ⓘ SRWare Iron

                                     

ⓘ SRWare Iron

SRWare Iron is a Chromium-based web browser developed by the German company SRWare. It primarily aims to eliminate usage tracking and other privacy-compromising functionality that the Google Chrome browser includes. 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.

                                     

1. Development history

Iron was first released as a beta version on 18 September 2008, 16 days after Google Chromes initial release.

On 26 May 2009 a Preview-Release Pre-Alpha of Iron came out for Linux. And on 7 January 2010 a beta version for macOS was released.

On 11 August 2010, Microsoft updated the BrowserChoice.eu website in order to include Iron as one of the possible choices.

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.

                                     

2. Differences from Chrome

The following Google Chrome features are not present in Iron:

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

Added features include:

  • A user agent switcher.
  • An ad blocker.
  • Increased number of recent page thumbnails shown on the New Tab page.
  • Opt-in blocking of other background communications, such as extension, GPU blacklist, and certificate revocation updates.
                                     

3. Criticism

According to Lifehacker, Iron offers little that is not available by simply configuring Google Chromes privacy settings. According to others, it is scamware or scareware, since the developers bring up non-existent issues about Chrome to claim Iron solves it.

Although SRWare has been claiming Iron is free and OpenSource ", this wasnt 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. SRWare Iron "is entirely closed source and has been since at least version 6". According to Lifehacker, as of October 2014 SRWare Iron was "supposedly open source but havent released their source for years". In 2015, SRWare resumed releasing what they claim is the source code for the browser, although not stating on their page what version the source code is from.