Classic Browser (Chromium based)

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Midas
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Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#1 Post by Midas » Fri May 04, 2018 1:40 pm

The Classic Browser (http://theclassictools.com/) appears to be a highly user and privacy driven manifestation of Chromium offered in 32 and 64-bit portable packages.

A temporary cache is kept at '%APPDATA%\The Classic Browser' while it runs but is allegedly wiped out upon termination. I'm not a Chromium user so I didn't test any of it but I haven't seen it mentioned around TPFC so here goes...
author of http://theclassictools.com/ wrote:The Classic[ Browser]'s dynamic cache-less nature and a host of other settings, ensure your 100% privacy, which you can easily verify with a 3rd party online privacy testing tool like 'Panopticlick' or 'Aloodo'. You'll find that the Classic is the only browser on the market that attains perfect privacy protection, straight out of the box! [...]The Classic Browser uses the Chromium engine strictly as a renderer-only and that's where the similarities with Chrome end. Our entire interface and all number-crunching routines are custom written from the ground up [...] Chromium is only called to pass a URL to it to display a website, in fact we have fine-tuned the highly configurable Chromium engine not only to support the latest web technologies but to also not waste precious time writing to your hard disk and thus the absence of Internet junk files.
Image


A SoftPedia page and review can be found at http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/B ... wser.shtml.

The Classic Browser latest 32 or 64-bit portable release (currently v3.4) can be downloaded from http://theclassictools.com/.

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webfork
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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#2 Post by webfork » Fri May 04, 2018 2:42 pm

Good post, thanks.

I looked over their webpage and I enjoy that they're trying to do something bold and different, but there are a lot of privacy-centric browsers. Another closed-source (according to Softpedia and Majorgeeks) Chrome-based browser just doesn't seem like it's going to last.

As far as the program's status as cache-free, there are certainly places where caching data can harm your privacy. However, I don't think it's the relic that the devs seem to think it is. Shaving a few seconds of the download of a website because you already have the images or javascript is still a big deal.
Ad-blockers are BOGUS browser add-ons invented by scam artists to deceive the public into believing that they are safeguarding them from ads and other undesirable scripts but had they cared about you they wouldn’t maintain “whitelists” of so-called “good advertisers”, in other words THEIR customers!
I'm not a browser developer but I'm pretty sure that's not true for all ad blockers. The author goes on to suggest that the HOSTS file is the best way to handle that, but I use a VPN that circumnavigates the HOSTS file.

Anyway, as the program modifies the HOSTS file, it may require admin to function normally and may not be portable. That might require some testing.

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#3 Post by Specular » Fri May 04, 2018 11:08 pm

I suppose it's kind of quasi-open source, in that they appear to be open to people joining their team of maintainers but don't host the source on their site.

I'm curious about their anti-fingerprinting claims (though they don't mention it by that word), in that they mention the browser gets a 'perfect' protection according to the output of Panopticlick which looks at how unique your browser is compared to others who've visited the site. What I don't see is any explanation of this aspect, such as how they mitigate leakage of common system and browser info like version, fonts installed, settings that are enabled/disabled and other bits that contribute to uniqueness. Nor anything about Javascript management.
webfork wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:42 pm
I'm not a browser developer but I'm pretty sure that's not true for all ad blockers.
Yeah, I think that's only true for Adblock Plus. uBlock Origin on the other hand blocks so many things that occasionally it can be even unnecessary imo.

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#4 Post by Midas » Sat May 05, 2018 3:37 am

Specular wrote:
webfork wrote: I'm not a browser developer but I'm pretty sure that's not true for all ad blockers.
Yeah, I think that's only true for Adblock Plus. uBlock Origin on the other hand blocks so many things that occasionally it can be even unnecessary imo.
I'm of the same opinion. Still found the author's stance refreshing in an age where telemetry and unwarranted data harvest seems to be the norm... :|

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#5 Post by webfork » Sat May 05, 2018 8:00 am

Specular wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:08 pm
I suppose it's kind of quasi-open source, in that they appear to be open to people joining their team of maintainers but don't host the source on their site.
I've seen a lot of groups playing in both camps on this, giving away a little bit but then hiding the essential parts. That's fine but for example Google Chrome and Android have gradually released less and less of their software as open as time goes on, which makes me wary. There are plenty of legitimate, fully open projects that don't play this game.
Specular wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:08 pm
What I don't see is any explanation of this aspect, such as how they mitigate leakage of common system and browser info like version, fonts installed, settings that are enabled/disabled and other bits that contribute to uniqueness. Nor anything about Javascript management.
Agreed. This is what I saw from the Pale Moon team as well. Browser development is complex and difficult, especially if you're going to go your own way on basic web technologies.
Midas wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 3:37 am
Still found the author's stance refreshing in an age where telemetry and unwarranted data harvest seems to be the norm... :|
Definitely. Even if this doesn't go where the devs hope and ends up just being a kind of manifesto for the direction of the web, that's a good thing. Good post.

