I have been turning people onto the Iron browser for a while now.  Since you might not know about it, Iron is based upon Chrome, but does not phone home to Google or anywhere else.

I’m one of those rare people who is concerned about security and privacy, as much as possible anyway, on the internet (and in general).

Iron is available for Windows, Mac, and linux.  The Windows version is on release 6 while linux is at 5.  If you are downloading the linux version, be sure to choose the correct version for your system (32 or 64 bit).

I have been using Iron on and off for a while now but only started using it more seriously recently.  I am a fan of Opera, which is a really fast browser.  Iron feels faster.  I mainly use it on linux, as I try not to use Windows too much.

UNCONVENTIONAL SETUP

Because I’m privacy-conscious, I find it easier to use two browsers: one for locked-down normal browsing and a second one with javascript, cookies, and Flash enabled for sites designed by mentally questionable designers who are incapable of getting their point across without blinky lights and animation.   So I generally use Firefox and either Opera or Iron as the non-locked browser.  Or Arora, but that’s a different story entirely.

PLUGINS

Recently I decided to check out what the plugins had to offer.  The reason my default browser on all OSes is Firefox is due to the wide range of plugins.   Iron, being based upon Chrome, can make use of all of Chrome’s plugins.  There are quite a few plugins/add-ons available, although not as many as Firefox.  This will probably change as time goes on.

Iron has four pages of plugins, which cover the basics.  After that I went searching for the Chrome plugins and this is where the rude awakening occurred.  When you go to install the plugin, you have to watch the bottom of the screen for a prompt asking you to cancel or continue.  If you tell the plugin to load, you are presented with a (very welcome) text box, telling you what information the plugin needs access to.

This is where it really got scary.  Every plugin wanted access to all browsing history.  Some wanted all site info.  Some all site info for all sites.  Yet another wanted access to everything on the computer.

I don’t know about you, kids, but I am not going to give full access to my file system to a browser plugin.  It does not require this access to work.  If this is the sort of thing I am avoiding by using Iron instead of Chrome, good for me (and good for you).  Next thing they will require is a set of car keys.

You have to draw the line somewhere…

P.S.  There is an extension called Nothing.  It is by a developer called Nobody.  The description states that it does nothing.  Sounds like a winner.