Vivaldi Browser

I was a devoted Firefox user for many years but recently, the list of annoyances with Firefox started to pile up.

Some of this is self-inflicted like the Proton redesign that changed the UI for the tabs in what I thought was a step backwards. Google also started to purposefully break things on Firefox including stuff like background blur on Meet calls and fullscreen viewing in YouTube.

I switched to Brave for a year or so and enjoyed that browser quite a bit. It’s Chromium underneath meaning that it shares the open source core that Chrome is built upon. Extension support is excellent and the look and feel is nice.

But Brave comes with a weird crypto play called Brave Rewards built around the Basic Attention Token (BAT) which is a cryptocurrency coin. You can disable all that stuff, but it’s not something I think belongs in a browser.

That left me looking for something new. I tried Safari but the lack of good extensions (especially for ad blocking) made that a non-starter. Orion is a new browser that looks a lot like Safari but adds Chrome/Firefox extension support. It’s in beta and it shows – it’s far too buggy to be an everyday browser.

Microsoft offers Edge that is also built around Chromium, but like Brave, they layer on a whole load of unwanted stuff. In the case of Edge, there’s shopping and other crapware built in that I don’t want.

What’s left? Vivaldi.

I’ve resisted Vivaldi a bit over the years because I don’t like the look and feel of it. I find the tabs and icons to be a bit weird looking, especially on the Mac. But I thought I would give it another go, partly because I like the direction things are going with Vivaldi but also because I learned that the UI is quite customizable.

Vivaldi’s UI is built using HTML and CSS meaning you can tweak things to your liking (to a certain extent). I’m not doing a whole lot, but I added a bit of padding on the left side of the bookmarks bar and bumped up the font size a half a pixel to make it look just a bit better to my eye.

One thing I still don’t like is that the tabs in Vivaldi are a touch narrower than I would prefer. I haven’t been able to figure out how to add some width yet, but I suspect it’s possible with the right CSS bits.

I’ve deleted all the other browsers from my laptop (except Safari) and I’m using Vivaldi full time now. So far so good.

James Koole @jameskoole