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#6 Post by webfork » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:35 am

This program is still in development with a new version posted (v.6.3) earlier this month: https://theclassictools.com/Changes.txt

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#7 Post by Midas » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:14 am

Classic Browser proceeds apace, v6.9 released [2021-04-13] (https://theclassictools.com/Changes.txt).

Be forewarned, if you want to test it, that Classic Browser will by default clear your '%TEMP%', 'Prefetch' and a couple of other '%APPDATA%' locations, as instructed by the 'cleanup.bat' it executes on exit; despite this, it also leaves traces in the system registry at 'HKCU\Software\nwjs' (if you're wondering what this is, check https://nwjs.io/; for traces left, see below).

Finally, I wish the dev(s) would include dates in their update log... and wouldn't be so in love with gradient effects and wonky UI options, as promised in the homepage ("A browser that doesn't look like Vogue!") -- I'd be content if it only followed the regular Windows controls look and placement.

Registry traces found:

Code: Select all

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs]
"usagestats"=dword:00000000
"metricsid"="75f4a7f7-f423-472b-98d4-a6e339e01280"
"metricsid_installdate"="1618590328"
"metricsid_enableddate"="1618590328"
"FirstNotDefault"=hex(b):db,9e,19,b6,af,1e,2f,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs\BLBeacon]
"version"="74.0.3729.131"
"state"=dword:00000001
"failed_count"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs\PreferenceMACs]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs\PreferenceMACs\Default]
"search_provider_overrides"="F97DC4D53BE9D958F0FE870FF6F52958DCA60C182624000A88C4AE1DAFB71E17"
"browser.show_home_button"="FAB2CFE224D8B73EC0FCD993DCA88A26B178EB2F062274DC4941B35385D902EA"
"media.storage_id_salt"="0E48DA23A2555D0E08B4D294B0D19E911ADAF5F8A1A591D29A236498A5ED73B8"
"homepage"="7B8B6C4DD316F505F47139635DB8E00939E7A217C5591279DD40AD6BB7057E3C"
"homepage_is_newtabpage"="A5E1CBA5A01B9346261A344AEB254DC37604093EBECDA1150CC1292CDAF2A16A"
"google.services.account_id"="F17A77154B636D2DA16776C09630988F54DBF7F01478A503BD91DC0825724FB6"
"session.startup_urls"="EE280DB34C7E57C31829F18755023F167C984DB2426D10611F2B7E030760B5F3"
"google.services.last_username"="C03B0F1606E1CE4AEC48D91CB94082692988F506337D553414464A7CED7301C2"
"session.restore_on_startup"="9B902ED51B7EEB41E880D86E7BACCDC4ED7AC278E6ADDB825B21918851A68CF2"
"pinned_tabs"="E77A36ECF0BF48D3231211AED85A9366AFFA08E75A6F2F81DAC61C37437EB0C6"
"default_search_provider_data.template_url_data"="F9800FB493562F1BB7EF36AE9D5369DBC2029D0C704D0D04530C57A49FBD6EA8"
"software_reporter.reporting"="76C1A61EDA34CF6152177871512A4D2A663AE4913B0D185B20E550F42326BBFD"
"prefs.preference_reset_time"="8F180874B529D30D5E74B4EE71BDB131E88E157CEBA763BDD4D5AABA6C72E735"
"settings_reset_prompt.prompt_wave"="48F25802A57404BFB81BF0A9E8106C6C9277A3092B22EA5ED540F6C89099C112"
"safebrowsing.incidents_sent"="4859E64D8D75A11DCEE85CAFC4ED523677FFC6C89F5D63D996ED03D702011491"
"software_reporter.prompt_version"="21B2622D66486C76E94578DEE13019F19727B90C5E5B436A15F6682459B6DF58"
"google.services.username"="4FFDA9DD67976A7D72CF9372934E48FD9A7FDDF1ECBB8F97C7EDAB537185F20D"
"software_reporter.prompt_seed"="11F6197EE070ED3B0F51881F5677871464D2B3183EC0C0C50C79DB4555508AB8"
"google.services.last_account_id"="EEEC0B6D3BF38B89A28FEFC8D69368F90A7019057F72AA404D764C995325C053"
"settings_reset_prompt.last_triggered_for_default_search"="4E9F2815E65DE77A1902E8CC4548581CCAF66EC7B14A6221C8EB74BFC4EEA173"
"settings_reset_prompt.last_triggered_for_startup_urls"="EE5B6EB5FFF0DE94B054E9AC4D4EB657214B425CB50E318A69DBBF7A57424E04"
"settings_reset_prompt.last_triggered_for_homepage"="366904EA3B2FE67E42A2E2AD37D3671B6A46BC6C559ED096D755643869C10116"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
"mhjfbmdgcfjbbpaeojofohoefgiehjai"="A4EC9181E637F80EEEE462FFA47551ACD4C8D511383B76DE13B71F759A1A79F2"
"theclassicbrowser"="F3C06EFBB60528F9570835C07D573C5E5A2C511367645C4B9201938CA4599467"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs\StabilityMetrics]
"user_experience_metrics.stability.exited_cleanly"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\nwjs\ThirdParty]
"StatusCodes"=hex:01,00,00,00
If anyone can confirm this findings, I'll move the topic to "Not Portable".

