Other Computing

JustBrowsing Linux live CD for no traces browsing

JustBrowsing is a bootable Linux live CD based on Arch Linux, it has been designed for Internet browsing on a live environment. You can not access your computer hard drive with it or use any other software that is not Firefox or Chrome, however, you can resort to browser addons to extend capabilities, a calculator and notepad extensions are included in the Chrome browser and can be launched using shortcuts in the operating system deskbar.

The live CD concept is to have a tool to browse the Internet on a computer that is not yours, like a friends house, school or workplace. JustBrowsing boots with lighting speed, you don’t need to enter any username or password, during the boot up process select if you want Firefox or Chrome and in a few seconds the browser will autolaunch taking up the full screen, except for a deskbar located at the bottom of the screen, there you can swap browsers without leaving the OS, launch browser apps and configure a VPN connection.

JustBrowsing Linux live CD does not make any changes to the existing operating system on the compute and after rebooting the computer it will not leave recoverable tracks behind, like cookies or browsing history.

Linux live CD JustBrowsing
Linux live CD JustBrowsing

Regarding privacy, you still must have into account is that if it is not your own network, a network administrator can set up the firewall to restrict Internet access, log or monitor your activities in real time. JustBrowsing will not help you to get around network Internet filtering, although a webproxy shortcut is included, the URL is likely to be blocked by the network filtering list

You can’t install JustBrowsing in your computer but there is a .ova (Open Virtualization Archive) virtual appliance available for download and it could be used with VirtualBox in Windows or within a USB thumbdrive.

JustBrowsing default search engine is privacy friendly DuckDuckGo, is best not to change it to any other that tracks your search queries, like Google. A couple of dozen entertainment bookmarks are bundled with the browser, the Music and TV section had links to USA only services, i.e. Hulu, Songza,Slacker, sites that you will not be able to use if your computer IP is not in the USA.

I liked how easily you  are able to switch in between browsers without logging in and out and how the browser autolaunches, as well as the speed at which it does. Having VPN software was a big bonus but there were no configuration shortcuts, the user still needs to know VPN credentials and set them up, not very practical for short Internet browsing sessions. I would have liked to see an easy way to set up a VPN with preconfigured settings or a Tor proxy browser addon.

JustBrowsing live CD Chrome browser webapps
JustBrowsing live CD Chrome browser webapps

JustBrowsing live CD does an splendid job of setting you up for quick Internet browsing, privacy could be improved by not relying so heavily on Google apps, like the shortcut links to Gmail and Google docs, the shortcut to a webproxy is flimsy privacy as many websites will not work with PHP proxies. I would be happy to use JustBrowsing live CD to stop snooping on the local computer but I would not trust it to stop a network administrator from looking at what sites I visit.

Something else to have into account is that many public computers have been set up to stop live CD and USB booting, my experience is that the practicability of using these kind of tools on a computer that is not yours is not very high, and public library computer administrator are not going to change the computer boot settings for you any time soon.

If you find that you can’t change BIOS or UEFI settings and can’t boot the live CD, I would download VirtualBox portable to a USB thumbdrive and launch JustBrowsing .iso from inside Windows, with the added benefit of being able to save the VirtualBox session and settings in the thumbdrive.

Visit JustBrowsing homepage

One reply on “JustBrowsing Linux live CD for no traces browsing”

Just tried this on thumb drive with Chrome and it worked great, BUT, changes to bookmarks didn’t save-it, opened in original format on reboot. Is there a way to do this so you don’t lose your customization work?

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