SRWare Iron – A real alternative for Google Chrome
SRWare Iron is a Chromium Source base web browser similar to Google Chrome. At the first glance you would not notice any big difference between Chrome and Iron.
A German software company SRWare, released SRWare Iron (or simply ‘Iron’) on 18th September 2008, 16 days after the initial release of Google Chrome. As both web browsers are being developed under the same roof of the Chromium source code and offers the same features, normally users may ask “Then why we need SRWare’s Iron since Google is working on it?”
Well, the answer is, these two twin brothers differ a lot, most of which cannot be seen externally. Google Chrome has got lots of critics from the users who like to protect their data and want to keep themselves safe where ever privacy concerns. For example, Chrome creates a unique User ID (Client ID) to identify the users and creates the entries which are submitted directly to Google.
Here SRWare claims Iron as The Browser of the Future without any problems in privacy and security with an extremely fast site rendering, sleek design and innovative features. Iron supports all extensions, themes, plugins and web apps that are created for Chrome browser.
Now lets see what makes Iron different from it’s brother. Following are the privacy threats that does not exist in Iron but in Chrome:
- Installation ID – Every copy of Chrome contains a randomly generated Installation Number (ID) which will be send to Google after the installation of Chrome. And then the same will be deleted when the browser checks for updates for the first time. This is done in order to measure the success rate of Chrome.
- Client ID – An Unique Identity is created for each Chrome browser in order to collect the entries along with the logs of various usage statistics & crash reports which is then send to their server.
- Suggestions – By default, it sends whatever you’ve typed in Omnibox (address bar), your IP address and certain cookies back to Google to provide suggestions.
- Alternate Error Pages – The false addresses typed in address bar will be send to Google to provide an error messages from the Google’s Server.
- Error Reporting – Details regarding crashes and failures occurred in browser are also send to Google’s servers.
- RLZ Tracking – This function helps the browser to send all information to Google in an encoded form. So none of the third party application can understand it. This RLZ tracking function is not included in the Chromium browser either.
- URL-Tracking – As soon as the Chrome browser is opened the Google home page gets opened in the back ground which tracks the further browsed URLs.
- Google Updater – This feature may seem like heaven for many of us because it updates the browser automatically. So the user does not need to worry about updating the browser and always gets the latest version of the software. But remember, this slows down the start up time of the system.
- DNS Prefetching or Pre-Resolving or DNS-Precaching – This feature is disabled in Iron by default, because this could perhaps used by spammers.
Some other important differences are:
- Adblocker – Iron has a built-in Adblocker which Chrome doesn’t have. With a filter-list nearly all online-advertising can be blocked. A working filter-list has to be downloaded from here and just has to be replaced (copied) into the Iron installed folder (e.g: C:\Program Files\SRWare Iron\).Thus, Iron is the first Chromium based web browser worldwide which has an adblocker included.
- User Agent – The User Agent in Chrome can be changed only by the parameters over a link or command, which isn’t really ideal for permanent usage. But the User Agent in Iron is flexible and can be permanently changed by modifying the UA.ini file.
- Preview thumbs – Chrome has only 8 preview thumbs on “New Tab” page while Iron has 12, hence enabling the Iron users to utilize the monitor screen to its maximum.
SRWare Iron in Linux Mint
With rapid development, today Iron is available for all platforms like GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Windows. A portable version is also available. So the user can browse the web with no installation, no admin rights and the browser profiles are saved in the same folder.
Though Iron supports all extensions and themes which are exclusively developed for Chrome, they have created their own list of extensions and themes for both Iron and Chrome. Which can be accessed within the Iron browser. This is because many extensions and themes websites offer broken or outdated files. So SRWare Team decided to make it better and created their on lists.
So if you are such a kind of person who really cares about your privacy and security and don’t want to miss your favourite features in Chromium based browsers, your choice should be SRWare Iron.
End note: – On 11 August 2010, included Iron as one of the possible choices in their BrowserChoice.eu website.
License: BSD license
Category: Web Browser
Operating System: GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Windows