Vivaldi browser and open-source

  • Vivaldi Team

    People who are involved in the open-source community often ask us why Vivaldi browser isn’t available under a unified open-source license. Here we explain why.

    Click here to see the full blog post

  • As an advocate of Linux and FOSS in general, your stance is reasonable and understandable. As long as you stick to your vision when you made Vivaldi and prioritize uniqueness and users first then I'll happily continue using and recommending it. Thanks for your hard work!

  • Second... 🙂

    Thank you for addressing the question.

    I was just thinking about it. I primarily use Linux and often think that it would be much more convenient to be able to download Vivaldi via the official repos. But for that it would have to be under a free and open source license.
    I think you would get much more Linux users.

    I too still primarily use Firefox, although I find Vivaldi functionally superior. But since it is proprietary, it's pretty much against the whole ethos of why I use Linux. The fact that I am even thinking about switching to Vivaldi shows how great it is 😉

    Your concerns are legitimate, even though I don't think that a fork of Vivaldi could become a big ethical problem. I don't know of any major open source project where that would have been the case.

    That you want to protect your brand is understandable. However, I think you guys are more than well known by now, and in general, forks don't steal a lot of users as long as the original remains great.

    In the end it would boil down to offering the user full freedom and customizability and that is the mission of Vivaldi.


  • To add, it was a real shame what happened to Presto. I understood why they transitioned to Chromium but we lost what made Opera...Opera. Features were stripped down and it became Chrome with Opera branding. The latest releases are 'okay' but it feels like they're pushing out features for the sake of just having it there...maybe to appease their new investors.

  • Just to add and i thank you for this wonderful browser.The installation of a unique user-id will be very off putting too and upon research on the web it is clearly an unwanted thing to do.

    I personally have no problem with vivaldi knowing that i use a linux system etc if it helps continued development.

  • Thank you for the elucidating blog post. As you mention, this is a recurring topic, and it's great to get done explicit insight on the decision Vivaldi made, and continues to make. I think that you guys have handled this very well. The given reasons for keeping a small portion of the code closed are logical, and substantive. It will be useful to direct new users to this post, allowing discussions to move forward rather then repeating the same ideas every few weeks.

    I, and many others, appreciate your stance on the modification of Vivaldi's closed source assets. This is not a common posture, and is one of the most powerful differentiators from other browsers. To an extent, it allows the community to reap the benefits of the project being released as unified open-source. There are numerous mods that have been published on the forum that bring additional functionality to the browser, as well as the more cosmetic customizations that are common to software mods.

    Protecting Vivaldi's brand is important, for all the reasons discussed in the post. Without that, Vivaldi would not be the browser it is today. Perhaps there will be some point in the future when it makes sense to unify the project under an open source license. Until that time, I think you've taken a reasonable and productive approach, and hope that Vivaldi continues to enable users in all the ways it currently does -- including being able to share our modifications in the official forum.

    Thank you!

  • - Ambassador -

    The problem in general is that, in my opinion, the OpenSource definition requires a review. I think Vivaldi can be defined as OSS, but not as FOSS or FLOSS.
    What is not fair is that Vivaldi is defined as proprietary soft, such as Chrome, Edge or Safari just by having some codes protected.

    It points to one example, NASA has an immense catalog of OSS that it defines as such, even though some of them are restricted for the use in research and government centers and not for the general public.
    Vivaldi Mobile can also be perfectly in F-Droid, just like other applications that are not completely OSS either, such as the Gloomy Dungeons RPG series, whose code is also not completely free.

  • Thanks for the great article, much needed as a place to point those asking why Vivaldi isn't Open Source.

    I hope in 20 years time, when you are all semi-retired billionaires and Vivaldi is the only browser not owned by a Chinese mega-corp-conglomerate (Google having gone bust 5 years earlier), that when the current leadership starts having thoughts of selling out to the guys with the expensive suits and huge wads of Yuans (the only world currency at this point), you will casually walk into the office, plop the source on a portable device, take it home and make a torrent out of it 😜

    "When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it
    off to a competent successor.
    - Eric S. Raymond, 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar'

  • Thanks for clarification…

    But… may I have a few questions?

    1. Is it intentional that the latest pack of the back-end code is for 2.10?
    2. I haven’t had a look at it yet, but it’s from a big part coz it’s big (well this can’t be solved) and gets outdated with every release. Why not publish it (still talking about the back-end code) as a git (or whatever VCS) repo?
    3. If Vivaldi really dies… (pls pls don’t ever die) …are there any reasons why, as the very last thing, couldn’t it (Vivaldi in its completeness) be made open source (the way open source is usually understood)?

