SRWare Iron

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SRWare Iron
Iron logo.png
SRWare Iron14.0.850.0.png
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; 6 years ago (2008-09-18)[1]
Stable release
Windows

44.0.2350.0 (August 10, 2015; 21 days ago (2015-08-10)[2]) [±]

OS X

41.0.2200.0 (March 9, 2015; 5 months ago (2015-03-09)[3]) [±]

Linux
42.0.2250.1 (May 11, 2015; 3 months ago (2015-05-11)[4]) [±]
Development status Active
Operating system
Engine Blink, V8
Size 43.5 MB (Windows)
Type Web browser
License Allegedly open source since mid 2015. Formerly proprietary freeware[5] using open source code from Chromium project
Website www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php

SRWare Iron is a freeware 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, such as built-in ad blocking.[1][7]

Although SRWare has been claiming "Iron is free and OpenSource",[8] 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.[9][10][11] SRWare Iron "is entirely closed source and has been since at least version 6".[12] According to lifehacker, as of October 2014 SRWare Iron was "supposedly open source but haven't released their source for years and the browser doesn't really offer much you can't get by tightening down Chrome's own privacy features on your own".[5] In 2015, the developer of SRWare Iron, after years of not releasing the source code of their browser anymore, started again to release what they claim is the source code for the browser, although not stating on their page what version the source code is from.[13]

On 11 August 2010, Microsoft updated the BrowserChoice.eu website in order to include Iron as one of the possible choices. As of December 2014 BrowserChoice.eu is no longer on the internet, as the court order requiring Microsoft to post alternative browsers expired.[14][15]

Development history[edit]

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.[16] And on 7 January 2010 a beta version for Mac OS was released.[17]

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[edit]

The following Google Chrome features are not present in Iron:[18][19][20]

  • RLZ identifier, an encoded string sent together with all queries to Google.[21]
  • Google search access on startup for users with Google as default search[21][22]
  • Google-hosted error pages when a server is not present
  • Google Updater automatic installation.
  • DNS pre-fetching,[23] because it could potentially be used by spammers.[24][25][26]
  • Automatic address bar search suggestions.
  • Opt-in sending of both browser usage statistics and crash information to Google.

Criticism[edit]

According to lifehacker, Iron doesn't really offer much you can't get by configuring Google Chrome's privacy settings.[5] The site doesn't recommend it. According to others, it's scamware or scareware,[27] since the developers bring up non-existent issues about Chrome to claim Iron solves it.[18]

Also, the download page claims the software is open source, but the source code has not been made available for many years.[5] According to developers, "SRWare Iron is entirely closed source and has been since at least version 6".[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d SRWare. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". srware.net. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "New Iron-Version: 44.0.2350.0 Stable for Windows". 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  3. ^ "New Iron-Version: 41.0.2200.0 Stable for MacOS". 2015-03-08. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  4. ^ "New Iron-Version: 42.0.2250.1 Stable for Linux". 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d Alan Henry. "The Best Privacy and Security-Focused Web Browsers". Lifehacker. Gawker Media. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  7. ^ a b SRWare (n.d.). "SRWare Iron: The Browser of the future - Overview". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  8. ^ SRWare Iron download page. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  9. ^ SRWare Iron source code - Part 1
  10. ^ SRWare Iron source code - Part 2
  11. ^ SRWare Iron source code - Part 3
  12. ^ a b "the_simple_computer". thesimplecomputer.info. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  13. ^ SRWare. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". srware.net. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  14. ^ Kai Schmerer (10 August 2010). "Microsoft aktualisiert Browser-Auswahlbox" (in German). ZDnet. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  15. ^ BrowserChoice.eu (n.d.). "Choose Your Browser". Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Iron Pre-Alpha for Linux Download". Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "New Iron-Version: 4.0.275 Beta for MacOS". Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  18. ^ a b SRWare. "SRWare Iron - The Browser of the Future". srware.net. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "Privacy, unique IDs, and RLZ - Google Chrome". 
  20. ^ "Google Chrome Privacy Whitepaper". google.com. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Google Chrome, Chromium, and Google". Retrieved 28 January 2010.  See Which Google Domain
  22. ^ "View of /trunk/src/chrome/browser/google/google_url_tracker.cc". Retrieved 15 November 2010.  Source code comment on line 31
  23. ^ "Chromium Blog: DNS Prefetching (or Pre-Resolving)". Chromium Blog. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Srinivas Krishnan, Fabian Monrose (2010). "DNS prefetching and its privacy implications: when good things go bad". USENIX. 
  25. ^ Mike Cardwell. "DNS Pre-fetch Exposure on Thunderbird and Webmail". Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  26. ^ SRWare. "SRWare Iron - Frequently Asked Questions". SRWare. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  27. ^ SRWare Iron Browser – A Private Alternative To Chrome?

External links[edit]