setting the environment variable in your ~/.bashrc is that it is read last & is therefore the one that matters most.

Call your default browser from the terminal

After that, open a new terminal (or close & reopen - or otherwise refresh your terminal) & enter

$BROWSER https://forum.manjaro.org/ 

at the terminal prompt. If Vivaldi is running you should get a new tab with the Manjaro forum in it. If Vivaldi is closed, it will open up & give you that new tab.

This is also another way to test if you have a default browser & which one it is.


Some useful add-ons for Vivaldi

My gripe

Without access to what I consider to be some essential extensions or add-ons for Vivaldi then no matter how good the browser is, I would not use it. I consider personal privacy to be a right that every individual born on the planet is entitled to. Unfortunately that is far from the way that governments of all shapes, sizes & countries see the situation. Then there are every shape & size of those that belong to the marketroid species out there that want to know absolutely everything they possibly can about you. Whether they use that information themselves, or just sell it on to those that they collect for.

Nobody asked for my permission to follow my every move on the internet (or anywhere else for that matter). I don't want to be part & parcel of any package of people, or any kind of demographic that is processed by extremely sophisticated algorithms so that others can profit from the knowledge one way or another.

So to that end, I like to be able to make it more difficult & therefore more costly for the powers that track to do so. Apart from having more pleasant, less cluttered & distracting web pages to look at due to the functions of add blockers. Removing that rubbish also makes my pages load that bit faster too.

Unfortunately, as noted at the very beginning of this wiki page,
Vivaldi is based on Chromium's code, & Vivaldi apparently is 
a risk to our privacy. This situation is unimportant to most 
people, though it is extremely important to others. I found out
about this after initially writing this wiki page.
Currently I'm using the IceCat (Firefox based) browser which is
approved by the FSF. 

Add-ons to help protect your personal privacy

Here is a list of add-ons that I use, most of these are also available on Firefox & Pale Moon. These guys all work very well together & from my experience are reliable & have no negative effect on Vivaldi's stability. (Some of these add-ons I'm still investigating & I expect that I'll remove one or two of them & also likely reconfigure the likes of uMatrix & uBlock Origin to work more smoothly with Disconnect - I've turned off ShareMeNot as Disconnect looks to have that covered).

All of these add-ons are available through the Vivaldi Tools/Extensions Menu which will get you to the Chrome Web Store [5] where you can search out add-ons & start investigating any that interest you:


Canvas Defender - Instead of blocking JS-API, Canvas Defender creates a unique and persistent noise that hides your real canvas fingerprint.

Disconnect - Make the web faster, more private, and more secure.

HTTPS Everywhere - Encrypt the Web! Automatically use HTTPS security on many sites.

Privacy Badger - Privacy Badger protects you from trackers as you surf the web!

ShareMeNot - Prevents third-party buttons embedded by sites from tracking you until you actually click on them.

uBlock Origin - Finally, an efficient blocker. Easy on CPU and memory.

uBlock Origin Extra - A companion extension to uBlock Origin: to gain ability to foil early hostile anti-user mechanisms working around content blockers.

uMatrix - Point & click to forbid/allow any class of requests made by your browser. Use it to block scripts, iframes, ads, facebook, etc.


I looked at various Cookie handling add-ons in the hope of finding one that could replace Self Destructing Cookies, but there really is currently none to fill SDC's shoes at this point in time. Here is what I looked at, you may like one of them, though I think that uMatrix in particular in the above list of add-ons covers Cookies well enough when combined with the appropriate settings in Vivaldi's preferences:

Click&Clean - Deletes typed URLs, Cache, Cookies, your Download and Browsing History...instantly, with just 1-click on Click&Clean button!

Cookies - A powerful and easy-to-use Cookie Editor.

EditThisCookie - EditThisCookie is a cookie manager. You can add, delete, edit, search, protect and block cookies!

The persistent flash cookies are placed in

~/.config/vivaldi/Default/Pepper Data/Shockwave Flash

You can make an alias to regularly delete them:

alias removevivaldi='rm -R -f ~/.config/vivaldi/Default/Pepper?Data/Shockwave?Flash'

Using Firejail to sandbox Vivaldi

Firejail is not a Vivaldi extension/add-on. It is an extremely valuable security feature that can be used with not only Vivaldi, so I have added it in here below the privacy/security add-on section.

Firejail [6] is a very interesting & easy to use piece of software that was initially developed to make Firefox more secure by isolating it (putting it in a sandbox) from the rest of your system. Firejail has developed beyond that & can be used simultaneously on many parts of your system. It is worth reading about on Firejail site (linked to above).

Until recently there was no functioning /etc/firejail/vivaldi.profile that came with the firejail install. Now there is. On my system at least when I run the following command firejail vivaldi-stable I get an error when using that unedited vivaldi.profile & Vivaldi does not run.

On the other hand, when I run firejail --noprofile vivaldi-stable Vivaldi runs perfectly well & is listed when I use the firejail --list command in the terminal. The --noprofile option apparently stops Firejail from using the default.profile. So I added the default.profile to the start of the /etc/firejail/vivaldi.profile commenting out any parts that already existed in the vivaldi.profile & Vivaldi runs fine now when I call it with the firejail --noprofile vivaldi-stable in the terminal (or as is more common, after booting my machine into Openbox I call Vivaldi with that command which I placed into the Openbox Menu).

For anyone interested following is my edited /etc/firejail/vivaldi.profile

## 28-Feb-2017: handy added the Generic GUI application profile & edited out
## lines already existing in the Vivaldi browser profile below. 

################################
# Generic GUI application profile
################################
##include /etc/firejail/disable-common.inc
##include /etc/firejail/disable-programs.inc
include /etc/firejail/disable-passwdmgr.inc

#blacklist ${HOME}/.wine

caps.drop all
netfilter
nonewprivs
noroot
protocol unix,inet,inet6
seccomp

##################################


# Vivaldi browser profile
noblacklist ~/.config/vivaldi
noblacklist ~/.cache/vivaldi
include /etc/firejail/disable-common.inc
include /etc/firejail/disable-programs.inc
include /etc/firejail/disable-devel.inc

netfilter

whitelist ${DOWNLOADS}
mkdir ~/.config/vivaldi
whitelist ~/.config/vivaldi
mkdir ~/.cache/vivaldi
whitelist ~/.cache/vivaldi
include /etc/firejail/whitelist-common.inc

# lastpass, keepassx
whitelist ~/.keepassx
whitelist ~/.config/keepassx
whitelist ~/keepassx.kdbx
whitelist ~/.lastpass
whitelist ~/.config/lastpass

Add-ons that enhance Vivaldi

Here are some add-ons recommended by some of Manjaro's Vivaldi users:


Auto Page Refresh - Auto Refresh and reload pages on a selected interval.Sound Feature included.

NoSquint Plus - Manage site-specific zoom levels and color settings.

OneTab - Save up to 95% memory and reduce tab clutter.

PDF Viewer - Uses HTML5 to display PDF files directly in the browser.

I'll include other add-ons that people on the forum recommend.

The Great Suspender - Automatically suspends unused tabs to free up system resources.


Support

Following is a link to this page's forum counterpart where you can post any related feedback: [7]