Light – A Lightweight and Speedy Firefox Alternative

In an age where Internet becomes the main tool for communication, it is no surprise that Web browsers have become an important piece of software in our computers. While most of the browsers offer the same features, some of them is built with a different perspective and is most suited for certain type of machine.

Light is a lightweight browser built with speed in mind. It is based on Firefox with several non-essential features taken down, ideal to use with slow machines and for users who are not satisfied with the behavior in the latest versions of Firefox.

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Light is developed by cstkingkey, a user from the MozillaZine forum. Its current version is Light26 and is available to download for free from its Google Project Hosting page. It is currently available for Windows only, with 32 and 64-bits builds.

It also has two different versions according to the machine’s processor (depending on the SSE version supported by the CPU), the classic and Australis theme options and, while Light is not-portable by default, it can be made portable (check the Read Me).

As the name implies, Light is a lightweight variant of Firefox, slimmed down of several functionalities which are not of vital importance in the browser itself, which results in an improved performance with a faster start and smaller memory consumption.

The lacking components are crashreporter, skia, webm, opus, ogg, wave, webrtc, jsd, gamepad, intl-api, accessibility, webapp, sync, healthreport, safebrowsing, pdfjs, identity, spellcheck, tabview, social, devtools, printing, webspeech, webgl and directshow. Translating this in colloquial terms, you will not find features like printing, Firefox Sync and Developer Tools, among others. Spell checker was also one of the features to be taken away, but is present since Light26.

Light can be downloaded with a classic or Australis-based theme. The Australis theme, launched by Mozilla itself, is actually very similar to Chrome’s interface. This theme in Light is almost equal to the one implemented in Firefox Nightly and to ship with future versions of the main Firefox build.

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You will find that most part of the theme are very similar to the Firefox build, except that some of the stripped functions are missing from the menu.

When using Light for the first time I really noticed a difference in the starting time, since it has a really fast boot. Also, Light feels smoother than the main Firefox build, not only in the navigation, but also in the interface of the browser itself.

The stripping down of some components is obviously important to improve Light’s performance but at the same time, it can also be negative. Some of those components, like Sync, are important for everyone trusting Firefox’s service to store bookmarks and passwords across devices. The good thing is that it supports addons too, so you can install addons to replace the missing functionality.

One problem which Light users may encounter when installing addons is that the addons cannot be installed, simply because they don’t recognize the browser. The only way to work around this is to download the .xpi file and install it manually.

Light is definitely not the perfect browser and it won’t be suitable for everyone. However, for those who are looking for a Firefox alternative that is both lightweight and speedily, Light is a good choice to consider.

18 comments

  1. Well well just what I need, shame it is such a pain trying to find out more about this build, well done for this post.

    • Thank you! Let me know how your experience goes and, if you need something, I can try and help.

  2. There are a lot of grammatical errors in this post. I read your posts daily and have noticed many grammatical errors over the last 6 months or so that I’ve been reading your posts. Maybe using a grammar checking app of having someone proof read the articles before you publish them would be a good idea. I love the information in the articles though.

    • @dtigue:
      “There are a lot of grammatical errors in this post.”
      Not everybody is as fluent in English as you are.

      BTW – If I were you, I would not criticize other’s writing style. Your post could use a little help as well. You keep repeating yourself.

      • Dragonmouth, I was only trying to give helpful criticism. I did notice that I repeated myself but only after I sent the post. Also you may have noticed that I mentioned the fact that I love the articles. If you look closely I also offer a way to remedy the issue. Furthermore the author has already thanked me for my input and suggestion.

    • Most likely a false positive due to the fact that it has an “underground” origin. I had no problems whatsoever regarding security, and I am using Light as my main browser for a couple of weeks now.

  3. Kind of troubling that one of the features they stripped is printing. The rest I can live without. Is there an add-on that allows printing?

    • There are several, but the few I tried have no functionality whatsoever. My advice is that, for PDFs, you download them and print them externally (through another PDF Reader) and, for webpages and such, that you access them using a different browser.

  4. My netbook is very slow in browsing ( CPU 1.6 GHz, RAM 1 GB ) and not sure if Light is a good choice for it. I tried IE, Firefox and Chrome. Chrome seems work the best so far… but still slow. Thanks.

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