Basilisk (web browser)

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Original author(s)M.C. Straver
Developer(s)Basilisk Development Team
Initial release17 December 2018; 5 years ago (2018-12-17)
Written inC++, C, Cascading Style Sheets, JavaScript, XML User Interface Language
EnginesGoanna, SpiderMonkey
Operating systemWindows 7 or later
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, ARM64
TypeWeb browser
License Edit this on Wikidata

Basilisk is a free and open source web browser available for Windows, Linux, and with experiment support for macOS. Basilisk is an updated fork of Firefox designed to look and feel similar to versions before the underlying backend was changed in version 57.[2]


Basilisk was first announced in 2017 by the developer behind Pale Moon, M.C. Straver, as a fork of Mozilla Firefox in order to serve as a basis for the Unified XUL Platform,[3] with the developer calling it a "reference application for development of the XUL platform."[4] The Unified XUL Platform is a fork of the backend of Firefox before version 57, which the developer forked because it dropped support for classic Firefox extensions, XUL, and XPCOM.[5] Because of this, it uses the same rendering engine as Pale Moon, Goanna, which is a fork of Firefox's Gecko rendering engine.[6][7] The browser was later released on December 17, 2018.[2]

The browser was able to use WebExtensions and classic Firefox addons, but the support for WebExtensions was dropped in 2019.[8]

M.C. Straver announced on the Pale Moon forums that he was ending support for the web browser in 2021 as it had become redundant to Pale Moon and offered it for sale.[9] The rights were purchased and development was later picked up by a developer under the name of Basilisk-Dev in 2022.[10]


Basilisk uses the Australis theme used by Firefox from versions 26 to 56.[11] It uses the Goanna rendering engine. The browser supports modern web browsing, including support for ECMAScript 6 on release and modern web cryptography standards, NPAPI plugins, classic Firefox addons, ALSA on Linux, WebAssembly (WASM), and allows for unsigned extensions.[12][13] It also shares features that versions of Firefox before version 57 had.[14]

Basilisk previously supported WebExtensions, but support for them was dropped in 2019 to focus on classic Firefox extensions.[8]


The browser has been noted as lightweight, as it only requires 1 GB of RAM as a baseline.[14][6] gHacks stated that early versions were similar in performance to Firefox 52 ESR and that it performed similarly on the HTML5test, and praised its support for classic Firefox addons.[4] It's Foss stated that it is "a great option for users who want the classic look and feel of Mozilla’s Firefox (before the Quantum update) without comprising[sic] on the modern web support," but noted that some sites such as YouTube detected it as an obsolete browser and that "you should not rely on it as the only browser to use."[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pale Moon redistribution", Official website, retrieved 2017-02-10
  2. ^ a b R, Bhagyashree (2018-12-18). "Introducing Basilisk, an open source XUL based browser and "close twin" to pre-Servo Firefox". Packt Hub. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  3. ^ Larabel, Michael (2017-11-17). "Pale Moon Project Rolls Out The Basilisk Browser Project". Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  4. ^ a b Brinkmann, Martin (2018-04-29). "Re-based Basilisk Browser released - gHacks Tech News". gHacks Technology News. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  5. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (2017-06-21). "Mozilla Code Repository fork Unified XUL Platform - gHacks Tech News". gHacks Technology News. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  6. ^ a b Brinkmann, Martin (2017-11-17). "Pale Moon team releases first version of Basilisk browser - gHacks Tech News". gHacks Technology News. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  7. ^ Meiert, Jens Oliver (2020-04-07). The Web Development Glossary: More Than 2,000 Key Terms for Developers. Frontend Dogma.
  8. ^ a b Brinkmann, Martin (2019-01-21). "Basilisk browser drops WebExtension support - gHacks Tech News". gHacks Technology News. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  9. ^ Straver, M.C. (2021-12-24). "Basilisk EoL/potential takeover announcement". Pale Moon forum. Archived from the original on 2022-02-15. Retrieved 2024-04-01.
  10. ^ "Basilisk Is Under New Management". Pale Moon forum. 2022-07-29. Archived from the original on 2022-08-07. Retrieved 2024-04-01.
  11. ^ a b Das, Ankush (2020-03-09). "Basilisk: A Firefox Fork For The Classic Looks and Classic Extensions". It's FOSS. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  12. ^ Serea, Razvan (2021-03-12). "Basilisk 2021.03.11". Neowin. Retrieved 2024-04-01.
  13. ^ Price, Dan (2019-07-02). "The 7 Best Open-Source Web Browsers". MUO. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  14. ^ a b Luqman (2023-12-30). "10 Best Lightweight Browser for Low End PCs in 2024". TechWorm. Retrieved 2024-04-02.