    I know, I know, I won’t ever be able to make anything off it, but it would make things more… complete.

  • I am fine with closed source if it does what it should and if I can configure it as I want.

    .. and Mods?
    Well you could expose and document some of the internal Vivaldi APIs to let users adapt Vivaldi to their needs. I am thinking of the Sessions API and the extended Tabs API ... 😉

  • Moderator

    @QuHno Very true. Open interfaces are arguably more important than open source code.

  • - Ambassador -

    I agree or disagree on some points, but some things can be enhanced :

    • Definitely put in your licence an "Open Source if dead" sentence. Don't leave the users in doubt until it's too late.
    • As @QuHno said, expose the internal APIs to extensions and modders.
    • You can't ask modders to mods when you obfuscate the JS code. That's not fair.
    • Host a mods and theme catalogue, allowing easy usage of those.

    All in all, I'm fully for Open Sourcing Vivaldi, even without accepting contributions. But the "not going back" argument is the best, from my POV.

  • @QuHno said in Vivaldi browser and open-source:

    .. and Mods?
    Well you could expose and document some of the internal Vivaldi APIs to let users adapt Vivaldi to their needs. I am thinking of the Sessions API and the extended Tabs API ... 😉

    I’m thinking of the UI… more concretely, it would be nice if it had any API even if we’d have to document it ourselves.

  • I grew up with Windows, and I have no problem at all with closed source. I still would love to see you go to closed source presto, if it is possible at all. Because it is still much better in many ways than any other browser. If it's about attracting users, you have many more users to attract with your uniqueness, rather than going with open souece.

  • 14th
    I remember Presto and how great its RAM usage was compared to Chromium, 175 tab and 25 Windows RAM usage still under 800MB. I also remember Opera Unite. I have a few old Opera wallpapers from Opera 9.5 era.
    Even operating systems have a mix of open-source and closed-source code code. Apple has a list of open-source here Parts of some apps Microsoft has are open-source now
    Each company has to find its balance of open and closed source code.

  • Vivaldi Team

    @potmeklecbohdan: I don't work on the actual source code publishing, but apparently, there has been some issue with source code publishing for a while. We'll get it fixed soon. When it comes to putting it under version control, I don't think i would make a big difference as we currently only want to publish source changes present in publicly released versions anyway.

    Making Vivaldi fully open-source if we perceive that we're going to be in trouble is a possibility, depending on circumstances. We'll have to decide how to handle it when the time comes (Hopefully, in a very long time).

  • Vivaldi Team

    @quhno: Technically, you can figure out our internal API by reading the published code. The .json files under /extensions/schema describe the full API. If you can make sense of C++, then the implementation is under /extensions/api. In general, the json files are supposed to use descriptions to explain what everything is doing. If there is something there that you can't understand, then it's probably something we should fix.

  • TLDR: Money. Not that there is anything wrong with it.

    But I find the argument about protecting the brand and being afraid of forks bit ironic since you rely on chromium. Without it, there is arguably no Vivaldi. This is de facto a fork of chrome. So you benefit from open source tremendously.

    What this article is missing is how is Vivaldi giving back to opensource. I genuinely don't know. If there are lot of upstream contributions to chromium or other libraries, it would make this whole argument a lot more sound.

    Not to mention you ¯_(ツ)_/¯ged security with, let us know. I know you might mean well.
    With all respect, I think this blogpost missed the mark.

    Something closer to reality is:
    We happily take chromium from Google. They are rich assholes and chrome sucks. We made it better, but we also need to eat. There are ads, but we made them easy to remove. We made it impossible to fork Vivaldi further. We think it is fair. We still keep most of the stuff open source, because you know, we have to (pesky licences).

    Lastly, I still love Vivaldi and respect the business model. I just don't love this blogpost.

  • @julien_picalausa Thank you for the reply.

    When it comes to putting it under version control, I don't think i would make a big difference as we currently only want to publish source changes present in publicly released versions anyway.

    OK, seems like I should first have a look at it.

    (Hopefully, in a very long time).

    Hopefully never.

  • @LeBaux said in Vivaldi browser and open-source:

    There are ads, but we made them easy to remove.

    What ads? I've never seen any ads in my Vivaldi installs, nor have I ever had to "remove" them.

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