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#8 Post by WinUser » Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:56 am

Midas wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:14 am
If anyone can confirm this findings, I'll move the topic to "Not Portable".
Hello,

Those are standard registry entries made by the Chromium engine so all Chromium-based browsers will create these.

What makes software “portable” has nothing to do with the Windows registry and everything to do with them not requiring a formal Windows installation process to either C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86).

NWJS is a desktop web-app “packager”, meaning it takes HTML + JS + CSS scripts and feeds them into an Internet window to form the web-app.

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#9 Post by Midas » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:34 am

Hi, Winuser and welcome to TPFC's forum.

Standard registry entries or not, my goal was just to enlighten community members about the traces left by running Classic Browser.

As for the definition of "portable", yours is just a subset of what the said community has agreed over the years -- please check https://www.portablefreeware.com/faq.php#portable and further linked resources for more on this.

BTW, you're at the right place to get further insight into the matter, as this has been extensively discussed on the site; please feel free to join.

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#10 Post by WinUser » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:59 am

Midas wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:34 am
Standard registry entries or not, my goal was just to enlighten community members about the traces left by running Classic Browser.

As for the definition of "portable", yours is just a subset of what the said community has agreed over the years -- please check https://www.portablefreeware.com/faq.php#portable and further linked resources for more on this.

BTW, you're at the right place to get further insight into the matter, as this has been extensively discussed on the site; please feel free to join.
Thanks for the link but with all due respect I’ll stick to my simple and correct definition of what constitutes a portable program, having spent all my adult life (over 30 years) as a programmer and developer.

As a Chromium developer the familiar registry entries you highlighted here caught my eye and so I thought I’d inform you about them since you seemingly like to inspect such matters.

These registry entries form part of the Chromium engine’s “enterprise settings” and are only useful on a business network whereby a system administrator can control all copies of a Chromium browser deployed across all workstations.

More info here...

https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/9131254

On the average home computer they are useless settings sitting there idle, and nothing to worry about.

Deleting or modifying them won’t help... they’ll just get recreated the next time you run the browser.

That's it and thanks for your time.

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#11 Post by Midas » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:02 am

Fine, I wouldn't even dream of contesting your tech credentials -- please feel free to do as you please. 8)

Just be aware that this is not a recent debate here at TPFC forums as, particularly in regard to Google's products alone, it can easily be traced back to over a decade ago -- and I summoned up a quick set of local links to evidentiate it:

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#12 Post by bitcoin » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:51 am

WinUser wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:56 am
Midas wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:14 am
If anyone can confirm this findings, I'll move the topic to "Not Portable".
What makes software “portable” has nothing to do with the Windows registry and everything to do with them not requiring a formal Windows installation process to either C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86).
i'll disagree

a program isnt really portable if its throwing junk here and there

btw welcome to the Portable Freeware forum

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#13 Post by Andrew Lee » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:48 pm

For me, the first criteria of portability is nicely summed by this:
Allmost all "portabilized" chromium-based browsers have a serious problem recently (generally with Chromium 59, I think) :
they are not truly portable any more !

Namely, when transferring to another PC (e.g. via USB stick), all the settings and installed extensions get lost, regardless of whether I use the "portable" browser from the USB or from the other PC.
Only when this criteria is met can we even begin to talk about "stealth".

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#14 Post by WinUser » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:46 am

Andrew Lee wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:48 pm
For me, the first criteria of portability is nicely summed by this:
Allmost all "portabilized" chromium-based browsers have a serious problem recently (generally with Chromium 59, I think) :
they are not truly portable any more !

Namely, when transferring to another PC (e.g. via USB stick), all the settings and installed extensions get lost, regardless of whether I use the "portable" browser from the USB or from the other PC.
Only when this criteria is met can we even begin to talk about "stealth".
Well in that case, the Classic is the only portable one from the Chromium-based browsers as it doesn’t accept extensions! :)

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Re: Classic Browser (Chromium based)

#15 Post by Andrew Lee » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:33 am

How about settings?

eg. appearance, search engine etc.?

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